Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

La route à la ruine


La route à la ruine
L’empire ne serait pas tenir
Le centre est tombé
Il a couvert la moitié du monde

La puissance qui était
Est effondré dans intestine
Conflit. Les corps assassiné
Silencieusement avec le couteau
A mi-chemin à travers la
Nuit. Sapée de force

La volonté de tenir a été perdu
Et chez es conquérants sont venus
À se battre entre eux
L’effondrement ce total de telle sorte que
les Barbares ont afflué sans trouver
Combattre et nous ne sommes pas repoussés

Les murs sont en baisse
Les portes grandes ouvertes
Le peuple malheureux
Debout autour
Pas de dirigeants qui les conduit
Pour leur dire ce qu’il faut faire
Ce qui devait prendre un siècle
Pour construire était maintenant plat

Cet héritage reste
Comme le fait la preuve
De là où l’empire
Une fois ne s’étendre

“Je suis venu, j’ai vu, j’ai vaincu
Et a été vaincu dans mon
Tour.”

Malcolm D B Munro
Mardi 31 mai 2016

Filed under: poetry

Lyric sound


Lyric sound
To song give voice
The pen lift
To write the word

The feet fleet
To dance
The paint sombre
Or bright

Creation hold
Spirit bold
Embrace, fill out

Life, live, shout.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 31 May, 2016

Filed under: poetry

Another dark night past


Another dark night past
Dawn came to herald a new day
Brighter than the last
Spirit indomitable
Gains strength to face
A future full of goodness
Greater faith

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 31 May, 2016

Filed under: poetry

Grey Shades to Black


Grey shades to black,  white shades to grey,
Where does grey shade to grey, is there an inbetween

Where would we feel comfortable within this
Dubious spectrum, how can we on a daily

Basis, stay within the white. Can we at all times
Be truthful. Are not asked to lie, to  dissemble

To avoid being outspoken in a mistaken attempt
To not offend

Do we not lie to protect, to not expose ourselves
To prejudice, to harm, to avoid damage to our selves

These though are defensive and will them
Regret. When accused will we not lie

How many of us will take the oath
And volunteer; yes, I murdered that

Person; yes, I ran that red light
Won’t we deny

But most of us have consciences
Will have to live with that voice that scolds

That cannot be told to shut up
And so we will enter the grey

And rationalize, make excuses for
Ourselves, for our actions

We might say to ourselves
Well I won’t do that again

And we might mean it
Or we might take the path

That has us slide down a slippery slope
How far will we allow ourselves

To go.  Will we not at some point
Reform, take stock, decide thus far and no further

Or will we live in some nether region
Filled in the grey, never seeing the white

Should live in that darker world of the
Title; it is unlikely that we would even

Be reading this. We, those us who do not
Occupy this world, will read of it, will hold

In awe, be fascinated at the psyches that
Lurk in its shadow, this grey to the black

But we won’t go there, white shades to
Grey.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 31 May, 2016

Filed under: poetry

Spectator Sport


The bayou that flows through the centre of this city is a brown
mass of sluggish water that flows
between ten to twenty foot banks.
For much of its length the bayou c
annot be seen because it is masked
by trees which crowd its banks.

There is no riverwalk as there is in many cities. This is a puzzle for
such a facility offer a place for family and visitors to stroll in the
evening and there are usually restaurants and the like lining one
side or both.

When I visited my brother in a city which is famous for its riverwalk,
he told me that the city had pumped millions into the rive. I looked the
river,
not a bayou, and thought to myself, well all those millions did
nothing
for the water. Then I realized that what he meant was the
development
along its banks. But this is a tourist city.

The land around here is flat for hundreds of miles. I guess the reason
for the lack of a riverwalk is obvious. During the summer, the rains
inundate both
the city and all of the surrounding land. Hurricanes are a
feature and
even storms are feared.

Drains backup, roads flood, the usual quota of the lunatic drive though
underpasses and end up drowning in their vehicles. And bayous, of which
there are many, overflow their banks.

Close to the downtown area, with its usual forest of 48 floor buildings
typical of cities in this country, there are a couple of urban parkways
which disgorge themselves into the immediate rigid grid of streets,
all one way or another. One of these parkways is handy in that its end
point is right
at the opera building with, of all things, surface parking,
five minutes walk away.

The parkways are close to each other and the traffic is usually light.
Most downtown workers appear to prefer the front to back jams
of the freeways which plough a destructive path through the city’s
centre, destroying any sense of a whole. The streets are canyon like
and deserted, particularly at weekends, where there are no workers
crammed like rats in the towers, only during the week.

There is a vast soulless blank walled tunnel system not apparent at street
level since the entrances are all inside the buildings.

The bayou meanders through the space between the two parkways
as it has long before they were built, even before people came here
only a century and a half ago.

An organization has upgraded, and upgraded is right, by resurfacing the
rather
nice walkways and paths up beyond reach of the regular flood level.
These were re
surfaced not too long ago with concrete and railings on the
bayou side.

I say railings. They resemble crash barriers of the kind you might see on
freeways and are unaesthetic. They disfigure in their jarring effect. The
grass is not lawn style and the area has a sort of wilderness effect. Trees
are sparse at this point.

There a series of sort of tourist points along the way with explanatory brass
plaques
giving the usual hyperbolic, breathless information, as this were
unique in
the universe. Actually the features are quite unremarkable.
Except one.

An overbridge, the only one that connects the two parkways, has on its
East side a group of these signs. There are benches and the rude railings
bounding this particular spot.

When I drive past in the evening from my intellectual coffee bar to return
home, there are always people; men, women and children leaning and
gathering
around the end of the bridge point. Bank of the bayou is about a
sixty feet
below.

These are local people and I speculate what it is that draws them to this spot
in the evenings.

I picture alligators readying themselves for the night on the muddy bankside.

I had seen one once. The bayou, as it enters the downtown area, runs next
the
opera house. A city police officer was leaning over the parapet of that
part of 
the aforementioned parkway that finishes at this point.

He was silent and was staring down. I looked over and there it was, a ‘gator
lying
sunning itself on the brown, slimy side of the bayou, inert, master of its
own
world, oblivious to ours.

In some of the suburbs on the east side of the city in tributary bayous, these
creatures are numerous. I met a fellow who told me he lived in one of these
neighborhoods. Prominent signs run on each side to warn that the alligators
habiting this bayou are dangerous and to leave them alone, he tells me.

He continues to tell me his story with great glee. The local sport is to annoy
the alligators, he says, though he does not use that word. There are muddy
banks in this shallow stream of languid water and the natives, locals,
will go out and stand on them with the alligators within jaws’ reach
and prod and poke them.

He tells me all this laughing uproariously. I say nothing but listen dumb
struck. Apparently the ‘gators do nothing but, on occasion, children
are caught. Why this should be cause for laughter eludes me.

So I picture that the purpose of this gathering of people at dusk is to
view these utterly inert creatures who look like petrified tree trunks
and who not move for hours at a time.

What spectacle there is in this bemuses me and I think, I must
find some parking somewhere close and go look. And see for
myself if indeed I am correct in my surmise.

But I have not done so far. I am happy with my imaginings.

Malcolm D B Munro
Tuesday 1 June, 2016

Filed under: poetry

“Who Am I?”


Periods of great turbulence often lead to rash encounters, with the result that I’ve never felt like a legitimate son, much less an heir.

Patrick Modiano, Pedigree, a Memoir.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Who am I, Dad?”

“Well, you’re a boy.”

“But suppose I were a girl?”

“Strictly speaking, you can’t be.”

“But suppose I were?”

“You would have to be like your sister.”

“Suppose I were neither.”

“You would likely have troubles ahead, were that true.”

“I better stay a boy, then.”

“That’s right, son. That’s best.”

The above dialogue of mine captures within a few sentences the essence of what many of the novels and short stories I have read in recent times concern themselves with. All of them have been European. The phenomena is worth exploring in greater depths than the present essay attempts to do. In brief  there are many aspects to this question of identity and of the questioning by a speaker of their existence.

I suppose that those of us who have had troubled childhoods find that the experiences from those childhoods stay with us life long and set us apart from others who do not have the knowledge of what is to be the product of an unhappy childhood. There is merit in this, though. Just as Patrick Modiano illustrates in the quotation at the head of this essay, those us with such a background have stories to tell. The book that this particular quotation comes from is, as his title states, a memoir. Nevertheless, Modiano has told mostly stories. In fact, he as spent his life writing them.

As he says of this particular book, he couldn’t write an autobiography. (It is episodic rather than a continuous narrative.) I don’t think I could either. My memory blocks both the pain of childhood and of the accompanying difficulty, or impossibility, of functioning properly as an adult since that time .

I have not known of Modiano’s work previously. His books have not much over the years been translated into English. I understand, though, he has had a coterie who have read him assiduously despite that. For some reason he is now hitting the book shops, not unconnected no doubt with the fact that, in 2014, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. There are four titles of his on the shelves of my local independent bookstore, from no less than three publishers. This particular title is seeing the light of day in English ten years after being published in French.

I had recently purchased a book of Guatier’s poetry, bilingual thankfully, published in a series by Yale, The Margellos World Republic of Letters, and somewhat desultorily was searching their site to find other books in this particular series and stumbled over this memoir of Modiano’s,  with its startling observation on the first page, quoted above. You can’t possibly read such a quotation without going out right away to get the book.

Modiano and I have a similar background by way of childhood experience. Only the incidentals are in any kind of accordance. He was born, as I was, in 1945. His parents met during the war which leads him to make the observation he does. He began writing in 1968, four years after I left high school. Our backgrounds could not be more different though, quite apart from him being French and me English, or British, whatever that means.

What drives me to write is the realization, something along the lines of what Tolstoy wrote, that all happy families have the same story to tell, and unhappy families each have a different story to tell. I think of Dirk Bogart’s memoirs (A Postillion Struck by Lightning, 1977, among others) which appear to be filled with a happy upbringing, and a largely happy life. Kenneth Clark, based on his biographies (Another Part of the Wood (1974) and The Other Half, 1977) seems to me to have also had such a life. With no disrespect to either individual, they each appear to have only one story to tell.

Writers such as Modiano have a host of stories to tell as witness his large output, some thirty works. What propels this ability to tell other people’s stories I can’t say without some reflection. Of course, these stories are fictional. But they have to be based on what the writer has observed. Perhaps the humility which comes from the very experiences they have had as children shapes their outlook on life; to see others, to see the suffering of others, from whatever perspective they choose.

In reviewing and reflecting, on the lives of the writers I have known through my reading of them, I am struck by the extraordinary number of them who have led troubled lives and, perhaps more importantly, the sheer number of them who committed suicide. This appears to be true whether one looks at US, UK or European authors. How such writers wrote from the depth of pain that they clearly felt on a daily basis quite eludes me. The psychology of the drive to express their lives through the written word and through the doings and peccadilloes of the characters they created is certainly worth studying. And driven to write the overwhelming majority of them clearly were.

This is not to say that only troubled people write, though, truth to tell, most people who are troubled don’t write.

Do we ever know the lives of others? Of those around us who patently lead distressed lives? However much we listen to such people, what comes out of their mouths or is emoted by their behaviour, does in no way lead us to have any insight to their internal lives. Those lives are remote and removed from us. We, each of us, is only aware of our own inner landscape.

I cannot report other kinds of creative artists. I can only speak of writers because it is they whom I know best.

The value to us in our modern age is reading of the inner lives of others. I guess that, among other reasons for valuing the work of writers, is their ability, unique ability, to write so authentically on the inner life the characters they create. No other medium does this. This might be termed the preoccupation of the angst that appears to be attendant to our times, at least since the end of the First World War, if not slightly before that.

Modiano’s particular preoccupation appears to be with identity. This is surely a vexed phenomena, this question of who we are in relation to the external world. Certainly, writers in previous eras have given us internal monologues. But these almost always were, or are, running commentaries on what that character observed or heard. This device was supposed to tell of the character of mostly the protagonist. Even that approach to writing has been relatively recent given the aeons over which the writing of people on the page has existed. The greatest part of the history of fiction, and one would also have to include tales such as those written by Homer and his like, have been external to the characters. One did not have access to their inner lives, other than what they said. I mean it is unlikely that, whoever the original story teller was, witnessed what he or she wrote of.

Throughout that long history the greatest concern has been with plot. Who did what to whom. And many writers continue to write in this mode.

However, the writers most venerated in our time are those whose works are all  but plotless. Those books that might have no other character than some invisible speaker, or simply a stream of consciousness reported by an omniscient observer. An interminable river of thoughts, if that is what they are. One wonders if such works would be possible were it not for Freud. It has to be said, that were we to go sit on a mountain top and to live away from what we laughingly call society in a sort of backwoodsman’s kind of life, I doubt that we would have any identity crisis at all. One does not read of such people taking their own lives. Perhaps such lives force externalisation. In cities though, especially the major cities, this existential crisis seems to be something of a common occurrence.

So how is that writers such as Patrick Modiano can write so successfully of the internal lives of their cacharacters? Is a matter of projection of their own internal lives. But that can’t be. Those of us who live in maelstroms have little insight into ourselves. We simply try to survive each day. Some more successfully than others. And stay at home, lying in bed when it gets too bad. It is said that writing is a gift. That you can either write or you can’t. There is nothing in between. I suppose there are bad writers. Heaven knows I have read enough of them. Or, at least, tried to stay away from them.

Writing often speaks of a felt sense. How this can be taught to others?. Perhaps writing courses are sort of feel good communities. An Alcoholic’s Anonymous for those addicted to the vain and difficult world of trying to write. And it is difficult. Writers such as Modiano only make it appear easy. It is said to be a craft. And that may be the best that can be said of it. What drives a writer like our subject will likely remain a mystery. One thinks of Colette who knew from the age of eight that she would be a writer.

Much that fascinates us cannot be answered: the why, the how. So, the product of writers like Patrick Modiano may fascinate. Understanding how that world is created may always elude us. That doesn’t stop us trying. Whole industries of academics exist to attempt to answer such questions and churn out endlessly, year after year, turgid, impenetrable tracts read only by their fellow industrialists.

The rest of us prefer to read the real thing. The work itself rather that essays about the book, like this one. We would rather continue to be fascinated. After all, I exist, don’t I?

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 10 November, 2015

Filed under: Arts, Memoir, poetry

The abstract


When I lived in Cape Town I had
a friend who was a teacher in training.
She and her girlfriend, also in teacher’s
training, came to me excitedly  one day
to tell me,

“You know, Malcolm, that we had a lecturer
today who spoke of abstract high order
ideas.”

“He explained that abstract is non concrete,
high order, not easy to talk about, and ideas,
from the cognitive, to do with thinking,” chimed
her friend.

This little exchange has stuck with me,
although I may be paraphrasing the
explanation he gave the two women.

I was a little startled at how the
women were in one stroke introduced
a whole new world.

Since I grew up in a home environment
where such stuff was the subject of
conversation at the breakfast table,
I take concepts for granted in the
sense that they are by no means
strange. Meat and potatoes you
might say.

I cannot say that my fascination
now results from writing poetry
with the attendant acute awareness
of language or of more general concern.

Poetry is concerned with the concrete
and, at the very least, should the abstract
be spoken of, the essential part of the
writer will be to make such abstractions
concrete either by comparison,
illustration or metaphor, or some other
means.

Within an historical context one notices
that the philosophical, to which realm,
the abstract, properly belongs, did not reach
down into the general population until
about the latter part of the nineteenth
century. Even then, it was the province of
intellectuals for whom such stuff is grist
for the mill.

Quite contrary to this, is my generation,
where writers, such as Sartre and Camus,
were a core set of readings, not set as part
of formal courses but the reading done
among ourselves.

How extensive this interest was I am unable
to say. These sort of readings were no
passing fancy. Authors such as Kierkegaard,
Herman Hesse and others joined our list
of essential readings if we were going to
be able to take part in the discussion which
took place on a daily basis.

This fervent atmosphere, characterized
by hunger expressed by the readers around
me and myself was not restricted to
talk on campuses as we attended university,
which many of us did. But was the stuff
that we drank with beer and talked of
toing and froing to the rock concerts and
festivals of the time.

I might stress that all this was quite
separate from hippydom and all that
Nirvana nonsense.

No, the whole set of questions around
existentialism were of the real world
so to speak. Not of some nevernever
land.  Where the faeries live.

I didn’t get very far with this, here, did
I?  Still
what I have written here serves
as
a foundation.

I find it fascinating and seek to
understand it, these concepts
better.

Not least to be able to write of
them in terms that are succinct
and real.

Furthermore, I know that there
are readers who hunger for this.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 29 May, 2016

Filed under: poetry

“I don’t exist”


This piece is going to be completely unsuccessful.
There is a drive to write because the phrase haunts,
fascinates. No, grips. The phenomena, if that is the
right word, is so fundamental to our way of thinking.

There are several examples among the works posted
here that make an attempt to come to grips with
the impact of the phrase and this effort won’t be
any better.

Briefly, let’s start by saying that in considering such
a concept, there should be no question of it. No
question of whether one exists or not. Such a question
at an ordinary level has no sense.

But it is a thought question. It is cognitive. And cannot
exist, that bloody word, one can’t get away from it,
in the real world, the physical, and as a concept can
only be held in the mind. There is no physical basis
for the question.

The value of literature translated into English is the
introduction
into the language of ways of being and
experiences
quite, well, foreign to the culture.

English speakers are pragmatists. Any glance at
the philosophical tradition will reveal this. Within
the general body of English speakers this pragmatism
is clearly seen. In a word, English speakers are not
given to abstraction.

The European tradition is quite different. The abstract
dominates. Ideologies are generally composed of
abstractions. This is no more so than of Communism,
especially as practiced the Soviet State.

Despite the fact that Communism has vanished from
the former Soviet Union and its satellites, its impact,
its legacy persists in a variety of forms.

This might take the loss of security that Communism
offered. The reasons need not detain us here. (1)

Or the intellectual. This form is the one that bears
consideration.

A theme of a number of books read over the last year or two
pivot around this legacy and extend to those too young to
have fully experienced Communism as adults.

One example is of a work quoted within these posts. (2)
The phrase hangs around the book in the background.

“Ma’am, there’s nothing I can do to help you. According to the state,
this child does not legally exist. You have to listen to what I’m saying.
Do you understand? He does not show up anywhere in our records.
Therefore, you count as the mother of three— your family is not big
enough to qualify for aid. The only possibility I see is to somehow set
the child up with some relatives and get him a birth certificate.”

The social worker had such a sad face and tired voice as she explained
all this to my mother that you would have felt sorry for her.

~  ~  ~  ~

The social worker collected her papers, threw them into a black bag,
said goodbye, and went out. The door had not even shut before Gigo
let out a terrifying wail.

“Mooom, why do I not exist?? Did I die?”

In one arm, Mother held Gigo, who was sobbing quietly. With her
free hand, she was preparing food.

“Gigo, at least stop your crying. Of course you did not die. You exist.”

“You see me, right?” Gigo asked doubtfully.

“That’s enough. You exist and that’s it!” Mom answered, getting angry.

Gigo sat at a low stool by the stove. Time to time he would steal furtive
glances towards Mother. It was obvious he still had a thousand
questions
to ask. Then he was talking to himself, but you could not
distinguish what
he was saying. Suddenly he turned to me and asked:

“Do you love me?”

“Don’t be silly,” I answered uneasily. No one had asked me that before.

“Tell me.” He wouldn’t leave me alone.

“Stop it, I said.”

“Tell me you love me. If you love me, then I exist.”

~  ~  ~  ~

On the other hand, Gigo was so excited, he could barely contain his
happiness.
Then, sympathetically, he asked me:

“You‟re embarrassed right? To say good words? You’re a fool. Though
you do say nice
things when we play soccer… It’s OK, you’ll learn…
When I say nice things, I believe I exist.“
(3)

~  ~  ~  ~

The child, Gigo, who is probably 7 years old, a highly
impressionable age, wanders around on his own asking himself
the question.

Now, whether in real life a child of that age would even pay
attention to the word or phrase is questionable. Whether a
child living within the legacy of Communism would be aware
of such a concept, cannot be answered, at least by this writer.

And whether the question would come up in the Western world
is a source too of wonderment.

Nevertheless, the poignancy of the child’s dilemma strikes
home to this reader.

Parenthetically, it might be observed that, at times, Gigo’
is too adult, even if the child were 9. A nine year old
would not cry as Gigo does. But this is to stray from
the discussion.

Is it the case that a social worker or some other public servant
would make such an observation. This is to be doubted. A
Western public official would simply state,

:”We don’t have a birth certificate for that child,”

and leave it at that. But Tskhvediani doesn’t leave it at
that. He puts the phrase into the mouth of the “twenty
something” Georgian Social Worker. Tskhvediani does
not appear to give a time of setting for his short story so
we are uncertain as to how back from the present the
story is set.

There is no overt sense that the set with the Communist
era.

The opening lines of the story result from the fact that
the local gold mine, hence the ironic title, has closed
resulting all the men being rendered without work, since
the gold mine is the reason the town exists .. damn,
that word …

The answer to the question as to what was Tskhvediani’s
purpose in putting this phrase in the mouth of a seven
year old child cannot be given. One can speculate but
that would be folly since there is no guide from the
author.

It is interesting that, for the child Gigo, if he doesn’t
exist then he is dead. This seems far from the
possible comprehension of a child. Were this
to be the case the child would have to be exceptionally
bright.

Perhaps, and it is perhaps, it is that Tskhvediani
through this means wishes to draw attention to
the agony of living in a state that denies the right
to its citizens to exist.

Citizens of most countries are not subject to this
destabling denial of what all the rest of us take
for granted.

We would be unlikely to have been born without
a birth certificate, the state of which we are citizens
would be unlikely to deny our existence.

This is to render the subject a nonperson.

Since this question is central to the story, do I
exist, Tskhvediani  is certainly making a point
but, since the story written with a Georgian
audience in mind, the reason may elude us.
At least it does me.

For the moment.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 29 May, 2016

(1) Red Love, Maxim Leo, German, Pushkin Press, Published 2014
(2) Party Headquarters, Georgi Tenev, Bulgarian, Open Letter, 2016
(3) “The Golden Town”, Tsotne Tskhvediani, Georgian, in Best European Fiction 2016, Dalkey Archives

Filed under: poetry

The Pith Helmet


The pith helmet stands out above the heads of the coolies carrying the
white man’s
burden.  Its proud, headstrong owner strides leading the
way looking every inch the man in charge who knows
what he’s doing
even though he doesn’t know where he is going. Nevertheless by
actions
alone he is extending the bounds of his mighty monarch’s domain.

He might by his bearing be on a Mission, be bearing the glad tidings of
Christianity,
bring the word to those he considers lower beings, as
Heathens, despite them having
a civilization several thousands of years
older than his own and professing a religion
more holy than his and a lot
less hypocritical, and far more devout.

They wear loin cloths and dare otherwise to run naked in the heat of this
land. Our
esteemed explorer, venerated by his natives at home wears
puttees, boots, the coolies
barefooted, shorts neatly pressed by his
houseman, naturally, and jacket; an attire more
suited to a military man.
This regal getup he call his safari suit, although he is a long way from Africa.

This magnificent exploration arises from ignorance. These territories
have been here
for centuries and were known of by the Greeks, Alexander
came, conquered and left.
Arabs have traded from time immemorial. But
this highly educated man, the best that
Oxbridge can produce, from his
sceptred isle sequestered, 22 miles from the land mass of
Eurasia,
profound in his ignorance, does not know.

He will give this land, though not his to give, to his Queen and she gracefully
accept entitlement Empress of India. And a further corner of the globe will
be painted red.

But wars will come and be fought in defence of the Realm and quell foe in
the name of liberty and freedom, that subjects like these never knew under
their rule, and, from the resulting impoverishment, the Empire’s seat will
have to hock this the Jewel in the Crown, now, finally, held in high regard.

And independence will be granted, but not before the nation is partitioned.

Malcolm D B Munro
Sunday 29 May, 2016

 

Filed under: poetry

Duncan Sandys and the shoulderblade


Duncan Sandys, pronounced sands, in his 1957
Defence White Paper, like Beeching’s Axe,
eviscerated a vital part of British ingenuity
in cancelling the TRS2, the most advanced
warplane at the time, its nuclear capabilities
deemed to be made superfulous by the advent of
ballistic missiles.

The company which designed, manufactured, tested
and flew the prototype had a very large number
of highly skilled experts and workpeople on the
project left idle.

I was an undergraduate undergoing training with
them at the time and to avoid scrapheaping their
future lifeblood farmed us apprentices out to various
satellites
across the UK.

I was consigned to a town just outside London where
I spent the next six months.

I was staying with a young kindly couple. The
company always found a willing host family
for the pay for apprentices was tiny.

I worked in a place where there was an individual
who had a rather unpleasant personality, usual
in a company renowned for the contention and
pride of its workforce.

Home one day I was describing this fellow to
my hosts and spoke of him as being, “All
Twitter and Bisted,”

The couple started laughed which I joined in
and the young wife, a slender petite woman,
repeated what I had just said,

“All twitter and bisted,”

as she rotated both her shoulders in mock
imitation of such a state of mind.

Our laughter reached a crescendo
as we watched in horror at her dislocating
her left shoulder.

Our laughter continued not realizing for a moment
what she had done but quickly we fell into silence.

Long after, among us, the story of the dislocated
shoulder was a cause for frequent merriment.

Apparently she had suffered no pain and she
had it simply popped back into place.

Good job I didn’t say, “Shithlocated doulder,”
or we’d have had a second one.

Malcolm D B Munro
Saturday 28 May, 2016

 

 

Filed under: poetry

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