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Grandma – NaPoWriMo
Apr 11th, 2010 by Entropy

There was a time when I didn’t understand what a “Grandma” was.
When I was younger my parents said I called her gasman,
and they had questioned me why I would call her such a thing
And I had replied that she was who she was – gasman in a trailer!
It was my way of saying Grandma in Australia, but I didn’t know what those words meant.

My first memory is waiting to meet her at Southampton dock.
My father complained that she could afford to travel by cruise liner
and instead she was coming home by banana boat!
My three year old imagination was filled with images of an old lady
sleeping amongst banana boxes in the hold.

But, then she walked down the gang-plank,
Wearing a fur hat – the biggest hat I’d ever seen, except on a Mexican.
When she held out her hand to me,
I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to shake it or to kiss it,
But then I saw her red fingernails and I decided not to do either.

“Psychedelic!” I called her. “Precocious!” she called me.
We glared at one other for a long time and so the bond between us was forged.
For years to come I was to be her co-hort, companion and chaperone to the old folks club
Together we would steal lavender – for her lavender bags – from people’s gardens
Sew buttons onto cards. And try not to get caught scrumping pears, again!

She would sing with her concert party in a high pitched vibrato and pull a silk scarf .
through her long fingers
And I would sit on the stage near to her or turn pages for the lady who played the piano.
Once when I was six we got up together to recite the poem about the “little yellow eye doll . to the north of cat-man-doo”.
And then I cried at the end when I realized I’d been standing up on that stage all alone.
Old men had laughed and applauded and a little old lady cupped her hand under my chin.

As I grew older, I realized that not everyone was a fan of Grandma.
People around me didn’t see her as fun or frivolous or independent.
I saw anger that she had gone off to pastures new and left her only son and his wife.
I saw jealousy that she had left with nothing and yet somehow made her fortune there.
But mostly I saw they couldn’t understand her strange and miserly ways.

But I knew that she grew up in a time when she had nothing and she learned to get by.
She ate chicken livers and pig’s heads and scraped the black off burnt toast.
Made fabulous concert dresses out of curtains from the jumble,
and you tried hard not to laugh at the fabric from the cushion cover across her behind.
People said to her “You can’t take it with you”. But she just replied “I am who I am”.

Then one day, when I was a teenager, and not so keen anymore to sit on the pier
Eating fish and chips and watching the dredger, she told me she had itchy feet.
And I knew she was off again. This time to Spain to live in a hotel with a pool.
Where she could swim and ride bikes and sing with a scarf and play chess on the balcony.
And best of all, she could live all winter for what it would cost her for the gas bill
back at home!

by Entropy
The §purious Collective

Dad’s Shed – NaPoWriMo
Apr 3rd, 2010 by Entropy

Dad’s Shed

Your footprints rest
in sawdust on the floor, with
the last curls that drifted from your plane
as rasping breaths of seasoned oak
punctuated
that tune you always hummed.

Beside a tea-encrusted mug,
the muffled sobs
of a discarded hammer
are answered by the whimpers
of its outline on the wall.
A brush, stiff with paint
waves from a jamjar
as it drowns, my tears
wet the sleeve
of your workcoat,
the ball of twine
whines from your pocket
as I quietly
lock the door.

by Entropy
The §purious Collective

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