Archive for August, 2019

We move again. Not far. To Holmewood council estate. It’s a big house with 3 bedrooms and gardens front and back. I like this house. I feel safe here, happy. It’s a new start for all of us. New jobs for mum and dad, new school for me, my sister has moved out. I fly a kite with my dad on the field near my house. I’m having fun.

we all wore the same clothes
had the same hairstyles
ate the same food
said the same things
at the same time
no one was different
our identity was collective
personalities identical
if one was punished
we was all punished
then the police came
rescued us all from
our insular world
and left us in a
world we didn’t know
we had to learn
to be ourselves
develop our own
personalities and identities
learn to be individuals
we had to learn
what it meant to be human
it was hard work
but we did it
created new lives
became new people, the people
we should have been
from the beginning

it’s a cold but sunny morning. Mum has left me on my own at school for the first time. I’m alone. Teachers and children run around, shouting and screaming. I’m lost. I know where I am but not what I’m supposed to do. I walk to the playground and the bullies see their chance and attack me, kicking me to the floor. I’m surrounded by them, all looking down at me. No one comes to help me, no teachers or children. I’m truly alone now in a mass of people. They call me names, mummies boy, softy, they keep coming. Then the beating starts, more kicks and still no one helps me. The bell goes for the start of lessons and I’m alone, lying on a cold, tarmac playground, looking up at a clear, blue sky. Everyone has gone inside, teachers, children, bullies. I get up, brush the dirt off my legs and go inside to my lesson. They knew I was different. I didn’t know I was. I never tell anyone about the bullying, I never forget it though.

my home is a shipping container
metal, long, dark
i’m told it’s temporary
however long temporary is
small and cramped
it has a door and
window at one end
too hot in summer
too cold in winter
people fight outside
i stay in and
read a book,
play board games,
listen to the radio
on the TV everyone
has cars, houses
X-boxes, computers and TV’s
somewhere to live
somewhere to call home
i would be happy
with a bed to myself
in a room of my own
i don’t want much
but the little i
want seems far away
at least right now

It’s a cold, dark January morning. Snow covers the roads and pavements, icicles hang from roofs, my breath is a cold, grey fog. I need the toilet, it’s outside. I don’t want to go outside and stand in the small, dark, damp space that is our toilet. I have to though. I have no choice but to stand there shivering, alone in the darkness.

We’ve moved over to the other side of Bradford, Leicester Street off Wakefield Road. I don’t know why we have moved and never will. We’re in a small house, a back to back. The kitchen is a sink on the wall, the toilet is outside, and I share a bed with my sister. It’s cramped and cold but we have a TV, a black and white one. I remember watching the TV but not what the programme was. We’re not here long. I have few memories of Leicester Street. The house is not there now. It was pulled down years ago together with my memories of living here.

waiting for results

Posted: August 24, 2019 in poetry, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

I had a double biopsy on my gullet four weeks ago and I’m waiting for the results. As you can imagine it’s a stressful and anxious time so I’ve written this poem to about how I feel at the moment.

my head aches, i feel sick
i don’t know what’s happening
or even when i will
i’m waiting for results
that could change my life
in so many different ways
my life is in limbo
so much i want to do
but everything depends
on the results
i’m hoping they come soon
free me from
this unseen prison
that i’m living in
i just want to know
what my results are
so i can live again

thousands of years to grow
one year to burn
more and more trees
than can never be replaced
smoke so thick
people can’t see
in cities thousands
of miles away
home to millions of
plants and animals
indigenous people
watch as their
homes burn
reduced to ashes
in minutes
all so a few people
can sell wood
breed animals
make money
from a land
that the whole planet
needs to survive

I’m at home. We’re having a party. It might have been because my brother is home on leave from the army. The adults are talking and drinking, ignoring me. I go outside and start to walk. I walk down the hill, across the road, through the fields and the woods and then I’m sat on a wall at the side of the road, waiting, for what I can’t remember know. A car pulls up, a man gets out, it’s my dad. They missed me and came looking for me. I didn’t think anyone would miss me or come looking for me. I just wanted to walk forever and be free from everything, to be alone, on my own.

This is a short piece I have written in response to a think tanks proposal to raise the pension age to 75 by 2035.

I left school, at 16. Started working, paid into my state pension, believed I would work until I was 65 and then retire and be free to do what I wanted. But it didn’t work out like that. I worked and worked all my life, but they the ones in power kept moving my retirement further and further away, 66, 67, 70, 75. It became an unreachable goal, the ultimate carrot and donkey. I went from being the apprentice, the learner to the one taking orders from people young enough to be my grandchildren. The questions never stop going round and round in my head, why? How? Why I am I in this place? How did it come to this? Is this all that life is? One continuous conveyor belt of never-ending work until one day you go to sleep and never wake up? People younger and younger telling you what to do and how to live your life as if you haven’t lived and gained experience? The politicians and business owners claim they work hard and that they deserve their big houses, long holidays, big pensions and early retirement. But it’s you that’s enabled them to be in the position they’re in. You are working every single day until you drop and the ready-made conveyor belt of people waiting to take your place until they follow in your footsteps and work until they die too. In my 50s I realised I would never retire. I would never enjoy days spent chatting with other human beings about the old days in the pub. Instead it’s stolen chats on our breaks before it’s back to work, work, work. They told us work was good for us, for our mental and physical health. But my body and mind are broken, I can’t take anymore. The ones who told us work was good for us retired at 50 on big fat pensions, cut taxes for the rich, increased working lives for the poor. If work is so good, why did they retire as soon as they could? Time moves forward but life goes backwards, retirement is not an option anymore.