Posted in Lies


The map on each school room wall was proudly red
“The British Empire,” glowed teachers.
A former colony looked up to England
figuratively and geographically.
God save the Queen. Royal tours
Vice Regals with ostrich plume headdress.

Declared a prime minister declaring war
“where Britain goes we go.”
We did. Transport a roll call of British engineering
Our cars Austin, Morris, Riley, Vauxhall
Bedford trucks. Leyland buses
diecast replicas
coveted boy presents
runners up in desire only to Hornby train sets.

Hornby train sets.
virtual landscape of the English countryside
packaged with track, engine, tender, wagons
Micro verisimilitude – run like clockwork – macro envy.

Every year
aged six
aged seven
aged eight
aged nine
when asked birthday wish
a train set. Hornby of course.

My mother laughed
“no you don’t.”
At 10 the same question
a new answer. “You’re too old for that now.”
“Now.” Qualification has expired.

Throwaway line as lie
“no you don’t ”
more loving than truth.
There wasn’t enough money for a train set.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.

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