Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Patrick Perrysloe

Sat low and glaring through bent fingers he watched the unloading
of the blossom tree blown utterly naked by the wind.
He thought his father’s hands were now his own
and he used them as a mask with which to watch behind
what seemed to him to be the ending of the world.

Nothing would hinder the pink lot becoming dark.
The loss of the white flaking bundles.
Flowers wet and teeming, seeming to aim just for him
his cloth hat, his strong calfs and for his mouth, like confetti might.
As if all the world was shaken up yet glassed tightly and filled full
of this stuff, this air filling blossom.

A single button made-tight but by time made-loose
sprung-free from his coat when he stood.
Hitting the bench and rolling under.
See how these fixities can all of them fling themselves from you
at will, with something like that wicked button-confidence.

Patrick Perrysloe: world forgotton.
His door was dark and peeling pale.
Letters behind it gathering for him and one other. 
He was a strange sort of sad like the bee 
that stays too long to see the death-show
of all that he had once begot.
Nothing for it now but get drunk on the fallen fermenting fruit.
Or die close-curled within the yellow flute of a daffodil.  

See his wooden table all waxed in that particular and beautiful brown.
So clean but for one corner worn soft and dull by his nights
of smoking pipe-tobacco or listening to the radio
or to his CD’s: Gieseking, Bach, Mozart, Mahler.
History books piled high even to hide the laptop that some son had
bought for him long ago promising to show him how.

He stood and prepared himself two cups. 
Opened the door into the backyard
where he’d built a small shed eight years ago.
Where once he came home and found a crack-head almost dead inside.
And now he checked it all the time and imagined inside 
what was never there again.
His thoughts turned back to the tea.
First cup he took milky, the other tea brewed in its black leaves.
Ripped tea-bags halved and fainting and fainting over in the breeze.
Her old pills there by the china bowl, still.   
Eighteen 500mg capsules of morphine, 
15gms of Fucidin Cream for the scars.
For a long time now he’d a sneaky suspicion
that this, her last dosage went to the toilet.
Replaced with sweeteners or paracetamol or both.
That she’d wanted all the horrible pain of it in the last instance.   

He opened a low unit and stepped a foot inside to reach better.
He found the plastic lid and felt the embossed script and numbers there.
But he slipped, fell and hit the floor.  
The medicine tub tumbled and split apart despite all the seals
And hard white bits of her came out and dropped like blossom
Against the unnatural kitchen sky.

Or so they looked from the floor to him, Patrick Perrysloe.
Each one pill a little white hill of her for him to climb.
He tasted one expecting sweet, but no – better, like morphine.
He tasted more as they came rolling by.
If they touched the blood they stopped dark and vanished.
She’d died in no pain at all and the good pills had killed her well.
And now they killed him, not fast but very slow. 


Manchester - somewhere between Salford Crescent and Manchester Piccadilly is a house that has been there forever. Long enough to watch the city unfold for miles around it. From canal-ways to motorways. It's been watching from its privileged vantage point. Not so tall as to be noticed much by anyone on the street, yet not so small as to be smothered entirely by the ever-growing city. It gets just enough light. The train-drivers know it. They cannot remember a time when they did not know of it. They eye the house suspiciously as they near, changing gears, slowing down even to a crawl half-dreading the dark mass with its puckered brickwork. They imagine how the constant vibrations of the trains might be forcing away the dry cement, making it crumble and move and that one day it could all come tumbling down on top of them, taking the raised track with it. But it hasn't yet and they forget about it as soon as they pass, for though it is a-part-of, it stands apart. Like how trees sometimes have gates erected too near and since the stubborn gate metal won’t budge and the tree just can’t help growing the tree ends up absorbing the gate. So the house seems absorb, to crouch quite underneath the railway but lean in dramatically as it nears the tracks and then rises above it so that the two structures almost meet or even do meet. So passing-by the train windows darken in the shade of the house and though they are not conscious of the reasons why the passengers stand and ready themselves to leave. What they do know is that something old and strange has passed and that they are now more or less in Manchester.