Photo above Kasia Hrybowicz
Ageing and the rest. Micheal Kemp took this little extract from My Book, The Singers Tale, condensed it into a song lyric/poem and –
Hey Presto – a Track called Mad Old Bat
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Nothing like feeling old and in the way.
On a crowded high street, a gang are walking towards me –
spreading out like a line of resistance.
Straddled across the pavement – an impenetrable wall of young women.
I stand my ground or I could be swerved into the gutter?
The Gutter is full of Deptford Market. It is a Saturday.
Nowhere to stand aside.
They show no sign of seeing me. Closer closer.
As if I am invisible, not here.
What will I do?
‘Perhaps I should lie down and you can walk over me?
Save you the trouble of giving way?’
Said me to myself & I.
‘I am a nuisance, old and in the way.’
Laughing chatting with each other, filled with the enjoyment of their own wit. I stand my ground – avoiding the gutter – refusing to be elbowed out of the way – with my bag full of vegetables – fruit – two pots of red geraniums and a loaf of bread.’Hello? ‘ ‘Excuse me?’ Louder. They do not register me until almost nose to nose I stood still, not moving left or right.
‘Where did she come from?’ ‘Mad old bat or what?’ ‘
‘State of her?’
Shrieks of scorn as I pass, they barely part the line they make across the pavement. ‘Look at that Hair.’ I am madder than hell, shaking with indignation. Move on ‘old gal’ move on you’re in the way.
‘Fuck off and die – Da ya get me?
Understand what I’m saying? Know what I mean? ‘
I am dismissed, sneered at and pushed aside.
They are still laughing at the audacity of their own words of ribaldry.
Some people are in this world under the illusion that only they –
are important- only they have right of way –
the only pebbles on the beach –
At the centre of all things human.
Bikes on the pavement, bells furiously ringing,
get out of my way.
Loud phone calls on trains –
do we all need to know about other peoples lives?
Legs splayed and elbows on both armrests on Bus and Train,
with no intention of giving room, giving way –
‘My space mate, I was here first.’
Backpacks swinging this way and that.
Oblivious of the mound attached to a back.
It feels as if it is twice as wide as a bus –
as it knocks me flying.
Meandering – along bustling, busy streets, eyes down –
thumbs busy on Smart Phones.
Annoyed if you are there,
‘How dare you be in my path?’
Gossiping on crowded high streets- exits and entrances –
on the Tube Train platforms.
Surprise, and a reluctant move, an inch – no more.
As if they want the floor to swallow up those in the way.
The lack of a queue – courtesy or kindness.
‘Who are you?’
Push shove –
‘Thank you Gov?’
Old Woman or old Man, pregnant Woman, a Boy on crutches.
Parents struggling with children, shopping –
Out of my way, me, me, me first.’
OH DEAR – What can the Matter be?
Gonna have a dance now, that I have vented my spleen xxx
For every Areshole there are the good ones.
Then came forth, my inner Warriors
for The Chimaera. Strong Singer & Betty Blues Belter
Echidna bore Chimaera whose breath was raging fire,
terrible and mighty, swift of foot and strong.
And she had three heads:
One the head of a fierce-eyed Lion,
– a Snake and a mighty Dragon –
-breathing the terrible might of a blazing fire
In the midst, a Goat, fleet of foot and nimble.
Strong Singer, when possessed sings –
She grows in stature: becomes powerful & omnipotent.
She sings as if she is in control of her domain.
She has many tongues.
She strides and struts within her lair.
Betty Blues Belter, and Clara The Clown –
They collide and conduct a full frontal assault –
as a 1, 2. 3 or more, headed being.
When Strong Singer appears, it is a marvel.
Afterwards, I am left feeling drained, but exhilarated.
I feel as if my body has been occupied by a much more
commanding and forceful presence than I contain.
As if fury and frenzy were bubbling just below the surface of –
As if I am in a battle with my many selves.
Seeking to gain control and create some sort of truce-
in order to be strong without losing myself.
Strong Singer is hard of muscle and swift on her feet.
She flashes fire from her eyes and is capable –
of a quick retort when she feels misunderstood.
She is a Lion and a simmering snake.
A Dragon breathing flame.
She is old and young, timeless and formless.
Constantly changing shape and substance.
She goes into battle for me, fights my corner.
Speaks for me.
Sometimes elusive. I cannot find her when I need her.
She only appears as a performer.
Perhaps it’s just as well. I feel she could do damage!
She hovers on the edge of danger.
She dwells in a fiery place, full to the brim –
shimmering with her anger and passion.
She frightens and intoxicates me.