Six Childhood Memories
When I was a kid and we had two houses,
one in London, one in the Lakes,
we were often found driving up or down
the motorway between them; and
I would be looking at the derelict barns
on the side of the motorway, in
fields, and imagining a nomadic
existence. It seemed to me that
a derelict barn would be enough.
On the motorway, I now recall,
I used to imagine snagging my foreskin
on the barbed wire fence as
we sped off at seventy miles an hour.
I guess it was like stretching honesty
to it elastic utmost and further,
pointing the moment to its crisis,
a mixture of cartoons and chewing gum.
The only time I ever questioned
my brother’s intelligence as a kid
was when grand-dad asked us
“how many beans make five?”
and my brother said “I don’t know.”
I wondered how he had escaped.
As a kid I used to picture
a bouncing ball in my head at night
which would only bounce when I said
stop, and only stop when I said
bounce, so only through inverse
logic could I control it. Every
night I would check it was there.
I remember also as a child, I used to
repeat the word ‘kangaroo’
over and again in my head
until it went numb, emptied
itself of meaning, hopped off
to become the mad, kangaroo king,
down at the bottom of my ex-
English-teach granny’s garden.
For some unknown reason, when
the school bus used to go past
a certain farm contiguous to
the school I used to sit there asking
myself if the farm had a secret
underground lab where unsound
experiments were conducted on animals.
I never got to find out before I left.
John F.B. Tucker
If you have any thoughts about these poems, John F.B. Tucker would be pleased to