Monday, August 08, 2011

Colin Shaddick

Sleeping With Grandma (Micro-Pofiction)

If someone had told me,
long, long ago
when I was beatnik-young;
with a head stuffed
full of lofty ideas
and a dog-eared copy
of The Dharma Bums
sticking out
of my corduroy jacket pocket –
that in the blink
of a metaphorical eye,
I’d be going to bed
with a grandmother
night after night,
l’d have been horror-struck
to say the least ...
I would have told them straight
that I’d rather be hung.

I’d have told them
that us jeaned-up
and sandaled poets,
us Monk inspired musicians,
us adventurers
and free-thinkers:
the enlightened ones who’d follow
a winding road to anywhere
just to gain
a little more understanding,
would always attract young
and feisty women
to our beds at night –
and would go crazy
with all the demanding.

I would have been wrong –
He or she would have been right.
I am, these days,
sleeping with a Gran.
And do you know...
It feels quite natural
and I don’t feel like a pervert
for owning up to it.
It is, after all,
part of the bigger plan.

All the fears I once had
have now moved out:
there’s no false teeth
grinning menacingly from a jar,
no heavy cotton nightdress
to get your nails hooked up in,
no maze of deep creases
to get me confused...
No bits that unscrew;
no curlers,
no profound,
or even selective deafness –
Nothing out of the ordinary
to make me bemused.

No obstinacy.
No hoists or slings
to get things to the right height
and no unattractive chrome commode
parked menacingly close:
there to remind one of the possibility
of leakage,
if one had to walk
across the bedroom to the toilet,
(once imagined to take place
half-way through the act of lovemaking) –
No, nothing remotely like it.
Nothing that is displeasing
to the thought processes, or eye.

My mate has not been so lucky
with his partner, though.
He told me she’s lost
her sense of direction
and will sometimes get herself
into some quite embarrassing situations,
and that she’s also lost it
with regard to any notion
of appropriate time or place.
That’s why she has no contact
with many of her close relatives.
Very few come and show their face.

They once went
on an organised bus trip,
and they’d hardly travelled half a mile
when she accidentally dropped
her bag of bacon sandwiches.
They were seated
at the front end of the bus.

They were perched,
like a couple of budgies,
on the long seat that faces
the other passengers;
the seat that everyone
tries to avoid like the plague –
especially if you’re wearing
an uncomfortable truss.

Apparently, she had insisted that she knew
a quick way to the bus station.
She had run on ahead and quickly
got lost, and as a consequence
they were late in getting to the bus
and had to take the only seating left.
The embarrassing seat that faces
the rest of the peering passengers –
They felt totally bereft.

The neatly wrapped slices of bread
ended up between my mate’s feet.
His partner, without too much thought,
immediately bent forward to retrieve it –
Well, it must have been the sudden rush of blood,
because it was at this particular point
that she obviously became totally confused.
My mate was heard to shout something like,
‘What the hell are you doing, Jean?’
Because in a flash,
she was grabbing frantically
at the front his trousers and ‘talking dirty’:
something that he’d encouraged her to do,
when they first met
and were pushing thirty.

After he’d poured
his Thermos of tea over her head
to save further humiliation,
she came to her senses once again
and picked up her sandwiches.
She sat there as bold as you like
asking what the rest of the passengers
were laughing at –
Well, the driver asked them to get off
at the next service station
and they were told not to attempt to use
his bus company in the future.
She now takes trips in her brain;
much like my mate did, back in the 60s.
‘She can be gone for hours’, he said.

Isn’t it funny how situations can change?
He said she’d never smoke anything,
back then, but now,
after a fresh bacon sandwich
and a helping hand to the seat
next to the old Dansette record player,
she’ll be on a trip in no time:
carried along by psychedelic sound waves.

‘Well, it isn’t so bad’, he said.
‘At least it gives me the opportunity
to play my old vinyl again’.

I suppose every cloud has its silver lining.

1 comment:

colin Shaddick said...

I'll be performing this new work during my Poetry and Music Fringe Event at the Apledore Book Festival on September 30th.
My Web: