stdClass Object
(
    [ID] => 17908
    [post_author] => 5
    [post_date] => 2017-03-29 19:19:10
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-29 19:19:10
    [post_content] => i.

Affidavit A pertains a gherkin.
I was cross-legged on the carpet, bordering on five-years-old,
back when death was just a thing that grown-ups did, like holidays,
or weddings. We ate dinner in Sudoku silence, indulging in the council-
housed delight of fish and chips wrapped in the Metro, and the contents
of my father’s plate, those funny green things caked in batter, captivated
“You always want what you can’t have,” he said, “you won’t like it.”
I whined until he caved, and the acetic fire sent me rolling to the floor,
scratching at my tongue, while everybody laughed. No-one could blame them.
My performance was forgotten by the morning while my brother and I
swung branches together in the garden; almost twenty years apart,
yet we still pretended these were swords, that we were gladiators.

ii.

Affidavit B pertains a suicide.
I was cross-legged on the carpet, bordering on six-years-old,
with plastic bricks and model trains to habituate my isolation,
the way you let a fish float in its bag for fifteen minutes prior
to release. The doorbell rang. My mother rose, her crossword left
unfinished on the coffee table as she spoke quietly with strangers
in lime-green jackets. The world turned monochrome on her return.
“Your brother always loved you,” she said, “he loved all of us, but not
himself, because he did drugs.” Colin. Named so because the midwife
asked what they were callin’ him. That’s my mother’s sense of humour.

iii.

Affidavit C pertains a haunting.
The lights came soon after the funeral, at the foot of Summer’s door.
They’d manifest in droves as patchy frames of green and yellow,
occasionally red, solid and opaque with clearly defined corners.
They outran me when I chased them, slipped away when I tore through
the living room, arms outstretched, shouting, “Look, it’s Colin’s ghost!”
as my mother wept into her hands. Ghosts exist when you’re a child;
they mean that no-one ever has to leave if you don’t want them to.
I knew that he was dying when the lights turned seasonal. For a time
I could still summon them. It only took a moment’s breakdown
and they fed like butterflies on bitter honey, because a child’s pain
is easier to digest and a single tear is much more tragic than a torrent.
I knew Colin was dead when the lights had bled me dry,
when they refused to show up on demand, when I was seventeen.
    [post_title] => Eleven Years of May
    [post_excerpt] => 
    [post_status] => publish
    [comment_status] => closed
    [ping_status] => closed
    [post_password] => 
    [post_name] => eleven-years-of-may
    [to_ping] => 
    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2017-03-30 09:50:15
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-03-30 09:50:15
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://poems.poetrysociety.org.uk/?post_type=poems&p=17908
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => poems
    [post_mime_type] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [filter] => raw
    [meta_data] => stdClass Object
        (
            [wpcf-published-in] => 
            [wpcf-date-published] => 2016
            [wpcf-summary-description] => 'Eleven Years of May' was commended in the 2016 National Poetry Competition. 

From the judges: "Sensitive, compelling treatment of a tragic life event – the suicide of an older brother – is presented in ‘Eleven Years of May’. The Affidavits heading each section create a focus and present an initial sense of detachment after which the poet zooms in intimately. The poem strongly conveys childhood, its apartness from the comprehensions of the adult world; “ghosts exist when you’re a child; / they mean that no one ever has to leave if you don’t want them to.” The pain of the passage of time, rather than its healing quality, is conveyed, but energy is retained throughout and there’s no descent into sentimentality. There’s the immediacy of the visual, the gherkins, for instance “those funny green things caked in batter”, and the haunting, ghostly lights themselves. Added to this is the dramatic intensity of the spoken word: “he loved all of us, but not himself because he did drugs”, the mother says. ‘Eleven Years of May’ is an extremely ambitious and well-judged poem." - Moniza Alvi [wpcf-rights-information] => [wpcf-poem-award] => Commended, National Poetry Competition 2016 [wpcf_pr_belongs] => ) [poet_data] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 17883 [forename] => [surname] => [title] => Marc Brightside [slug] => marc-brightside [content] => Marc Brightside is an author of poetry and realist fiction for adults, who first discovered the joy of writing through academia, where he studied under the wing of Mark Rutter and Julian Stannard. Since his first publication in 2015, Marc has conducted workshops in the University of Winchester, completed his Master’s Degree and co-edited the Litmus 2016 anthology, where his own work was described as displaying a sense of “occasionally shocking realism.” Marc is currently finalising his debut collection and can be found loitering in coffee shops and bookstores throughout London, as well as on all major social media outlets. ) )
stdClass Object
(
    [ID] => 17883
    [forename] => 
    [surname] => 
    [title] => Marc Brightside
    [slug] => marc-brightside
    [content] => Marc Brightside is an author of poetry and realist fiction for adults, who first discovered the joy of writing through academia, where he studied under the wing of Mark Rutter and Julian Stannard. Since his first publication in 2015, Marc has conducted workshops in the University of Winchester, completed his Master’s Degree and co-edited the Litmus 2016 anthology, where his own work was described as displaying a sense of “occasionally shocking realism.” Marc is currently finalising his debut collection and can be found loitering in coffee shops and bookstores throughout London, as well as on all major social media outlets.
)

Eleven Years of May

Marc Brightside

i.

Affidavit A pertains a gherkin.
I was cross-legged on the carpet, bordering on five-years-old,
back when death was just a thing that grown-ups did, like holidays,
or weddings. We ate dinner in Sudoku silence, indulging in the council-
housed delight of fish and chips wrapped in the Metro, and the contents
of my father’s plate, those funny green things caked in batter, captivated
“You always want what you can’t have,” he said, “you won’t like it.”
I whined until he caved, and the acetic fire sent me rolling to the floor,
scratching at my tongue, while everybody laughed. No-one could blame them.
My performance was forgotten by the morning while my brother and I
swung branches together in the garden; almost twenty years apart,
yet we still pretended these were swords, that we were gladiators.

ii.

Affidavit B pertains a suicide.
I was cross-legged on the carpet, bordering on six-years-old,
with plastic bricks and model trains to habituate my isolation,
the way you let a fish float in its bag for fifteen minutes prior
to release. The doorbell rang. My mother rose, her crossword left
unfinished on the coffee table as she spoke quietly with strangers
in lime-green jackets. The world turned monochrome on her return.
“Your brother always loved you,” she said, “he loved all of us, but not
himself, because he did drugs.” Colin. Named so because the midwife
asked what they were callin’ him. That’s my mother’s sense of humour.

iii.

Affidavit C pertains a haunting.
The lights came soon after the funeral, at the foot of Summer’s door.
They’d manifest in droves as patchy frames of green and yellow,
occasionally red, solid and opaque with clearly defined corners.
They outran me when I chased them, slipped away when I tore through
the living room, arms outstretched, shouting, “Look, it’s Colin’s ghost!”
as my mother wept into her hands. Ghosts exist when you’re a child;
they mean that no-one ever has to leave if you don’t want them to.
I knew that he was dying when the lights turned seasonal. For a time
I could still summon them. It only took a moment’s breakdown
and they fed like butterflies on bitter honey, because a child’s pain
is easier to digest and a single tear is much more tragic than a torrent.
I knew Colin was dead when the lights had bled me dry,
when they refused to show up on demand, when I was seventeen.