Away from the safety of my childhood home
Around the back of twitching curtains
Lay a strip of half-forgotten land
A back-garden-walled no-man’s land
Where bins, toppled,
Spewed their plastic intestines
Across a tarred and broken path.
Wild borders, long grass, nettles, weeds
Dead rats, dog crap, dark freedom
The place to dissect a long dead crow
Scoop shit on sticks and throw
Chalk a name, something profane, onto Mrs Walker’s wall
And darker still
A place to sip alcohol
Light a smoke, set fire to bins.
We were angels at home
But once you’d turned the corner of the Backie
You could experience the forbidden, the bad
All the things we never had – under parental guidance
Throwing stones, smashing bottles
What happened in the Backie stayed
In the Backie.
Then aged 8 I moved away
To a privileged town
Clean air, open spaces
Moneyed-up, airs and graces
No place for Backies
Nowhere to hide
No need to try.
And looking back
Though I’ve never found a living place
As foreboding as dark as exciting
As the Backie when I was 8
I often visit there in my mind
Because when you’re writing
There’s always a rat needs dissecting
Or some shit needs throwing
Or peace unsettling
And it’s all best done out of the glare
Of judgmental eyes
Ensuring I return home
As the angel of my childhood.
Yapparister – November 2013
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.