To Your 18th Birthday

They destroyed all that you had,

& left you in the dark space that was left,

to whisper of madness.

 

You wrapped yourself in sheets of cellophane

that fell to the ground with each painful sound,

every time someone spoke your father’s name.

 

So you wrote poetry in a desperate metre,

drew faces of horror with blackened fingers

in the glass of a cruel mirror.

 

But the mirror was wiped clean,

and the poetry was put aside, classified

as the phase of a troubled teen.

 

And so to your 18th birthday when

you were supposed to do away with childish things.

You placed a candle in the fireplace

 

to warm your ashen face,

but never accepted that there was a place for everything,

& everything in its place.


Published in The Frequency of God, Close-Up Books, December 2017

Dirty Dancing

They’ve made a stage production

of a movie that was insanely popular

when you were growing up;

the trends of your youth now

have a retro curiosity to them,

like some sort of museum oddity.

 

Your music is now called classic rock &

your favourite albums are referred to as seminal &

when a young band covers one of your old songs &

you sing along your kids look at you strangely &

wonder how someone as uncool as you

could know something that they think is theirs.

 

Records have moved through CD to mp3

but a vinyl collection is to be held in awe

& video became DVD, & now blue, Ray,

but the movies are just remakes.

 

Nintendos are now called Wiis,

Mario has risen bigger than Jesus,

& Apple is the product of choice

for the middle-class edgy set

pretending to be artsy.

 

Now your rock stars are suffering from

old people ailments or reforming

for reunion retirement fund tours.

Bowie & Cohen, Prince & George Michael

all rang out their final chords.

 

Your favourite hangouts

have now been taken over by

cliché hipster cafés

selling pretentious single origin drinks

but you can’t smoke or joke about

how contrived their record collection is.

 

One day they might

make a stage production of your life –

a black comedy

directed by John Hughes.

 


First published in The Frequency of God, Close-Up Books, December 2017