The Ropes

I did a reading today at The Queens Hotel  in Leeds for a conference of children in “Care”.

How institutionalised must we be to believe that “leaving care” is a good thing. Look at those words again “leaving” and “care”.  Until the words reflect the situation we’ll always be in a mess. There’s a leaflet that says “can the state be a good parent”.  But as long as the state can not hug a child it can’t be a good parent.

I was in a pub once with a few friends and we were talking about our earliest memories. I’ve got a shite memory. I think its because of early and consistent trauma in childhood. If there is noone to remind you it happened, how can you prove that it did.  Memories are established in equal proportion to their relevance to other people – family.  

Anyhow, I really wanted to join in. “did you ever remember thinking there was a rope that you could grab”. No reaction.  I tried to explain it better. “When you were really really young, at infants school, in the sports hall. You know, a rope  that you could haul yourself up with.” There were blank expressions all round “You must’ve”  I said more desperate now. “I thought everyone had that memory. You are lying on the floor on your back and you think a rope will dangle down and you can put both  your arms out and grip  the rope and pull yourself up – at the same time the rope would pull up too.   Everytime I did sports in the school hall as a 5 year old  I thought the others were doing the same thing”. They were not.

I thought that this was one of those universal memories that all children had.  The whole table said no.  Later on that evening as I walked home a memory filtered through the darkness.  A boy on his back with his arms outstretched, not at school. It was much earlier than that. Much earlier. No-one came.  It’s my birthday next month.

2 thoughts on “The Ropes

  1. I like your poem man. I apologise for not getting back to you earlier. I've been all over the country reading since we met at the conference.
    Now what I suggest is that you find a writers group that meets nearby. This is what I did. Go on the web and find out where they are in your area and then go along and take your work. Writers groups are places were people take their work read it aloud and then get supportive honest and critical points of view from other people. They are also places were there are opportunities to be published and do real gigs etc. Let me know how it goes….
    It takes a bit of work I know but still. It's all good.

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