Crazy Stallions and Mad Balloons
Tether your dream
and when the time is right,
let that crazy stallion
jump you right out of there
on his bare back
far, far away from
the fences and gates
of your lock and key life.
Yes, tether your dream
so that when you can’t stand it any more,
that mad balloon will
lift you right out of there
in a gold plated gondola
far, far above
the cellars and tunnels
of your dustpan and brush life.
And when your youth is a distant shore,
when the dogs of time
circle, then close in,
your words, like pistols,
will come to hand.
They will be the mad balloons,
the crazy stallions,
for dreamers hungry for stories.
When she walked out, you gave yourself a grade U
and left yourself hanging at the end of a rope.
Before that you were half-way up the corporate ladder
that paid for a drive way, a semi-detached and two children.
Before that you were a tender young husband
photographed on the grass overlooking Camber Sands.
Before that you were a first time lover
watching Humphrey Bogart in blue smoke show you how.
Before that you were a school boy playing the fool
with chemicals that blew off your eyebrows.
Before that you were a small boy with cotton wool in his ear
who ate wax fruit by mistake
and caught his sister’s hand in the mangle.
Before that you were a babe in arms
beneath the tumbling bombs
whose mother went hungry to give you her rations.
Before that you were a mystery beneath the skin
tapping at the membrane of hope
and delivered before your time.
And before that
I see your father with only one lung
walk out of the trenches
with the gift of life
and your mother,
after a night shift at the machine shop,
waiting for him on platform two at Chatham station.
If I weren’t who I am
I’d be another
on a stand
for each occasion.
To feed his children and pay his mortgage, Peter Harris teaches English at a secondary school; for fun he is studying for a PhD in the anti-theism of Christopher Hitchens. Peter’s most recent collection, Plenty of Water was published by Red Axe Books.