Fifty Not So Upright Years

Fifty Not So Upright Years

Casual against the red brick of industry

Trying to seem as permanent, as belonging

With my first working day ahead, we leaned

Impressing epic resonance on impressionable innocence.

In one smooth flow of flapping overalls

Dolly slopped Jingle style with a touch of pigeon over his dogend

And negotiating obsequiously past Hawkeye

Dived into the sweet tobacco ambience of Will’s Woodbines .

Besant, coughing on his second roll-up, spat

Declared his status and comedic credentials

By grabbing at my dear father’s genitals

Who said, by way of initiation and without a flinch or smile,

Fuck off George”, and to me

Let’s go. He’s an idiot”

Stubbed out his cigarette by mine.

*

Will you go to Bosistow

To a look out in a loft

To peer into a vacant sea

From Faraway normality?

Or will you pick at the sores of love

Those soft contusions spreading blue

Proclaiming yet more lividly your loss.

*

Trundling came the enemy

His determined uphill rumbling smacked

Of orders under execution,

Slow, searching, deliberate

One baleful eye impartially disposed,

Barrel nosing, poking his tankful of doctrinal power.

Ducking quick, Vic said

See you at the pearly gates Sam!”.

*

In the death camp

Within the sight and smell of God’s evil

He would gently turn a young girls head

With his new-born hands

Adjusting the last rag of her soiled decency

To look a bit more dignified atop her mound.

Later he would recall her murmur “Danke”

As her blossom shed its petal of finality

His spirit bled its masquerade of faith.

*

I will go to Bosistow

(But not upon the tide)

To a pier that rides the star strung sea

The length of it I’ll stride

And on this glistening sea of dreams

Will bob along the rim

Of history healed

Where time stands still

 And smiles go on remembering him.

*

Trundling the enemy comes, rumbling for attack

As spies are shot, explosives set, grenades go flying back

But out of the particles of war has come

An old familiar face now young

Has come at last to their trysting place

For her soldier boy once more.

Dismissing curtain lurkers

With their world-will-keep-on-turning chat,

Securely binding warders with his charm

And by lobbing out with deadly force

Whatever served his purpose

My father made his bravest stand

And after fifty not so upright years

I heard him swear a second time

Turn that fucking light out!”

As we said goodnight.

From Domestics by Paul Warwick. In fondest memory of his father Percival (Sam) Warwick who died 22nd September 2015 at the great age of 95

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