I found your old
wrist watch
amongst your things;
strap worn, unstitched,


the face of the watch
stopped at a given time,
metal touched with grime.
Don't know when


you wore it last,
but I guess your being
still tingles along the vibes,
despite the years gone by.


I wonder if you
chopped up your day
by it, wonder what hours
you set aside for play,


what for work or sleep?
You're dead now, so that
information will have to keep,
the hours spent, the moments


slipped by in the blink
of a human eye, the ticking
watch ticking off
the time allotted you,


your span set out,
the final year
mapped out maybe,
for none to know or see.


I hold your watch,
allow the sense of you
to come through
the metal workings,


silver cast, leather strap;
the sense of you
pulsing as I wear it
briefly on my wrist;  


the back of the watch
and my skin touching
as if kissed. I will put
the wrist watch away,


in some drawer, for
another, some day,
but it is you, my son,
that is wanted, that’s missed.


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We'll never get
those times back now,
least not for real,
in mind maybe,
viewing photographs,
recalling past times,
long ago laughs.


But now it's just that,
memories in stacks,
memories of you,
places, things done,
things said; gone now,
you being dead.


You kept words
to a minimum,
used them
like precious coins;
seldom making
statements; rarely
getting in involved
in the small talk,
the day to day banter;
but when you did,
came out of your shell,
it all meant
something more,
special, done well.


Even at the Tate Modern
you kept your views
of the art and artists
to yourself; their skill
or lack of, never
mentioned or hinted at;
just your quiet viewing,
that way you had
of taking things in,
ordering them neatly
inside your head;
your encyclopediatic  
knowledge of matters,
or so seemed,
you processed;
that look you had,
seemingly impassive,
unmoved, but moved
you were, a soul like
yours so often is,
deeply moved that is,  
your eyes taking in,
your mind processing
the whole show,
as you did before,
in your own way
of having your say.


Wish you were
still here, with your
few words, that look
of yours, back here today.

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Can you
buy me
an Augusten
Burroughs book?
You asked.


I'd not heard
of the guy
until then;
read Bill Burroughs,
but this guy
was new to me.


I sought him out
in the local book store
and purchased
the book you said;
wrapped it up
for the birthday gift
and gave.


Now and then,
if house sitting
for you, while you
were at work
and some workman
came to do a job
or sort things out,
I’d pick out
the Burroughs book
and read
a paragraph
or so, smile,
get the drift,
the humour
pretty much
like yours,
then put it down
until another time arrived
to carry on
the quest to read
where I’d left off
the time before.


since your sudden death,
I’ve inherited them all,
the large book
and medium range
and the small.


I've all the time
to read them now;
they sit there
by my bedside cabinet
waiting to be read,
silent, well behaved,
orderly, all in line.


I wondered if
you read them all,
or if time ran out
before the end,
that illusive
final paragraph
or so, that last book


I guess
I’ll never know;
you being
on the other side
of the curtain,
they label:
being dead.


Sure I’ll read
the books
read them
until the end
and every one;
but I’d rather
see you again
my dear
departed son.

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I wear
your grey
woollen mittens,
the ones


you can make
into gloves
by pulling over
the fingers


to make complete;
soft, thick,
but warm; neat.
I can sense you near


with them on;
an imaginary pulse
moves along
beside mine.


You felt the cold;
although didn't say
as such
or not


over much;
your hands
and fingers
seeking shelter


within the wool,
rubbing against
the fibre, skin
on softness,


warmth like
a kind of drug,
seeping in.
I wear your grey


woollen mittens,
my fingers fitting
where yours once did,
the feel of you


in the wool's soft memory;
the fibre’s hold,
keeping you warm,
my son,


keeping to warm
against the cold.
The mittens seem fresh;
not worn thin or aged


or coming unwoven
as some things do.
I wear your grey mittens,
have them close,


neat and touching.
I wish they were you.

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Do you recall,
my son,
from your side
of the curtain


of death,
that Metallica CD
you bought me
at that record fair


some years back?
You fingered through
a number of CDs
in racks


looking for something
for yourself:
or R.E.M.


I forget which
or was it more
or both.
I was in


a heavy metal
frame of mind
that day;
counting the money


to match the choice.
I'll get it
for you
for your birthday,


you said.
I play it still,
the Metallica CD,
the thundering drums,


buzz saw guitars,
chugging bass,
and tough guy voice
over the turned up


loud burning lot.
I think of you
when playing it now;
your quiet nature,


soft spoken voice,
hungry-bear stance
about the room,
your own unique


chuckle of humour.
Do you remember,
my son,
the Zed Zeppelin


CD and DVD
you bought me
for my birthday
that final year?


you'll always be
a rocker,
you said,  
and those words


repeat softly,
like a summer breeze,
through the corridors,
of my mourning head.


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I still have
you rectangle
black leather wallet,
but it is empty now:


the money notes
banked in your account,
the cards sorted,
cut up and shredded,


the loose coins given
to your chosen charity.
How lonely it looks now
without you to handle;


the leather worn
at the edges
through use
you gave,


shiny black,
silent black,
unused now,
kept as a memory


to hold onto in days
of hurt like now
and years to come.
I remember


that last Saturday
in hospital,
you took out coins,
to buy bottles of water,


to quench your thirst
and help you pee.
The wallet looked full then,
bulging at the seams,


full of use and life,
held in your hands,
your fingers working
the coin zip.


Now it lays there
unused and thin,
your DNA
all over it,


worked in the seams,
the leather,
the small pocket
of the wallet.


I feel close to you
when I rub a thumb
or ageing finger
along its black


rectangle length,
the shiny worn leather,
bringing us, momentarily,
closer together.


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I kept your last
birthday card to me;
tucked it between
books on my shelf,


not knowing then
it would be the last;
your small simple script
and name, artwork done,


received with all the rest
that day, last year.
I have taken it out
a few times now,


read the script over
and over, as if maybe,
more words
might appear,


than those before.
I hold it in my hands
and imagine where
your fingers touched,


where your pen
scribed the words,
and for that frozen moment
capture part of you again,


that feel, that ghostly smell,
thinking maybe
my fingers are, where
your fingers were,


your DNA mixing with mine,
mixing together
like good scotch, not wine.
I shall keep


your birthday card to me,
keep it safe, re-read
now and then,
pretend each year


it came from you,
anew, fresh written,
your fine small hand;
waiting each birthday


for it to land,
the birthday card
from my eldest son
(now dead), and when


my birthday comes around
once more, I shall take
the card out and read
with all the rest that came,


keeping you you always
in my heart and head,
with your small scribed,
loving name.


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Father And Son





Never a connection quite perfect,

Always a misunderstanding,

Never like dreamed expectation,

Always pushing, correcting, demanding, and yet,

...we felt.



Author's Notes/Comments: 
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If I was your son, I be your seed,

The one who let me out to this world,

If I was a punch, I would choose the one,

You gave to my pregnant mother,

If I was the traumatise child,

I would be the one listening his mother screams,

If you were holding the metal belt,

I would be the kid with the scare,

If you was the one broking glass on the floor,

I was the one walking bare feet upon it,

If there was a closest,

I was the one hiding inside it,

If was an beaten puppy with metal bar,

I was the son force to watched it,

If I was the man who was pushing his wife by the window,

I was the small child, weeping for help,

If I was the man scalping your mother,

I was the one holding the knife,

If I was the son of the woman begging for help,

I was the one ready to push the blade inside you,

If I had follow your path,

I was the animal trap in your cage,

If your were my father,

I would have stop drinking myself to death,

If you were my blood and flesh,

I am glad you took your delirium six foot’s under,

If I had a choice,

I wish, we could had the chance to spoke once,

If I could turn the clock,

I would tell you, I had long forgave you,

If you can hear me from above,

I was simply telling you, I love you dad.


Author's Notes/Comments: