Textbook Of Green 

Textbook Of Green

I was murdered by my mummy and daddy.

The bars of the cot stretched up on either side of me and conjoined along the top like my own bones grown into a prison, shuddering in the candlef lame... a roofless prison, since the warders knew I could not fly or float.

I dream of a loose clutter of farm buildings where nobody seemed to work or live - or if they did, kept their curtains closed so that outsiders would pass through ignoring their presence. The trees and chimneystacks were picked out against a sky of mottled grey... the air’s sound peppered with birdsong and cockcrow. An orange volkswagen squats on splayed tyres in a pub car park. A red sign indicating Wem Ales are sold here - or were once sold when there existed real customers to buy and staff to cock the pumps.

If I were to live beyond childhood, I would one day visit such a place... and maybe understand the machinery of buildings and open space.

“He’s asleep.” I heard mummy’s voice, ever on the brink of hysteria.

“He sleeps too long. He never wakes us with squalls of hunger and pain. How can we obtain the fulfilment of parental duty and be disturbed from our beauty sleep to tend his cares... He is basically selfish.”

Daddy’s monotones were poised on an undercurrent of learned responses; he was hug-toeing a tightrope I had prepared for him by means of my listening mind.

Reincarnation reversed, I slept in the conscious coma of an intensive care ward. My future life flickered through me like the past, memories with no scaffolding of experience.

A ginger cat had scooted into the gravelly car park. It took one glance at me and disappeared with the flick of a tail. I merely saw it by the corner of my eye, but I thought it was probably the only real thing in the whole dream.

Dozing, undozing, I fleeted between the dream and the shimmering nursery. Two large faces rose above me, each with tears rilling their cheeks as if twin moons were oozing blood. I reached out with my tiny hand towards them in the guise of touching them back to health. But my fingernails, by their own volition, sharpened and jutted from their fleshy beds, a beast unsheathing its claws… wanting to leave its mark on reality.

Towards the end of the deserted car park, a swing jabbed with the freshening fitful wind, as if a ghost were mugging up on the art of childhood.

Mummy and daddy stirred me from the stupor of near birth, tickling my chest as they cooed in the nonsensical jargon of second childishness. I vowed to turn their tears to real blood, for not putting me to a final sleep.

And I wake cruelly into full middle acre in the foreign land of the future... where, somewhere, my own children await my return from a business trip, from a business I shall never in my own heart be able to master. My car, in which I sit, is parked alongside the Volkswagen and I prepare to drive towards a meeting which, according to my green diary in the glove compartment, I’d arranged. I wonder how I learned to drive... I badly need a refresher course. I riffle rapidly through the preprinted part of the diary... and finally reach the page of personal details where I find someone has written out my name, address and blood group.

On glimpsing up, two ribboned faces reflect in the windscreen and rearview mirror and curse me Orphan!

(published 'Arrows Of Desire' 1990)

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