At the edge of bitterness, il gusto, mia lingua, il caffè macchiato
and I see the words, pietro colorato
I might drown in italiano.
This is swimming by numbers
and numeracy leaks away suggesting there is
a problem higher up, above the water line
the colours are smudged by rising damp
meaning serious discolouration.
Why don’t I do something before the problems
threaten to overwhelm rather than this floundering around
with clumsy and wild strokes in approximation
of the swimming I learned when I was eleven
(is that right?)
Richard always needed me to go along with him
his parents paying for the lessons because they were better off
than my family. Not only did I learn to swim but I had already learned
to swim without money -
what was it I felt or what sense did I make of the absence
of family holidays, the lack of money?
i simply shut out the possibility of the question:
desires strictly limited.
And then in the middle of my working life, after a few short years
of feeling better off, I was back to my default position.
The default position of the world:
most of us have little money!
i don’t imagine there will be any desert island discs
merely the wash of the waves and knowing that
I can be washed away by the first storm, the rising waters.
If the shoe fits … wear it
it wasn’t so long since life was incredibly hard (for most of us)
demanding, unsafe. For us in Europe, North America etc there was
a brief interregnum. Weakened by the costs of World Wars
the elite gave in and allowed certain elements of social democracy
but it wasn’t long before some tough minded warriors took to the warpath
and made out the case (there is no alternative) for the return to normality.
Truth lay exposed to the casual gaze of passers-by
but the passers-by had little time for such things.
It looked complicated, the surface scarred
by self interest, by the impact of lies and corruption
“I haven’t got time for that stuff”
Beneath, hidden from view were nuggets of possibilities
beauty patiently waiting, never ending joy …
I scratch around like a chicken
(what does a chicken feel as it scratches around in the dirt
with its beak, its sharp little eyes?)
I scratch around prodding at the words
willing them to divulge their possible and multiple meanings
to lift the lid, to uncover …