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There was a stuffed up
feel of the day.

Other patients
mingled around
or stood in corners
all alone as much
as one can
in a locked ward.

Sunlight appeared
at windows
least expected
like a sudden light
turned on in
a darkened room
and temporarily
dispelling gloom.

Nurses passed one by
in hurried pace
along corridors
that led to darker places
where someone
had taken a quick way out
or tried and failed
and is led away
patched up
until the next
attempt to leave
and none here
will know or grieve.

A different routine
replaced the old
and each lined up
to receive
the medication
prescribed
by some quack
who doesn't know you
from Adam or Jack.

Mealtimes arrived
and all made their way
to the table to be fed
and watered
and sent on their way
to face and bear
another day
locked up
and mind numbed
by drugs
standing or sitting there.
She watches him
ride away
on his bike
down the drive
from the farmhouse
and onto the country lane
into town.

Behind her
the bed
they made love in
still untidy and unmade
with the scent
of his aftershave
still lingering there.

She watches
until he is out of sight
and sees her mother's car
returning home from town
with the weekly shop.

She rushes to remake
the bed and run out
the creases
with the palm
of her hand
pumps up the pillows
with a guilty glee.

Her mother calls her
to help unload
the shopping
and she goes
downstairs
with a steady pace
hoping her mother
won't see
the after
love-making glow
in her morning face.
She pulls
the sheet and blankets
over her shoulder
and snuggles down
alone in bed
until her big sister
comes home
drunk and noisey.

Lydia muses on Benny
and them going
to the train station
to watch the steam trains
arrive and leave
talking about the journey
to the seaside
they will probably
never make
but talk about it
nevertheless.

Sitting in the coffeehouse
on the station
sipping glasses of milk
and nibbling biscuits
he paid for.

She closes her eyes
and brings to mind
the smell and powerful sounds
that the steam engines make
and the railway porter
who shared with them
his life in the war
as a prisoner
of the Japanese.

She knows her sister
will come home
two sails to the wind
as her mother says
and drunkenly undress
and ***** into the bucket
by the bed
throughout the night.

And she Lydia
attempting
to shut out
the sounds
and smells
of ***** and farts
with her pillow
over her head
lying there
motionless
and silent
like one dead.
1d · 21
Kiss Me Quick.
Kiss me quick hats
icecream cones
candy floss
young people
in bathing costumes
running into the waves
excitedly waving arms.

Old folk sitting
in deckchairs
watching it all
or dozing under
the hot sun.

A transitor radio
seeps out music
of a kind
others sitting
on the sand
in small groups
eating or drinking.

Others lie down
next to each other
and kiss
oblivious to others
or onlookers
remembering
a similar time.

Children with buckets
and spades
build sandcastles
with little windmills
which swirl in any breeze
off the sea.

You comb my hair
as we sit there
and now and then
I slowly turn
and you kiss me
beneath that summer sun
and by the forever
coming and going sea.
Just as the dawn
was breaking
she said
to make love again.

So we did
later she said
Was that gunshot
in the night
or a car
back firing?

Knowing this place
it was probably gun fire
I said.

She lay her head
on my pillow
and we gazed
at each other.

That was a good show
at the theatre
yesterday evening
she said
I couldn't stop
laughing.

I know
I said
gazing into her eyes.

What can you see
in my eyes?
she said.

Windows into the soul
they say
I guess I see
your soul.

What colour is it?
My father said
it's probably black
she said.

Kind of blue
the colour of skies
and seas.

Can we make
love again?
she said.

I nodded my head
always willing
to please.
She threw the dice
across a small part
of the table
and got a five
and moved her piece
up five paces
on the board game.

I threw the dice
and got two
and moved my piece
two paces and landed
on the snake
and had to descend
down a line or so below.
It was a game
of chance and luck.

She won in the end
as her luck held
and gazing out the window
we saw the rain
had stopped.

I packed the game
of snakes and ladders
away in the box
and we went out.

The sun was shining
after the rain
and the pavement
was wet and clean.

Fancy a penny drink
from the shop
through the Square?
I said.

Best not
she said
have to be home
before my dad gets home
or he'll want to know
where I have been
and I can't say
I was with you.

I knew her old man
would be onto her
if she told the truth.

She went to her flat
and I went to mine
and knew that the dice
wasn't always thrown
in her favour
she was luckness
ending up with him
as a father.
Her son said
he had left a dead rabbit
at the back door for dinner
if someone could
gut and skin it.

Ever gutted and skinned a
rabbit before?
she asked me.

No can't say I have
I said.

I'll show you
she said
and taking a sharp knife
and pair of scissors
she went with me
to the back door.

A dead rabbit lay
on the stone floor
****** nosed
and motionless.

She picked the rabbit up
by its back legs
and laid it down
on the outside bench.

Right
she said
first to gut it.

I stood watching
as she spread the rabbit
on its back
then sliding the knife
into the abdomen
slit open from neck to tail
and grabbing a handful
of intestines cut them out
until all was clear
and dumped them
on the floor.

Cat can have those
she said.

I studied the guts
bathed in blood.

Next to skin it
she said
firstly break the paws
and cut them off
which she did
quickly and cleanly
then pulling the skin off
of the legs she dragged
off the skin until
she came to the head.

I watched
the nakedness
of the rabbit.

You cut off the head
she said
which she did
with the sharp knife
and threw the head
and fur and skin into a bag
and put it in the bin.

The rabbit
looked smaller now
in fact quite pathetic.

She took it indoors
and ran it under
the cold tap
and rinsed it out
and over.

I watched
as she cut it
into quarters
and placed in a saucepan
of water
and added gravy.

There's dinner
she said
only don't tell the kids
it's rabbit
or they won't eat it
just say it's chicken.

Your turn next time
she said smiling
washing her hands
under the tap.

I said Ok
hoping it wouldn't
come my way.
We gathered
in the boys toilets
for a smoke
Micky had acquired
a small pack
(no questions asked)
and handed them out
to Davies and Eddie and me.

Keep a look out Benny
he said to me
can’t have any
****** prefect
catching us.

So I stood by the doorway
having a crafty smoke
now and then
as I gazed out
at the playground.

How’s that cousin
of yours Eddie?
Micky asked.

What cousin?
Eddie said.

The one who used
to walk about the place
semi-clad
Micky said smiling.

She went home again
Eddie said.

Bet you’re glad
Davies said
although I would
have liked her
to stay at my place.

It was embarrassing
Eddie said.

Micky shook his head
You could have been
onto a winner there
Eddie my lad.

What you mean?
Eddie said frowning.

She might have let you
have a go with her
Micky said.

What you mean
have a go?
Eddie said.

Davies laughed.

I saw a prefect coming
towards the toilets
Prefect coming
I said.

We all dropped
our ***-ends
into the pans
and flushed.

What do you mean?
Eddie asked again.

I walked out of the toilets
just as the prefect
came towards the entrance.

What’s going on?
he said.

Don’t know
I said
what is going on?
and walked off
into the playground.

The others came out
the prefect following.

I smell smoke
he said.

I smell *****
Micky said.

The prefect looked at them
as they walked on
Micky and Davies
one way
and Eddie
came with me.

What’s he mean
about have a go?
Eddie said.

Maybe he meant
let you kiss her
I said.

Wouldn’t want
to kiss her
he said.

I said no more
and we walked around
waiting for the bell to go
for afternoon school.

The prefect walked
after some other kids
fighting over the way.

I knew
what Micky meant
but didn’t say.
Fur he's a jolly guid fellow
or sae th' saying goes
bit he wisnae jolly
in ony sense o' th' word
in fact he wis
a miserable sod
aye greetin' aboot
th' ways o' th' world
criticizing everything
he thought wantit greetin'
at 'n' ah couldn't see
whit he hud tae green at
he wis healthy 'n' fit
'n' guid keekin tae
a certain degee
'n' hud dosh tae spend
nae a millionaire
bit enough tae *** by oan
'n' sae oan
bit na he hud tae green
day in day oot
ah said tae him
a've nae met a jimmy
wha cuid green
sae muckle
'n' he said
Clam up
ye dinnae ken
whit ye'r talking aboot
sae ah said
Up yers
'n' gaed aff tae finish
pentin th' hain room
'n' left him
wi' his greetin' tongue
'n' gloom.
Her old man
passed me
on the stairs
of the flats.

He eyed me
he lit a cigarette
and shook the match
and flicked it.

I looked away
and stared
over the balcony.

He walked off
and down the stairs.

It was a fine morning
sunshine was out
brightening up
the Square below.

He walked
through the Square
his hat at an angle
I watched him go
he went down the *****
he disappeared.

I went into
my parents' flat
with the bread rolls
from across the road
to have before school.

Enid's old man
had passed me
on the stairs
he has icy eyes
and stares.
We lay on our stomachs
by the duck pond
watching sunlight
flicker on the water
and dragonflies dive
and skim the water's skin
and ducks drift by
anticipating food
which didn't come.

I can't
she said
it's red square week
which is a **** curse.

How it is
I said
wondering how
the beauty of the dragon fly
got so neat
and how maybe
it was there
back in the time
of the dinosaurs.

Of course
she said
if I wasn't on
I'd be worried sick
I was up the duff.

That's something
I said.

A woodpecker
pecked overhead
.some place.

A chaffinch
settled on a branch
just ahead.

Wish we could
she said
I'm gagging for it.

Soon be time
I said
and placed my hand
on her hand.

A mallard flew down
and we bored titless
watched it land.
She said
if you want to
you can
so I took
a small bite
of her peach
and listened
to Dave Brubeck
on her hifi
sitting on the floor
of her parents' house
while they were out
at some charity affair.

Her big sister
was up
in the bedroom
squatting for exams.

Her big brother
was in his room
with his stamp collection
or so he said.

We shared
her peach
and listened
with our innocence
as Paul Desmond
blew a cool solo.

I kissed her cheek
she smiled
and kiss my lips
no more peach to bite.

I left when
her parents returned
and that night in dreams
I burned and yearned.
5d · 128
Bonnie & Ah.
Ye shuid see her
whin ah run
a finger doon
her naked spine
her een light up
'n' her geggy opens
tae utter
wordless soonds
o' buzz
'n' she opens up
tae me lik'
a flower at dawn's light
'n' we engage
in love's entanglements
wi' kisses 'n' soft wurds
uttering th' eternal promises
o' joy 'n' pure pure happiness
'til th' gey lest moment
o' passion haes eased us
tae perspiration 'n' kip.
Albert
(pronounced Albear)
showed me
his grandfather's medal
from the Great War
with coloured ribbons
and unpolished metal
tarnished by age
and neglect.

His grandfather
had gone
through all that *****
only to be knocked down
by a tram in 1936.

Before my time
Albert said
but I have a photo of him
in sepia taken on leave
from the front
and you can see hell
in his haunted eyes.

I gazed at the medal
and he allowed me
to turn it over
in my hands.

Don't trust
governments
his grandfather said
they distort the truth
and pour out lies.
Butterflies
Miss Ash wrote
on the blackboard
have a four-stage
life cycle.

I watched her
plump hand
reach up
and with white chalk
write.

She wore long and wide
summer dresses
to cover her bulk
her long brown hair
tied in a tight bun
at the back.

Winged adults
she said
turning around
like a hippo
doing ballet
lay eggs
on a plant.

Her large eyes
peered at us
through her glasses
seeing who
was paying
attention
and who not.

On which Jupp
she said
pointing to him
their larvae
called caterpillars
will feed.

Jupp nodded
and scribbled down.

She sighed and turned
and continued to write
caterpillars grow
until fully developed
Then what Coles?
she said to me
without turning around.

Pupate in
a chrysalis Miss
I replied.

And then Lydia
what happens next?
Miss Ash asked.

The pupal skin split
and the adult insect
climbs out
Lydia read
from the board.

Miss Ash turned
and pointed at me
Then what Coles?

After its wings
have expanded
and dried
it flies off
I said
reading from the board
her cursive script.

She looked at us
with her steely gaze.

Finish off writing
and neatly Jupp
not your usual scribble.

I noticed
how wide
she was
even if Jupp
and I
held hands
around her body
our other hands
wouldn't touch
but I never
informed
her or him
of that much.
She listens
to Stan Getz
on the hifi
lets the saxophone
fill the room
with the soft piano
supporting
and bass making
the gentle
elements of Jazz.

Reminds her of him
some time ago
how he would dance
and smooch to this
and he would
kiss and kiss.

How she misses that
his arms around her waist
his lips breathing words
into her naked neck.

But now she is alone
with Stan Getz
and his saxophone
on the hifi
and she dances alone
embraces herself
as he used to do
kisses her own arm
as he often did to her
whispers words
into the room
which he once said
but doesn't anymore
for he is dead.
7d · 28
I Wonder Where.
I wonder where
she wanders now
and what she thinks
and does
and does she of me
as I do her
in idle moments
sitting in the sun
listening to Mahler's sixth.

How young we were then
before us a life to be led
thoughts to engage
wishes and dreams to follow
into our tomorrows.

But chances are
she may not
give me thought at all
not an image of me young
occupies her mind or thoughts
and feelings of us then
swallowed up and digested
by the passing years
and moon that wax and wanes.

More important aspects
of her life engage her now
no doubt and what
has happened in the past
she may prefer to leave it
there to gather dust
like old items locked away
in some obscure room.

But sometimes
in her waking hours
she may briefly
think of us
I trust.
7d · 43
Alang Time Awa'
Ah wis smoking
in a ******
a dram by mah elbow
goupin' at masell
in th' mirror  behind
th' bar
ageing
grey-haired
losing mah locks
'n' looks
thinking o' th' lassie
ah used tae ken
back in th' days
afore th' lefty idiots
ruled th' roost
we used tae gang
oot ta Portobello
tae th' picter-hoose
or donder alang th' beach
or juist sit 'n' watch
th' tide gang oot
or come in
'n' winch 'n' hug
against th' dying o' day
'n' keekin back
it's alang time awa'.
7d · 18
The Crucified.
If they hung up crucifixes
as it actually looked
no one would be able
to look at them in churches
without wanting to throw up
Rigmore said
gazing at paintings
of the crucifixion scenes.

The sacrificial lamb
beaten to a pulp
then nailed to a cross
where he hanged
agonized
trying to breathe
until he gave up
the ghost
after six hours.

I guessed he was right
but who wanted
to be reminded
of the sacrifice?

After all thousands died
that way under the Romans
slow agonized deaths
humiliated and beaten
and usually left to rot.

But He was taken down
and laid in a tomb
covered in a shroud
hidden from the noisey
apathetic
and onlooking crowd.
Apr 29 · 15
All About Henry 1956.
Terry Collett Apr 29
I watched as Mr. Finn
wrote on the blackboard
about King Henry the fifth
his neat handwriting
making it's way across
from left to right.

Who's this blooming Henry?
Jupp said softly
beside me
and why do we
'ave ta know about 'im?

History
I said
that's what it's about.

He mumbled something
or other but I was reading
what was written.

Mr Finn paused
and turned
and looked at us.

Get out your exercise books
and begin to write
what I have written
he said
and in legible script
he turned around
and carried on writing.

We got out
our exercise books
and dipping our pens
in the ink wells
began to write.

As I wrote
I was engaged also
in wondering about
the Battle of Agincourt
and wondered what
it must have been like
and how under the King
we had beaten the French
and as I wrote
about the English longbows
smiled because
I had one of those.
Apr 28 · 17
The First Kiss.
Terry Collett Apr 28
I cannot recall
the last kiss
but there must
have been one
before the break up
and parting of ways
putting certain
memories
of such a time
of our yesteryear.

The first kiss I recall
and probably the second
onwards becoming lost
in the fog of time and years
but the last kiss
I cannot recall
on what date or hour
it did fall.

I vaguely remember
my very first words
when we first met
the triteness of humour
or the romantic charms
but my final words
to you are gone away
from my memory
and mind
but I hope
they were gentle
and kind.
Terry Collett Apr 28
She sits in silence
in her seat in the cafe
gazing at the cup of coffee
before her eyes
a cigarette burning away
in an ashtray.

She thinks of him
who having wooed
and made love to her
has gone away
leaving many thoughts
but nothing now to say.

He has tricked her
with words and charms
and had his way with her
now he lies
in another's arms.

Used and abused
and left aside
like so much waste
he has another
he says
more to his taste.

Betrayed
after being laid
(his term not hers)
and left alone
to ruminate
and sense her fate
to be put aside
by one and maybe all
or each after each
and she remaining
like a washed up fish
on the deserted beach.
Apr 27 · 35
Zorro & Others
Terry Collett Apr 27
Sometimes
I was Zorro
other times
I was Billy the Kid
or one of the bad guys
who fought Wyatt Earp.

Now and then
I was Robin hood
or Rob Roy
fighting with
my wooden sword
or the metal one
my old man made
at his place of work
one Saturday
centuries ago.

But I guess Zorro
was one of my favourites
with mask and cloak
riding my invisible horse
across the bomb sites
which were my plains and hills.

Looking back
it seems
an age ago
no more Zorro
or Billy the Kid
no more a bad guy
fighting Wyatt Earp
no more Robin Hood
taking from the rich
and giving to the poor
just an old guy
who walks with a stick
and with a balding head
no more to ride horses
but walk
with difficulties instead.
Apr 27 · 23
Yesterday
Terry Collett Apr 27
He doesn't ken
whaur th' weans
*** thair energy fae
bit he guesses
he wis as lively
as they're noo
hud th' identical
excitement in th' fields
o' th' freish
aye something fresh
tae dae
aye a freish horizon
beyond th' 'ere
na fashes aboot
th' future
na anxiousness
na fear
bit noo he haes
wee energy tae *** up
'n' gang
juist sufficient
tae *** tae A & B
juist enough
tae switch channels
wi' th' remote
juist enough interest
tae listen tae
his fave bands speil
th' auld tunes o' yesterday
he watches
his grandchildren at speil
see thair excitement
ilk 'n' ilka day
as he sits in his chair
giein' thaim
his lou'in stare.
Apr 27 · 23
Week After Week.
Terry Collett Apr 27
A simple
Spring morning
mild weather
bright light
the odd bird in flight
almost cloudless
except for a little cloud
here and there.

Billie Holiday record playing
from a room next door
the neighbour always
has a Jazz record playing.

And she reluctant
to rise from bed
wanting to lie there
until whenever
to feel the pillow
behind her head
the bed covers
embracing her body tightly
and the picture on the wall
one he chose years ago
one of those Pre-Raphaelite jobs
as he called it.

He is out at work
and she is lying there
depressed and anxious
anxious about being depressed
and depressed
because she is anxious.

She reaches
for her cigarettes
and takes one out
and lights it
with the red plastic lighter
he gave her
she inhales and exhales
the smoke rising upwards
she used to be able
to make smoke rings
but she doesn't bother
just blows out the smoke.

Don't smoke in bed
he said
it makes the room smell
but to hell with him.

The light brightens
and birds sing
and Billie Holiday
ends her song
and for a moment
she waits
holding the cigarette
away from her lips
and listens for what
will come next.

Ella Fitzgerald
with Louis Armstrong
she knows it well.

The guy next door
is a Jazz freak
plays it day in
day out
week after week
after week.
Apr 26 · 17
Very Cool 1973.
Terry Collett Apr 26
Relax
she said
take a seat
on the sofa
and I'll pour us
some *****.

I've put on that
Gerry Mulligan record
you left for me to play
she had.

Cool jazz
sexuality oozing
from the hifi.

I sat on the blue sofa
and lit up a cigarette.

The baritone saxophone
oozed me into a coolness.

She entered
into the lounge
carrying two glasses
and her body
wrapped in beauty
came towards the sofa
and putting the glasses
on the coffee table
sat down
and turning
towards me
smiled her
red lipstick smile.

And taking
my cigarette
took a long drag
and handed me
the cigarette
with her red lips
impressed there.

That was what I liked
about our share.
Apr 26 · 29
Uswin Back When 1978.
Terry Collett Apr 26
Uswin
tall thick set
with an eye
you couldn't be sure
was looking at you
or something
to your left.

He had been one
of the fellers
at the party
who kept the doors
and kept out
undesirables.

It was a bottle party
although we
had provided
a barrel of beer
and foods
I brought
a bottle of whisky
and Judd kept
the bar tended.

All went well
disco dancing
until a partner
of one of Dolly's friends
became disrupted
and I escorated him
out with aid of Uswin.

Anytime
you want help
just ask me
he said smiling
rubbing his
ham-sized hands.

I said I would
but it never
came about
I needed him
but it was nice to know
he would have
been there
back then
a giant amongst
smaller men.
Terry Collett Apr 26
I can't remember
what it was
I said to her
but she slapped
my face.

It was in middle school
and it may
have gone like this:
is that your face
or are you breaking it
in for a chimp?

Whatever the cause
she slapped me
and I saw stars
and heard bells ring
and the soft guffaws
of fellow pupils
until the teacher came in
and we stood up
and said
Good morning
Miss Taskee
and sat down.

I sensed my cheek
go numb
and come back
to life again.

Rachel looked
over at me
and smiled.

I weakly
smiled back

Miss Taskee
began to talk
about the life of ants
and how they lived
and what they did.

All I could think about
with any concern
was if Rachel
would meet me
after school
and kiss my cheek
as she had
the previous week.
Apr 25 · 51
Sheila's Desires 1962.
Terry Collett Apr 25
She hud na desire noo
tae be a nun
as she hud dane wance
noo she applies lipstick
'n' does her locks
in a different fashion
she's given up th' idea
o' bein' a bride o' Christ
fur a different passion.

Wance she rubbed
her thumb ower
th' white beads
o' her rosary
linked wi' prayers
'n' dreems desired
th' prayers o' saints
'n' holy popes
bit noo she desires
whit her passions
waant an seek oot
'n' fill her heid
tae tak' in
his guid time
him naked
tae her bed.

Bit it mist wait
'til time permits
'n' she 'n' he hae time
enough tae seek
'n' speil
'n' investigate
they mature hings
'til a efter date.
Apr 25 · 26
Roberts and I 1960.
Terry Collett Apr 25
Roberts
the woodwork teacher
at Tower Hill
school for boys
picked up
my wooden tea tray.

This is not
what I expect
from you Coles
he said
his face having
that look
of a haemorrhoids sufferer
who has just been sitting
on a pineapple.

I'm not really good
at woodwork
I confessed.

He turned my tray over
and looked at it
from various angles
as if deciding
whether toss it
in a wood pile
or get me to improve.

Weren't you
listening to me
when I was talking
about the task
of making a tea tray?
he said
this is barely going
to survive carrying
across a room
let along carry
a teapot and cups
and saucers.

I looked at him
with a sorrowful expression.

Other boys
carried on
with their work
although I dare say
some were engaging
their ears to listen.

I would get you
to start from scratch again
but we haven't got time
before the end of term
he said
putting the item down
on the work bench.

I suggest you strengthen
the corner joints
with extra wood glue
and clean up
the rough edges.


He said no more
and walked away.

Devlin smiled
his tray put mine
to shame
or it would have done
had I cared one hoot.

So I glued the corners
as he said
and smoothed
the rough edges
with fine sandpaper
and put on an expression
of satisfaction
which I didn't feel.

I was glad
when the bell went
for the end of lesson
and start
of our midday meal.
Apr 24 · 18
Quiet Meeting 1974.
Terry Collett Apr 24
Beverley appeared
on my mother's doorstep
with a bouquet of flowers
for her not me.

He was dressed
in a pink suit
white shirt
pink tie
and brown
well-polished shoes.

He was all charm
and compliments.

He was taking me
to meet his friend Keith
who had cancer
and was quite sick.

As we drove there
in his car
he said
Keith hasn't long
he is preparing himself.

I nodded
and listened.

He is the clergyman
of the small parish
and I am his housekeeper.

He looked
sideways at me
and said
His children
don't like me
they see me
as a threat
to their father.

I said nothing much
just went along
with what he
wanted to hear.

When we arrived
at the place
he parked the car
and showed me the place
and introduced me to Keith
who was sitting in a lounge
in an armchair
listening to a record
of Gregorian chants.

This is Benny
Beverley said.

Keith opened his eyes
and gazed at me
and smiled weakly.

I suppose Beverley
has told you I am dying
he said weakly.

Yes
I said
but not
adding anything.

Cancer
he said.

Sorry to hear it
I said.

He closed his eyes
and Beverley took me
into the kitchen
for coffee and chat.

I guessed they were lovers
and maybe Beverley
was on the look out
for someone else
to replace him.

But it wasn't
going to be me
and I think
he knew that
as I was batting
for the opposite team.

Then I told him
about my girlfriend
who I said quietly
was a dream.
Apr 24 · 29
Punch Drunk 1973.
Terry Collett Apr 24
Each time I saw him
he had this smirk
and eyed me
trying to weigh me up
taking my quietness
for weakness
misunderstanding
my calmness
for passive gentleness
and for a few times
he tested the waters
by thumping my arm
as we passed
in the area
at the back of the store
where the paint was kept.

I let the first two thumps
pass as maybe
he had mistaken me
for another
but when he tried
on the third time
I downed him
with a punch
to the gut
and walked on
to get the paint
a customer asked for.

When I passed him
on the way to the store
he was still
on the floor.
Apr 23 · 24
O' Leary's Moans.
Terry Collett Apr 23
Knackered
av bein' knackered
av bein'.

De afternoon sun
'as lessened its 'ayte.

Someone is playin'
a Zappa record.

Oi can 'ear it play
from another room.

De auld priest said
de Church 'as gone
ter de dawgs.

Knackered av seein'
de decline av paddy.

Knackered av bein'
knackered av bein'.

De auld lassy
at de end av de garden
'as a black cat
an' pointed 'at.

Is she a witch?
or jist a nosey *****?
Apr 23 · 44
Nagpin and I 1978.
Terry Collett Apr 23
He was tall
and plump
and round shouldered
with a walrus moustache.

He was always
looking to see
where I was
and what I was doing.

Sometimes I'd hideaway
in my work shed
with the door locked
from the inside
standing by my work bench
smoking.

Benny!
he'd call
Benny
he repeated.

I would remain silent
pretending I wasn't there
he would moaned
and wander off.

Where is he now?
I would hear him say.

Once he was gone
I wouldn unlock the door
and go the opposite way
and along by the flower beds
pulling out weeds
with my small trowel
puffing away
on my cigarette
or other days
I would smoke my pipe.

Mr Nagpin
is looking for you
Betty said.

Ok
I said
and wandered back inside
the old folks home
pretending concern
and saw him
in the medical room
along the passageway.

I knocked on the open door
and he would look up
with his big brown eyes.

Where have you been?
I have been looking
for you everywhere
he said.

I was out front
Matron asked me
if I would **** there
I said.

I looked there just now
he said
and couldn't see you.

Must have been upstairs
in Mr Richard's room
he said his lamp
was playing up
I said
(I had fixed the lamp
for **** some days before).

I was calling for you
he moaned
his walrus moustache
moving as he moaned.

What can I do for you?
I said
holding the trowel
in my right hand.

He was perplexed
and looked at the folder
in front of him.

I want you to go
to the bank for me
and pay this cheque in
he said
waving a cheque
and payment book
in his plump paw.

I took the cheque
and payment book
and sent on my way
putting the trowel
in my work shed
and went into town
and the bank
leaving him
to his deputy matron role.

He was
I guess
what Winnie said
a walrus *******.
Terry Collett Apr 23
Milka opened
the curtains
to the day.

She saw her father
in the nearby field
gathering up the cows
to milk.

She watched
as he waved
his arms
to move them forward.

She looked away
and looked back
at her unmade bed.

Downstairs her mother
was cooking breakfast
for two older brothers
before they departed
for work.

Saturday
and no school.

Benny would come
around later.

She knows her mother
will make a fuss over him
when he comes
in her middle aged fancy.

She walked to the bathroom
to wash and dress.

If her mother goes
into town to shop
she and Benny
can make out
on her bed
and as she washed
she played the imagery
inside her head.
Apr 22 · 33
Lydia Moaned 1958
Terry Collett Apr 22
Lydia opened
her mouth.

She poked out
her tongue
at her mother.

Her mother's back
was turned
thank God.

Lydia got on
with the chores
her mother showed.

She swore
and cursed
under her breath.

Her mother
never heard
thank God.

Her mother said:
Taken ya long enough
coulda done it
quicken myself.

Later I met Lydia
by the *****
from the Square.

She looked unhappy.

She pouted.

I hate being
a little girl
she said.

I want to be
like my big sister.

Want to stand
on street corners
and say
Hey Mister
hey Mister.
Terry Collett Apr 22
Her mother is upstairs
making the beds
and tidying the bathroom
but she has to sit
and watch the baby
play and ensure
no harm or hurt
comes the babies way.

Mak' sure th' bairn
is a' richt
while ah gang
mak' th' kip
'n' dae th' bog
her mother said
before disappearing
up the stairs
smoking away
muttering under
her breath.

Kersteen wanted
to go out
and meet Lindsay
in the park
but her mother
had other ideas
and made her baby sit
while she did her chores.

She hopes Lindsay
will wait
for her
on this
their second date.
Apr 21 · 42
Jock & Guidwife.
Terry Collett Apr 21
Melodramatic
ye'r aye melodramatic
cannae ye ever be polite?
a' ye dae
is be rude tae fowk.

Ah hae nae kent
a'body wi' a grudge
lik' ye as if ye wur
th' ainlie yin
brought up in th' mirk
o' some Glaswegian slum.

**** gobbed intae th' fire
'n' gave his guidwife a goup.

Ah merrit ye didnae ah?
doesn't that shaw
juist howfur bloddy
brave a'm?

Clam up
his guidwife said
mah mither wis richt
aboot ye
she said ah shuid
ne'er hae merrit ye.

Bit ye did
**** said.

She smiled:
ah ken bit yer
a pain in
th' bahookie
at times.

He smiled:
ah ken bit tis
th' wey a'm made.

Then
she said
sae God's
tae blame?

Nae blamed
said he
bit ta be praised
fur making me.
Terry Collett Apr 21
Inky we called him
because he always seemed
to have ink on his fingers
where his fountain pen
leaked when he wrote
school essays
or mathematical problems.

I walked with him
to the end of his road
after school
by the woman's hairdresser
on the corner.

Hopefully
he said
looking down his road
my cousin's gone home
never known a girl
to leave all her stuff
everywhere
and walk about the flat
half-dressed.

I nodded
and did not jest
as Mike or Davies
would do.

Perhaps she has
I said
and you can walk
the flat without worrying
if she'll appear
from the bathroom
semi-dressed.

He appeared hopeful
and smiled.

Yes hopefully
he said
he brushed
his inky fingers
through his blonde hair
and walked off
down his road
as if with a heavy load.
Terry Collett Apr 20
Mynd th' flair
a've washed it
Hannah's mother moaned
as we entered the flat.

How are we to enter
without walking
on the floor?
Hannah said.

Weel dicht yer feet
oan th' doormat
'n' tread dead carefully
her mother said
eyeing us grimly.

We wiped our feet
on the mat
and trod almost
on tiptoe over
the damp floor
and into the sitting room.

Whin ah wis
a bawherr lassie
ah wid hae ***
mah backside tanned
fur dirtying mah
maw's drookit flair
Hannah's mother moaned
going into the kitchen
where a radio
was easing out
light music.

Hannah raised her eyes
and pulled a face.

You'd have thought
we'd stolen the family jewels
to hear her moan
Hannah said.

We sat at the table
and she got out
a pack of cards.

What shall we play?
she asked.

Snap?
I said.

How about
strip poker?
she said smiling.

We can't play that
your mother would go
into a rage
if we ended up
sitting here
in our birthday suits
I said.

We will pretend
she said.

I agreed
and we began to play
and after half an hour
we were both down
to our underwear
at least in game
not in fact.

Her mother said nothing
when she entered the room
with sandwiches
and a *** of tea
and after she left
the room
Hannah was down
to her pink socks
and I with nothing
lost.

Shame it's
not for real
she said
eating her sandwich
and sipping tea
eyeing me.
Terry Collett Apr 20
He talked almost
all the way to school
on the coach
mostly on football
and who played whom
and where and when
or he would talk
of the coming
cricket season
and his favourite position
and team.

I sat in silence
hardly listening
wondering if Juliet
had read
my scribbled note
I put in her hand
as we boarded
the school coach.

Now and then
I would gaze up front
where she sat
with her younger sister
her back to me.

Probably she'd read it later
once at school
away from her sister's
prying eyes.

I wished I could sit
where her sister sat
could listen
to her girlish chat
rather than Geldfish's
sporting yarns
of this and that.

Could you be in goal
lunchtime as Bigby
is off this week
with gut rot
Geldfish's said.

I'm no good in goal
I said
you'd only moan
if you lost.

I watched
as she turned around
and looked back at me
and smiled
and I smiled back.

Tunbridge can go in goal
if you can play left back
Geldfish said.

I wanted to blow her
a kiss from my palm
but she had looked away
and stared at the front.

I'm no good
at football
I said.

So he sighed
and said
he'd get
Rivers instead.
Apr 19 · 30
If I Could Open Up.
Terry Collett Apr 19
If I could open up
my chest, my son,
and take out
my beating heart,
I could show you where,
since your sudden death,
it is wounded and torn apart.

I can feel
the empty place within,
can sense the hollowness
where once you
occupied my heart
with others close
as you were too,
but now you
are not there,
not here,
maybe we hope
in another sphere.

If I could embrace you
close as once I had,
could sense your arms
about me as once you did,
could hear your voice again:
soft spoken with your
sense of humour,
but all I hear
is the silence of the night,
the echoes of your words
of yesteryear, but not now,
not here, but in that
other sphere.

I dreamt a night ago or so
I held you in my arms,
and wanted it not to end,
wanted it to be for real;
see my son, my stoic man,
see I miss you still,
and always will.
Terry Collett Apr 19
Oi cud 'ear de bell
from de abbey cloister
it wus tellin' me
it wus time ter rise
ter bake a new day-
they don't rin'
de abbey church bells
cos de neighbour's
over de fields
allerge ter be woken up
at foive
scon oi rise
from me scratcher
an' shake sleep
an' dreams from me noggin
an' walk down de corridor
ter de ablusions
for a call av nature
an' den back
ter wash an' shave
before matins
an' de first sung
prayers av de day.
Terry Collett Apr 19
Some how
she'd got a splinter of wood
in the palm of her hand.

Can you get it out?
she said.

I held her hand
by the small fingers
and peered over
the spread
of her pink palm.

I saw the thin
black wedge stuck
just beneath the skin
and picked at it
between my finger
and thumb nail
but it wouldn't budge.

So I said
I can use my pen knife
to get it out.

She gazed at me
with her round
brown eyes.

Be careful
she said.

I will
I said
and opened up
the small blade
of my pen knife
and holding the fingers
of her right hand
eased the tip
of the blade
beneath the skin
and with patient maneuver
lifted the splinter out
with gentleness and ease
and wiped the blade
on the sleeve
of my shirt.

A minuscule
drop of blood
seeped
but that was all.

You did it
she said
and kissed
my school boy cheek
with her schoolgirl lips
and I blushed
and folded back the blade
unsure of her femininity
but not afraid.
Apr 19 · 38
Dugweed and Snow 1971.
Terry Collett Apr 19
Dugweed stood
by the window
of the locked ward
and peered out
at the fields
and trees beyond
and below
covered in
thick snow.

He was smoking
one of his foreign cigarettes
which smelt of
burnt leaves.

I sat watching him
from the sofa
sitting next to Yiska
who was showing me
her bandaged wrist
which she had slit
with a piece
of broken glass
from the small
broken mirror
in the females' bogs.

I looked down
from Dugweed's back
and at the neatly
bandaged wrist
she was showing me.

If I hadn't been found
she said
I may have bleed
to death.

Probably
I said
not knowing
if she would
not in the mood
to talk
but glad
she had been found
slumped in one
of the cubicles
covered in blood.

Dugweed held
his elbow
with his left hand
supporting his right hand
where the cigarette
was held between
two of his fingers
smoke rising
as he stood
and stared
at the snow covered
landscape
locked in a ward
with no escape.
Terry Collett Apr 18
Christabel her parents
named and christened her
but at school
she called herself Chrissie
and her friends
called her that too.

Christabel sounds
like a girl
from a Jane Austen novel
she said.

I met her at a school
she was a perfect then
and I a first year
uncertain and alone.

What's your name girl?
she asked me.

Ariadne Bannon
I replied.

Nice name
she replied.

She befriended me
and kept me
under her wing
until she left
the following year
to go to college.

Shall I see you again?
I asked.

Of course
meet me
at this address
she said
handing me a piece of paper
with a scribbled address.


If you come
Wednesday night
we can be alone
my parents are out
that night
at their gardening society
she added
with a smile.

So I did
and after a few glasses
of her mother's gin
she took me to bed-
oops enough said.
Terry Collett Apr 18
Brooks I recall
mainly because
the other mental patients
avoided him
because of his violence
if they got too near
to his chair
while he
was sitting there.

Drugged up
by the medical staff
to keep him
in a kind of control.

He would sit
in his chair
and stare ahead
at what was
or was not there.

Once in a while
he would attack
some unfortunate
young man
and staff would race
to his aid
and subdued Brooks
in the way
they'd been taught.

Most days
he would just sit
for hours listening
to the voices in his head
and now and then
stand up
and walk a measured
distance around
the room and do
whatever his voices said.
Apr 18 · 21
Aubrey and I 1958
Terry Collett Apr 18
Aubery he said
his name was
and it sounded too posh
for our working class school
and he spoke funny
with a kind of
smoothed out voice
and including
(as my mother
would say)
the proper English.

He loved history
like I did
but preferred
mathematics
which I couldn't stand.

In the playground
amidst the rough
and tumble
he kept to himself
and walked with me
along the perimeter
of the grounds
looking at the boys
play ball games
or cards in the corners
and girls in skipping
or hopscotch
where there was room.

And he talked
of English Civil War battles
of long ago
but why
he chose me
as his audience
I didn't know.
Apr 17 · 41
Zoom and Thut 1959.
Terry Collett Apr 17
Zoom and thut
a glass jar splinters
and laughter
from someone's
big brother
has fired his air rifle
for fun.

Fecking fool
Jimmy shouts
pointing his finger.

Miss ya
didn't I
the big brother replies
putting his gun down
out of sight
behind the balcony wall.

I shake my head
at the stupid fool
who sniggering
like a hyena
disappears from sight.

If Jimmy tells
his Glaswegian mother
she'll have
the fool's ***** tonight.
Terry Collett Apr 17
I fell out of bed
and hit my head.

Next day
people would stop me
and say: What happened
to you? Been in a fight?
Had a fall?

You should see
the other guy
I joked
putting forward
the danger game
not letting on
I fell from bed
in a disturbing sleep.

There was no other guy
just the dream engagement
with a violent exchanged
about something
vague now
as most dreams become
when waking
to another day
and morning pushes
all dreams and such away.

But what is amazing
in these dreams
I need no walking aid
and can run
and rush about
as I no longer can
and be as once
I may have been
before old age
settled me down
to the slow walk
and crawl.

Yes no fight
no other guy
just a simple fall.
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