Along the banks of the barge canal in the village park, a man older, his hair white, almost a mane, sits on the breakwall feeding Wonder bread to the small flotilla of ducks. Tearing shreds of crust from a slice, he casts it onto the water and smiles as they bob for the crumbs. He tells them the story of his life as though they were his oldest friends. My Anna, he says, was a special woman, I met her one night in the cramped vestibule of an Indian take away in London during a blackout. We heard the sirens and then a blast, not far off. She grabbed my arm in fear. She was from Marlow-on-Thames, she lived in a small flat in the Bottom, she worked days in a millinery, and at night tended bar at the Local, until the war. She’s been gone two years now and I miss her terribly especially late at night. A goose slowly swims over awaiting her meal, she looks deeply into his eyes. How are you, dearest Anna, it is not the same without you late at night when the silence is broken again by the sirens.
First Published in Friends & Friendship Vol. 1, The Poet, 2021
As a youngster I thought I had convinced my grandmother to one day entrust me with the old family recipes, since my mother wanted little to do with the kitchen and less with anything that came from “there.”
It was a bit of a shock to learn years later that grandma was born in London, that her mother shared my mother’s dislike for the kitchen and both favored take out whenever possible.
She did finally share her specialties which I carefully wrote down for posterity, only to discover that someone in the family was named Betty Crocker.
When you ask me of the sea, living, as I do, fifteen miles from the nearest ocean, it is not the sandy beaches of Hutchinson Island I recall, nor the crowded sandbox that is Fort Lauderdale’s beach.
If you ask me of the sea, it is perched on the horizon, far in the distance, looking out of the kitchen window, or perhaps that of the library, over the yard, with its deflated soccer ball, the fence, and finally to the Irish Sea, cloud shrouded at the horizon.
This is what Lloyd George saw each day, so it is little wonder eschewed burial in London or even England for this hidden estate in his beloved Ty Newydd in Wales.
First published in Dreich, Issue 10, Autumn 2020 (Scotland)
I am compiling a list, ever so slowly, of places I still want to visit, and you may be surprised to find that Paris, London and Madrid are nowhere to be found.
It isn’t that they lack beauty, charm and countless things to see and do, it is simply that they have been usurped by other places commanding my attention.
I’ve been to Zeeb and Pawpaw, if driving by on the interstate counts, and I am certain in Michigan it must, but I do need a good laugh at times, and Yeehaw Junction just might satisfy my need perfectly, and, failing that, there is always Surprise and Carefree, and if I want to lose myself for a while Nowhere is waiting patiently for me, although I have heard it’s a bit hard to find.
No, what I really need is Happy Corner, and from there, as I age I know I must eventually, end up in Truth or Consequences.
Charing Cross Road booksellers woven amid theaters cramped sagging shelves an out of print Christine Evans, slim, collected works of those long forgotten never noticed a damp chill enfolds old leather as the door opens and shuts on a late February. Morning, my purchases sink in the plastic bag dancing as I walk to the tube at Leicester Square with my new gems destined to cause a sag in my bookcase.
A fog settles in over High Wycombe gray clouds shroud a full silver moon great beasts, sinews drawn tight, ready to spring forward, instead crawl along the motorway, the faint lights of London cast a glow to the sky, my breath seems phosphorescent, falling coating the grass, stiff in the breeze.