Back amongst the Rangoons

Have you ever had the experience of tapping into vivid memories whilst dreaming, that you could not draw on whilst awake.  An experience that teases about the brain’s capacity and potential.



I lived a vivid dream –
knew that I was dreaming
yet felt fully in control,
walking again in Raingate Street
but nearly sixty years ago.
No sign of Lucinda
through their old shop window
but thoughts of ‘rude games’
– so I was more than eight.
Past the Hoggs’s back gate
where I gorged on Alka-Seltzer
and Ted uncovered Nicky in his tent
loose whitish knickers and
a slightly snotty nose
slipping past the Rutland Arms
always called The Globe when
my mother’s father drank, and
where once she met temptation
the street began to fill
Franz, always in his painter’s whites,
stood by their shiny brass doorstep
with narcissistic son and fussy wife
while on the opposite side Mrs Clore,
said to have had a very busy war,
reacted to the deafening row
as Fudge Monk drove regally by
ensconced on the Corporation roller
rumbling past the terrace
where grandmother once lived
marked only in that mean low row
by the clumsy wooden shutter
never closed, painted brown,
with an offset circular hole
an eyesore to the Holdens
every time they ventured out –
Joyce, whose voice could forge steel,
and brothers, Zippy and George
with whom I chopped kindling
on all those long winter evenings
down the Midder in the old tin shed.
The sun had drawn kitchen chairs
onto the pavement, Jockey’s mother
the last to mount her place
gossiped across the street
to Mrs Pomfrey and Mrs Mace
who turned to draw in Mrs Clore
I smelt the chicken’s Layers Spice
from Mrs Raison’s open door
the first room in her house
a store for their small farm
Muggy Warren closed the gate
that led to his water meadows
Diddley Sharman shambled out late
the fat ‘midnight coal-man’
with his old tired horse
as up the street came ‘Pop’
pushing his battered pram
a gramophone’s enormous horn
looming from the hood
no penny for a tune
we crossed at the East’s closed door
-no Mike, he was killed beside me
three years before.
I trod the road’s middle
like a mock of ‘High Noon’
as others emerged and gathered
on the dark cross-hatched bricks
that formed the uneven pavements.
Inky Jackson menaced quietly
Ike muttered and lurched past Queenie
shirtless Simon gazed at Linda
– only I knew his agenda.
Behind me a penetrating  shrill
entertained the street as Brigitte
man-handled Paddy from The Globe.

An abrupt unscheduled silence
froze then dissolved the scene
I had so much to say -so many questions
but the memory file closed
in an unknown location.
Cheated, I awoke, recalling
mother’s frequent rigid order
‘Keep out of Raingate Street’,
which I always had ignored.



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