Loft Lyrics

I grew up with an internal radio station

Better than our parents’ clock radio

My ears played on through

A sea of uncomfortable silences

Blasting songs that chimed with my psyche

Until I was old enough to find my voice

These days I don’t have to hide

My mental playlist

Hoard records like a miserly dragon

Perched atop a sea of

Battered cardboard sleeves

And faded pictures

I just talk to a box and it starts

Opening chords strummed on a guitar

Take me back to a time before

I knew more of the world

Than my own small patch

Middle-aged thoughts

Humming along

Drifting homeward

On a smooth, Atlantic sound

To a time before we were grown

Feelings surface like an old bruise

Half-healed, then suddenly pressed

I can taste the air

Dusty summer evenings

Hollyhocks and forget-me-nots

Claiming the cracks in the pavement

Outside our front gate

Flip the record over for the sound

Sunshine and staying up late

Neighbours over the back fence

Drinking and smoking in their yard

Trainers airing on the roof

Outside the bedroom window

Across the way

Someone picking at a battered guitar

Me and my imagination

Staring at lengthening shadows

On the cracked barley-white ceiling

As the switch to night lit up

Our rainbow.  We lay back watching

The tower block on the corner

Each window its own colour

Turquoise, pink, yellow, mauve

I was never alone in the dark

Surrounded by signs of the high life

We never saw up close

Just a little stifled

Bedtime would find me

Trying to splay my coltish limbs

In their hand-me-down, too short

Darned pajamas

Neckline off-centre

Their cartoon cat’s face

Twisting with each rotation

Feet up on the wall to keep cool

Through the night

Waiting for sleep to overtake us

In our overheated box bedroom

Postcards and photos stuck up

To disguise the chips in our plaster walls

Cover the lack of care

For our decaying ruin of a house

That was home – patched but not mended

We took it in stride

Knowing nothing else

The five foot three bunkbeds

I shared with my sister

Squabbling for a turn

To enjoy the view

From the top bunk

Thin tartan mattress over

Groaning metal springs

Until I left home at eighteen

In search of a new set

A brand new sound

And someone to play with

Giraffe

What kind of world
Will you inhabit
Once we are gone?
Will it be one
Of your own choosing?
New landscapes built
To youthful specifications,
A virtual world, or
Precarious solidity shaped
From the concentration
Of old-fashioned
Children’s toys – perhaps even
Those blue-and-red-stained
Wooden blocks
Of my infancy?
Will our groaning,
Grown-up legacy
Of piecemeal policies,
Poor housing, health,
And knee-jerk reactions
To old threats,
Half-remembered
Leave you with
Too little freedom
And too much responsibility?
However our teachings
Soak into your bones
It will be your turn
To roll the dice
And seek advancement
Or oblivion.
I hope we leave you
Prepared
And with sufficient
Tools to survive
What is
And what is yet
To come.

Bred and Buttered Up

These streets of my childhood
Were once crawling with rats
Now the plebs that grew up here
Are priced out of their flats
By an influx of “Yah, Darling!”
Grousing fat cats
Whose stake in their locale
Is served with ‘tomates’.