Posted in Death


To my parents’ world he brought a little glamour
the ephemeral intimacy of overlapping holidays
strangers sharing the sardine proximity
permissible only at vacation time.

He was prominent in the country’s national sport
a place at the centre of court.
Television was still in diapers
the Internet yet to be conceived
the local newspaper gushed a story and photograph
of him and family enjoying the town’s hospitality.
My parents archived anecdotes
for replaying to friends and neighbours.

The judge said it was a very sad case
sentencing difficult
the circumstances complex
journeying from the hospital bed of a terminally ill son
a deceitful cocktail of prescription serenity and alcohol
misled his vehicle
down a one way ….. the wrong way.
The dead driver without chance or blame
the defendant’s life history exemplary. Remorse genuine.
Famous a decade ago
but now fame of a different sort
newspaper and television scrutiny
punishment enough.
No conviction.

My parents heaved relief
a good man they said.
Two years later the good man is pictured
at a reunion – glass prominent.
My mother flings her hand at the newspaper
“look at that, after what he did”
my father condemns, “I can’t believe it.”
His name is never spoken again.

For the back story click Backstage
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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.