Mother!
Oh, Mother!

You have always been there,
when I needed a hug or laugh,
or a shoulder to cry on.

You have always been there,
never once failed to support me,
never giving up.

You have always been there,
through my joys, my sadness,
through my successes, and failures.

You've never abandoned me,
for what the Society can’t accept me for;
for all of my flaws.

Thank you, Mother.

For my beloved Mom.
You are truly God's greatest creation and a blessed gift for me.
I am more than grateful to be your daughter.

Yiska heard
her mother call her
she wanted to turn over
and go back to sleep
but her mother
called again
and louder.

School day
lessons
teachers pushing
their wares.

She got out of bed
rose up and walked
to the bathroom
and locked the door.

She sat on the seat
and peed.

Why can't it be Saturday
or Sunday not Tuesday.

She rose and went
to the wash basin
and looked
at her reflection
in the mirror.

The only saving grace
about the day
was seeing Benedict
at school at the start
as he descends
from the school bus
and maybe later
if it doesn't rain.

Lunch break
we can meet up
and talk and walk
on the playing field
or behind
the maths block.

A knock on
the bathroom door
her father calling
asking how long
was she going to be.

She turned on the tap
and said
she wouldn't be long.

He went off muttering.

She washed as quick  
as she could
then went back
to her room
and put on her uniform.

If only Benedict
was here now
and we could hug
and kiss.

Her mother
called out again.

She sighed
and went down stairs to
the  kitchen
where her mother
was moaning
and put a plate
of eggs on toast
in front of her.  

She didn't fancy it
but ate it
rather than hear
her mother moan on.

Her brother looked at her
her father sat beside her
eating and reading
the newspaper.

If only Benedict
was here
she mused
here beside me
touching my leg
under the table
and me trying
not to laugh
if I was able.

GIRL AND HER MOTHER IN 1962

The world,
A happy family,
seething love and anger,
Mother nature,
Never will forgive man,
For his transgressions.

It was the first time
I had met Yehudit's mother.

It was after school
and Yehudit took me
back home with her
to introduce me
(her younger sister
had mentioned me).

Get out of your uniform
is what she said to Yehudit
before even
acknowledging me.

Yehudit went off
looking back at me smiling.

So you are Benedict
she said
met your mother
at the village shop
best come in.

I entered the cottage
and she showed me
into the sitting room
a fire was burning.

Sit in a chair
she said.

I sat in
the nearest chair.

So you and Yehudit
are friends?
she said.

Yes we're in
the same class
in school
I said.

And what
do you say
to each other?
she asked.

Usual things
I replied.

Usual things?
What are they?
she said.

About our lives
and what we like
and don't like.

She sat down opposite
I want nothing
untoward happening
between you two
she said
lowering her voice.

I had no idea
what untoward meant
so said
of course not.

She eyed me sternly
I shall be watching
she added
and stood up
she will not be long.

She walked out
of the room.

I sat there
watching the flames
lick at the logs of wood
wondering what
untoward meant
and if we would.

A BO Y AND GIRL AND HER MOTHER IN 1962

And I told 'er
your old man
don't go round 'er place
for nothink
he must be up ta
somethink
the woman said.

Benny’s mother
did not reply
but nodded
as in agreement.

His mother
never dropped her H's
and her vowels
were rounded
giving the impression
of upmarket
or posh sounding.

Stands ta reason
I told 'er
can't trust men
as far as you can
throw 'em.

Benny stood
behind his mother
gazing at the cakes
on display
in the glass case
shelf after shelf of them.

His mouth watered
at the ones at the bottom
with shredded
coconut on top.

He wondered
if he could persuade
his mother to buy
him a coconut cake  
only 4d
for Christ’s-sake.

But he never asked
he understood
that things
were tight
and it was only right
she spend her
money wisely.

But still
his mouth watered.

But will she listen?
the woman continued
not on your belly
goes all off with me
only doing it
for your sake
I says to 'er.

His mother nodded
looked at the woman kindly
but with a sense
of stiffness or aloofness
Benny thought.

Once the old girl
had gone
and the shopping bought
Benny’s dream
of cake or cakes
came to nought.

A SEVEN YEAR OLD BOY AND HIS MOTHER OUT SHOPPING IN LONDON IN 1955
Emm 2d

Someday you'd ask me
in between the fine lines etched on your face
the fine lines in between good and evil
Someday you'd ask me,
on how people can be so crass,
how the world works and where do you stand in it...
So let me tell you before you ask...
...
Close your eyes, darling
turn your head away from all the bitterness of this world
Close your eyes darling,
from all the twisted minds, the turns and dirty tricks of it
Close your eyes darling,
from its dark secrets and its inhabitants'...
That's where the fountain of youth's at...
Look no further,
just close tour eyes, darling...
This world might be cruel and spiteful at times, but so shouldn't you be...
No...
I do not wish you to choose,
although the choices are yours,
I would say naivety is not a sin,
a naivety is innocence
I would never ask you to participate
Although and if this world is cold,
I wish you to withstand it,
because more than the beauty they see
is the core of beauty inside you
and that is what I wish you to hold...
Remember what you've been told...

A weathered door of a face.
Her house, captured in a bubble,
on Anterograde Lane.
In the dark; in the corner,
her leg, scarred in cursive, propped,
like the whole of her frailty; on a
budget wheelchair, second hand.

A boy, brand new,
who will soon be old enough
to forget what happened.
What mother? On the road,
smeared with hot, gushing
jet-black highway blood;
encompassing the coagulated
being of what was, and, only
in hushed talks, a mother.
What daughter?

How old are you, this time?
These words slip out of a smile.
And she wishes she could hold him
-- but her frayed fingers fight back,
with every twitch trying to touch.
Delayed comfort becoming devastation
-- 4 years-old. She can hardly believe it.

Pain eats her grocery bag arms,
bulbous in her bones like
confused locusts, frenzied.  
The boy's eyes are a deep brown
nutrient-rich soil, perfectly fertile;
needing to be cared for and grown.

Forever, she could, protect him from
The Lurking that killed his mother.
At the very least, for however many
remaining years. Three. Five. Eight.
Becoming a lantern before his sight;
guiding him from dangerous design
drifting between trees, in the dark.

and if you believe in the faith of my father
to his obligations to his sons
and if you believe in the motif of my mother
for her wishes for her daughters

their faith and their motif will evolve
into a mellifluous melange
their obligations and wishes will ferment
into a timeless template

After attending a poetry gathering in my locality this morning, this led to natural expansion of my mind

Requite this mother, who's arms unfurled
  could soften a sunrise;
  and where we arose.

Requite this father, whose wisdom defines
  a mustered yearning;
  and where we shall flow.

Purpose fulfilled in passion; flowers
  had sewn a seed of wondrous dreams!

Purpose fulfilled in magic; delight
  had flown a nest of royalty streams!

Listening to the rain
Thinking back
To how it made you
Happy
I remember your face
Smiling

Gloomy days
Spent laughing
Talking about galaxies
Parallel dimensions
Insane gods
Our favorite books
How there can be
So many of each
And how they all rule
Our lives
In the strangest of ways
Ways we may never
Understand

In the evening
You'd dance around
While cooking supper
Drinking dark beer
Smoking herb
And those fucking menthols
While eating zoomers
And singing
At the top of your lungs
Without a care in the world

If I'd only knew
You were sick
What you were thinking
How scared you were
Knowing something
Wasn't right
Ignoring it
Just trying to
Live happy
Much like I do now

My only wish
Is that we had more time
Because the pain
It doesn't fade
It only gets a little
Easier to handle
I know
That's selfish
But I'd still wish it
Just to see your face
A few more times
And say the things
I didn't get to

I think about what I would say
What I would do different
If it would even matter
Because we all die anyway
Even the best of us
Which you were
Teaching me things
Like how to live free
And die with dignity
With all flaws included
Owning them
Like golden medals

©James Dennis Casey IV
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