He sits with sadness in his eyes, mercury-blue and moist, no light shines on his face, apart from the moon, who cups his cheek, from her perch in the sky, she understands melancholy, but he ignores her offer of help, turning away from her slender illuminating fingers, instead he pushes the pain down, burying with the rest of his misery, he shouldn’t show emotion or cry, that’s not what men do, how many times does he need to be told.
He takes a breath, agitating the mercury with woollen sleeves, he sweeps away the tears, then paints a watercolour happiness over his face, just in time, for his wife has returned to him, and when she asks how he is, in reply, with all his strength, he let’s a tear fall and tells her how he feels.
Thanks for taking the time to read this poem. I am big supporter of men’s mental health and this deals with men being able to open up to their partners.
I was 11 years old buying the Sun on behalf of my Dad anticipating 50p worth of sports mixture with the change
a boy i recognise my sister’s age 7 years old trying to buy 20 Silk Cut and 2 litres of Cider for his Dad struggling under the weight of expectation
a man 40ish years old trying to provide for his family of 6 a newsagent,eager to please his patrons to be welcomed into the arms of the community his journey long from Bangladesh to Britain via marriage and military service looking a blend of bemusement and sadness at the boy trying to buy cigarettes and alcohol who he turns away from his counter
50-ish years old reeking of addiction to tabs and cheap booze he storms the shop firing slurred slow deliberate insults and asking “do you know who i am“ irked by the response of “yes a thug and a bad father, we dont sell alcoholand tobacco to children“ it was then I witnessed racism first hand shock absorbed in my young brain stood like a hostage the tirade continued the threat of a firebomb to the newsagent and his family the smell eventually leaving when he couldn’t achieve his demands
me, a boy of 11 buying the Sun and 50p worth of sports mixture with the change apologising for someone else’s actions that I didn’t understand receiving a wink and a sad smile I ran home to deliver the newspaper and the news of what happened to my Dad
My Dad mid-30’s a butcher by trade the sight of violence and blood known to him sat stoically on the sofa listening to my recap of events crinkling the pages between fingers stained with ink of yesterday’s news providing words of wisdom “Cowards make threats, proper men keep promises” followed by “can I have a couple of sports mixture“ I gave him the bag.
This poem is based on a shocking morning trip to the Newsagent just around the corner from our house.
Most of the time there was a real togetherness in our council estate, but on rare occasions, a sinister underbelly came to the fore.
Thanks for reading, I’d love to know your thoughts,
we are all mauled lions hunting to regain our pride questioning whether we can be heard because often none roar back when we are loudest in our pain we only hear the drum of shame on the wind and feel the stinging reek of guilt from those we ran with in the good times fearless when the sky was light blue, coral and ochre but when the darkness descends in jet, midnight and fog they are scared to acknowledge us scared they will be tainted scared their roars won’t be answered yet to realise we are all mauled lions.