I think the wailing started when I forced you to a cold goodbye,
you to your bedsit, me to a glimmer and chime of something. That
was the last time I saw you - me all unbrotherly - a month or two before
you killed the noises in your head.
They say its doing is the shrillest act of anger, the essence of revenge.
Are you avenged? Is it peace now?
No, I think the wailing had started
when we passed on the basement stair
at prep school, you hounded
by a bastard master on the way up
to punishment, me on the way down, intent,
passive-frightened, intent on some chord of a chance ...
How did it feel? How did it feel to lay your head on the line?
Could you feel the snap, the whip-snap on the track
as the train came towards you between the suburbs,
the blank suburbs? Could you nurse and sing yourself
in those hour-seconds?
No, I think the wailing started when we came back from the heavenly Pradesh
to the UK, to school, and I wept and asked for your kindness,
and you laughed, a monkey laugh, laugh of fear and self-protection; or maybe
it was later, much later, like when we wrestled, almost
as adults, trying to make SOMETHING of our pain.
After you were safely boxed and
slid through the curtain, the wailing became a feedback
of the heart, a rasping in the gut,
and it spread out from crevice to tunnel
to a swell and tide of howl-roar, that had
If I’m quiet now, so quiet as a
rat, always a rat, I still hear the wail, echoing
along the spirit’s sunken ways,
like the squeal of the 'Scalextric',
our one point of silent harmony.