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previously published in Into The Empty Space.

A Second Anthology of New Writing by Word for Word,

London : New Gallery Books, 1999

Fragments

 

Memory shredded to ticker-tape.

Which of us did this damage ?

Did my mother do it at the time,

did I do this as a child,

did she do it after Alzheimerís

erased any notion of who made

these photos & letters important ?

 

Half a photo; two and a half squaddies.

Is the one in the middle my father

before he was killed at El Alamein ?

The building in the background

could be in Cairo or Alexandria.

Did his friends die in that desert ?

Was there a woman in the other half ?

 

Perhaps these details were censored.

Letters in two or three hands will

not combine to make a sensible jigsaw.

What I can read is routine stuff;

insects, weather, insects, food, insects.

If whoever wrote these letters

had anything interesting or original

to say about killing their fellow man,

itís not in these fragments.

 

There wasnít enough of him to ship home.

After the War, Mum got the real story;

a wrong turn in the dark by the latrines

then he stepped on a Jerry landmine.

Mum said he couldnít do anything right,

always told me You're the same.

Now I can see the resemblance.

 

Brian Docherty

 

 last update:

 

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poetry favourites:
Poetry Kit - interview by Brad Evans
word for word

and in the shop ...
collections -
"Independence Day",
(Penniless Press);

"Woke Up This Morning",
Smokestack Books;

"Desk With a View"
and
"Armchair Theatre"
Hearing Eye;

As Editor and Criticism -
per biography


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