1. Coming home

 

I’m feeling a little nostalgic today so I’m going way back to the beginning.

 

 

Runaway American Dream

New Jersey is a very strange place. I’ve visited the Garden State four times in the past two years. My reason for going was the best one there is; love. Yeah, that’s right; I fell in love with a Jersey girl.

How this happened is a subject for another post, but I can tell you this, when you fall for Jersey, you fall hard.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into back then; the world that was about to open up to me, but, ignorance being bliss ‘n’ all, in I jumped with both feet. Thank god I’m not the timorous type.

Because I didn’t just find my heart’s desire there, I found home. You see, NJ is simply unlike anywhere else. Sure, it takes a lot of flak from outsiders (particularly New Yorkers) but the popular notion of Jersey as some sort of industrial wasteland is…

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Infect me

 

 

Little blue flames

 

There is beauty

Made for the eyes

Skin and lips and perfect hair

It satisfies for a time

Achingly real in its transience

Then dies in the arms of betrayal

That is not the beauty I seek

I want beauty that scrapes at the soul

The beauty that opens old wounds

I want the intimacy of shared darkness

The crucible of  secrets torn open

I want all and everything else

Stolen breath

The blow on the bruise

Claustrophobia and no escape

We don’t eat what we know is good for us

We eat our desires

And pour gasoline

Over the bridges of consequence

Beauty is in the flame of that match

We throw over our shoulders

As we take the road most travelled.

 

 

©2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Walk

 

 

IMG_3023LR.jpg

 

Unwelcome Solitude

 

Scuffing my heels

Down Old Jericho Road

Further, than I care to go

Past those twisted old men of

Gnarled bark and twiggy bones

By the incessant babble of

The river’s winding bed

 

There’s a stagnant breeze

Bearing rust from the steelworks

Repeating my name in

A singular rhythm

Deer

Move

Noisy

Through the sullen wood

The crack of dead sticks

Fraying my over taut nerves

There’s too much shadow

For this time of the day

And the cant of the road

Skews my p e r c e p t i o n

I think of home

And my girl beside me

And wish I’d brought the dog

For the company

 

Dragging my heels

Along Old Jericho Road

Going further down than

I want to go.

 

 

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2018

 

 

Part 15: New Perspectives

 

 

I wanted to share this here as it represents a major

(almost unbelievable) development in the story I’ve been researching since 2004.

A Padiham Man's Great Sacrifice

You cannot realise what war is like. Belgium – well there is no Belgium now for it is a mass of ruins.

I had begun to feel that the quest was drawing to a close. My sporadic efforts to find out more were all coming up dry and I was slowly resigning myself to the idea that I had found out all it was possible to know about my tragic ancestor.

Then a red letter day rolled around, the 100th anniversary of John Harry’s death. I, of course, could not let such a momentous event pass without paying some sort of tribute. There are a few select Facebook groups to which I belong. One of these, the Machine Gun Corps Old Comrades Association, I have mentioned in a previous post. The other group is the Ye Olde Padiham group where past and former residents of John’s hometown share their…

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