Sitting on the sofa, dreaming, drinking tea.
I’m 5 and perched on a wall in Rawcliffe.
The summer street is alive with love,
brand new bright red bricks,
kids passing by and Penny Lane.
Chinese-skipping through elastic,
chalked-out hop-scotch squares,
tiny orange spiders that bleed
in the roughness of the brick.
I’m 5, in love and wars are on the telly.
Work is something
my dad comes home from.
My dad is someone
who comes home from work.
Men called Paddy deliver milk.
I help for orange juice,
pretend not to hear my name like now,
as I sit and dream and write.
Building sites are where we play.
Spend the day among the bricks and pipes,
youthful smell of sickly-sweet clay,
run up planks set for wheelbarrows
through a gaping hole into the
one-day / once-upon-a-time kitchen
where Jonathan Martin’s mam
will hand us thin white jam sandwiches,
red plastic glasses of pop.
Where outside on Howard Drive
the bus conductor in cream summer uniform
is lying face torn and bleeding beside his Honda,
but grateful for a cigarette all the same
and a clean towel from Mrs. Steele.
I think he’s crying.
Crouching hiding in the grass,
in dens under bushes in the field,
in a coal-house slipping on the rattly coal,
black from head to foot.
“Where have you been?”
Or in the garage
behind Mandy’s mam’s piano,
shushing each other smiling.
Or in the gap in between the walls and bushes.
Innocent games out of sight
of mams and dads in the sun,
for it never rains.
That’s for mams to worry about
as we crash our cars and fight,
cowboys and Indians
climbing chairs and sofas,
squatting around Jackie’s tea set.
Weather happens to someone else
who can’t hang washing out
or comes home mad and wet from work.
All the buses are red and cream
and go to Tang Hall or Heslington,
places that I’ve never seen.
Me and John drive them along
or ring the bell and issue tickets,
while driver and conductor smoke
in the sun and read the Daily Mirror.
Lorries are all green,
like from the GPO,
whose men climb tarry telegraph poles,
or North Riding County Council
who put their tar in holes
and in cracks across the street.
We dig it up when they are gone
with sticks from rocket-shaped ice lollies.
Men in green lorries lift the drains,
sucking up bad smelling grey stuff
Dustbin men clang our bins
every Monday morning.
We follow them through
clouds of ash and smelly tins
to The Mitre where they park
to end the game.
Is it really 12 o’ clock?
Where does the time go?