Greers road is busy – Les Bush
The weather is dull and grey, threatened by a persistent drizzle;
I sit in the porch: drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette.
Greers Road is busy, a much used thoroughfare: it’s noisy.
Here I sit, back again in a broken city; resilient, determined to re-build.
It was 35 years ago, I fled this place; abandoned family,
head held low, feeling disgraced. Went to Auckland, start a new life,
found adventure, lost a wife. Continued my liaison with she who must be obeyed;
only to part some years later: bills to be paid, reality rules.
Played the game, assumed the part; donned the mask,
put on a suit and tie. It worked for some years; flashing moments of despair,
lonely walks in the dark: why must reality be so stark?
Fell in love, married; how the decades pass.
Played private enterprise, learned from mistakes;
how many times, how much effort does it take?
Dreamed big dreams, stalked grand ambition;
to find what? Miracles are suffocated by tradition?
I do not weep, I do not mourn; long gone is the question, why was I born?
Decades pass, death and divorce takes it toll; let the dice roll.
My mother is dead, to my family I am a stranger.
My sons are maturing; I trust they will not face the danger
of paralysing self doubt, vicious voices in the head,
taunting cruelly, would you be better of dead?
Times, they have changed; things remain the same.
All that is deemed “new”, is only a change of name.
I shall not wax philosophical; that is not my aim.
I am back, home; in a city in disrepair. This time is different.
It is not a matter of despair, not a place to wait out the years.
I have done my time, not necessarily with reason or rhyme.
Here I write poetry, stare at a screen; consort with the gods
of creativity, a global family without peer.
The weather is dull and grey; Greers Road is busy.
I am home. Neither I nor Christchurch will disappear.
I saw you today – Les Bush !
I saw you today, as if for the first time;
I heard someone else’s voice
come from your lips, Your penumbra
looked darker, faint echoes stirred the air.
The presence of another intruded, strutted proud,
then retreated. I heard someone else:
your mother, father, sister or brother;
a love long lost, a departed lover.
I heard echoes of arguments long unresolved.
You looked at me; your eyes were not your own.
They berated me, scorned and scorched me;
stripped me bare. Am I yours to disown?
I have seen you, young and vibrant;
no dark cloud. You held my hand, lead me to your bed;
impassioned embrace, a simmering heat expand;
proud and erect, you could say I made my stand.
In the morning light, what did we say?
“Hello, did you sleep well?” You smiled.
Why now do I see your brow creased,
has some sacred memory been defiled?
You look at me as a stranger,
I hear another’s voice. You look at me in wonder,
as if, “have I made the right choice?”
You speak of things that haunt you,
that will not let you sleep, bind you:
shadows of a dark keep. Shards of pain
bite deep, sharp and diamond hard.
You are lost for the moment. Let me help you regain
the path to the light; it is your right.
Is it not the mystery of living that deep inside,
the product of tradition, DNA, and chance
there are too many lives to take in at one glance?
Lives, real or imagined, from which to hide;
so many voices demanding, ever ready to chide;
we are a product of the ages, aware or not;
layer upon layer of consciousness and meaning.
I’ve seen your face before; I will see it many times again.
It will not be the same; the difference might lie in your eyes,
the tilt of your chin, the shy smile, a wondrous grin.
We fight a battle of sorts; one we can never win.
Pause for a moment, take a deep breath, open your eyes,
hold my hand; say “look at me”: I will. Locked in silence,
our eyes connect; no need for words, no need for pretense.
Embrace the present. Perfection be damned, etiquette an encumbrance;
we try, struggle, sometimes we win. Where there is an obstacle,
there is also a place to begin. The spectres are patient, ruthless,
will not retreat. Here, together, we create our own legend,
write poems in the sand, sing our own song.
I saw you today, as if for the first time;
I found melody, a sweet sound; asked for neither reason nor rhyme.
We spoke of ghosts, voices in the dark; demons that dwell in the night.
They can stay there. We are lost in each other’s sight.