Thursday, 21 June 2012

For Ron, Danny Dyer's twin.

I got the call up in 2005
between jobs, between worlds, between wars
neither dead nor living
I’d been a mechanic for the RAF twice
which made me a reservist
which made it time to start giving.

not wanting to live all that badly, true
yet not wanting to die on another’s terms
not for the whims of a medieval monarch
or the corporations
I chose gin
vodka
Caribbean rum
the crack house
thought I’d mull it over.

coming round, noticing that the month had changed
the season too, those leaves now orange and earthbound
then plodding the hill to mother’s like a prodigal foetus;
have you noticed there’s always a hill?
and that it only ever faces the same way?
but finding only boards
on the windows and doors
I left.

on the way to the curfew I was grabbed by my kin
screaming she’s gone now you fucker, where the shit have you been?
we went inside, had a drink or four
he told me about the bathroom
the blood on the floor
the note on the door
“I can’t live in a world without my son”
our Stevie, adopted
which only left one.

I’d missed the cremation, inherited two large
walked down side of the M23
found a barge
at Southampton
that was joining a ship at Plymouth sound
which was bound
for Rio
they needed muscle
I was on
I was in.

I worked 72 hours straight, then couldn’t sleep
at all.
only just out of Europe
into the deep
briny blue.
then
finding the hold
in an insomniac, overcaffeinated haze
and finding these animals there
or so it seemed
for they dressed in skins
their only interest being
a recycled square of tin foil
blackened
like the hope of all times.

and the next thing I knew:
that beach that went on forever, the sky so blue
and sleeping there, shivering
and still quivering
four days later
in the bus station
waiting to go
to Pedra do Bau

off the bus three days, I met Ron
he found me in my room
asked me if I had ever know true peace.
I was nonplussed
he was an absolute deadringer for Danny Dyer, you see
yet his accent
was full on RP
he told about living in the moment
told me about being fishers of men
I was hungry

he showed me a neat trick I’d learnt in boot camp, but forgot:
that simply by sitting there on the spot
for 20 minutes or more
you could end the war
in your head
forget yourself
then he said:
“our whole family comes from this”
then he gave me a kiss
told me, “pass it on son”

for six months, six weeks and six days
we carried on in this vein
negotiating pain
hunger
and disease
with ease

there were almost 144 disciples now
Ron seemed like he was expecting something
to come to pass
soon;
then,
by the light of the moon
on the mountain top
as we cracked open our third bottle of scotch
he slurred
every third
word
and told me of the mass suicide
we’d all be embarking on
in three days
at 19:21
the year of his grandfather’s birth
in Mile End
(he had lapsed into cockney by then)
he sang ‘boiled beef and carrots’
‘roll out the barrel’
‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’
and I sensed trouble

I waited for him to
pass out
pulled a blanket over him
considered closing his account
but no
I thought what must be must be
slid down the scree
threw some crackers and Tartex
into my pack
and like that
again
I was gone.

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