Fake Blood

Fake Blood

In a college canteen
too many years ago,
a lecturer took the last
remaining seat as I
poured ketchup over a
fish & chips lunch.

“That’s a very working class thing
to do,” he teased lightly.

Into his eyes,
perhaps piercing his very soul,
I taunted,
“I was so poor as a child,
my family never had
luxuries like ketchup!”

His head shot back
as if avoiding a blow.

Had my response
been too feral
for him?

Did he see only
the firm and miss
the playful?

Or had I just hit
a universal condition
bang-on with a lie?

Sapiens

Photograph copyright 2014 Russell Cavanagh.

Sapiens

Ask the child,
who remains within,
to view herself
across time.

Dry old tears
so she may behold
just what became,
how it transpired.

Celebrate survival
and undeniable relevance;
for both will resonate
through now into forever.

For as each generation ends
in frustrated emotion,
too few become sapiens,
as you have done
most splendidly.

(For my friend Amy O’)

Goodbye Look

Goodbye Look

Grandma in that strange bed;
it’s good that we visited
that very last time.

She found a smile,
even managed a joke,
though you were too young
to understand.

Visiting time over,
she eyed you
with regretful sadness
at missing you grow.

You felt embarrassed
and asked me why
her gaze
lingered long.

“It’s because you are handsome,” I said.

But, in reality, it was her final goodbye.

Still Warm

Still Warm

It’s not a way out she wants,
but a snug cul-de-sac
in which to consummate
her unhappiness,
and my loneliness.

Achieving what?
Temporary release
from rubbing together?

An illicit distraction for her,
before parting too soon,
perhaps again and again,
as and when?

Me left alone,
with a trace
still warm,
still fragrant,
in this place that is not
her marriage bed.

I Felt Delight

I felt delight

I stood before myself today
as a child sat apart;
not fully connected,
but not entirely without
awareness
of self.

I felt delight again;
wondering innocent
upon each discovery
punctuating aloneness
in a way back when
this child’s neglect
remained unwritten.

At last I waved goodbye;
smiling from a soul
once again full of a care
I now acknowledge
I too would have wanted,
most likely craved,
for myself.

How stained and worn
we become through time,
shaped by episodes
and scars forgotten.

And with few years remaining,
I glimpsed salvation,
to remember,
on this day,
exactly what is
important.