Solar fairy lights are draped over bean poles scattered in bushes, hang from trees Small children snuggle in huge sleeping bags are tucked into tiny pop-up tents, cocooned in strollers Mums and Mums, Mums and Dads, Dads and Dads relax together By the trees, Ska is playing on a bluetooth speaker while a Steel Band sets up with the Rock Choir Someone somewhere being is burning the Jerk Chicken Nan Breads steam on tables people sit on blankets swapping delicacies, favourite snacks spices pervade the air Morris dancing is being committed, I hear the tinkle of bells my wife goes to find them, laughing Several Turkish families munching kebabs are encircling two wrestlers covered in olive oil who slip and slide on the grass, struggling to grip as a wider audience gathers Solar streetlights proclaim party, the Mosque draped them in thin scarves to colour our night We are reconnecting, reclaiming the night and ourselves while older kids are transfixed by all the moths most of the local wildlife is probably putting paws over furry ears, heads under wings and muttering sod off The Banghra dancers are warming up to the booming dollop dollop of their large drums The local likely lads, all ready to strut their stuff to rhyme and patter at the microphone are laughing hard at something. I go over to see what's up It's all a Rap they tell me can't you see? Raucous all-night picnic.
Love Thy Neighbour
"We close the divide because we know, to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside" Amanda Gorman It’s hard, he doesn't like people my colour but we have all been through hard times we are now waiting for the future wanting it to be good, we all need care, attention. I've been shopping for him since the virus first came been trying to prize him from his flat all that stuff piled high can't be healthy. Today the lifts work since the community maintenance, they been good. Today I got him to the park, reckon he needs fresh air. And he came alive, started walking faster went up to the trees, saying robin blackbird, well I misunderstood at first racist begger I muttered. Then, he turned, pointed up at some bird hovering said Kestrel, and I realised he knows this nature stuff. Suddenly he was naming butterflies hey, bloody butterflies have names that are as beautiful as they are. And I realised when you name them, they are more real. We spent a sunny afternoon wandering me learning so much. Then the kids came out of school flooded through, stopped, actually listened began repeating the names. He goes to all the local schools now tells everyone about birds, butterflies, moths, worms. God, worms are important really they are we need them to grow food. He calls me his Princess these days, old devil, says I gave him a new life. Well, that's what we all want.
The other friend I told you about
He can show me which doorway to sleep in and where the bins have good eating. I have that little place I know where they do the best Takoyaki. He tells me the names of all the constellations and the stars within them, I explain how solar panels can be made so thin and he understands. He’s seen stuff well I have too, but he can’t see that yet. I’m afraid to touch him in case I catch something, he’s afraid I’ll call the Police. We often meet in the beer garden sip lemonade “Yeah, I got lemons, didn’t I?” he says ruefully. His eyes can glitter with assumptions resentments. Our thoughts about each other dance round and round and round. I took him to the theatre he knew the names of the lights in the rig above us, could quote the play. He took me to gospel choir got me to sing, I knew the words. We talk about how we met, by the canal, feeding ducks. He told me off for giving them bread. We found we had lots in common all those things we are interested in. He tells me a lot, perhaps everything, whether I believe him is immaterial. I talk about family and he walks away. We miss each other after a while, meet up again.
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