Illustrated poems by John Di Girolamo
One of my most military memories I remember is a memorable memorial on Remembrance Day.
There were flags unfurled flaunting fighter-jets frolicking overhead with flowery smoke in the fray.
Previously primed primary school children with chalk chatted and chomped on their rationed chocolate
with high-flying lowlifes leading lowly folk longing to follow a philosophy, or any old cold callous cut.
As three-market thatchers thought about thinking, and thanked their lisping stars they had no thpeech impediment,
Workers were willed to work on their soft ‘R’s but couldn’t help but Really Resent
that their bullying betters believed in butchering them to a bit of beef
to be ground down and brutally bred as groaners in their own grief.
As the years yearned on yearly, not yet to yield a tomorrow but a yesterday
the preach-privileged pried on property with propriety and prosperously preyed on its precarious prey.
Flat as a pancake
They wear a sandwich board to fatten themselves up.
They write on it to give themselves depth
because they’d never win the cup
for being treated as a whole human being
They try to change those in power’s perception.
Fight against the injustice of being 2-dimensional.
Walk the streets shouting.
Get knocked down like dominoes.
End up in a house of cards prison if they fall down fleeing.
Cardboard cut-out people
have nobody on their side.
There’s no flesh on the bone.
Can hardly see them if you look sideways.
They have to turn away if they want to hide.
I wait for my world to go round
after ages being flat.
With people far away, nature has a field day.
Seagulls raid empty squares vying with rubbish-rummaging rats.
I wonder if the afterworld will catch
my last words.
Whether They’re after you being graffitied on my four walls
is a sign of paranoia or just a tendency to talk to birds.
This is home.
This is the heart of your hearts
with all the railway lines rusted up
and all the buildings falling apart.
My darling silent one
nobody ignores us like we do each other.
Families have an unwritten law and unspoken
that there are no grudges, just the same polite fudges.
I come alive on Facebook.
Post a few posts so the others can look
and all the better if I get a few likes in.
Gives my life meaning.
Wish I’d been born in the social media age.
Could have been a sharp glossy baby on Instagram
but I belong to an age when it got no quicker than a call or telegram
and black ’n’ white photos with a faded crinkly face in my pram.
There’s a future I might not see
when the world will go even more viral and it makes me sorry.
Everyone feeling so socially happy
without seeing anyone but on their virtual settee.
Tomorrow looks rosy.
Bring on the rest of the century.
If you’ve got a comment to make, make it.
Make it nice or I might not be able to take it.
Ducking, diving, bobbing, weaving
every day is a slalom course.
Wakes up and jumps out the window without leaving
as his alarm clock goes off in secret morse.
There’s no flies on him as he rots.
He peers out in fear from flower pots.
Picks a few positive no’s from his nose
and plants them wearing bogie green clothes.
Love, love, love, hate, hate, hate.
He sits on the fence and crashes though a gate.
Crawls though the garden in camouflage.
Keeps his head down while at large.
Injects himself with his latest meds.
Zigzags around ambulances and hospital beds.
Has a giant car exhaust pipe breathing down his neck.
Dreams of killing it with a massive woodpecker peck.
The teachers sat on the same table.
They had no choice, however undesirable.
We always sat next to who we wanted to
and budged up if we got next to anyone who
had nowhere else to sit or wasn’t it
Or had fleas or some social disease.
You took your plastic white tray
And perused the menu of the day;
Whatever went with mash potato.
Rice pudding for afters and away you’d go.
The dinner ladies would daily serve
the same thing every week. No-one had the nerve
to say; Liver again! I didn’t. It was my favourite then.
I got my share as everyone gave me theirs.
Away from parental guidance, we’d just talk.
No-one ever gave a fork.
Mostly live in their head.
Have very little sense there
let alone killer instinct
on how to get anywhere.
To be fair,
luck not often on their side.
Try so hard with fingers crossed
their index knuckle is thread bare
and all feeling in their middle finger is lost.
It’s a sad fact of life,
some just don’t get the breaks.
Wasting time timing it wrong.
Their lot gets on their wick.
So much so,
they make themselves sick.
That normally does the trick.
The Birthday Season is upon us.
One more birthday suit on the line.
With a happy return ticket, hop on the bus
where double decker friends pour on like wine.
Mums going into labour.
You’re our heroines for bringing us here.
When you leave us, we miss you forever
and with our dads lift a glass of beer.
It’s another day purring at the window
waiting to be let in to lie on a parchment blanket.
Lay your birth certificate on the pillow
as rain through the roof blots the ink drying wet.
The suicide club tried to top themselves
with a note to top the others
like ‘I probably gave up talking to you lot
before I could even speak in my cot.’
There were a lot of dark little lines in the archives
Some that died a death and some that came alive.
Every week they met to pull off the inevitable.
Every each one seemed like the last.
Though their pain seemed so indelible
Every last second went so fast.