are first a kind of listening. I didn’t know what or who it was.

 

Family is opera, mild as shattering glass, subtle as sulking. The ‘room’ bloats and twists. Fear is air-borne, open-mouthed. Someone loves someone.

 

Distance – the pubs empty late in summer, walls yell to dull the fright, no football season, hot park sigh. None of this is voice.

 

Stop whining, they say. You can’t have any. Shut up.                                                                                      Then chocolate.

 

Voice is a means to an end, like a dental drill. The racing results are my closest friend, announcer’s odds-on surrealism . I learn.

 

Voice is out to touch. A reaching out. How withdraw? Suck back into what seems to have an inside; (turns out not).

 

One; can someone come now? Two; can someone give me something sweet to love? Will someone remove this persistent ghost? They do so. (Shut up; stop whining.) Lemonade.

 

So tiring. the pleading. the explaining how bad it hurts. Mum’s on the phone to Old Nick. He’s from Bootle.

 

My voice the storyteller. Relishes the rise and fall. And rise. Terror of the fall down the well, the climb up the beanstalk. I love you. Voice of movies, songs. Accent of adoration. the pledge and the standing-up- for.

 

My part of town, my city, my river, my bus stop, yard, my team, my mum, my brother, my mates, my sisters, my music, my girls, my teachers, my gods; my wife my kids. I say so.

 

The perfect footpath through the red sea is a long guttural tongue hot and swollen with mumps and arrogance. We win the league through speaking like this. Who the fuck are you?

 

Not everyone is so lucky. This French girl on the London coach thinks I’m Swiss. I decide to shut up but am unable to. She talks funny. We kiss.

 

Overheard In the Butchers.

 

He won’t eat meat;

bad for his feet.

Butcher growls.

Advertisements