through the crash



My father left our family on November 2nd, 1967.   I discovered the brief-social experience of hitch-hiking when travelling back and forth to university in 1979.   I wrote this cluster of poems in 1980, loyal to the images despite the ease to see them as just tabloid.   By 2011 I had never crashed but realised that each of these are related.




     said the Sandman

     he blinked
     as the overhead drizzling
          traffic lights


     jerking flib-flub
     of the windscreen wipers
     flapped in his stomach;

     the great wide

     I remember
     the deep maroon colour
     of his car

     flaked off the bonnet
          in the rain
          when he said

     “I’ll try again
      I’ll try again
      I’ll try again…”
     and the dashboard clicked

     blue-ink blood in the folds
     of my sweating palms




      “blck” “blck”
          “blck” “blck”

     the little green light on the dashboard

     coloured green blood
     from the little looped vein
     over his forefinger
     as the fuel-gauge finger
     rested in red

          (his hand jumped nervously
           on the steering wheel
           the gear stick wobbled
           and the road turned into
                 grey porridge…)




     go the raindrops
     from the grey jewels
          of glass
     of the windscreen
     they “plup”
     on the green
     of my father





          the rain blew at an angle
          across the motorway
     the leather-clad jackdaw
          turned his smiling face
     and hitched a lift
          from the double-glazing van
     the red lights silently screamed
          as the tinkling glass
          bled red lipstick
          spattered over the
          bridge pillar




     big cheeky smile
     the glint in his eyes
     of the long line of cat’s eyes
     the he’d just licked
     for twenty seven yards

     “stop it, stop it”
     cried the red-eyed posts
     on the left,
     the white eyes
     beamed back
     at the
     smiling hissing radiator





     the grey
     street –

     little pink feet pattered through
          his mind –

     under the lamp post
     blue blood diluted the pavement





     the cabin

                bacon-burger bar

     blumbered from the
          crackly radio

     flat fried eggs
     blupped onto the bonnet
     from the tree-lamps
     down the middle of the motorway

     and as the spikey-fine
          fir trees
     flinked some
          white silliness
     into my piping-hot tea –

     “Whappo” said the
          tatty tyres
     slapping the tarmac

     over the hills and far away




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