Network My first is my most loyal friend; she is a locked in carer suffering as her mother smiles and can no longer swallow: my next, recently bereaved; my longest known is coming to terms with the prognosis just delivered – she has Alzheimer’s and 2-5 years to live; my youngest friend, an incurable cancer;Continue reading “Tough Call”
Author Archives: Cherry Coombe
On the Rec.
The year is starting in a fury – and all norms are disrupted externally as well as internally. Today I learned what I knew but had tried to resist, that my childhood and life-long friend has rapidly advancing Alzheimer’s and I am feeling very sad, yet not as sad as she in her lucid moments.Continue reading “On the Rec.”
Is it cruel whenlife does what it doesAs if to youIt’s only what its genomes doKilling friends you thought that youmight just predeceaseInfecting the most virtuousignoring all the worst of usWho thriveto spiteAll Bibles’ threatsof poxAnd your school’s best genius,the one born streets ahead of usLife swipescuts throughA child who surviveda LifeSplitin two.
Many disabilities and discomforts are invisible and further screened from view by Covid and generic calls for this to close, that to be off bounds and lives to be saved: a catch22. I stress however: until vaccinated: safe – space – hands – face and be safe while in touch virtually. If I were healthContinue reading “Should …”
War on drugs
War on drugs Will you violate my boundariesInvadeRemoveMy means of comfortFrom me? The methods I’ve adoptedTo anaesthetiseAgainstAtrocity? Will you take –Break inInvadeMy libertyAnd rob meOf comfortsI have comeTo need?
Popularised and simplifiedancient meditationsRushing after peaceSold in self help manuals(Shelved Ikea chic)Skip, evade,the gapeThat wakes sleepAnd must be facedTo laterOffer ease.
Christmas Lights hurt:they penetrate the private, safely catalogued narratives of lives;spotlight, with a ruthless intensitycarefully archivedmoments of regret and grief that all,just,survive.
To be or not
To be – or not, when all of life has driven one to do to be a ‘one’ not ‘me’ not ‘be’ not ‘watch clouds move’ or ‘breath’ not ask, ‘but when there’s nothing left’? To be or not to be bereft.
Go and play
A play I stage alone. Act One’s the glossy cover page – a confidence the stalls suspect. Act Two’s a fortnight stretched to months – a self defeating commentary as the plot unfolds. Act Three’s a history, retold, and problems with authority, projected from the stage, mirrored in the critics’ faces, witnessing, enraged. Act Four’sContinue reading “Go and play”
My father died, he hadn’t planned to, after an afternoon tidying the raspberry canes, with me. I’d asked. He’d said, that, When you’re dead, he thought, You leave what you were in offspring as these raspberries do; I’m glad he can’t hear today’s news. (In response to news that, post Brexit, Britain is farming farmingContinue reading “Shame”
It comes hidden in an argument, insists on being right, as if you are a medium for rage; of course it then recoils in shame and turns the anger in; you both agree the better part of you has lost the fight. It gains. Resistance whispers guilt and plagues the night in dreams which findyouContinue reading “Expert Witness”
Risk it Dick
Vacuous vaccine vigilantes if you’ve ever & only you will know taken a pill in a queue sought out something to enable you to reflect Think now what drives you to say you suspect a vaccine which could save your job your Gran copious industrious types distress Risk a prick Dick!
Round Robin What I’ve not done:run, dusted,learnt a language,zoom-Zumba-Ed,baked banana bread,sorted out my socks;washed my hair,waxed or Naired,written a trilogy;labelled all the photographs my grandfather left me;rewritten my will,gone through all the detritusthat I know I should;travelled, meditated,decorated rooms;rearranged the saucepans,made a Christmas pud …
Bullies are driven by jealousy, bitter and fearful your you might be, better and led by integrity; bullies are driven by bile and design covert means to undermine, un-seat, unsettle your you, lest your you see through them hiding in plain view.
Since the #SocialDilemma,We’ve all said, haven’t we?We watched the documentary,We know, we’re all agreed,We see, we understand dependency,We feel we must abscond and yet,despite the other things:the alcohol, the fags, the weed we’ve learnt to live without,as long as Fitbit tells us thatwe’re still moving about,We can’t resist the tweets’endorphins released:and feel, foolishly, but theContinue reading “#Social Dilemma”
Albufeira. Here, where my parents’ hearts still livePresent eternal in lights dancing seasI navigate cobbles as they did then,Careful and grey as they seemed to me whenThey were alive and I younger than them.My heart, once theirs, both hurts and scornsOthers who come from the place we were born,Fat pink Brits and their fat pinkContinue reading “Albufeira”
Covid Gestalt Here, where the room lives:its walls lined with memoriesand books;chairs changed by occupancies:arms worn;legs chapped;backs bent to the comfort of those moved on,gone to live in other rooms,gloom speaks to upholstery.Misery talks back. Here, where the room lives,a freeze framed archived symmetrynow lookssadly over what has been,and lost,and lacked.Silently, cacophony calls back.Voiceless, unsoundContinue reading “Covid Gestalt”
I’d rather Hoover dustproduced by daily chaosand the family,than, monthly,vacuum greying detritusshed by grief,while yesterday is livedin sharp relief,shredding memory.
Grief falls in seasonal drifts: hours rewind; mourning dawns as dusk hurries towards noon, blown in a flurry of last summer’s leaves across the threshold.
When David Attenboroughs are extinct & only videos remain of habitats a tv showed in plight in black & white We who were weaned on degreening the planet will weep & wish once they’re dead We’d attended more to words they said than painting over cracks instead @AttenboroughSir
Noise, which drifts:Others’ lives, lived like mine,by each other’s side;Music, late at night, provokesenvy & a sense of loss;In the afternoonmelancholia’s huefloods a living roomonce filled by tidal driftsof kidsreturned to sail away,tuned to memory.
What’s the difference between ennui and dread? Am I depressed or simply suffering from a change in circumstance which mediates against spontaneous reunions with friends? Am I shallow and fearful of myself since I have spent six months with no one else, or have I simply come to find I crave a sense of beingContinue reading “Ennui”
Spirals’ spirals spin and wind coils of revolutions spun, back before all was begun, to spin, begin again, revolve: spirals without start or end.
Extinct. I thought I’d choose a validated drug to see me through the floods that will soon draw attention from distractions formed by Brexiteers and those whose abject living fears are manufactured by themselves: Heads of countries, industries, feed our homes’ economies, and produce the death that David Attenborough’s explained, over and over and overContinue reading “Extinct (WIP)”
I got stuck, sometime on Tuesday,and haven’t left the house – The internet, a magnet, has turnedmy hands to poles, pulled to makeconnections, algorithmically controlled – As if, sometime on Tuesday,I’d become exposedto a deadly virus which has taken hold; Despite attempts, since Tuesday, towill the magnet’s poles’ inversion,block, at source, viral infection, Still, itContinue reading “Tuesday”
08 Head saidNext year our figures must improveI asked himHow?He quippedMore A stars on the listI askedAre next year’s cohort better taught than last?He laughedI saidI rest my caseLet’s see who comesbefore predicting grades 08 to 2020’s exams’-gateProves annual-and-mean-averagingMistakesAccidental birth for givenFate.
5 7 5 Snowflakes, all unique,fall in silence unobservedtransient, reborn Avalanches formfrom the fallen unobservedresurrected life People shape uniqueindividualitytemporarily Bitter disputes formfrom the fallen’s unobservedlegacy to earth
In perpetuity. What’s class in another’s town,head or place of birth?What’s worth?What’s status, power and agency elsewhere?Whose context governs how now’s seen?Who might you beor what can’t youfind the means to say or do?What is it that conditions you? What changes when you move?What limits and enables truthswhich otherwiseare fictions, too? Why, in pain,are anger,Continue reading “In Perpetuity”
Inevitably someone said excuse me Professor and I did my best to stress I’m not and she might call me Cherry while she on TEAMS still tried Prof the power-point slide is not (I said, I’m not) She said the graph you hoped to show but a young man in a boat Uni-float!
It’s not by chance that invitations now extend to lunch; on rare occasions Wednesday bucks the trend and I eat supper with my friends as we all watch our wrists, conscious of the morning’s plans for the virtual lives we live. I completely understand how this came about. A critic might cite reasons lent toContinue reading “Washed Up”
Sucking up to pacifism
Sucking up to Pacifism. I am a nervous type,a batterable wife,annoying,curt, insensitive and bright;loud, an arrogant, opinionated swine;kind compassionate and wise;encouraged from an earlier ageto argue and to fight for rightsto have a chance to swaytomorrow’s world today. Now it’s here I find my viewsredundant anyway. I and others of the linewomen who insisted theyhadContinue reading “Sucking up to pacifism”
I hated the reunion (Didn’t like the Talk) I’m afraid of anywhere it’s too far to walk My neighbourhood’s at war choosing sides & picking fights I’ve been through before I don’t like any club I’m in I’ve never liked the gym I’d like to live in solitude & get back on the Gin (CreditContinue reading “Outside/In”
I think I lost touch with my tribewhen I was thirty fiveOr fiveOr twenty twoAnd now my friends are, the best,In graves,Despite the draw of ‘laid to rest’They’re deadYet still the worst and bestof the behestsOf lovers, and betrotheds, now goneLive onInside my head. https://www.facebook.com/PremdaLowson/photos/a.1638197309754649/1638197223087991/?type=3
Losing It. I’ve run out of interest in novels, and the worthy showsThe National Theatre makes available, to chatterers at home alone. I’m weary of the telephone, and Zoom, Skype, the zone which stands in for real life.I’m a member of every possible causenow I’ve less personal strife. I miss the whiff of others’ pits,Continue reading “Losing It”
If you don’t get, hate or find anathemus the call for other voices to be given credence, please, retire & occupy the space reserved at the edge of the cemetery contemplate the plot – All you will bequeath inherited in narratives you left remains, unsaid. #BlackLivesMatter
Act as if
Act ‘as if’ At first I shouted back,‘being white’s as much ‘a matter’ as is being black’,fought my corner,knew my rights;‘Emmeline Pankhurst gave her life – fighting for my liberty – she was white and set me free – don’t you threaten MY liberty – I’ll call in the authorities.Shutting me up is just theContinue reading “Act as if”
Gaslighting That pie – you burntWhy – you cunt?Try next time, ok? I’m fine – you cunt.Why? You’re burnt.Try next time, ok? I told you, once.You’re burnt, you cunt.Try next time, ok? I stabbed him, once. You what? You cunt.You’re tried, this time, ok?
#Men’s Health Week
Men’s Health Week Is it my place as the Other,(woman, mother)To agitate, debate the fateof men? Male suicide takes more men’s lives, before the age of 45, than any other cause; should I advocate for them? Is Health the woman’s call? Must We empower Them,Enable Them to feel?This Us and Them’s the causeOf misery andContinue reading “#Men’s Health Week”
Us. Don’t tell me what we’ll do, or what we must –who are ‘We’ and who’s your ‘Us’?I recognise the urgent needto redress inequalitiesand examine history’sstories which afforded mevoice and libertyas a member of the ‘we’those who’ve always had a voicein the closed communitybeing one of ‘us’. Self appointed, virtuous,Leaders say it’s up to ‘Us’ToContinue reading “Us”
If not now
If this isn’t the moment to review all considered normal,quite reasonableto youwhen is?When the last rites reader stands before your speechless selfdespite allthat you’ve said?Why restart ‘normal life’& regret itwhen you’re dead?The past’s in a headBecome instead
The Ap to Being
The Mindfulness Ap It’s a system.It’s an Ap.It’s a market.It’s a pill.It’s an iceberg’s tip,A nod,In a life without a God,A source of revenueAnother thing to do.It promises a lift,A short cut,And a route,Shows you how to useAn Ap to free your you.Cut price irony:How to do‘Just be’,
A mediation … three phased isolation alone Except Love. Phased Lockdown. It doesn’t matter if the list of lockdown must-haves is still unticked; the Zumba-Zoom’s un-clicked, the ceiling not yet painted; Mandarin not yet mastered. Days might have passed in shock, surfing the net and chasing the facts, weeks spent unravelling life as it usedContinue reading “Except Love”
NEXT NOW The Century had begun in chaos. It had started with the smoking ban and all those old people cluttering the place up, once they’d ditched B&H in favour of green tea and yoga. Then Covid, of course, and the Amazon take-over, the installation of tracking fit-bit tags and finally the compulsory installationContinue reading “NEXT NOW”
Post Truth:two legs good
Post Truth* *Post Truth: what is accepted as ‘truth’ – a synthetic acceptance of ‘a story’ as ‘the story’ It’s a theme this week. A friend had written to his MP to say that he was hearing one thing and experiencing another. Amongst other things, he asked why Care Homes were not provided with theContinue reading “Post Truth:two legs good”
A Transaction with Trevor
Dedicated to River – for running (errands) and delivering existential advice. What follows is about as thrilling as watching paint dry. Something I have developed a love for, deferred since I have yet to develop a love for decorating. That is, unless you have spent your life trying to work out how Transactional Analysis describesContinue reading “A Transaction with Trevor”
An ordinary death
A short story 30.03.2010 The day my mother died She’s gone Mum. No she hasn’t. Has she? He stood up. She’s gone, Mum. My son held me as a parent holds a child. The dawn chorus moved from pastel to full volume primary hue, the curtains wide open just like the window, as she’d alwaysContinue reading “An ordinary death”
The Void is all the rage
2.5.2020 (Day 44 Living Alone – Social Distancing) The Void is all the rage When I first decided to stay at home, on March 17th 2020, I wrote a complicated timetable of daily activities. The day was organised to enable me to thrive: physically, mentally and emotionally but most important of all, to ensure IContinue reading “The Void is all the rage”
Brooker’s Mirror’s on the street.Fear shapes: choreography;Distancing and self-policing,Shielded by a mask;Limited communicationMonitored, on-line;Being tracked by ApsDesigned to traceRoutes the virus takes,Evidenced by snap-chat-vid-shots,Of the advisedHour-long jogs,Subjects take andSubmit, give upFor the better good.Brooker’s Mirror’s on the street.
Cornflakes Box He and I would make a stage from the empty cornflakes boxes his family donated to our pantomime; a family full of hungry sons and space – a place to stay, where time and paper flew from shelves into our games and future selves. We’d craft characters and scenes, tables full of paintedContinue reading “Cornflakes Box”
Perspective: for Ron Freeborn.
I’m grateful for the sun, today,My son and daughter, everydayMy granddaughter moreThan even I can say.I’m glad they thrive,we’ve all survived,As yet.I’m in debt to those who left,Bequeathed,An attitude of mind:Accountants who had column listsOf uncounted giftsSocialists who understood that taxWas a way of giving backConservatives who knewI could do more than I doLiberals whoContinue reading “Perspective: for Ron Freeborn.”
Weatherly Creatures I have to be careful with semantics;my mind plays dreadful tricks:when I read an hour’s exercise a daywas well advised,I made it mandatory, to: walk and imitate Joe Wicks. Cooking, follow Jack Monroe. Home school & work from 8, Not to forget to meditate.But now I’ve found my way.Every other day’s ok.
When I went for a walk the neighbourhood had taken on the hue of post apocalyptic films made in 1962 – the day after the bomb, predicted in the imaginations of the circumstance: cars stopped dead and silent streets. people-less and in arrest. I’d an eerie sense of a fugitive’s life, weaving between the wheelieContinue reading “Walking Covid”
Get to know yourself.
We are unused to contemplation and instead are conditioned to distraction: seeing the film of the day, flitting from screen to screen and not knowing, quite, how to locate or name feeling. Now the television trains us to jump with Joe, cook with Jack, craft with Kirstie and tidy every corner of our lives, exceptContinue reading “Get to know yourself.”
She wasn’t bad at being alone. She’d studied it, practised, perfected the art of shopping for retreat and she could spend days doing just about nothing at all. People talked. They said she hadn’t always been that way although she had spent most of her life on the run. They told stories of profligate parties,Continue reading “Being Alone”
Loss and Love.
HonestlyI’m strickenRiven throughWith GriefI find I weepSuddenlyInspite of meEmbarrassinglyBreaking throughThe normal thingsI always doA word or gestureTurn of headGlance or glassA random phraseMusic on a radioSomething lostFrom long agoRiven throughAn oakDeep ringedLoss and LoveAre all I’ve singed.
Before. Talk to me like last time. Before. Anxiously, as if you might hide your aside, your observation, as if I could tell that you had made a snide critique at the conference, of my black shoes with the blue suit. Talk to me like last time. Before. Don’t cross the street to avoidContinue reading “Before”