“I remember fog and my world threatening to end”: Climbing Trees Backwards

August 21, 2014 by in Blog

 

I remember fog and my world threatening to end in poor visibility. Ships boomed horns, squawked warnings. Bells gonged over water, hollow dull waves slapped the pier. Birds screeched, steam rose from mugs, sugar, thick, sticky, crystallised on edge, chipped and stained, hot hands cupped them. Overcoats, threadbare, fought off river damp cold. Steep hills plunged to the river. Docks busy with labour, guarded by thick walls. Watch towers ran along the water front, running with riches, goods and exotic fruit, littered with ships, a whelping bitch feeding its young. Poverty, a sore wound, ran along its fastness. I never forgot the weather. It made every mood, defined how, when and what I felt. Protected me with its variations, nature’s fugue, soft and hard sounds, contrasts, infinite counter points. Redolence never far from my nostrils; a cocaine of four seasons snorted with gusto and reverence. Hand kindled fires burned brightly, a necessary skill when winter’s coal cantankerously refused to flame into life. My sister sobbing around the fire from legs beaten red into rawness, welt belted, leathered by her father, my father too, in name only. Only when exhausted with his onslaught, did her father relent, satisfied he had properly performed manhood’s responsibilities …….

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