I seem to have inherited
your Che Guevara tee shirt,
red and black,
with the huge
Legends lettering
and portrait,
black on red.


Washed and folded,
I gave it a squeeze,
and held it to my chest
(wanting you back,
my son, and all the rest).


Sometimes I think
we shared the same heroes,
similar, more similar
than I ever thought before,
reflected in the tee shirts
you bought and wore.


I am still making
my way through
your Augusten
Burroughs books,
the humour, insight
and images raised,
have humoured me
at a time I need,
from dark thoughts,
guilts, on my time
and mind, like maggots
they have fed and feed.


I did think
I would talk to you
the following day,
before the coma,
the silence of you
contrasting the ever
sounding machines,
the dials, the lights,
and that, and other
images, keep me
from sleep at nights,
(hence the need
of the sleep
inducing pill).


I seem to have inherited
the black and red
Che Guevara tee shirt
you used to wear,
and when I hold it
against my cheek,
I imagine,
for short moments,
that you are
still there.

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Your mother's washed
your red patterned
woollen jumper,
the Christmas one
we call it, as that
was when
you wore it last.


She hung it on
a wooden hanger
in the hall to dry.


Seeing it there,
silent and empty,
opened in me
a deeply wounded,
unuttered cry.


Later when dry,
I took it down
to turn
the right way in
and fold,
then pressed against
my cheek and chest
to hold,
as if
for a moment
you were there again,
your beating heart,
your pulse of life,
your solid being,
but I knew you weren't,
just the coloured wool,
the red patterned jumper,
that just been washed scent.


I thought you immortal;
how sad that is,
that illusion love made,
that you will always be there, lie,
that you will
never never die.


I clutched
the jumper tight;
tried to sense you there,
your pounds of flesh,
your gentle self,
your body
within the wool.

How sad that is,
they'll say,
the old sad fool.


Your mother washed
and dried your
red patterned
woollen jumper
yesterday, today
I placed it on
a plastic hanger
and put away.

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Never knew grief
could bite so deep,
my son. Dark night
succeeds dull day,
images replay
in black and white,
through dawn hours
following night.


Words captured,
last ones, over
and over in my
tired mind, in order,
exchanges, mundane,
but special now,
being the last.


Never thought
the knife of grief
could thrust so hard,
between shoulder blades,
heart, lungs, throat tight
and seemingly slit,
words choke, unable
to say, fingers push
damp cheeks
of tears away.


Dark day succeeds
drugged up night,
dawn's light
puts nothing right.


Never knew death
could undo so well,
my son, knew nothing
of the end game
until you went.


Life is not forever
just a brief gift
or maybe lent.

Never knew grief
could could so undo.


Dream following
nightmare, looking
for you, my son, for you.

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Yesterday was a dark doomer.
I thought I saw you
here and there
in the other town
where once we wandered
years ago.


Grief had a field day,
keeping me low.


I wandered shops
with the others
and alone, feeling
on the edge, looking
into that dark abyss.


I bought a Hunter
Thompson book
from the cheap
book shop,
the girl gave me a,
why did you buy that?
kind of look;
young girl,
bored maybe,
thinking of her
boyfriend or girlfriend
or whosoever.


I thought of you,
you, my son,
the way you went,
the unanswered
questions so far,
holding your hand
as you slipped away,
flat-lining heart.


We had sandwiches
and drank,
in the inside café;
watched other people
do their thing,
life going on,
that dark doomers
were sitting there.


But of course,
you knew, you were
probably there
unseen by us,
eating a burger
and sipping a cola,
(at least
in that spirit world
as we think,)
looking at us,
sipping your drink.

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I dreamed
of you
last night.


Not the 29 year
old you
who died


as I held
your hand,
but the


younger you,
the young kid
with the smile


and big
blue eyes,
the adventurous


you, the climber,
the you
in the cowboy hat


and gun,
the blue
eyed you,


the one
for fun.


I dreamed
of you
last night.


Not the 29
year old who
died and flat-lined


my heart, but
the younger you,
big eyes of blue,


that one,
that you,
my son.

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Between you and me,

I kiss your photograph

when I pass,

the one on my phone

or the ones in frames

or behind glass.


I do it secretly

so no one else

can see,

just between

you and me.



I blow a kiss

from my palm,

hoping it

will reach you

wherever you are,

a mere spiritual

world away

or maybe so

not quite far.


Some days,

I hold things

which were yours,

try and sense

the feel of you,

the scent of you

within the cloth

or book or other things,

holding tight to see

what comes or what

you may bring.


There is a part of me

that's forever lost,

part of me

that has a hole,

a scar, a wounded

heart and mind;

but also there are

parts of you which

none can take,

the link of memories,

the genetic hold

within me still,

your sound of voice,

the way you were

and stood, joked,

laughed or looked,

that picture of you

within my mind,

which none can see.


I kiss your picture

when I pass, secretly,

between you and me.

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I thought
I had you


for always;
I was mistaken.


Some God,
or not,


as the case
may be,


has for some reason,
unknown to me,


has you
from me,



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Your Manchester United
football shirt
hangs framed
on the wall:
Ole and number 20
show through the glass.


I remember
you wearing it,
your body
filling out the cloth,
giving life to it,
your name
and number
worn proud
amongst the family,
or out in the crowd.


Now your shirt
hangs there
silent and still
behind the glass.


I wonder if it
still retains
some aspect of you,
some particles
like sparkles
that remain long after
like memories residing
in the shirt's soul.


Your brother put it there,
sealed in the frame,
your number 20
and Ole
your shortened name,
out of love and grief,
wanting it
to always be
in sight, part of you,
inside, like a light
in the mind's
dark night.

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I guess
I’ll never forget
you sitting there
on that bed
at the end
of that ward.


It seems burnt
into my memory
like some old
piece of film
repeating over
and over
in my mind.


I go over
the last words
you said,
try to get them
in order, try to
unfold each word
as if it were
a puzzle
to be solved.


That look you had,
the deep set eyes,
tired, worn;
the breathing laboured
hard to get;
the puffed up
hands and arms.


You were eating
some chocolate mousse
I think, small dish,
small white spoon,
half eaten sandwich
to one side.


I felt along
your puffed up arm
with my fingers,
felt the hand, puffy,
not the right colour.


We talked,
you slow,
pushing out
the words.


Not a good night,
you said.


Dinner wasn't up
to much, some
doctor came,
some scan
to be done,
you said,
what for?
you replied.


I helped you back
on the bed,
set your pillows
neat and firm.


We talked
some more,
these would be
your last words,
mundane matters,
not deep
philosophical dealings,
these were
small talk mutterings,
sick bedside chatter.  


No famous last words,
no farewell speech.
I'll see you tomorrow,
I said.


you said,
closing your eyes
on the bed.


That was it;
last words all said.

Next day,
late afternoon,  
your heart
and you,
my son,
were dead.

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