They make a row, tattered petals arguing, vying
for room, trying always to face white-gold:
blessing, god to them.
Their seeded eyes never stray
from his gaze, moving
as he does, with the same pace
not like the swatches of red rag or the bells
turning the forest floor neon blue
or the yellow cups in springtime, all
too slow in their reactions, taking days
to present petals, curl stalks, describe
the search for light in a ballerina pose.
A thousand leonine heads, follow
the sun’s arc. To walk amongst them
is to feel their taut urgency, wallow
at equal height, inhale
F acsimile of life, am I? You did not hesitate or stop
U ncertain as you were of the outcome, did not prevent
N umbers encroaching, working in silence,
E volving as you once did, able to bring
R ationale, substance, logic to the world and let
A tangled network of wires, like scribbling
L ines fill domed heads with golden lustre; put
B efore priest and poet, prince and pauper — let
L oose, neither she nor he
U nloved, dismissed, my
E go stifled — inconsequential, servile — my
S elf submerged under a hand of flesh. …
Andiamo. It means, let’s go in Italian and it isn’t a word you’d normally hear drifting up the back street of a row of terraced houses in a small, Lancashire town. Brierfield is nestled between Nelson and Burnley and in the 1950s it was home to dozens of Italian families, ours among them.
My father worked in the pit at Hapton Valley and hot-tailed it there every morning on his bike — Brierfield to Hapton — a journey of about six miles, then a full day’s work and a cycle ride home again. He was lean and fit and…
Italian boys, fragile with eyes like olives, each had a floppy wrinkled finger protruding from under their vests. They came to the door with their parents — women with heavy features and crescent eyebrows, uncombed hair and unpretentious dresses; men with blue-toned jaws, skin the colour of sandpaper, breath like horse dung.
Visits to other Italians took a weekly turn. Cavallo stepped out through the backyard gate, the air sour with coal smoke, trails streaming against the rain. The girls each carried plastic umbrellas bought at the market yesterday.
The main road was Sunday silent. It had seemed overwhelming, this…
If I had a flat rug
All day long I’d saunter up and down
If my rug was nice and flat
Wouldn’t have to stamp hard
Must admit I feel down in the dumps
Got to find a reason for these bumps
Hordes of roaches, bugs by the dozen
Running up and down beneath my feet
Chewing up the real wooden floors below
One long viper, here to my left
And one even longer to my right
And one more in the middle just for show
If I had a flat rug
I write to entertain, explain…and leave a tickle of laughter in your brain.