We were travelling by bus to London, going to Ronnie Scott’s to see Mark King, first of Level 42 then later an impressive ensemble playing funk jazz. It’s probably wrong to apply a label. Or to judge.
We passed a town where I was born and found myself remembering. First the snippets, then the big events. I thought of all the towns and countries in which I’ve lived, all the places I’ve called home and wondered what going home really means.
Going home is a poem which explores the notion of being in a place called home which becomes
the place that’s eventually gone away from.
A shift in recollections occurs when the things that happen in that place become memories when in other, different, places which in turn come to be called home. I return to the source, the well-head, of all memories only to discover the landmarks are not as I remember. Here are the first few lines of the first draft.
Smoke billows from the soot-blackened tooth of a factory stack
ghostly etched in raindrops skidding across the window
and through a billboard, the size of this bus, that bellows Storage!
and yawns yellow over hunched houses trudging uphill.
In those grainy parlours I greeted you in perennial sun
where spangled shafts of light set your hair aflame to my blazing cheeks . . .