No 6 - Winter 1999
Decorating the Living Room
To shift the sanding's dust and smell of drying gloss,
The door's half open. Dad offers a tentative, "Hi",
Enters as nervously as the neighbours' cat,
Daren't give advice on my DIY,
Knowing it will be cast aside like the badger hair brushes
He gave me when I set up my first home.
"They'll last a lifetime if you treat them well."
Forgotten for days, they dried solid. Beyond hope.
He watches in horror, as if my pasting table is the rack,
Me tightening it mercilessly as I do two more sheets
In ways he wouldn't dream of, his own matched-up
Perfectly, not one bubble or crease.
Unable to bear anymore, he makes some coffee.
I stop, steer clear of decorating as we finally chat,
Stick to the day's headlines - how the government
Wants Freemasons to name their membership. "Prats,"
Says dad. "Don and Phil once approached me to join.
Daft and sinister. I told them to stuff it."
I feel proud he turned down what I hate - that exclusivity
That seems designed to make others feel like shit;
Proud he had the conviction to let pass
What could have peppered his life with perks.
Not that I wasn't proud before - now a dad myself
I know that keeping it all together is damn hard work.
But that pride feels commonplace; this kind is like that felt
When someone close scores the winning goal or run.
He's come first in Living Up To The Ideals Of Your Son.
Olympic champ in it; world record breaker.
He toys with my plumb line's weight as if it's his medal.
- 10th Muse
- Angel Exhaust
- Blithe Spirit
- Brando's hat
- Brittle Star
- Cannon's Mouth, The
- Coffee House, The
- Dream Catcher
- Floating Bear, The
- French Literary Review, The
- Frogmore Papers, The
- Global Tapestry
- Grosseteste Review
- Homeless Diamonds
- Interpreter's House, The
- Journal, The
- Lamport Court
- London Magazine, The
- Modern Poetry in Translation
- Monkey Kettle
- Neon Highway
- New Welsh Review
- North, The
- Obsessed with pipework
- Oxford Poetry
- Painted, spoken
- Paper, The
- Pen Pusher Magazine
- Poetry Cornwall
- Poetry London
- Poetry London (1951)
- Poetry Nation
- Poetry Review, The
- Poetry Salzburg Review
- Poetry Scotland
- Poetry Wales
- Private Tutor
- Purple Patch
- Rain Dog
- Reach Poetry
- Review, The
- Rialto, The
- Second Aeon
- Seventh Quarry, The
- Smiths Knoll
- Strange Faeces
- Tabla Book of New Verse, The
- Tolling Elves
- Ugly Tree, The
- Wolf, The
- Yellow Crane, The