The ones in which I only asked questions and got no satisfactory answers or the ones in which the only word I heard (repeatedly, in different tones) was No or when I listened in silence as I was given clear instructions about what to say and when to keep my mouth shut to avoid some trace of accent or ill advised remark and the long inconsequential dialogues with girls of assorted shapes and sizes whose life histories I dutifully recorded while repeatedly failing to complete my research and the conversations I never had with bullies still not forgiven and those people who employed a delicious truculence obstructing my attempts to follow orders and do my job or the riotous banter with old friends some even then veering into a different orbit (and some now dead) always avoiding those words that would clarify my gratitude for their love or the conversations when I hurled abuse at the telly as crooks and shysters and psychopaths and the chronically corrupt were paraded as some form of entertainment and the things I would have said if only we had not lost touch until tracking down your tag on social media I made some inane comment which you politely liked and promptly forgot or the conversations that came much too late at funerals or in courtrooms or the ones that could only be monologues recalling those no longer known to those who never knew them and the sombre words spoken at the bedside holding a hand that patiently waited for the last full stop and an end to anxious questions repeated in a gradually fading voice or a final imagined vital conversation in which I recall those things I should have said and move my dry tongue and lips only to find that nobody is listening any more
We were just different colours on a map till we found we had much in common regarding our cultures, our aspirations and our beliefs. We agreed to be allies and partners while publicly undertaking to preserve our independence, our identity and our pride. We signed a contract containing numerous clauses, mutually advantageous, providing for our settlement, our prosperity and our health. I struggled to understand why you ignored the terms of our agreement, tossing aside my privileges, my assumptions and my faith. I stood and listened as your bland rhetoric persuaded me to grant you sole control over my liberty, my resources and my life. I lost my boundaries as the old map was redrawn and my territory invaded and occupied, altering my expectations, my obligations and my rights. They heard, after many months of captivity, my faint signal, a cry for help, activating their outrage, their sympathy and their silence. They said I should escape from this assault on all accepted convention, which only exposed their apathy, their cowardice and their guilt. They praised my courage and found me a new home where sad stares and shy smiles underlined their distance, their disapproval and their scorn. We cautiously allowed third parties to obtain a degree of reparation, seeking to guarantee our honour, our security and our peace. We left behind casualties to view our battlefields, forced to change sides, then rebuild what was destroyed: our friends, our wounded children and ourselves. We have built a wall between us now, and exist an ocean apart, yet still I carry the history of our grand alliance, our promises and our love.
I Thought It Was Just The Sun Setting
Crisp, honeyed, fluid, steel-sheened and oozing, A shock of oils from an artist’s brush, A furnace distilled through an ice cold prism: Astride the sky’s jawbone, a young girl’s blush. Horizon, heavens, welkin, pale rising moon And shafts of light both sharp and tender Draw chthonic cries from Gaia’s soul: Sunset over East Grinstead, November.
Jeff Gallagher is a poet and playwright from Sussex, England. His poems have appeared in a number of magazines including One Hand Clapping, The Journal and Spellbinder. He has had numerous plays for young people published and performed in various locations nationwide. He has also appeared in an Oscar-winning movie. He has no handles, tags or other distinguishing features.