Fathers’ Day

My youngest daughter, Molly Ernestine, can be no stranger to regular readers of this blog, not least for her photographs, which, in addition to being posted here on occasion, are prominently featured alongside my poems in the recent Shoestring Press publication, Aslant. So, on Fathers’ Day, time, perhaps, to cast an eye towards my older children, Tom & Leanne, who shared their 50th birthday at the end of last year.

First, a little look back …

T & L Scooters

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and here, older now …

Tom 2

MAKING MAPS
for Tom

Pushing up from Browning
through the Blackfeet Reservation
white crosses at the roadside
in fives and sixes now,
broken-down pick-ups
dead in the back yards
of broken shacks

We grin as ‘All Shook Up’
grinds out from the radio
lean our heads close and
sing as hard as we can

Driving through England
memory surprises me …

You made dams wherever we went
crouched patient over small streams
all the way from Castle to Iceberg
Lake, stopping time with your hands

When the deer breathed down
through the trees to the salt lick
at dusk I reckoned you’d earned it

Storms and rainbows
surrounded us. We drove
through three states,
three thousand miles
and love drove us fast together.

Leanne 1

… later still, Leanne in Paris …

HOLLYWOOD CANTEEN

It seems too much of a cliché,
almost, to tell it,
but there, up on the counter
of the Hollywood Canteen,
there amongst the images
of Marilyn, James Dean,
she pushes back her plate,
lights her cigarette
and right over the juke box
she says, nineteen:

I hate films that end like that,
stuck out on the porch
in the middle of nowhere
with some cute little kid
watching the sun go down –
as if it could ever happen.
Jesus! It’s like your parents
bringing you up to believe
it’s possible to tell the truth,
when one minute after they
let you out into the world
you can see everyone else is lying.
You try being nice out there,
just try it! You won’t last
five minutes and I’ll tell you this:
I haven’t met a single person
since I was sixteen who wasn’t
a bitch underneath, and I just
haven’t the strength to stand
up to them, not on my own,
and that’s what I am.
And happiness, that’s a laugh
and a half, and one thing I’m
sure of, it isn’t sitting out
on a dumb porch into the middle
of nowhere staring into some
technicolour sunset!

She turned her head aside
and closed her eyes
and when she did that
she was as beautiful
as I had ever seen her …

What do you think, she said,
the pancakes with the maple syrup?
You think we should have
the ice cream as well, maybe
the chocolate sauce?

Seeing my face, she smiled.

Here they are, almost up to date …

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And lest you think she’s been forgotten, this is Molly and I enjoying another afternoon watching Notts County. Come on you Pies!

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Author: John Harvey

Writer.

3 thoughts on “Fathers’ Day”

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