Dad, Happy, Summer, July 1973

It was one of those family photographs
You know the kind
Square
With a white border
The edges Tattered and yellowing
Framing your father
Younger
Caught between moves
In mid-expression
In perfect focus
Not a single hair blurred
The time around him
Captured too
In the long
Patterned collar
Of his shirt

It was one of  those family photo's
You know the kind
Stand-out
Infinitely intriguing
For capturing that
Which cannot be seen
And revealing everything
Which isn't there
Your father
Younger
In crystal clear focus
And to his side
Nine tenths out of shot
Your mother
Her left arm
And a strip of hair
And nothing more

It was one of those family photographs
You know the kind
Taken in colours
Which look older than black and white
Glossy
Your father
(and a streak of your mother)
As young as you are now
Caught forming a smile
Wearing an itchy suit jacket
Over an open necked shirt
With era defining collars
A mystery
The sharpness confusing
As at that time
You didn't yet exist
And that's hard to comprehend
Especially in such high definition

It was one of those family photo's
You know the kind
A defining photo
On a special occasion
Your father
Younger
Maybe graduating
From a government run course
Or being released
From prison
Or winning
A court case
And it makes you peer in
Squint
Searching for clues
Of yourself
When you was dead
Non-existent
And on the back
There's antique handwriting
In blue
A little run
You know the type
Your mother's writing
Those same slanted letters
That got you out of PE
Not so long ago:

Dad looking happy
Labour Day
Kentish Town
July
Summer 
1973
Mum shying behind
Bad hair day
4 months pregnant with Sue
Pensive
Wondering what the future holds
If 'Dad' will make '74
The year he promised
And stop drinking
And lying
And gambling
And cheating
And lashing out
Whenever things don't go his way –
Which is always
Wearing that cheap 'Italian Shirt'
The one his sister bought him
Blood still on the cuff
(Right)
From where he'd belted me
Earlier that day
Two weeks before the miscarriage
That kick in the stomach
Which broke my heart
And left me feeling 
Like a murderer
Blaming myself
Him blaming me too
Saying:
You know what I'm like after a drink
You shouldn't have pushed me
Why did you push me?
Look what you went and done!
Being rammed into the bathroom door
Cracking my head
And falling unconscious
Because I couldn't stop crying
Because something had died inside me
Yeah
London
July
1973
Dad
Happy
Before I put on weight
Became “Fat and lazy”
“An embarrassment!”
No longer changing my clothes
A kick here and a punch there
Spit in my face
For wearing the same underwear
Two days in succession
Or accidentally
Falling asleep
With my legs open
“Sex between cellulite”
That's what he said
Couldn't “stand the sight of it”
Which made the rapes
Even more incomprehensible
And the forthcoming pregnancy
A permanent and bitter reminder
Of domestic hell
And HE
Your Dad
Who could no longer
Fit into his suit
Or much else
A dirty belly
that hung over soiled y-fronts
And that's how I saw him
Until he died
A dirty, foul, disgusting beast of a man
Woman's real enemy
You know the type:

Square
The edges tattered
A yellowing white border
Your Father
Not a hair out of focus
In colours older than black and white
Caught between acts
Revealing all that is hidden
With ink on the back
Blue
Your mothers words
Dad looking happy
Kentish Town
Labour Day
Summer
July 1973
You know the type.

3 comments:

  1. Fuck me man, you write some good poetry...please don't give up

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is like an exorcism. Fucking epic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fuck sake Shane...why are you not in print? XXXXXXX

    ReplyDelete