Lost Love

The Streets: Dry Your Eyes

The pain in this song is visceral and it is in the tiny details that you can appreciate the agony that he is going through. I also love the way he combines the spoken word and the music by using a sung chorus to glue the whole piece together.

Mike-Skinner-the-Streets-007
Mike Skinner The Streets

Have you ever had your heart-broken? Of course you have , everybody has at one time in their lives. The first woman to break my heart was called Lynn. I met her when I worked in Bainbridge’s department store where she worked on the beauty counter selling eyelashes. The sixties was all about the eyelashes.

I had never experienced emotions like it before and it was amazing. When we were together I was elated and when we were apart I was anticipating our next date. We could talk for hours and in the way that young people do we explored our emotions and our bodies. 

There was one major problem, both of us lived at home with our families. Today, we would have got a flat together but in those far off days that was not how things were done. We had a wedding in the cathedral in Newcastle with the her looking amazing in her wedding dress and me looking a right idiot in a mourning suit but I didn’t care. I was in love.

I do not remember much about that time, large chunks have disappeared from my memory. All I know is that six months later she left. Later, I understood we were both too young and not emotionally equipped for marriage. Her Father had died not long before we met and she was a little lost and I must have offered some sort of security but she must have realised that I was not the one for her. Like in the song, I remember trying to persuade her not to leave but nothing I said made any difference.

In the immediate aftermath after she left I was devastated, depressed and miserable. However, it taught me some valuable life lessons. I found out who my true friends were. Even when I was miserable they stood by me. I learnt to stand on my own two feet and be independent.  After a particularly disastrous meal consisting of a “cook in the tin” steak pie, instant potato and peas I dug out a recipe book we had been given as a wedding present and I discovered a love of cooking that I still enjoy today.

Except for a brief encounter a short time afterwards I never saw her again. Soon after I heard through the grapevine she was seeing someone else. I have no idea what happened to Lynn but I hope she found love and that she has had a happy life.  

 

Lost Love

The taxi driver drops the small suitcase into the boot

She slips into the back seat and pulls her coat collar up

Water pulses onto the windscreen from a sullen northern sky

All that was found and lost she will leave behind

All that is unknown and terrifying she will face alone

 

© Jeff Price November 2017

 

Hedgerow Jam

The Lovin Spoonful: Summer in the City

It’s over, gone not going to see the warmth until next year. The winds are blowing through Newcastle. The trees outside our apartment are swaying likes drunks at a party. Here in the North of England we enjoy very short summer nights with the sun hardly Lovin_Spoonful_1965setting but in the winter the opposite happens and the sun rises reluctantly like a teenager from its sleep in the morning and goes to bed like an old aged pensioner tired of life. The Lovin Spoonful’s Summer in the City is a last farewell until we meet again next year.

This morning walking down the bridleway that runs along side the apartments I noticed the bramble bushes had been stripped of their fruit and only a handful of blackberries remained. Last September Lynda and I picked bags full of fruit and made hedgerow jam but this year everything has ripened a bit too early and we have missed our chance to harvest this years crop.

When I was in primary school in the 1950’s our half term holiday at the end of October was known locally as Blackberry Week but these days the blackberries are finished by the beginning of September. As I write  category 5 hurricanes are sweeping through the Caribbean and the Florida coast, droughts have become endemic in Northern Africa, climate change is becoming a frightening reality that only the deluded can doubt. The changes here are small in comparison but feel part of the same story.

Hedgerow Jam

The northern summer has had its last fling

Naked bramble bushes line the waggonway

Their crop hatched early in the hedgerow

They were rich picking for the jam makers

And enthusiastic children with blackened fingers

But I was in a foreign land watching figs and peaches

The treasure trove of ripened fruit passed me by

I remember blackberry week in late October

When parents would take their city kids

Foraging in the narrow lanes of Northumberland

For one final fling before winter’s blanket

Now our wounded world is weeping

And brambles have become a summer fruit

The birds will miss their autumn treat

I will miss hedgerow jam on my morning toast

©Jeff Price September 2017

Weather Forecast

“Carey” Joni Mitchell

“The wind is in from Africa and last night I couldn’t sleep”

Joni Mitchell album “Blue” is one of my favourites and this track is fantastic. It tells a story and is also full of mystery. Who was “Carey” and where was the Mermaid Cafe? Every time I listen it sends me there and I am drinking wine with them, living in the moment and ignoring the things a pull us away from what we want to do, to what we have to do.

joniIf you want answers to those questions about the song click here

My poem this week was promoted by this track and that after a recent storm our car was covered in a fine layer of sand. The local weather forecast told us that the jet stream has moved south and is pulling sand up from the Sahara and rain is depositing it all over Europe.

My wife Lynda is obsessed with weather forecasts and not only researches our own local weather but the forecast for her daughters and friends.

 

The Weather Forecast

The jet stream hoovers up swathes of the Sahara desert

Sand from a foreign land, whipped by the wind

Lands on a car windscreen in the South West of France

The air is heavy and sleep eludes her

In the morning she checks the internet weather forecast

Searching for a favourable outcome from different weather sites

Then her children’s home cities are examined

She feels the chill winds and rain of Limerick

The damp of Dublin that keeps her grandchildren indoors

Her hometown never fails to disappoint reminding her why she is here

When September comes she will skulk back north

Once again swathed in layers to keep out the cold

Hibernating through the dark months until the sun calls again

Slipping south shedding her skins as she goes

© Jeff Price August 2017

The River Runs

“Sailing to Philadelphia” by Marc Knopfler

 

I love narrative songs like this, not only do they tell a story but they intrigue you andKnopfler-Taylor-2001 make you want to find out more. The title track is drawn from Mason & Dixon by Thomas Pynchon, a novel about Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, the two English surveyors who established the border separating Pennsylvania and Delaware from Maryland and Virginia in the 1760s. This border later became known as the Mason-Dixon Line and has been used since the 1820s to denote the border between the Southern Unites States and the Northern United States.

Jeremiah Dixon, like me, was from the North East of England and the track always make me feel homesick. Since Dixon’s day thousands of Geordies (A term for people from around Newcastle) have left the city to find work and opportunities else where.

One constant in my home town is the river Tyne. It has defined the city, marked its borders and for thousands of years been the main artery of trade and commerce for the people of the North of England. In this new millennium it is having to find a new role as the trade in steel and coal has gone and modern transport systems mean the river is reduced to the role of casual spectator when once it was the beating heart of the city.

 

The River Runs

 

At Warden Rocks you can witness the marriage of two rivers

On a good day it is a gentile journey from the meeting of the waters

At other times it charges through the valleys like an avenging Angel

Sweeping aside all and battering everything into submission

On it marches through ancient woodland and redundant mining towns

 

Until at last, it reaches the city and pushes open its welcoming gates

Past galleries of unfathomable art and the lilt of Northumbrian pipes

Along the route the Romans took and that the Vikings followed

Flotillas of fear that penetrated it’s protective shield and ravaged it shores

This black-hearted river does not forgive those who underestimate it

 

On the quayside as Hens and Stags weave their drink sodden way

The river watches the unwary like a crocodile eyeing a wildebeest

Below the bridges it still heaves and spits, a boundary between two rival tribes

Eventually, it wanders aimlessly towards the dark waters of the North Sea

Sneaking out of the harbour mouth in search of new beginnings

 

Ⓒ Jeff Price August 2017

 

The Word on the Wire

 

“Bird on the Wire” Leonard Cohen

The wonderful and much missed Leonard Cohen performing one of his classic songs. I thought it would be impossible to pick only one Cohen track and it has proved to be true. I expect he will feature again in the future. MI0003364121

As I have mentioned before my wife has a deep connection to the South West of France. It was here she lived with her late husband Mike and I am also Step-Dad to his two daughters. Although Mike and I have never met, I know him through family stories. In fact, in a strange way that I don’t really understand I feel his presence sometimes and although I have no time for the idea of an afterlife, the dead are dead and don’t come back but they do live on in our memories. This poem followed from a visit from Mike’s sister Judy and an evening of wine induced reminiscence on our terrace.

The Word on the Wire

 

On the terrace I sit with his sister

And his wife

 

We talk about his beautiful daughters

And their different lives

 

He rests under the branches of a nearby tree

And whispers his thoughts in the wind

 

In the cicada hum of the power lines

And the nod of the nearby sunflowers

 

I am a guardian of his children

And now his grandchildren

 

He tells me we are comrades in arms

And he is at peace with the present

 

But sometimes he can registrar his disapproval

By rustling the leaves of the Linden tree

 

© Jeff Price July 2017

Poverty intrigues her

 

Cheap Trick “I want you to want me”

A few years ago I was at a poetry event at Morden Tower and started talking to a youngcheap trick woman about her teenage years. She told me of her experiences in the nightclubs of Middlesbrough. She loved the rough clubs with their pasty faced boys who were out of their heads on Smack and Es. Then she said the phrase that stuck in my mind “Poverty intrigues me I don’t know why?”

This was the first time I had come across what we would now call “Poverty Tourism”. She also mentioned dancing to a band called Cheap Trick and their track “I want you to want me” . I have combined the lyrics of the song into her story. In case you have forgotten this 70’s classic click the song title above to hear it. If you would like a download PDF of this poem click here or if you would like to hear a sound file try this link (which after listening to it I have to admit sounds a bit like John Cooper Clarke).

Jeff Price

 

Poverty intrigues her

The doorway of the nightclub stinks of piss and sick

Inside the teenage rebels are dancing to “Cheap Trick”

Smackheads cruise the car park pouncing tabs and change

Fifty pence for an dodgy E is the current rate of exchange

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.


Black sludge running down the wall looks like Miner’s spit

Inside you can be whatever you want, no one gives a shit

Cross dressing boys in polka dots would fail a fashion test

And every girl wants to have Jim Morrison on her chest

I’ll shine up the old brown shoes, put on a brand-new shirt.
I’ll get home early from work if you say that you love me.

A sweet suburban girl is dancing with smack addled boys

She like the taste of danger mixed with the deafening noise

They move to the same rhythm but it’s a different beat

She knows the taste of winning, they only know defeat

I’d love you to love me.
I’m beggin’ you to beg me.

She’s a character she’s created, an urban disguise

She just wants to see the world through different eyes

If you get to close to her she’ll just say good bye

Poverty intrigues her, she doesn’t know why.

Feelin’ all alone without a friend, you know you feel like dyin’.
Oh, didn’t i, didn’t i, didn’t I see you cryin’?

On the red spiral staircase time has slowed

The boom box beats out in binary code

Her head is pulsing between shivers and sweat

She thinks she’s dying but she hasn’t started living yet

I want you to want me.
I need you to need me.

In a couple of years she’ll leave it all behind

This town just makes her feel too confined

But there will be one thing she’ll never deny

Poverty intrigues her, she doesn’t know why

©Jeff Price 2017