Where are you mother?
By Simon Barget
Err, cos I still can’t see you.
Past the saccharine blandishments, obsequious rictus,
neat, narrow patter and quaint telephone blather,
spry circumlocutions and appurtenant smile.
Where are you, mother? Convinced that you’re listening,
they all come-a-calling, as you squint at the number,
and you tut and you huff and you plutz and you sigh,
but you fear phantom comeuppance if you simply don’t answer…
So deep breath… ‘Oh, hello…hi Barbara. I was just going to phone you!! ’
But gossip’s your linctus and hearsay paints pictures,
your cosmos constructed of half-mounted shadows
and pieces of canvas that don’t fit together,
slithers and snippets from questionable sources
and respect for the people you dismiss as uncouth:
the doyens, the captains, the bankers, and cats.
the men with the money, the power, the bauchs .
This is just natural and how respect works;
as in: forced into submission, and no meekness can earn it
you have to command it…like others command you;
one dictator inhabits the shoes of another;
accepting the charge from the fresh-deceased father,
and if she decrees little brother should do x or y
then without flinching or thinking, you’ll lap up the assertion
commandeer it, then perversely acclaim this coercion as love.
No mind of your own, do you really believe this??
And though I can’t be the offspring that slid from your womb,
I did what you wanted, the concupiscent lobbes, coy, malleable patsy,
pleasing those people you covertly derided,
until sensing I could have a life of my own, which mightn’t
accord with safety and herd and Jews and douceur and not not
singing feathers, (I’m hardly a firebrand, though I have burnt some bridges),
you squirmed and resisted whilst flatly denying, always denying
that the objective’s inclusion, acceptance, just to fit in.
And failed to accord me a right to exist, ask Laing what this means.
So tell me, though you wouldn’t, from what are you hiding?
The family fatwa, the shulgoing snipers, the Holland-Park-stare?
So when the anger recedes, and love is effulgent
I’m further enshrouded, because do you deserve it?
I wish I could thank you for lending me money,
for the shows of support, for…I’m not sure what else.
And I can’t help but restrain them, the thanks and the love
Cos you’re not on my side, and you really don’t see me.
The anger’s like beacons, they point to the truth
and promise salvation. But the truth is not static
so I flail towards them and when I’m beside them,
too close even to see them, I can drop anchor.
The anchor’s conviction and freedom from torment,
and despite what you say, they’ll lead me right out this
impenetrable fog. I know truth has its place,
just like any construct, truth is not righteousness,
truth is not kindness, truth can be sour for sensitive stomachs.
I am only one person, but I need to ensure that I get my fair share.
And if I can’t see you mother, perhaps you’re not there.