Weekend Dad – A Hornchurch Poem

This is another dramatic monologue for the Hornchurch project. This is kind of me putting myself into my worst nightmare. It somewhat affected me when I was writing it, so I have no idea if it’s any good or not. I feel it might be, but too close to tell.

Weekend Dad

It’s every other Friday after school.
Not long enough for me to be exotic
just long enough to not know what to say.

You used to tear across the tarmac, throw
your arms around my neck and softly sob.
Your Bob The Builder bag flung to the floor

your bright green scarf half off, your half
familiar smell … I could tell already
how much you’d changed in thirteen restless nights.

It broke my heart, the way you’d cling to me
the weight of absence buried in my neck.
Then later how you’d use words differently

or pick at food I’d made your special way;
how I was out of touch with all your friends;
your life abridged to a flat omnibus.

I watched this thing on Channel 4 last week
about these refugees from World War Two
left wandering in Italy for years,

the white hot pain of battle cooled to nothing.
It made me think of us, how now we shuffle
up and down this High street every fortnight,

displaced but numb, our cuts and wounds well scabbed;
the Happy Meals and Argos toys a bobbin
round which we wind our cotton-thin rapport.

Sometimes I take you into Roy’s for pie
my dad took me in there when I was young
our family’s lived round Hornchurch way for years

These streets are in my veins, they’re in yours too
I never thought we’d leave, I never thought …
But I can’t stop your mother and her fella

from moving down there, crazy though it seems
so I suppose I’ll see you there my boy
on every other Friday after school.

In truth, I wouldn’t want to seem exotic
I hope in time you’ll come to realise that;
that I was always there, and know it counts.

3 Comments

  • vincent turner January 14, 2012 at 12:10 am

    For me this poem is spot on, it really captures the yearning a dad might feel when separated from his child. There are some close observations here, probably drawn from your own experience as a father… stanza 2,3 and four in particular. I am not entirely sure about the refugee comparison, I see where you are going, but it seems a little far fetched ( just my opinion) Lastly I am not sure Roy’s Pie and Mash has been around that long for the narrators father to have taken him there. It was in Dagenham for a long time, but to my knowledge it has only been in Hornchurch for around 6 years… I could be wrong, I have not lived there for about ten years, but was living in Dagenham for a few of them. Thanks for the read, I really enjoy your work. Best Regards Vincent

    Reply
    • admin January 14, 2012 at 9:30 am

      Hi Vincent, when I looked Roy’s up it said it had been there for 30 years, but perhaps they meant the Dagenham shop. I think we can get away with it, poetic licence i think they call it.

      Reply
  • vincent turner January 14, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Sure, I understand Luke, have done it many times myself, the only reason I raised it was because I heard you was doing this as a commission thing for Hornchurch, and I thought they might be a little more sensitive in regards to facts and places etc. Regardless it is a great poem. Happy B- Day!!

    Reply

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