Wednesday, 8 November 2017



Those not-so-mean streets one street over
Once I loitered rejected around the corner
As they all party played on without me
Russell and Simon and Michael
And Paddy and Tracy and Gill
Names from the past I never saw again
Once we uniformed up to big school
Childhood and friendships flickered out
One by one as we grew up and moved away
Not so much a lost childhood as one mislaid

The smell of Michael’s back garden tent
Deep blue on a hot summer’s afternoon
Corgi cars crashed in vices and collisions
Toys in flames as bonfires smouldered
The leather seats of an old Morris Minor
That suddenly leapt into life one afternoon
Above a precarious garden plummet
Next to Russell’s soon-to-be lost dad’s
Green Bedford van with the sliding doors
All those other dads that died or went away

I don’t remember childhood much
Time’s blind has it blinkered and buried
Some memories improve forgotten
Apart from on those sleepless nights
When the midnight ghouls want to bite
Fragments prod me awake to recall
The writing on the bed head
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea in biro
Bath time games and other funless fun
Keys on chains growing up too young

Swinging golf clubs catching bloody noses
Endlessly bicycled dark nights and summer days
Secret Patrol clubs; lost darts in the long grass
Endless hours on the Bonks building dens
Muddy streams oranged by scrapyard rust
The telling off after the games in the cellar
A dark incident that got out of hand
I never see them now except in dreams
Those sometimes mean streets one street over
Maybe other children play there now

Martin A W Holmes, November 2017

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