Category: writing

The Balance of Love


Foreword

My sister died just before April 2021, it was sudden, it was heartbreaking. Due to the unknown cause of death there was an autopsy and a coroner’s report (without inquest). Today, April 28th, we had her interred at the crematorium in St Helens near to where she lived.

Below is the Eulogy I wrote and read for her and the poem I wrote that was read at the ceremony.


Kathryn at a Walking Day in the 1960s

Kathryn Keating: A Eulogy: The Balance of Love

I have to say before I start. When I wrote this, I wondered for a moment what Kathryn would want to say. She’d probably say: don’t make a fuss, don’t cry too much, or remember the happy times. No bad jokes or swearing. You know, don’t cock up the eulogy. 

When I think of my sister, I think of the fact that she spent most of her life living in, or near to, Warrington. She had holidays with family. She went abroad to France and Italy. She loved books. She loved science fiction. She loved fantasy and superheroes. She loved Doctor Who, but that’s because she was sensible. 

She loved music, seemingly when it contained androgenous boys, she was a huge fan of Adam and the Ants and A-ha along with Simon leBon from Duran Duran in the 80s and later IL Divo, I have a small story about that in a minute. She introduced me to New Wave and New Romance, but I don’t feel she approved of my choices when I introduced her to Punk, Goth, Metal and Thrash. 

She was too young to die. But, sometimes the brightest lights burn out suddenly. 

My sister was always happy for others, she had great joy for what the people around her did, or were doing. However, for all of my life that I can remember she carried a great personal sadness. A shame, a sorrow, a loss. A thing that she could not escape. Some people take the pain that is done to them and give it to others. My sister turned it to love. She would not give her sorrow, her anger at what happened, to others. She would always try to shoulder their sorrow instead, feel their pain, take their loss. She knew what it was like to feel the most dreadful anguish and could not bear to have others feel the same.

It defined her in many ways. 

My sister rarely got angry when I was younger. Oh she could be picky, ratty, or niggly about silly things. She could get frustrated. But not really angry. Not tear down the walls and howl at the moon angry. Which is rare for a Keating, apparently. It pissed me off because we are an egregious bunch. The only time I was ever able to get her really angry was over the lead singer of A-Ha. She had a major crush on him. When I read that he was engaged to a girl called Rose and there was a picture in the paper of him with a tattoo of a rose. I used that as a way of winding my sister up. I went to town. For no good reason other than I am an ass hat. She tried not to rise to the bait. But I was pretty persistent. I don’t know where I get that stubbornness from as I think of a family of Bates nearby. That was the day I ran out of a room and she threw a table at me. I got away but we had a broken door and a damaged table.

It was the only time I can recall her being genuinely mad, screaming at me level of madness. Because she was kind. It took a sweet natured soul like me to make her really mad.

How do we judge a life? How do we discuss how it was filled? How was it worth living? I was thinking about this because Prince Philip passed away recently and so there has been so much media attention, so much public outpourings, discourse and even some anger. So it made me think of how we often judge a person based on their achievements. Sometimes we might mention the love, or joy they brought to others, but mostly we judge people on what they did, not just who they were. So I thought of my sister.

Kathryn was the eldest child of Sheila. Blessed with a mother’s love, she also took on that role, to give love to others. When I was a young child she seemed as old to me as any adult. I was still three when she became ten. She would take me to the park, she would read to me, teach me numbers and tell me what the world meant. 

My earliest memories are of standing on the back rail of her tricycle as she raced through the streets, me holding on for dear life and screaming with pleasure. She filled my world, I can remember the feeling of her hair brushing my face as we raced along the pavement or when I was pushed on a swing on the park which we called the Cowfield.

She was that for all of us. She did not have children of her own, but she was like a mother, or more a grandmother, probably the best ever auntie to all of us. To my brother, Simon and his wife Cathey she helped raise Steven, Jenny and Liam. Then she helped, as much as she could, to raise Jenny’s children Joshua and Caitlin. She was there for me and Leigh for all of our children, Benjamin, Elliott, Asher. And to Steven and Sam’s son, Lewis who was a light in her world, he was her little man, they all were. Finally she adored our littlest Keating, Mila, daughter to Liam and Alex. She felt rewarded that finally she had another niece along with Kaitlyn. Another little girl in the family. She wanted to mother us all. To hold us, protect us, smother us with love and gifts, her every thought was for others.

We can judge a life on the balance of love. How much they gave versus how much they received. In that my sister’s life was flowing. It filled everyone around her. She loved us all deeply. More than some of us deserved. So much that we can only hold our breaths and miss it. She filled her life with her family. With her devotion to us. To our mother and to our sister. 

I think that might be the better value of a life. How much you give versus how much you receive. We can all do better, but the best you can hope for is a balance of the same in and out. Statistically it is impossible for everyone to give more than they receive, the average will shift. Some have to be worse, some have to be better or everyone has to be average. I know I did maths in a eulogy, and Kathryn right now would be raising her eyebrows, rolling her eyes, and declaring me to be a nerd. 

My sister gave much more love into the world than I think it could afford to balance. 

For my sister, Lesley, my heart aches. She and Kathryn seemed fixed together. Bonded as sisters with a deeper shared understanding, theirs was a friendship few will ever know. They should have been old ladies together, grey haired and wobbly, with a deep smell of Vicks vapour rub, tutting at fashion and laughing at the haircuts of the young, yelling at people to pull their pants up or try wearing a skirt and not a belt. 

We have been robbed of that double act, so we are all going to have to expect Lesley to play both parts and tell us what Kathryn would have said. I asked Lesley if there was something she wanted to say. Her answer: 

“Tell them the old git shouldn’t have left me alone without her, it’s not fair.”

So we say goodbye to Kathryn, my sister. But I think I have lost someone who was also like a mother, or a grandmother, a lover of people, a lover of family,  a confidant, a fellow geek. I lost not just a sister, I lost a part of myself, I lost a friend.

I feel I carry some inescapable sadness, losing so much love from her. I guess that’s a cost in the balance of love.


I call for you

I called for you,
You were not there.

I looked for you,
But there wasn’t even your shadow.

I listened for your voice,
But I could not hear it.

I waited for your touch,
And felt nothing.

No matter where I looked, I could not find you.
Not in any photographs,
Not in the many stories,
Not in words, not in letters,
Not in songs or any film we shared,
You were gone.

In the darkness, I thought I saw you,
At night,
When you’d just left.
But, it was just an echo,
Thoughts grasping desperately
Sorrow crafting phantoms.

A Hope,
Now Forlorn.

I needed you,
To be here.
I wanted you,
To hold me close.
Reminding me,
That it’s okay,
That it is all right,
That we’ll survive,
That you’ll be there

But. 

You’re not here.

And then I remembered,
A thing you said,
That was so long ago,
I barely remembered.

It brought back,
The laugh we shared,
That trip we took,
The song we heard,
The words we said,
The films we saw,
The books we read,
Those games we played,
Those things we shared,
The way you looked,
The way you cared.

And you were there.

(Mark Keating, April 2021)

Written in 365 Parts: 189: How Are We Going To Get In?

The huge lump of rock wasn’t an asteroid, it was a ship. Marsh marvelled at the sheer absurdity of that fact. Perhaps at some stage in the past there had been a rock this size in the system. There could have been surveys that recorded any object this large, but how detailed, or accurate, they would be was not something he knew. Maybe Drick knew, would they have checked that, were they as surprised. 

Perhaps some original asteroid had been destroyed to make up the camouflage. But it was no longer a rock, or an asteroid, it was a ship. It was a massive vessel that had been encrusted with particles of rock to make it look like a natural object. There was little chance that this was accidental. Someone had deliberately cloaked a ship by encasing it in the material of the Kuiper belt of this system. 

As the stealthed ship’s lights lit up the surface the higher detail showed the lines and structures of a ship’s docking ring. It was enormous, as large as one would expect from a vessel this size. It was clear that the stealth ship wasn’t going to attach to the surface, the ring was opening. The ship would easily fit inside. As they watched, hidden by the sensor blackout and camouflage of their own vessel, the ship they were following changed its direction slightly so that it would enter the docking area sideways. The ring would accommodate a ship three times its length with ease.

They would not be able to sneak their own vessel onto the hidden ship that way, there would be sensors and cameras and possibly even organics. They couldn’t just park up next to the stealth ship with a cheery wave and ask the directions to the nearest habitation.

Marsh noticed that their course had altered. It was slight, but their ship had rotated as well. They were now, similar to the stealth vessel, approaching the vessel sideways, mimicking its final approach. Marsh felt his eyebrows lift and his stomach churn, was Drick just going to land them right next to the other vessel?

There was a gentle nudge of acceleration and they started to move away from the other ship and the docking ring. Marsh hadn’t realised that he had been holding his breath until he allowed it to release in a long slow exhale. 

Looking out of the forward view screens it felt like they were moving upwards simply because of the orientation of the floor and ceiling inside their own vessel. What they were actually doing was going into a slow orbit around the hidden vessel inside its rock camouflage.

“Let’s take a look around this thing.” The message from Drick flashed across his screens. Text only and on the touch based communication channel. Drick had pressed her suit onto his slightly. This was a signal channel for suit to suit communication. It was fitted into the hard suits and prevented anyone noticing a communication, or scanning activity on the electromagnetic spectrum.

Drick was taking no chances with even internal communications. There was a strict rule while in stealth pursuit. Signals blackout except for essential communication, that to be delivered by text using the short data link. 

Marsh sat patiently as Drick instructed the vessel to make the orbit of the rock. Drick pointed out features on the visual scanners. All the instruments were still set to passive mode. Reception only. They didn’t want to give any indication of their presence.

The rock surface was clearly fake. The closer they flew the more detail the ship was able to scan and then composite into a diagram. It was amazingly detailed as, even passively, at this range the ship could determine the small regular features that hid under the surface. The sensors also detected that the rock surface was not actually rock below a depth of several metres. Other materials were present. It wasn’t uniform across the whole surface. Underneath the rocky coating there were structural supports and what was clearly a complex framework.

Drick was taking careful readings using a magnetic field analysis. This was another passive system. It could be coupled with a mass spectrometer, but that would require a sample which would be a more active approach. The analysis was enough to identify the different materials as they acted within the localised magnetic fields. There was also a detector for gravitonic distribution, but it was slowly gathering data as it needed thousands of points of reference to build a clearer picture.

“Looks like the ship is about forty metres down for the most part. Below the superstructure supporting the camouflage” Drick patched into Marsh’s internal screens.

“How are we going to get in?” asked Marsh.

“Let’s get a few more readings and see if we can find an entrance, or make one.” said Drick. They turned back to the instrument panels and slowly watched as the computer built a better picture.

2/n

Grief is an odd thing. (Honestly I would laugh at such a trite opening sentence but I wrote it.)

I mean it is horrid, and it is cruel, and it is frustrating, heartbreaking, really just add whatever words that feel like you want to tear your own heart out here, as that’s what it can feel like, it’s basically a bag of shit…

I am in my fifties, clearly this is not the first time I have felt grief. I am still grieving over the loss of a good friend from 4 years past. And in some deeply sarcastic coinciclasm that was also in fucking April. I am not over it and I will have to pass that anniversary while grieving for my sister, in fact before my sister’s funeral I have an anniversary of a time I still cannot get over, so many regrets and so much loss. 

So, I have compounded my grief. And now I have mentioned it I honestly don’t know which grief is truly which. I don’t know if I am feeling different things because  of this. I don’t know because I can’t separate similar emotions, and I don’t know if the more recent emotions bring fresh the past.

The recent grief or the memory of grief. And whether I should even realise that I am comparing how different they are, like it matters what the level is, is this in some kind of grading… more on that later…

But this grief is different. But all grief is different. This is the first member of my close family I have lost. Someone who has been there every moment of my life and isn’t any more.

Thankfully I have had the option of hiding away for some of the week to process my thoughts and feelings (I have to say ‘Thankfully’, because I am thankful for this. But I also think I am being stupidly selfish and almost vindictive, hiding away to shield myself from others.). 

I have also had to deal with funeral directors and the coroner’s office, my sister had to have an autopsy to determine the cause of her death. This just extends the process. It is as if we can’t let her go as there is no understanding as to why she died. The physical cause, I should not have to say. So dealing with the practical aspects is a blessing in that I can focus my feelings. It is a curse as I have to deal with it and then be the emotional gatekeeper of each new piece of information.

Does this affect the grief? A little but maybe not that much. Or maybe to a great degree. I don’t have the introspection to know differently. I think it is just a factor in the process but it isn’t a motivator for much. Some confused feelings, some anger at having to wait, to have no explanation, to have nothing to blame. Then when we know, anger, relief and sadness as if it was just a death. there is no easy anger. There is no fault that was obvious. There was just a long series of compounding factors. No easy route to blame. So it just makes it more conflicted, more unresolved feelings.

But the grief would have all of those even if the situation was clearer.

There is this thing where if you are sad, if you are grieving, it is like you shouldn’t be laughing, or enjoying something. that you shouldn’t eat, or drink, just mourn in quiet loneliness or beat your chest in an agony of despair, or something (please fill in a standard socially acceptable response at this junction). It can be a bit of a grief ritual, it can be a bit grief shaming, it can be a bit grief competition.

When public figures die we often see people giving extended diatribes on how the grief has affected them. The media and focus of others doesn’t help in this. But it feels as if we end up wallowing in loss that has nothing to do with what we lost. We also try to justify, qualify, or worse compete to show our grief.

I want to say it is sickening, and in some ways it can become that way, but it isn’t. It is just processing errors. the inability to be able to functionally interpret how to respond in each given social situation based on how others are responding. In other words, people make people worse when we grieve. We all grieve in similar patterns, but our grief is our own and we deal with it in our own way.

So grief has you laughing at stupid things that are not that funny as a release from the crying at the things that you just can’t fucking change at all.

* A brief interlude while I go away to be sad, like you’d notice since you get this all in one flow *

So there are seven stages of grief, you can go and look them up I am not going to Google it for you. I broadly see how they categorise them, and right now you should have guessed by this sentence that I don’t think that does anything other than help us rationalise this.

As if you can rationalise looking at a minecraft t-shirt and feeling deeply sad that it means something that would have lifted someone momentarily. A smile in a world that can sometimes be hard. That would make someone feel good about something they did. But that moment is now forever gone and the joy it would have brought is a moment of loss that it never happened. That’s grief. 

Reconcile it. 

I am not saying we can’t rationalise, I am not saying we can’t even gain comfort of closure from understanding how it is actually a beneficial memory (run it all to its course and it actually is) but it can’t be reconciled. It could only have been reconciled if the event had happened. It can’t ever happen. It just gets pulled into your moments of grief that you can categorise into seven distinct phases.

Like how I can’t separate my feelings between my grief at the loss of a friend who died 4 years ago (a few days from now) and the death of my sister who died two weeks ago. I can’t separate the feelings and so now I worry that I am doing some injustice to one of them.

I only know that they both meant a great deal to me.

They were both quite exceptional people.

I am begining to really fucking hate April.

1/n

Where am I right now?
I’m thinking, or is that drinking?
Oh I am absolutely drinking (I would say deinitely but I forgot how to pronounce it).
my sister was kind.
But where am I?
Somewhere in the land of the lost. Slightly dramatic. But that is where I am. Having to deal. Things are real. My sister died.
People die.
They do. There is no escaping it. Though saying it that way is like saying ‘all lives matter’, as in context M’FO.
Why am I writing this?
She died suddenly. Quickly. Heart-wrenchingly…
There has to be a coroner’s thing…
We can’t even register her dead and do the paperwork fully thing…
We can do some of that thing…
I am also the one doing that thing. I am not alone, I am just… taking the stance that my family are too heartbroken to take…
She was the oldest of my mother’s children. I am the youngest. I am also the one who does this sort of organising paperwork thing. I am the one who thinks in the straight line objective ways. I am critical. I am objective. Basically I can be a logical/rational/unemotional cunt (please excuse the gender-specific abuse and fuck the fucking-fuck-fuck out of any wankery about cussing).
I don’t have typical (neuro or social) habits, friends, family, close relations. In fact if you took a survey I wouldn’t hit average for pretty much everyone in my life. Except me, and I am not sure about me. Unless the survey had the question ‘does anyone in your life exhibit x non-typical feature’ as a standard base of inclusion…
I have also seen dead people before. Several. I have dealt in this area. I have a way of martialling what needs to be done. I can COMPARTMENTALISE.
I am also the one who would be angry if I wasn’t the one doing this as it is fucking stupid to make anyone else do it. On that note, my family would do anything they had to, they never made me do this. I pretty much manipulated the circumstances where I am doing this. And thank fuck I did. My heart is breaking at the loss of my sister. I would be fucking manic if that also meant my brother and sister were tortured by doing things that I can do.
I can do this and the act of doing with confidence counts against the pain.
My sister died suddenly, it was medical emergency so it was brutal. It was 4 days ago. And because of bank holidays (I am not judging here, I am not blaming, it is just circumstance), today was the first day I could go and identify her.
My other sister came along. She was initially asked to identify as she was listed as next contact due to living closer. My sister couldn’t do it.
I went alone.
I am glad I did. I am better knowing that my decision to do so was best. I don’t want them to remember her this way.
I knew something of what it was to be.
It wasn’t my first dead person.
But I am still in the land of the lost.
I did that. It was the best choice. There are so many other reasons and understandings I could tell you to explain how and why it is better this way.
I just hate myself for knowing it was the best choice. I hate myself for being so strong in all of this. I hate myself for not having anything more than those as the only reasons I need (I have more but this is about me and not others).
Where is this going?
Oh yes.
My sister died and today I had to identify her body after she had been dead for 3 days (4 calendar days).
Today I started the process of going through all her paperwork and a life that was spent giving love to others (I am not being kind, she was generally a person who gave a lot of love to others as she had experienced a fuck ton of abuse in her own life and turned it to kindness.). Today I started to accept her death and be rational about how we deal with her loss.
Where am I right now?
I am lost. But not really. I have things to do. I have things to arrange. A funeral, financial matters. Family matters.
Not really lost…
Feeling loss.
“Always try, to be nice and never fail to be kind.”

My Mummy

On Monday I decided to get the boys to write a poem about their mummy as a test. I made each of them answer questions and then we compiled that into verse. To be honest it was a bit of fun to keep them amused. It was just as much fun for me. I did most of the compilation but almost all the words are theirs, and certainly all the imagery.

Enjoy:

My Mummy

by Ben, Elliott and Asher

My mummy is a nice grass,
A love that is good
With arms and legs.

Her hair is like candy floss
Twisting,
Paper filled with naughty words.

Her eyes are hazelnuts
They can see fear.
They play a game.

Mummies nose is a cone,
With dinosaur’s nostrils.
Or a big fat poo,
A towel,
Made for glasses.

Her mouth is a lipstick’s stick,
Of fiery breath,
That shouts all quiet.

Her ears just hear my voice,
Like a giraffe
Always listening.

She has legs that I don’t know,
Filled with muscles,
And with bones,
An organ wraps around them,
Right down to the toes,
As they came last.

Her arms are like her legs,
But they put things into cups,
Press buttons,
And create.

Mummies brain is the best.
Very, very, smart.
Is for talking just like me,
Is numbers
And a game pad.

But her love is so pretty,
And very, very, strong.
She loves Asher, maybe also…
Daddy,
Elliott,
And Ben.
Simply, all of us.

Bollocks to DST BST

Why we originally adopted DST (Daylight Savings Time) is a mixture of reasons (
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Summer_Time) but the actions were rooted in a time of war. I have thought it (un-ironically) a waste of time and an anachronism. It really isn’t needed in modern life, but it never overtly affected me until the last decade or so.

So, these days I really flipping hate it and the reasons are because I have kids and a more hectic schedule, let me rant on…

#1 Son

#1son is 8 years old and going on nine. He likes to get up at 6 a.m. and play some video games before school. This week he has only managed that once. Added to that he feels that we are sending him to bed an hour early (we kind of are as we want to re-establish his body clock as soon as possible and routine is good with that).

#1son is annoyed, upset and generally feeling that it is a personal attack on him, he is even surlier than when we told him he couldn’t have a week off school to play Mario Galaxy.

#1son is annoyed that the answer to why we have daylight savings is because more than a century ago we had a war.

#2 Son

#2son is 7 years old and Autistic. #2son likes to sleep in until seven in the morning when he is sleepily awoken and needs a little extra processing time to get to grips with the differences between the magic realism of his sleep and the neuro-typical realism of a world constructed for the differently abled.

#2son loves regular patterns as they seem easier to grasp. #’2son is out-of-sorts as some fucking idiot changed time and he cannot work out why they would do that and really cannot formulate properly how he feels about it.

#3 Son

#3son is a toddler, he is 2 years old. Ask anyone with a toddler, the changing of clocks is an auto-fuck-up to sleep pattern and sensibilities. It throws them all out of whack. It sends them all a little bit unfocussed and thus grumpy-McBastard is never far from those shores.

#3son was so disrupted by sleep schedules he took extra time to go to bed (including coming back down stairs which he very rarely does) and the next night he got up at 3 a.m. as his body clock switched itself to who-the-hell-knows and he had to come into mummy and daddy’s bed.

#Mummy

#Mummy is a very busy person who needs her sleep patterns to be regular as she spends most of her day in doctoral research and evenings switching between kids, work, hobbies and me. #Mummy doesn’t like BST DST as it fucks up her family and their routines.

#Daddy #Me

I get up most mornings at 04:30 (that’s when my first alarm is set for anyway) as I normally run/exercise between 05:00 and 07:00 before the rest of the house gets up. DST means my alarm now goes off at the equivalent time of 03:30 and my body is really saying fudge-that-shot … no I mean fuck-that-shit.

I am really tired of DST. It messes up my whole family. Very few people I know would actually want to keep it, except it seems #arsebowlers who believe it is British and not European (see the headlines in some popular press because Europe has decided to get rid of the stupid practice). I suppose some farmers might like it for some crop-rotation thing, maybe, or something, do the druids and pagans like it?

Oh well, let’s recycle this rant in October and March for some years if you please…

Let’s Grab Nigel and set him Alight

Who would have thought that four centuries after the notorious gunpowder plot there was a different way to blow up Parliament. All we needed to do was have a referendum on a politically divisive matter and the place exploded all on its own.

And as we rush towards a no deal Brexit as a worst case scenario (and a might be a deal but not what we wanted as an alternative) we have our own malevolent plotter, or divisive scapegoat (take your pick), in the Mister Toad of Twat Hall, Nigel Farage.

Heck Fawkes, Farage, the names are similar in a number of ways let’s be honest. I think that dear Nige’ would look good with the git-warmer facial hair and massive hat.

Brexit Night,
Everything’s shite,
Let’s grab Nigel
and set him alight…

(Mark Keating 2019)

One can only hope that the fate that awaits the premier crapmeister of this little fiasco matches somewhat his historical counterpart. But, that would be a pipe dream.

Will the future huddled masses of a post-Europe Britain huddle around bonfires on March 29th each year to celebrate the trashing of the country. Perhaps they will burn a number of different effigies and light miserable fireworks to mourn our collective idiocy. Or can doubters of the great and noble exit like me be mistaken? Will we celebrate these pioneers of falsehood and reward them as true architects of a Greater Britain?

For now, I can only ask, ‘Penny for the Nige?’

Do You Drink?

In pretty much every medical conversation I have had over the last few years the same question is always asked, ‘do you drink’. The same set of answers appear in my head but I never use them even though I really want to. I always answer fairly plainly and honestly as the flippancy will not help.

However the conversation that should happen is there in my imagination so I thought I’d share with you how it goes in my head.


Them: Do you drink Mr Keating?

Me: Yes. I have 3 children under 10, of course I drink.*

Them: How often?

Me: As often as I can.

Them: Really? How often do you actually drink?

Me: The moment I am not responsible for them.

Them: So every night?

Me: It doesn’t have to be night.

Them: Do you drink during the day?

Me: One of the kids is a toddler.

Them: So, no then.

Me: Are you joking, as long as I don’t have to put the little fucker to sleep I am straight onto the gin.

Them: So you drink spirits?

Me: I’d drink petrol if it was in a cocktail. I have 3 kids under 10.

Them: Seriously now.

Me: Good point, Petrol is expensive. You can get turps at Poundland.

Them: You should really have a few free nights a week without drink.

Me: I think the same about my kids.

Them: Well you made the life choices and need to deal with them in a sensible manner.

Me: I do. I told you. I drink.

Them: Excessive drinking can reduce your lifespan.

Me: I have 3 kids under 10, I’ll drink to that.

Them: How many units of alcohol a week are we talking about here?

Me: I find it best not to count, but a safe number is to add the children’s ages up and times by 10.

Them: Best medical advice is to have fewer than 14 a week.

Me: Kids or drinks?

Them: Units of alcohol, you need a different strategy for children.

Me: I had a vasectomy.


However none of this actually happens… maybe next time


*NB This is all just in jest, if I really need to say that. I love my kids. They are not the reason I drink, they’re the reason I get up and run each morning so I am more alive each day to enjoy being with them.

A Birthday Poem – Just Another Day

Just Another Day

Today is just a day,
just like any other day,
just like any other time,
could be any other place.

Just another day.

You know this is your day,
and I’m just waiting here,
letting sorrow form and swell,
how hollow is the chest
that dwells?

I am holding onto tears,
beats thinking of the loss,
that I must shoulder on…
there I go,
feeling sorry for myself.
fuck it…

Just another day

No nearby grave for me to wail upon,
I cannot stand on the shore,
near to the dank earth that cocoons your ashes,
not the time to spend that pain,
to let my thoughts suppurate.

Just another day

An age has torn my memories apart,
each moment a thief steals a little more
sucked into a vomit of confusion,
fading to phantoms.

We become jolly fucking spectres,
half remembered dreams or wishes,
lost futures,
regrets that passed.

Just another day

I see you in photographs,
but the heart only knows your touch.

Just another day

In brief moments I see your face,
in the crowd,
your figure,
your gait,
but they are strangers,
it’s a stolen wish.

Just another day

Time passes,
day by day,
things submerge,
aches shrouded in layers,
I think of you,
my life can’t bear the loss,
So I bury you again,
day by day.

Just another day,
could be any other day,
just a birthday.

Notes

My best friend, probably the only person who rivals my wife in terms of how they have utterly changed me passed away last year. She would have been 47 this year. I still miss her. I still have so much to say to her.

Jane loved almost everything I ever wrote. It was a a tradition when i was at college and university that I would write a poem for my friends on their birthdays. Mostly silly stuff (I’m a terrible poet IMOO), but I would write them. People liked them.

I stopped doing it when Leigh wrote one for my birthday that was an epic, and one of my most treasured possessions (now matched by mini-voodoo-woollen me).

This year it came back. Because that’s how I feel. I miss my friend. I think I had one of the greatest platonic love affairs in history. I loved her deeply as a friend, a mentor, a guide and like a child, a sister or a parent. She was all that to me. She was a guiding force of morality, kindness and thought. She utterly changed everyone she touched and I will never stop missing her.

Specific memories fade. But the effect will not.

I miss you Jane. I miss my friend. Happy Birthday.

Rejected Lines

1.

Just another day,
could be any kind of day,
was just your birth day,
(but you had gone away,
you could never stay,
lost into the fray…),

2.

for shits and giggles easy rhymes say living all the fears,

Related Posts:

Doughnut, A Eulogy in Two Parts – Fit The First

Doughnut, A Eulogy in Two Parts – Fit the Second

Ere I am J.H.

 

Motorway Brexit Left

Driving along any motorway in England at the moment is an exercise in traffic control and cone watching. Everywhere you see the same sign, ‘upgrading to smart motorways expect delays [until after we leave Europe]’.

For like every other malaise that seems to malign this one sceptered isle it is the influence of the EU that has caused all this. Bloody European dictats from an elitist Brussels declaring the good old Blighty highways to be too dim for our Europhile drivers.

We wouldn’t have had any of this in the good old days of the early seventies before Margaret Thatcher was forced to sell us out to the greater continental landmass by the union pressures of the milk marketing board. Thank God we don’t need to mine milk otherwise she’d have had to exact revenge on the purveyors of dairy goods in the early Eighties. With such abhorrence avoided, the dear milk-snatchery one found it was far easier to force the dairy farmers into poverty so that large commercial giants could hoover up farms at low prices and instigate a regime of steroid-assisted bodyshaping of the new Euro-herds. Oh the happy eighties where every child could be transformed into a Yuppie demi-god for the mere cost of their humanity.

However we spin forwards so that everywhere you look there is a random Europeanite. Be it a  Polisharian, or Dutchovian, speeding backwards in their misaligned cars with steering wheels on the wrong side. Driving like respectable people shouldn’t on a British highway. What’s wrong with these people? Don’t they know that the best way to overtake is on the inside? Don’t they realise that road signs are an arbitrary advisory statement and not a rule. How dare they come here with their pretty vehicles touting their blue spangled banner.

Typical of the Eurocrats to insist on greater regulation, yet more rules dreamt up in the Belgium Ivory Towers. Now we have instructions enforced in a contemporary display of pin sharp LEDs engraving their regulations onto your retinas from one thousand yards (or about nine hundred and ninety Euro-metres).

No longer can the British brave all weathers and conditions firm in the belief that it is by skill and understanding that one can judge pace or direction of travel. Not any longer. Now the Brussels-born have birthed driving regulation upon driving regulation on us. Now we have safety conditions and speed monitoring, traffic flow management and car safety and vehicle emissions set from an air-conditioned chamber deep in the heart of the Euro-dictat.

But soon, oh soon, dear Britexitans we will regain control of our laws, our regulations and our destiny. We will once again shape this proud land with thick as pigshit roads for our thick as pigshit isolationists. For we all remember that time, before the European massive forced safety and sense on our shores when England, nay Britain, was a rough untamed wilderness of few laws. Yes, back in the sixties we had no signs, no rules, no belts or airbags to hold and constrain us when we choose to smash into each other at excessive speeds.

As soon as we leave the Government will dismantle the shackles of the Euro-state and administer a lobotomy on all our highways and free us once again so that we might prosper to an incipient end.