The softness of slightly warm air;
The sultry hair of my mother’s city,
Dancing across the backs of my palms as I walk beneath velvet leopardbarks.
She has a sandy-blonde type of heat,
Filling my mouth with the slightly sanguine taste of the promise of the sweltering summers
Of my memory.
Nude little boys prancing across a cracked lawn.
Cigarette smoke filtering across the patio,
Across the disappointingly almost-prickly taste of Coca-Cola, half flat and opened half an hour ago.
It smells good, in my memory – Not like the acrid exhalations of the old Italian men who sit and talk
About fraud, but the warm feeling of sating an itch, embodied in a smell and a taste
That fills my six-year-old lungs
With anecdotes, and bingo on the patio, and the spiky sensation of slate,
and silence for the 6’o’clock news, and curried mince.
Cicadas set against an orange sunset;
Black silhouettes of Grandpa’s rainforest – an island of tranquillity that sustained a six-kid family
through the many years I’ll never remember.
It smells like mum-made Santa sacks –
The soft odour of hardly-used fabric that twirls in spinnerets across the top of my tongue.
Cold feet and the silent anticipation of darkness.
A 3.a.m. morning after a night where I hugged them both,
Sitting in front of the TV on those funny old black reclining ‘70s chairs.
5.a.m. dawn, filtering through in fingers of blaring white light – But a soft blaring,
The kind that hits you hard in one spot, then undulates softly about between the thin tree shadows
On the grey carpet.
Memory has a solid grip – If he gave you a handshake you’d be shaking your wrist out all day.
But a handshake would be too pleasant – Memory has other plans;
And so he grips hard on that bit of your throat till your eyes well up with tears;
He throws his fist, A lump against your oesophagus, and holds it there.
He holds the past against you as a transient mess of feelings and thoughts and places and people
You can never quite touch, or taste, or smell.
He taunts you – “It’ll never quite be the same”; he says.
He lulls you into believing for a second that it might be though.
And so you sit in a silent moment, the mental space in a crowded room
where you suddenly want to curl up and cry;
Cry because you tried to get there, to punch on through the paper wall,
Only to fall into a pale imitation – a repetition as farce,
If we redefine farce as an empty disappointment.