We Grew

We met on the last Sunday in March,

1999, Daylight savings time,

Walls lavender from my time as a spare,

Boxes climbed up them,

Windows open for air,

I was dusty, you were 9,

Small, fat and sticky,

With a bushel of hair.

The lines climbed the frame as the soft toys left,

One by one, shark by penguin, out the door,

Lego pieces hid under the bed, behind shelves,

When they just couldn’t stand you any more.

Trucks brought reinforcements, battle lines were drawn,

Your brothers hamster climbed behind the wall,

You cracked your head, falling from older sisters shoulders,

To see the glow sky of stars, first, from the floor.

All day I would miss you till 5.30, or later,

Sometimes your mother came in,

Washing sheets and picking clothes,

Throwing wrappers, plastic and gum in the bin.

When she threw away your best hoodie,

That was ripped from pit to waist on one side,

You screamed at her something awful,

I could hear from up here,

You slammed the door when you came in to hide.

Soon we grew closer again,

I was your favourite place in the house,

Once you’d set up the speakers you brought off a friend,

And the needle of the record player, on your unused desk,

Lazily strolled round the bend.

We’d lie together with Jimi, Fela and Cohen,

L, Easy and Eminem, then Zappa and Simon,

Friends came round, mist the room, look bemused,

Hubbubs deep then squeaky, voices shouting to sound less confused.

When you left you took all the good posters,

The player, the records you liked,

You said everyone here was poseurs,

You would return for the odd fractious night.

Soon the bad posters went too,

And the clothes you outgrew,

They painted over all of your sketches.

I like the one in my window corner, on the skirting board,

Where a rhino, a baud, seranades a dinosaur you drawed,

When that was still how you spoke.

Aunts, uncles, grandparents, neighbours, friends,

Drunken house guests your parents wanted to leave,

Bleached the paint with their bedlamp reading,

And leave presents under the draws they can’t retrieve.

We had a thing going, I missed it,

I’m not too shy to admit,

The tack still on my walls stayed firmly in place

While you were in halls, destroying the place,

And later, elsewhere, who knows, you never told me,

I waited for something else to be.

Did you not cut your hair all the years you were gone?

You never did have the habit to wash your face,

When you came in, looked around, barely a glance

I tried not to look back askance

But you could have done it with more sense of grace.

Stripped, painted white, old cupboards replaced with white too,

Tack marks removed, surfaces improved,

If you hadn’t known, to look, I was new.

Soft murmers at night kept us warm,

She smiled, defended the curtains, I approved,

You yinyanged, in the first years, one form.

She cried on the bed some days,

Staring at plastic sticks, or books, or t.v, that she hated.

I was never sure if you knew.

Sometimes the tension felt like my bricks would break,

When I saw her cry in front of you.

She had pots of liquid that made me smell like India,

According to her friend Paul,

She chose pictures that worked with my shape,

She never covered the lines on the wall.

I missed her when she left, in a way,

But it was nice to be back where we were.

I soon smelled the same as all that time ago,

But the Lynx was replaced with Homme Glow.

The records returned, the player too,

The blankets, nick nacks, books, games, flashing synths,

The drum kit of pans, the accordian, the diaries and papers,

Unrinsed mugs, plates, pans, growing mildew,

We grew and grew and grew.

Condoms stayed behind the bed, a reminder,

A remainder of a time passed,

I wished you would clean them up

But clearly I couldn’t ask.

At some point, people stopped coming round.

Their tenses visit, a tea, a spliff, goodbye,

All they left you was lonely and high.

We were together, you never left

Packages came, some trash left.

Less and less as time went on

You found a bottles message,

A shaped you like,

A thing to put other things on.

Books, papers, cushions, game box’s,

Boxes of clothes, and you in your boxers.

Smoke seeped into me too,

We both grew slightly yellow.

You drank from a bottle that made you scream and sleep

Packages arrived with pills and powders

Or food that covered my walls in grease

Your long hair, never cut, nor washed, began slowly to creep.

I’m not sure what day you stopped moving,

Whether the hair started moving first,

Through the hollow hearts of Jones, D’Angelo and Richter,

Separating good needles out from the worst.

Under boxes, clothes, books,

Each strand found new nooks,

Unclasped hooks found Dilla and Depeche Mode.

Clasping needles, your hair rode,

Over Beatles, Zepplin, Tiwariwen,

Syncing, cutting looping,

Just as you taught it,

Way back way back then.

Lego found each other under the bed,

Ignoring the pieces thrown out,

Regrew into towers,

It took days, hours?

To help the old ornaments out.

Buddha was not feeling sprightly,

But mad max rushed out in a flash,

Scaling the tower,

Falling on a fake flower

You just couldn’t put in the trash.

The ivy on the windowsill grew further,

It wrapped round your hair and your face,

We lay together, longer than I’d hoped,

And we embalmed you with suitable grace.

Pillows closed in, kept your cold body warm,

The watches stopped in solidarity,

Maybe things didn’t work out how you wanted

You’re not Vince Vaughn

But you always, will always, have me.


for my mum


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