You are invited to the launch of
Recital – An Almanac
by John Siddique
2nd April 2009 – 7pm
The National Portrait Gallery
St Martin’s Place
Special Guest – Xanthe Gresham
9th April – 6.30pm
Manchester Central Library
St Peter’s Square
Special Guest – Mark Illis
Other people’s children
He is eight and good at football. His mind
flits blacker and whiter than a magpie
from playstation to plastic sword, chocolate,
internet, to nothing to do, to slamming the ball.
He has a will of iron. Can bend his mother’s
and my love for him like plasticine;
when he wears his stick-on tattoos
in the same place on his shoulders as I have mine,
when he calls me ‘old chappy,’ as we scream
through the air as human aeroplanes.
I want so much to show him the world
I know, make it right for him.
Their Dad shows up every now and then,
it blows this family sideways, the guy ropes
twang off their pegs, until morning comes
and the wind dies down, and he goes off again.
I begin planting and parenting. Applying constancy
at the thin end of myself. But here is the boy
on a Saturday morning, next to me in bed,
hugging his mother and I together,
blowing at my chest hair.
Inside # 2 “There is no more time”
9.47, the peak of the morning rush is
beginning to subside, though the tube is
closed so he’s taking the bus to work.
A woman at the front of the bus is
on her way to her course. There is
a girl on her way to the dentist, and
a cleaner on her way home. A bus full
of people like this and more.
Then there is no more time, just a flash.
No time for fear. Here then gone, or
unconscious, or at the edge, or screaming.
All fixed in their own heads a moment ago,
busy being late for things, tired, looking forward
to a cup of tea, or just getting there
to get out of this traffic.
9.47 lasts forever and ticks on for the rest of us.
Before and after the application of words. Divide
the hour, divide the minute, sub-divide the second,
keep on dividing and time ceases to exist.
Both poems published in Recital – An Almanac
(Salt Publishing, 2009)