The night of our life,
And the home that could be,
It’s mostly just a room,
With enough beds for a group of sleazy English lads,
Or the accounting department catching a weekend off,
To quench that age-old ambition
Of a weekend bender abroad.
Ha-ha, see –
It’s less of an apartment and more of a factory,
I’ve heard of the Czech spring rising —
Until the tanks closed in on those soft children
And the Vltava was stripped of all its blue,
Closing tight and killing any chance of life,
The way that those who can close, do.
Yet still for us,
This is Prague in autumn,
The music from the greasy bar rising up
to the window sill that’s
Broken and doesn’t close,
Mind the shower’s cracked tray,
Skin oils cold on bed clothes.
The host knows,
But what’s there to say – it was cheap.
But what’s there to say when
a few niggling guests stand in the way
Of a killing,
And that killing is you and me.
She turns on her side.
There is silence now for a while,
The traditional Czech band below
has faded out into the night.
I close the window,
Hit the latch at the third time,
Recline and then it’s
She and me, the woman I call Mum.
Today snarls at each other outside the park.
The wheezing related to the pressure
of the arteries of your heart,
“Just look” – as you show how your ankles swell,
“Oh well,” I answer.
Tired of your life,
Tired of you weighing on me
Why can’t you see me,
And how I just need a moments’ silence.
But it’s just a little longer to walk
And it’s just a little souvenir,
So go on buy it.
I’ll wait for you outside,
And we do,
Me and you,
Who saw the bare sky towards Constantinople,
Huddled in the mud, put words to their wonder,
Asking, why do we fight?
Boys armed to teeth in trenches,
Why do we fight at all?
Our love story, mother,
Like that of Romeo and Juliet,
Verona, Mantua, Montague, Capulet,
But the parent-child tale is
more poignant yet –
You who dies first gave life first to me.
And now on your side,
The dry skin of your feet
There, but buried under
wrinkled fold and pleat.
I take out my headphones,
Look at you,
Shy to look too long,
And now there is silence,
And the night has come,
And me and the lamplight,
And I, your son.