Archive for the ‘Health and wellness’ Category


Indignant in her confidence
she is a crutch for many,
but now time to drop the penny.
That there are two ends to a rope,
in all her strengthened binding,
the power to haul sails aloft
where life’s canvas can only
be seen in her, as steady.
As she goes, now needs secure knots,
a chain splice might be the tight.

 

http://www.animatedknots.com/chainsplice/index.php?

dwk


 

I must have said the words a hundred times that night

close to mother’s ear , in hushed voice with shushes,

‘sleep mam, sleep,

try to find your sleep’.

to an ear that had heard my first ever cry,

and the first sounds uttered by three others.

A shell that had heard the lap or crash of many sea tides.

pinned back for orders in service as a Wren.

A vessel generously lent, often bent,

but thrilled by a husband’s laughter.

An organ that balanced her true singing voice

given in celebratory song for her belief,

that absorbed a bible and Salvationist’s songbook.

Open to aid all others, never deaf to need

this was now the phone for my repeating

‘mam,

try to find your sleep’.


ripped from sleep’s desert
I punch air and leap
into the days pain
roll from dampened moss
that was our bed,
and the mechanics begin,
the automaton who has
fouled the grave, again,
rises as smoke out of fire
but there are no ashes to clear.
A new dawn, new sheets?
and planted on a towel erect
an overturned soda glass
within the sheets
to assure an arid place
in this mattress creek
for arms of understanding.

 

 

dwk


At the village fete
While people starve
Pointed noses
Welcome with polite applause
Freak delphiniums and
Their permed executor victorious

Ignore society beyond
The lawn and
Strawberry patch
The world can go hang
As long as articulateds
Steer clear and peasants evicted
“It’s good real estate”
Forever green their cornered england.


I watched something that has supported me like a scaffold rig for about 20 years, die last night. The confidence to pursue, the guts to fight seeping away from a group of extra ordinary people who forgot how to do what they do. A space was left between their ears, memory deflated of something they had done thousands of times for most of their lives. Fantastic physical specimens paid a lot of money to entertain us in a sport that is very tribal despite their bank balances they simply ceased to do what has entertained millions and give courage through joy, pride and self-confidence through example.
I know they will come again and again but this team one wears the colours of, particularly on match day, are my family, my people, with my commitment which is a great therapy.
Even for the fullest in fitness, they present an opportunity to unwind, to scream and shout at a stadium or even in your shell. Mentally urging them on and on one is raising oneself out of gloom and of course winning is achieved for us all. Resulting in a better frame of mind on a Monday morning a happier outlook without the need for sunlight. I  need the tribe (a psychologist suggested that the other team in most sports is NOT the enemy in a symbolic battle, the opposition players are not to be considered other than obstacles in the way. The enemy is the net to be hit, the line to be crossed, the basket to be filled. that is the winning of any symbolic struggle on a sports field). I think he is right. Some people just don’t get it but have never been to a live game and felt the enthusiasm among so many and it is interesting how they find their self-confidence from other things. If someone hates sport I guarantee they are hooked on something else and can talk for hours of it!
Last night was sad you see, because I fall over a lot, do strange things etc. and so am isolated but I find self-assurance in what my team does. So when it fails it hurts, when starts to fall to pieces so do I.
I await a new era acknowledging that big time sport worldwide only exists because of the money to be taken from its spectators through tickets or TV, but the reason they spend is more than a little entertainment.


the edge of the bed

where hearts bled

help proffered, even comfort given

but the stain remains.

where vanity released,

partners pleased

and even time given

but the shame remains.

where time slows

and frames per second bend and bow

relief from weights given

but the life span remains.

where sunlight stripes

where smiles touch

looks and contact given

but the pain is sustained

 

and hours passed, time taken

on the edge of the bed

where this was written.

©dwk


. . . . how self-confidence, however rigorous, strong or embedded can be shredded by anxiety. I got MY letter today and read every word as it was not only an explanation of future matters but also a first point of contact. No one wrote or phone or emailed me to say this was coming and that I should prepare myself for a repetition of my humiliation by the ignorant to determine if I should be aided by Her Majesty’s Government. Appealing was an indignity, finally winning at Tribunal with specialists supporting me. The Department of Health & Security’s representative obviously having had the necessary papers thrown to him minutes before he sat down in front of a lawyer as chairman and a local Councillor and Trade Union representative. That told the whole story. When Neurologists and witnesses of my condition put ink on paper they cannot be mistrusted or brought into question by the DHS. I was made a lifetime decision. Because it took so long it cost HMG thousands of pounds in back payments with which I could repay my debts to good friends.

Already I hear the whisperings “but that’s my tax money”, well who helped pay for your grandfathers pension or hospitalisation? For your children’s education etc. etc. I did. After 2 World Wars after which the returning soldier or anyone who had a role in winning, were promised freedom, liberty and equality especially in medical and social matters, this Prime Minister has finally discarded some of the final threads of what his colleagues would call the “nanny state” in private of course. Soldiers literally, return from modern day battle with disabilities and are ignored, thrown aside. Sailors and Airmen after serving their country for many years are made redundant and then the government place an advertisement on the television for the Royal Marines??

Equality, – if you have enough money with which to try and destroy the world’s financial markets and oh by the way, make generous contributions to the Conservative or Republican party, which can now only be seen as corruption. Two to three years later how many financiers have been prosecuted, how many Executives have taken responsibility and how much non-paid tax has been gathered. I recently read that unpaid tax amounted to ten times the amount that could be possibly gathered from benefit fraud.

The very tone of MY letter is of constricted black and white alternatives, “You will” “It is important” the whole tone is that of you shall! or starve. Employment and Support Allowance (note the words of actual definition ‘Incapacity’ “Illness”, “Disability” and “Severe Disablement” have vanished from titles and text) and ‘lifetime decisions’ of the DHS Tribunal completely disappeared, no acknowledgement, nothing, no mention of appeal. The whole point of tribunal arrangements was to avoid the courts which were clogged up enough no doubt. This Prime Minister has played an ace card, it is not a court who made such decisions therefore, they count for nothing. So yet again I have to show that I do not have a wheelchair but still a big problem, however embarrassing, however hard I might try to pursue one day at time in some lucid form, I am required to…. well let me quote it:

“Customers will be considered and assessed for Employment and Support Allowance between 2010 and 2014”. I wonder what I am buying?

“We will send you a questionnaire” “We use the information to decide if you need to attend a Work Capability Assessment”, “A health care professional (a contractor has been employed to find and employ them) will assess you and advise Jobcentre Plus how your illness or disability affects you in your everyday life” This professional in most cases will be a doctor without a job, not a specialist Professor in Neurology and Neurosurgery whose clinic I have attended every 3 months for a very long time. They will, probably, not know the extent or possibility of harm complex partial seizures have and will do. Side effects of drugs or of the damage done by full seizure when I was younger.

“You may be required to attend a work-focused health-related assessment and work focused interviews” – oh boy, the bureaucrat is back in the saddle, despite amassing a bill at lunchtime (a recent scandal) larger than genuine benefit fraudsters create in one year. Yes, I believe that people out there are pretending because of sheer laziness or are just corrupt. Landlords claiming for dead tenants, people fully recovered but still claiming assistance. But I don’t believe that those who chase the sick have the clarity of thought that work should be created for the able-bodied and the cheater routed out in all places first. This week I heard British companies were advertising in foreign countries in the native language of those countries?.

“IF YOU DON’T YOUR BENEFIT MAY BE AFFECTED” (their capitals). “We then decide if you are entitled to Employment and Support Advice”. I now have a new Neurology Consultant who even expresses his concern at my being “unaccompanied” in a letter to my General Practitioner whose clinic I have to chase to get a medical prescription out of each month. This is for medicine I have taken for 25 years. This clinic is now run by a private company overseen by a medical Trust. 7 years ago it was run by a group of doctors and someone would call you, usually staff on doctor’s instructions, you would even know their name and say “you have forgotten your Prescription David, are you OK? Not now! The shifting of budget and medical referral responsibilities to the General Practitioner or the family doctor, a Urology Specialist once explained to me, was to slow down the money coming to medicine in general from central government.

I read and hear of the disabled, attending the above interviews and there is no access for wheel chairs! Mobility in the form of a car removed from a suffer of palsy, her husband worked part-time so they could afford their life and tipped the balance so no more going out. Others now taking their own lives rather than be immobilised or pushed into a lonely poverty, I understand, it is just too much. This letter lying before me now from Glasgow not a local Jobcentre, means I have travelled back in time to the mid 90’s, when self-employed I simply could not get people to pay me and so had nothing to eat or pay the rent and was epileptic too. A lowest point. The attitude then was ‘no wheelchair’ no disability, no assistance, until one asked about Disability Working Allowance and was asked to “wait a minute”.

All this instigated by a man who wheeled out his disabled son to meet the press, is now an overweight Prime Minister, who wants to hurt me for the accumulation of debt by the greedy?

dwk


Sometimes I wonder how much they really know? What is going on inside those tiny heads? You know, those little people who rush around with their skull deep between their shoulders staring at their feet with their thumbs jittering and chattering as if they spent a life picking tea leaves or getting the right bolt in the right hole before the thing, they don’t even know they are manufacturing, has moved down the line.

530Coolpix-00001

They bump into people, lampposts or post boxes, like little automatons, reminding me of a black and white documentary, so must have been a long time ago, of tiny little robots scuttling around so that scientists could convince themselves they were learning, the robots that is, that they were learning by rushing around like tiny spiders and colliding with walls or each other. The occasional object placed in their way to prove a heavily worked mathematical or statistical point. That through the experience of obstacles their tiny brains would learn at least some environmental behaviour.

Since silicone has become so expensive only the super-rich can afford any form of communications device which for years using simple laser surgery, have been placed within the ear, and even that is old fashioned as one company is actually growing comms into the shell of the ear itself. But who would have known that the repetitive behaviour of about ten decades would be so ingrained, the greys even step off walkways or pavements into traffic, are flattened by those lorries that carry about 20 containers, literally flattened, “pancaked” one old fella said. I must ask him what pancakes are? Cakes made in a pan perhaps? Anyhow, little grey people dying or badly injured, ghoulishly scuttling around, probably never even seeing the sky! And those nasty twitching digits. The old man said they all think they are playing a game, well, all I can say is I am glad I wasn’t born in a time when THAT was considered fun!


I am more and more, getting the feeling I should write that down, that’s funny, that sounds right for a wordpress site (I always use a small w as I know of the humility this community of key pounders carries with it as its honour medal). But tangents always interfere and I never get here. The ideas simply disappear. You see the theory that the more one digresses within conversation or even passage of writing the more implanted or embedded, (popular word at the moment with software or apps or applications as I prefer, or even executive applications if you are a stickler and want people to know what you are actually talking about) become one’s dreams, as in deep sleep or even ideas that come to one when there is no envelope around during brief resurface. There in the digressive chat pops up that tiny bit of information that could make you a fortune or some even call them Freudian slips and sliding. That something you thought lost will flourish in the most irrelevant, evolving and constantly changing memory ground.

I admire the idea my brain is rushing around storing data during sleep. From filing cabinet to cabinet, rushing around, paper floating everywhere, or even scanning all paper to turn important information into digits so its all accessible on screen. My local doctor’s surgery has achieved this in the last couple of years. Trouble is no one seems to look down there (scrolling) or even read my nuerologist’s recommendations for a change in medication in the process of filing or scanning or whatever device they use. They look like bad photocopies on screen and it aint the screens fault as it glistens in the shabbiness of a practice taken over by a contractor paid by a local health trust. I can’t blame doctors any more, its a company now the lead sawbones has left, not that I ever saw him! Now everything is run by a management and another word firmly rising in conversation, locums. This general medical practice is now led by a lady with nursing experience. Neglect is the word my care-worker friend says is the technical word for the removal of information from that file stacked wall that looked almost reassuring as you walked into the surgery and that mass of information almost welcomed you. Dusty ancient files in those cheap NHS packaging cardboard coloured sleeves that fitted the size of a medical prescription or a once folded letter precisely. That perhaps only my observant UK friends would know of? A whole wall from floor to ceiling 20 feet long! These small file sleeves were an obvious element in the architects design dimensions of this modern functional environment. Reassuring because you knew someone could lay an experienced hand on your file when needed.

Storing while I am snoring, making a storyline from the chunks and fragments to help in the process, a fairytale (whoops, computer doesn’t like fairytale its red underscored it again! Is it banned? or am I being somehow maliciously discriminatory?) or even a nightmare dream to bring all floating flotsam data to rest in the right place or even disposing of it, recycle binning it? Then I wake up, turn off the apnoea therapy device off, jump out of bed, do me stretching, wash (yes we still do that in old England, its underscored again, wait it just corrected and put a capita E on England, and again! I am going to have to have a word with windows 8 – ah no capital W!!! I know wordpress (red underscored) is not so stringent in its correction parameters) and while choosing the day’s clothing, from my vast wardrobe, a million things come flooding through and I run to the nearest pad or keyboard – but it is gone. . . . .

. . . . . . something about digression and being able to convince myself to write some sci-fi, because that would make a great plot and the rest is just a matter of filling out with detail say the “how to” writers. But, can I convince myself to take that time and with my useless grammar hammer it out? Write a book? But it IS gone! Even the joke about reassuring my mother the abbreviated f word was actually the name of the publisher involved in the forthcoming book, sorry, tablet readers, download. Honestly mam, faber & faber (both underscored again ah-ha, this clever device is not aware that the publishing house’s logotype is a simple lower case ff !) But then I am hardly an intelligent machine in a position to criticise as my random access is failing.


…. here I am at 12am
using boating metaphors again
writing to another darling
that isn’t exactly plain sailing.

Boats are good for describing fate
and in my poem, writing late:
the tossing of a craft in a storm
or the cutting adrift,
seconds
after we’re born !
Describe perfectly the voyage of life.
Adrift?
Waiting for some coming strife?
Winds blown by providence
with great effect for some.

Partners in life can be as sails
allowing us to pursue our trails
some big and billowing
allowing much tack or
others are for smaller ships
and sagging in ambition lack.

Becalmed, without choice
we wait for any movement
as in life we wait for improvement.
Currents can push us off set course
despite our mad paddling,
as if we could deter such force.

But, phrases such as: marooned,
castaway and high & dry
seem most used and appropriate
when there is no rope to tie.
No safe harbour, no protection
as the storm swirls and rages,

just loneliness, awaiting the next entry
in the log of destiny’s pages.

Phoenix1

dwk ‘86


In this field of positivity, there is a stone. It cannot be moved by the plough of knowledge, it cannot be moved by the pneumatic drill of progress, and on  it letters have faded to braille or have sharply chiselled serifs. Not Buddha, Jesus or Mohammed’s words, but text only understood by who finds it. The greatest obstacle to this throne stone?

Singularity.

There are many productive meadows, in which to create, re-model, re-design the future, but there are no roads to this fertile grassland and there are no paths on the range , only chest high harvests of realisation. Drifting so far from belief, logic or reason means many miles of life walking and  if we find the field the best one can do is cling to the perimeter fence.

Some do not have fences as natural clustering or gathering together helps in the climbing search. Assists in the struggles with daytime movement and fights off the nightmare with mutual security. Civility is draining away, helping without gain is not fashionable. If you are not in the now you are no one. Rather group in a dark pool of street corner limelight, in the new team, the new faith, the new circle, as natural gregariousness will persist. These will never find the field, their feet never leave, in all its irony, street stone.

Difficult enough to find in a swaying harvest,  one’s  stone has to be uncovered,  is cracked granite, or perhaps  polished marble, but heavily compressed  needs no test and will always be a cornerstone. That is our conscience or the still small voice.

dwk


2004
"Well what do you make of that?"
Amazing, a coincidental collision extraordinaire!
I am hurriedly walking home, staggering actually from the supermarket really weighed down, when I spot the ‘suits’. Not difficult really as half a dozen ‘off the pegs’, look a little out of place on my pre-WW2 Council estate. They are obviously having a good look around and I recognise the Borough’s Housing Director in the lead with a stranger, to whom the Director is obviously being very attentive and supplying answers to specific questions. The stranger has a cord and tag around his neck in Corporation colours, so definitely a special visitor. Behind them struggling up the gradient of our hill I recognise the Neighbourhood Housing Manager, the Contracts Manager and another face that I know from meetings. To make their visitor happy, comfortable or even impressed they have worn their best threads today!

Watching them climb through the enclosed forecourts I dawdle, pondering and I think……Why the hell not! This is my manor too, and rudely whistle at the Housing Director as I pass near the steps, see the suits are very sharp and ignoring the expensive fabric say to the Contracts Manager as he is about to climb the stairs, “how many more times are you going to walk this estate Mr. Brown”. Then quickly pass him and go down the steps to shake Paul’s hand and say hello as welcome. He has recently returned to our Neighbourhood Office now promoted to Manager, of this inadequate housing stock, in this now politically labelled "deprived area" a couple of miles from a set of private schools, but that’s London?
I could always rely on this guy to help with anything for my neighbours. A friendly man with a happy face. He was previously deputy manager to Susan, one of the most competent, active and clever managers of our homes, within budget of course. Paul quickly lays a heavy hint on me, there has been some organising of who the "Inspector" should or should not talk to round here. His smile explains everything when he suggests that I should give the Inspector "a wider point of view"? The Inspector is a Councillor from Portsmouth City Council they say! Pompey !!!! I say loudly in sheer astonishment. He is about 20 yards away now with the Director but his pirouette tells me he is a little worried. "I grew up there" I explain to the group in introduction and I get to take over from the Director of Housing who also nods and smiles.
The Inspector immediately asks "is opposition to some demolition here to assist in the funding of improvement to the majority of the homes, as strong as I have been told by your neighbours?" – a tester! I surprise myself how quickly I slip into committee mode. I reply "are you here because 3 public consultations and 3 sets of proposals have produced nothing? Nothing has happened to improve this estate since 1999”? He doesn’t explain exactly what he is "inspecting" but I am encouraged it was HIS idea to come and see the 770 household estate in need of “Regeneration”.
I tell him the majority of my neighbours have just had enough. The estate completed in 1939 just in time to have bombs dropped on it (I say pointing at the concrete air raid shelter entrances still visible in the grass), is frozen, in a suspended limbo by consultation itself one of the mainstays of the regeneration legislation. All major Council maintenance budgets had been suspended for 5 years until a decision was reached and the place was literally falling apart and showed him where gutters had fallen 4 floors, where scaffold held up communal balconies. I said, that this hillside is literally freezing even on a cold summers day if the wrong wind picks up. That "regeneration" for many tenants had become a dirty word and also an anxiety in itself, as no one outside a certain circle of people had been told anything concrete for years. Information had to be dug up by the individual. Council Committees did not believe the activist neighbours claims that this was some sort of Eden to be saved because of the "structurally sound" buildings or the "thriving community". Petitions had been gathered by standing on doorsteps telling people they were to lose their homes in this garden!
I tell this Portsmouth Councillor that the previous Tenants and Residents Association had secured the Regeneration funding with the MP and local Councillors assistance. Over the years we had replaced all the external lighting with something less expensive but simpler to maintain that was brighter and more secure, got everyone’s Council Tax reduced by pursuing one case as premise after over-evaluation of the properties. Replaced or refurbished the playgrounds with planning gains from the newly built supermarket over the road and helped with individuals housing problems. But most important we talked to Council Officers, they were not the conspiring enemy! Some were bad at their jobs some very good.

"Are you one of this group"? he asked. I explained that very late one night minutes from an emergency meeting were put through my door. The minutes explained that I was too unwell to help the people of this estate in this emergency situation and so a new Chairperson was elected. I knew nothing of the meeting and they obviously didn’t want me around.
I explained that Regeneration had been going fine that the central Governments promise of consulting who lived in the properties for refurbishment was kept until a group of my neighbours came from nowhere. (Proposals supplied to Housing Committees are required to have all sensible options for consideration which of course, the Inspector knew. Option 5  in one document was to “demolish all estate and sell land to help regeneration budgets elsewhere”! That’s where this group came from ignoring the other 4 options). It was ironic I told him, because many neighbours with big problems like damp often said to me "they should knock this place down!" This new group was composed of the politically active right through to the simply sentimental who had lived here many years whose entire family were here or those who had purchased at low price or spent a lot of money on their places, whatever their reason THEY, convinced themselves, indeed believed they should not be moved. That the whole place was coming down, because of a small part of a document prepared for committee that everyone had access to.
Prompted by his questions I told him the group had rapidly lost the funding for a staffed Community Centre now closed and the indecision on the "Regen." had now put the Nursery and the Mothers Clinic existence in doubt. These people, claimed to represent but did not hold regular open meetings and supply neighbours with information. The group contained some very intelligent people at different times living in a perfect location for transport, education needs, social, retail needs at an extremely low rent, some self-employed working from home, so any demolition for them was out of the question even if it would secure for the majority warm and sanitary conditions. This was all fired up by an actual demolition on the estate of a block that was simply unsafe to live in, years earlier in the "pilot project". It had cracks in communal staircase walls you could put your hand into. Yet the main claim of the “representative” group was "structurally sound buildings should not be demolished"?
Just as we were walking the estate, I told him that about 10 years ago I had walked it with the then Chair of Housing, a Labour Councillor. He said then to his staff, in front of me, that £10 million would not be enough to refurbish the estate. The Housing Department, 7 years later still thought £10 million would be enough. In the same year contracted consultants concluded and calculated £25 million !! was the minimum amount for basic regeneration. Proposal no.1 in that document of panic actually costed the entire demolition and rebuild of the estate at £55 million with the contemporary occupants having first option to return to the new homes after decantation.
I invited the Councillor up to the flat, I could show him some of the fundamental problems with the ‘abodes’ particularly inside where the problems really lay. He could inspect my Belfast or Butlers sink and its wooden draining board and the pantry perhaps? But he is behind schedule and has other estates to visit and inspect and then he explains he is to write up a report from a neutral perspective, from a different city and environment.
I say, "well, please say hello to Pompey for me", he replied in goodbyes and handshake "Fratton Park is in my Ward you know!" (Pompey is also the nickname of the football team whose ground is named after the industrial estate in which it stands as many clubs originally did.) I respond, shouting now as he is 30 yards away down my road,  "I saw my first football match there!!!"……. he waves and returns to the suits who throughout have very politely kept their distance out of earshot. I go upstairs and put the food in the fridge and freezer and out loud ask myself
"Well what do you make of that"
Play up Pompey,
Pompey play up!
chimes the tenant to his London kitchen wall.

(I have changed the names of all above for obvious reasons)

dwk


why are there people out there who simply cannot relate to others? Even with the gift of the internet, where it doe not matter how beautiful or ugly you are and every degree between your physicality, personality, character or ability. You are you.

Why is this a competition to attract, (wait I have to go stir the porridge), attract with either, words, images or even music? To have a ‘better’ web site, the most visited?

I would rather, when finished admiring a song, (and maybe sharing) new Navy deck photos, and your words pressed to the screen, go and see what cakes are baking in the north of England or what someone has been doing with their daughter home from abroad or how a graduate psychologist feels or what stories she has after driving a tourist trolley all day? Because its real.

The snipers, the gossipers , the chatterers, if you want your inability to appreciate reality, keep it. If it keeps your mind flicking like an animation book, fine, but don’t involve the sane.

dwk

. . . . ruby cloth

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Entertainment, Health and wellness, Poems, Sport
Tags:

I remember many re-weavings
and fabric still evident.
Passageways and maze pathways
through forests of violent interception
or dumbstruck obstruction.
Woven with a magic grace
instilled from decades of search,
dye work and strengthening
intertwined with the magic
of instinct and genius.
Patterns of passes left on weft
with the yarn of practiced efficiency,
sometimes off-set by the cleverness
of determined obstacles in parallel
and damaged thread.
But overall a ruby cloth for entertainment
swelled by the liquid of finance
and worldwide wanted association.
Still using the same design for victory
the pinnacle for the least fanatical
reached so many times
in decades I have desperately needed
the expectancy, the euphoria and
the lift from my pit, of goals gained.
All designed by a Knight
called – Ferguson.

dwk


….from the nursery across the street,
I hear the sounds of rushing feet
and gleeful, over-shoulder goodbyes,
not even contact with mother’s eyes.
Alone all day to play with friends
while mother and father
fight to find ends,
let alone make them meet!
To keep ‘baby’ healthy
and buy large eye gifts,
generation separating things
that parental imagination
never thought could exist.

Joy shrieking, learn wandering,
through their day of play,

once a neighbour complained
that “that such a facility should
not be in a residential space..
(as statisticians working from home),
..could not bear the noise of this place”.
He moved…..
They, happily play on, unaware
as should be.

But generation gaps are now canyons.
Most under 40’s have shared this absence,
left alone to navigate, without a sail
just a pilot, those needed departed?

Is detachment of young spirit
a subtle conditioning through
necessary gregarious engagement,

later rejected?
A displaced absorption
from ’parent’s knee’,
substituting language, mannerism or even physicality
for which only familiar DNA has the key?

Locked away forever,
inhibited by prevailing culture
that belongs to the consuming mass,
instead of the sweet intimacy of the nest
or grandma’s best?
Then there! A green bud
whose spirit shouts though lips sealed,
flashing against society’s soil
that the unselfish, the unspoilt
do persist.

dwk


“There is only darkness here”,

….despite the fireworks, lasers, glittering games, immediately the Olympic flame was extinguished, the lights went out for 2 old friends. I live on a communal balcony and my neighbour one side passed away “very quickly at the end”, and then on the other side “well the doctor said it could be anytime” within 10 days of one another.

The lady  was here before my insertion 25 years ago, she had been here most of her life and was a wealth of information when I first got stuck into sorting this place out.  She was afraid to venture out after darkness  back then, because the lighting was dim and faulty. Which led to my first achievement, getting every single external light replaced and maintained regularly, with the help of the Tenants Assoc., the Councillors, the police, the fire brigade, a wonderful  MP and a local paper, (the power of a picture should never be dismissed). All because my dear neighbours who helped me when I was wandering, dislocated from this world and called the ambulance a couple of times,  who I always did my best to help, felt “there is only darkness here”. I could not have that.

 The 40 foot horse chestnut central in our forecourt was a sapling when she came here as a child.

My other neighbour lived on the other side about 12 years and always had a word, indeed a joke, always! I got to know his family very quickly as his wife was stalking them! On one occasion he came to me and asked if I would hide the children and not answer the door to her. He was trying to escape and keep his children safe in the shadows of “the darkness here”. The kids  are now two great people with good jobs, and are good friends to me, one recently married. Because of their vulnerability I have been part of the researching, sourcing, funding and endless interrupting and talking to  make their homes secure, with new impenetrable windows and doors, that any householder would be proud of . Hopefully, their lives brought into some sunlight and comfort before their return to the stars, atom by atom.

Their existence was intertwined with mine and was never negative and got me into what I was brought up to do, help others, although, I have gone about it a little differently than my  Salvationist family would prefer. I am happy to have known my neighbours and I am not filled with grief, for that belongs to the selfish who require their past one’s presence for themselves. Even if it is only to sit silently opposite them. Many  relatives have knocked on my door to “meet me”, goodness knows what they have been told?

My neighbours helped lighten this place with , through and for  me.

dwk


image

Apprenticed as a fireman in an open steam train cabin, my grandad moved up to engineer when considered “mature” enough by his superiors who had barely set foot in a steam-engine’s cabin. He spent his working life stoking or driving these grey beasts. Then came the day to drive the new Queen Elizabeth.

Among his peers he was considered as the most experienced engineman and therefore, the safest, but some bureaucrat decided a younger man would logically, be a safer engine-driver for the young Queen returning to London from Manchester. After he left his country’s mainlines for the sidings, my grandmother once told me “it broke his heart you know”. After so many years of service given and respect gained? A certificate of long service and a photograph of his favourite engine? He retired from the Salford Railyard that served the Old Trafford Industrial Estate, supported the railwaymen’s football team, met friends at the Union Club and loved his garden.

As a twelve year old, I remember he showed me how to make firelighters from newspaper, as he had done on so many mornings to start the fire beneath the steam engine’s boiler, which I thought was wonderful! I, now too, could start fires, and loved helping him clean the home hearth, bring in the coal and set the fire. Running to open the front door for airflow, and learning how to balance the coal shovel in front of the fireplace on the hearth rail. Covering the whole fireplace with a sheet of newspaper when the flames caught, taking it away carefully when the coal fire roared.

Just an elderly man with his grandson both enjoying the passing of knowledge of the most fundamental kind – how to make fire.

dwk

The photograph is of Newcastle-upon Tyne Station in the 1960’s by Eric de Mare and is in the RIBA Collection.

No 3rd verse

Posted: April 13, 2012 in Brain Health, Health and wellness, Poems
Tags: , ,

The diagnosis may be for long life
or to be on a shorter tether
and the dynamic of such restraint
are circles decreasing in diameter
less range, each turn
more decrepitude each cycle.
But,
the prognosis surmises lesser strife
you could have hit me with a feather
in fact, a portrait of oil paint
raising hope for ever after.
More an image of pink pattern
less the reality of life’s pickle.
And,
A third verse? No,
misuse of sayings, simile or metaphor
should end, caught in tangled tackle.

dwk

 


Something that the now wide open door of communication leaves embedded are small carbon diamonds of connection beyond the everyday, impromptu, binary silicon handshakes. Our synapse log information, wanted or not.

Friends are found through intertwined threads forming the net. A subjective passage through idealistic spaces, not requiring the normally necessary unselfish tolerance of human faults or habits – for one may simply pull the plug and as eddies of bathwater, hours of contact conversation and enrichment spiral, swirl and vanish.

Stay inside your avatar shell. After hours of appreciation, interest and giving of ones golden self from within this untouchable wire cage, unless you are of stainless steel and can put reality aside. But most attachments remain as stains or delightful dye, which is so difficult to untie.

One is intoxicated with invoked, incomparable instances of incredible imagery, instigated initially by interaction with the internet. This is not a mere peripheral sighting. The woven web envelopes and is inclusive for those with the luxury of the fourth dimension – Time.

So is the web in place of: the lion slaying gladiator, the field or court sportsperson, the entertainer, the modern freak show? Even the culture of personality created by the unreal reality show? Even the writing and theatre of dissent all to keep the mob busy and quiet?

Then all this interconnection backfired and booted up the disorder .ini(tiation) file, on the streets of London and assisted spring rebellions. “Why”? asked a reporter of a London teenage girl “because they can”, she replied.

Chinese saying

Posted: March 22, 2012 in Education, Health and wellness
Tags: ,

the faintest ink is the best memory