growing disarray

only twice I saw my father cry
once, when he came home early from work
having quit his job
(there was a new manager;
they didn’t get on)
no doubt knowing his dream
of being a self-employed gardener, handyman,
anything other than a bloody printer’s clerk
was never going to happen, was it;
things were desperate
what with all these kids,
their constant squabbling,
getting through clothes & food
like nobody’s business;
but at least he didn’t piss his wages
up the wall like his father did,
coming home drunk,
fighting his eldest brother Ted,
throwing him down the stairs;
and what else could he do
the double-bed in the box room
a strip curtain for a door
(the normal door off
or you couldn’t get in or out),
the cost of school shoes, and everything else,
the weekly shop, the rent, electric, gas;
well – he’d just have to swallow his pride
there was nothing else for it, was there
he’d just have to go straight back
and apologise

once, watching the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show
the sketch in the Russian sled
where Ernie is in the back
singing ‘somewhere my love’ to Diane Solomon
and Eric is the driver
in a ridiculous hat and moustache
who keeps getting pulled out of his seat
by the horses
and climbing back up
over and over again
his hat on one side
his moustache hanging off
in growing disarray

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