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Terry Collett May 2018
I must have been
eight or nine
and my old man said
wait out here
I won't be long
and he went up the steps
to the hospital.

I waited
in the evening air
and watched the night sky
stars and moon
wondering how far away
they were and how bright
the moon was.

Traffic passed
on the road
and street lights.

I waited
sensing the chill
and wondered
how mother was
and when she'd
be home again.

A man came out
and lit up a cigarette
and stared at the sky
exhaling clouds of smoke
which seemed to mingle
with the stars and moon.

He looked over at me
then away
looking at
the passing traffic
a long time
then he went inside
and the smoke lingered
and drifted away.

My old man came out
his collar up
but how mother was
he didn't say.
Terry Collett Apr 2018
She went with me to pick
chickweed from the bomb site
off of the Meadow Row
for the budgerigar
at home in the birdcage.

"How much you need Benny?"
she asked me kneeling down
on the bombed out wreckage.

"A few bunches will do it."
We gathered up bunches
in our eight year old hands
and poked them in a bag.

We looked towards the road
busy traffic passed by.

People walked the pavement
in determined fashion
each with destinations
that only they knew of
to or from place else.

"Can we go to the park?"
She asked."Can if you like"
I replied. We walked off
down Meadow Row and up
the stairway to the flat.

We gave the bird the ****
then went off to the park.

The whole place was crowded
with other kids like us
kids from the rough places
with grazed knees and scratched hands
and pale ***** faces.
Terry Collett Mar 2018
Steam rushes up
from the steam train
at the station.

It twirls up and along
the roof like
a released demon.

You watch it with
your young boy's eyes.

People rush past
to get on the train.

You sit watching
wondering where
they are destined.

You smell it.
The train smell.

The sounds of steam
and power.
Like a dragon.

Porters walk past
with wagons of luggage.

You dream of being
an engine driver.

To the seaside.
That time with your
a year back.

Big steam train
dark black.
Terry Collett Mar 2018
Your gran was making sandwiches
for our small picnic in the park.

It had been your idea,
although we wanted to
to go swimming,
but your gran said she didn't like
you going to the swimming pool
with those women
wearing those skimpy
swimming costumes.

Once she'd done
the sandwiches
we set off for the park.

Gran said it is always best
to tell truth, Benny,
you said,
lies are complicated things
needing a good memory
and poor soul.

I always try to tell the truth,
I said,
but now and then
a lie creeps out
and before you know it
it has grown
like a big snake.

We went down
the subway talking,
our voices echoing
along the walls.

You were wearing
that red beret on top
of your long fair hair.

We walked along
to the park.

Why do people lie?
you said.

I guess it seems
to get them
out of trouble
or get them things,
I said.

But to lie is bad,
you said.

We entered the park
and found an area of grass
in the sun and sat down.

I had two bottles of pop
and you had the sandwiches.

We began to eat
and sip the pop.

You talked about school
and what Mr Finn had said
about the Norman kings.

I watched two dogs
over way
doing kind of
weird things.
Terry Collett Feb 2018
She wore a red beret
on top of her blonde
head of hair. She had
pale features and pale
blue eyes. God must
have had a good day
when he created her.

We walked to school,
going under the railway
bridge and up behind
the large cinema, and
then down the subway.

Gran has bought me a
book, she said. What book?
I said. What Katy Did, she
said. What did she do?
I said. She related to me
as far as she had read.

It was not my kind of book,
but she seemed to think
it great. We walked along
St George's Road, past the
clothing store my old man
got his suits(he bought me
a black blazer there once).

Have you any books? she
asked. A few, I said. What
are they? she asked. I told
her the titles of the books.

But my favourite is about
Robin Hood, I said. I told
her the story. She listened
without interrupting(unusual)
until we got to school. We
parted at the gates( couldn't
let other boys see me with
a girl or they'd think I had
gone *****). I met Denis in
the playground. We swapped
cards. He gave me a strip
of gum and we talked about
what his old man did in the
War in someplace called Sicily.

One of us past wind and I knew
it wasn't me.
Terry Collett Sep 2017
Benedict picked small stones
from the bombsite; Janice
watched him standing just
to one side.

Wonder how he knows
which stone is right.

She gazed at his quiff of hair;
at his coloured patterned jumper;
his blue jeans.

How do you know which stone
fits your catapult?she asked.

He let a stone bump up and down
in his palm. I just know, he said.

He studied her standing
in her pink cardigan
and white dress;
a red beret on her head.

Want a go
on my catapult?
he said.

She wasn't sure.
It looked dangerous.

He took his catapult
from his back pocket
and showed her how
it went and hit
a tin can off the wall.

Janice watched
the tin can fall.
Boy and girl in London in 1956
Terry Collett Sep 2017
I watched as the canary
walked along Janice's
small finger, her grandmother
was in the kitchen
getting tea and cake.

Does it speak
any new words?
I said.

It doesn't say the words
you tried to teach it,
Janice said, which nearly
got me into trouble.

So what does it say?
I asked.

Pretty girl, it says,
Janice said.

The bird walked back
along her finger.

I gazed at Janice's hair,
long and neatly brushed
over her shoulders;
the red beret sat
on the side of her head.

Her gran came in
with teapot and cups
and saucers on a tray.

Don't let that bird fly
out the window, Gran said,
put it back in its cage.

Janice put the bird back
in the cage and shut the door.

The bird looked peeved
being back inside
and nibbled wildly at the bars.

Her gran went out
to fetch the cake.

If I'd been alone
I'd have help the bird
make a break.
Kids in London in 1956
Terry Collett Aug 2017
Benny took
his bow and arrows
onto the grass behind
Arrol House.

Jim had a crossbow
with three arrows.

On the area
away from them
Jim had set up a target.

Mine is more accurate
he said
because I can view
along the line
of the crossbow
you have to view
along by where your hand
holds the bow.

Jim went first
and hit the target spot on.

Your turn now
he said.

Benny aimed
at the target
and fired his arrow
but missed the target
it fell on the grass behind.

Told you
he said
try again.

Jim went first
and fired
and hit
the target again.

Benny aimed
at the target
and hit it
and the arrow stuck
on the target.

That's good
Jim said.

They played around
with the arrows and targets
for quite some time
then his mother
said it was time for dinner
and he went in.

Benny went back
to his parents' flat
and put his bow
and arrows away
and had lunch.

He read in
a history book
that at the battle of Agincourt
an archer could fire
12 arrows in a minute
and an arrow
could wound someone
at 250 yards
but killed them
at a 100 yards
and in the battle
a 1,000 arrows
were fired every second.

I must tell Jim that
Benny mused
my arrows hadn't gone
that far maybe
if I took the rubber plunger
off the end
it would go
much farther
but it might be dangerous
he thought
and get in trouble
if I got caught.
Terry Collett Jul 2017
The  ice-cream van
drew up
in the Square.

Kids stood
in a queue
to buy an
ice cream or lolly
how much money
they had as to what
they bought.

Once the kids
or adult
had gone
he pulled down
the window
got in front
and started up
the van.

It was then
that us kids
held on
at the sides
out of sight
and held on
as long as
we could
before he
went too fast
or too far
then jump off
at the last minute
on to the tarmac
travelling along
trying to stand up
and not fall down.

Why do you do it?
Janice said
you might
hurt yourself.

Some kids
fell over
I managed
to stand
on my feet.

It's a bit of fun
I said.

But you might
have fallen
she said.

No way
he's going away
from us
when we jump off
I said
want a cool cola
from the 1d shop?

she said.

So we walked on
up through the Square
and across
Rockingham Street
and along
to the 1d shop.

It was hot work
hanging on
to the side
of the van
of the ice cream man.
Terry Collett Jun 2017
Janice said
the man along
the balcony
from her gran's flat
had cut his throat
and the ambulance men
came and wrapped him
in bandages
and took him away
on a stretcher.

She said
it was horrible
blood soaking through
the bandages
his mother
walking beside
the stretcher
bemoaning him.

We were sitting
on the grass
in front
of  Banks House.

I was cleaning
my silver looking
toy 6 shooter
with a handkerchief
from my blue jeans' pocket.

Why'd he cut
his throat?
I said.

Janice said
she didn't know
but that his mother
was moaning at him
as the ambulance men
were taking him off.

Some guy
on our balcony
did that a while ago
I said
think he was in debt
with a bookies runner.

A bookies runner?
she said
what's that?

He puts bets
on for you
I said
so my old man says.

She looked at me
it looked horrible
all that blood.

Guess it did
the guy on our balcony
had a scar after
made him look
like Al Capone
I said
aiming my gun
at the sky
at a flying pigeon
and going

Who is Al Capone?
she said
does he live
on your balcony?

I smiled
no he moved out
a while ago
I said
not mentioning
he was a gangster
in the USA
and was dead.
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