For Tomas and Lilian
A face long unloved will at some point grow ugly,
As unkissed features untended will as with an unkempt
Garden grow wild, as it is with my face and as it is
With my garden, which under my mother’s care
Was well tended back before when her life’s strong argued case
Became filed. Sadly for me, this was closed twelve years
Today, to the letter; while eighteen before her, and now
Three decades gone my Dad too, fell into an empty bath,
Heart attacked, his brown eyes exchanged for black glasses,
While my Mum, cancer coated and cosmos conveyed
Lost life’s hue. She looked close to green when she died,
An alien primed in her passing both for stars and sensations
That those lumbered by life can’t describe. For it can be
A burden to build from first breath a common cause
That carves purpose; as life’s loan accrues interest
Before being recalled by fate as God’s jibe. And here is
The punchline for me and my two special people
Joined by one day, as if driven by a speeding death
With no clutch. By 1994, they had been divorced
For ten years, in which my Dad had not said a word
To my mother. He had lived with three women,
In four different houses, step-fathered; indeed,
My Dad’s decade away from my Mum had brought much
Before it too was all lost; from his own sacred mother,
To his job, house and last girlfriend, so when he travelled
To me he was the true walking wounded, and a brave one
At that, with no crutch. I had started acting by then,
Just as his work was ending. He had nowhere to go
But was hopeful that in Liverpool he’d renew. And so
I found him a flat and a job to tide him over,
But that starred sea was soon turning, as blots in the blue
Splatter sun. And the cold fronts confirm. Liverpool was
My father’s third city. From Budapest under Stalin
To Eden’s London, snakes and ladders slid and were falling,
With each sting a stirring, while potentially set to stun.
And yet Tomas prospered and walked, learning both
The language and London. My Grandmother, Uncle and Aunt
Quickly followed and their Holocaust loss was appeased.
They became suburban and rose around the garden gates
Of this country. Carefully pruned then in Kenton,
They became settled having first been the seized. My mum
Lived next door, and while her Dad’s Bookie bred fate
And fortune brought comfort, was tainted too by frustration,
As a lack of scope shaped her life. Girls like her had to work.
There was no little, or no aspiration. University was the province
Not of Zone 6. The Class knife may not have been sharpened
By then, but you could still feel it cut all around you.
A good girl got married. You were at best Secretary, and nothing
At all if not wife. She was in Dickens and Jones at 15
And at 21, she nearly ran away with a Sailor. But this was soon
Stopped by her parents. He wasn’t jewish, you see. Creed as strife.
And so the two met and in 1963 they were married. Six years
Passed together. It seems reasonably. And then I was born
And the trouble was seeded. With birth’s primal focus,
My parents’ rebound fucked the free by showing love’s bind
Lays in the mind of a marriage, whose thoughts can roam;
Being happy is conjecture at best, at worst dream,
And so they sought other things, throughout a slow
Separation. It took them fourteen years to find freedom
And to fully understand what that means. They were
Never really happy again, though each of course had
Their moments. As have I. Yet that island, which others
Gain and grace remains far and separated by sea
As I contemplate wasted water, on this day of all days
As I search and scribe for the star that may shine still
On them, and grant them renewal, in that golden garden
Where nothing is wild and each bloom has a beginning
Scored in, pulsating through pollen that bursts
For Black Hole bees and for beings who strive beyond box
And room and live again somewhere else and as something
Else also. On the turn of the 10th my two people,
The authors of my heart were star joined. They could not see
In their life the prize and purpose between them.
Love does not need consummation and is not bought
By chance or by coin. It is perhaps that far force
Whose origin point remains open. Love can be darkness.
It is absence and Ark, loss and loin. For The dead become
Beautiful, as soon as memory seals them. The dead
Design for us the lasting look of all things. And so I grow
Uglier as each feature fattens, and am reaching an age
Where the movement between what I was and will be
Plays lute strings. And moves much faster each day.
We should not forget that Gravity was not made for apples.
It abounds for position and for the force of attraction
Between object and earth, sun and me.
Gravity is ghost influence. It is appeal and need.
Its love lending, both you and I to the planet
And to the proper place to feel free.
Which is wherever they are; as divorced in death
As in living, but as perhaps twinned lights shining,
Communication of sorts can resume. So today,
And unloved, I imagine an entirely different encounter.
And one that is rhymed and romantic, in which mistakes
Are closed mirrors and accomplishments are sent signals.
I send one now with this poem. Mum and Dad,
Can you see me? On this scared and sacred day
I am dying to speak and sense you here.
See you soon.
David Erdos 10th February 2024