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Friday, 25 May 2012


And why should I have stayed cooped up
in this black hole all term, imprisoned
with those dead-beat no-hope losers
just because my dim old man has this idea
his son must go to Oxford? Living traumas
like this place could stunt a fellow's growth,
the way these inmates talk could shrivel brains,
their smells stop balls from growing. Fair enough
for him, gin-swigging nightmare of a Tory. Makes
me sick. Bye-bye you sleeping babes in arms,
sweet dreams of mummies by your side! I'll
leave you to your home-grown seminars
on masturbation and the like, your pitiful
attempts at adult talk without the adult thought
to bolster it - yeah never thought of that one,
did you? Confound this bloody masonry! Crumbles
soon as ever it gets touched. You'd think
the fees they charge would run to some repairs!
Nearly lost it there. Nearly lost me bloody grip. Maybe
I've lost it - in both senses of the phrase. Don't say
I've left it late. Too late. I should have done this yonks
ago. Just wait until the old man hears I've gone -
and when he hears I've joined the squat - he'll have
himself a fit, and serve him right. The likes of him
are all too keen to sacrifice their kids for their
own personal kudos. Shit! And what was that?
Another near one. Grip slipped again. A fox, no less!
One of the urban foxes, eh? True then, the myth:
they do, they live on roofs. Maybe I should
have followed it... maybe it knows an easier
way down than this. I bet it does... well, easier for it,
but then he's free. No drum kit hanging like a millstone
round his neck. Ah, better, now the moon's
poked through the clouds, and I can see the precipice!
written in response to Victoria's prompt at http://dversepoets.com/


Daydreamertoo said...

Oh, I thought he was leaving not jumping off the roof. I suppose children do in some ways have to live the dream of their parents at some point in time. Until they decide they want to make their own dreams and not live the one their parents want for them.
Gripping read Dave.

Dave King said...

Daydreamer too
Hey, well, yes, I thought he was leaving - for the squat. Just thought I ought to say, though I don't mind other interpretations. Welcome them in fact. Thanks for yours.

David F. Barker said...

I really like this Dave, its generational conflict, the political touch - yes, what about those fees? Where does the money go? Expectations versus reality, a political elite out of touch with the common man...

David F. Barker

Brian Miller said...

careful dancing so close to the edge david...its hard with kids at that age in the tension between parental expectation and becoming themselves...

Anonymous said...

Dave it's a good thing I came back as I don't see my comment!

I thought this read very like My Last Duchess by Browning - you have the voice down so well, and then there's that edge of menace. It's well done.

I wanted to thank you for kind comment. I changed end of mine--just added two words, I don't know.


Anyway, enjoyed this. k. (PS I am an Oxford drop-out.)

Grace said...

I enjoyed your reflections Dave ~ It's challenge to talk and understand the young wit their home-grown seminars. I do like the urban myth on the roof ~

Mary said...

Sometimes parents try to impose their own dreams on their children. I do have mixed feelings about that though. Sometimes it works. In fact, the sons of a cousin of mine are a case in point!

kaykuala said...

It used to be all ok before! Parents imposed and the kids followed. But not anymore. Kids get into schools they choose,disciplines they prefer even places they like to work after graduation. Kids decide and parents just observe and nod! Great write Dave!


hedgewitch said...

Great flow to this David--very angsty, yet with angst some substance--and the wandering from point to point is both fluid and random, yet manages to swirl meaning up to the top nicely. Liked it much.

Anonymous said...

There's been a general discussion lately on trying to live up to parental expectations ... this is a very thoughtful post on the theme.

Claudia said...

the home-grown seminars on masturbation..ouch...i understand if someone escapes from at home when the parents think the kids have to live the parents dream..tightly penned

The Weaver of Grass said...

Really interested me as at present I know a child who is at Eton and hates it, but no one will entertain his leaving to go elsewhere - because of the prestige???

Anna Montgomery said...

Pitch-perfect atmosphere you create here with that crumbling masonry, masturbatory seminars, trickster fox on the rooftop, and the precipice of adulthood.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I feel very close to this "riverrun" of talk, actually is what I felt I had to measure myself with in these latest months.
You are in very good shape with it.
Actually I had sent to your email address a sort of work of mine which is a sort of interior monologue and in prose...but I am not sure you have received it.

marvellous how you got to the urban foxes.

vivinfrance said...

What an angry stream you have give us. I hope you're feeling a bit better now!

adan said...

existential indeed! :-)


"the way these inmates talk could shrivel brains,
their smells stop balls from growing...." -

nice job dave, thanks!

Beachanny said...

This felt like it had popped out of "Catcher in the Rye" - written from the angst. In each life, there's that precipice, that drop off place you know that's there - looming or waiting. Most of us edge away from it, pretend we didn't get that close; others embrace it to see if diving off allows them to fly. Really soulful piece!

cloudia charters said...

"Oxford? Living traumas
like this place could stunt a fellow's growth,
the way these inmates talk could shrivel brains,
their smells stop balls from growing."

Funny, I too thought of the 'children' and their schooling a waste of my more VIVID, important fate. Wonder if I should have followed their conventional way. . . .

Friendly Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

Victoria said...

The idea of suicide went through my mind too with that precipice. Dave, you did such a good job of entering into the mind of your "narrator." It felt to me like a modern day, British version of "Catcher in the Rye." Genius!

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable tale indeed :-).

sharonlee said...

Rebellion gets some of us through life.
Interesting thoughts.

aprille said...

You're scaring me a little here: your versatility is overwhelming.
The second example of near perfection I have encountered this week. One in visual arts and now this. Two instances of a touch of the gods. And that in one week. Frightening.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Brilliant Dave.

With the best of intentions we 'sent' son to private school and it was two years later he told us he hated every minute of it.

He wouldn't leave as he did not want to lose face with his state school friends.

If there is one thing I would change in my life, one thing I could take away, it would be this as we screwed up part of his childhood.


The Elephant's Child said...

Thank you. Parental expectations were something I disappointed often, so I was definitely along for the ride here.

S.E.Ingraham said...

It's funny how some parents are so good at convincing themselves that they're doing the best possible thing for their kid when really they are just satisfying a yearning of their own and usually living vicariously through the kid on top of it ... you've captured this feeling very aptly without sounding whiny - had me rooting for the kid in any event ...


haricot said...

It is heart rending consciouness; more or less I had the similarity in my own when I was growing( not for Oxford, of course), and my hudband and I expected something too much from our sons. I really hope they have already free from it.

Dave King said...

A warm welcome to you. Thank you for visiting and for leaving a comment. And
yes, indeed, the subject has a lot of scope. Maybe I should explore it further.

Always close to the edge. I was never one fr the middle of the road. Thanks for your thoughts.

Hey, I've been mislaying comments, too! A doublt thanks then - for coming and for coming back.
Browning eh? I'll settle for that! And an Oxford drop out... would it be interesting to hear WHY you dropped out, I wonder? Thanks for all.

Thanks for your thoughts on this. Always good to have. The fox on the roof seems to have got beyond myth to established fact.

I steered real clear of that when ours were that age!

Not sure if you're celebrating or complaining...

Thank you so much for this, an interesting and very helpful comment.

Yes, I tried not to have expectations, but found myself feeling disappointed at some decisions the kids made. Didn't say, though - and they proved right in the end.

Thanks for this. I was reminded of a seminar by one extended conversation (when taking a school camp). It came back to me when I was writing, so I drew on it.

The Weaver of Grass
Ah, so it still happens. I get the impression sometimes that it's a thing of the past. Some parents still think it's where battles are won, then.

A warm welcome to you. My thanks for visiting. And thank you so much for this, a really great comment to receive.

Thanks for this. I will take a looksee fior the email. Maybe it got shunted into the spam folder. Apologies whatever.

Infinitely! Thank you.

Welcome. Good to have your company - and good of you to comment. Thank you.

Yes, "Catcher in the Rye", hadn't thought of it, but I think I see. I tend to edge along. Not tried flying off! Thanks for this.

No. The unconventional has it over the conventional any day - but only if it's what you really want.

Wow, well thanks! I never once thought of jumping off...


Indeed it does! Thanks - and a very warm welcome to you.

Too kind - but I love it. Thanks.

I know where you are with this. I was doing my diploma in teaching special needs kids when ours were small. It made me too perfectionist about what we should be doing for them. I started to feel guilty about what we couldn't do - and they suffered.

The Elephant's Child
Easy to do - very easy.

S.E. Ingraham
Hi, Good to have you visiting. You are very welcome. Thank you very much for your kind words. They are most appreciated.

It seems to be an almost universal experience of parents - maybe we shouldn't worry too much about it.