T Wignesan


By How Many Badbyes Can You Measure The Length Of Your Day - Poem by T Wignesan

by how many badbyes can you measure the length of your day


first comes the time too fretful on your hands
next the boredom of not knowing what to do with it all
then the memory erasures
the books underlined you thought you never read
and wince at the pencilled comments on the sidelines
friends you forgot you went to school with
the children who'd pray you wouldn't turn up
even à l'improviste
on an urgent pretexting errand

the flushed girlish faces that turn away your gaze in an alley
way
the tentative pace of your step losing grip on some junction
the only safe direction is the shortest cut to your hideout hovel

even those who need you prefer not to call on you
the telephone will do

you can insist on the shave
much good it would do you to scorch your tortured grimace
none note the difference
only the sparse crop you patter come apart in a sudden gust
clothes hug less and less the sagging frontal bulge
bones that grate lock ligaments that tear on the stair
the longing meniscus pain that refuses to part company during the prancing stride
and the hours and hours you lay gazing at the ceiling
recalling other inept throes
muddled chances
replaying in slowmotion what might have been if only you hadn't
taken the hasty irate turning

friends that one by one get ticked off
most bundled through in dull hushed murmurs
some big names sportsground high kickers get heard of
their lean eager square-cut faces flashed on the 8 o'clock news
others by dint of their stolid work-soaked contributions
their theories discoveries conneries
are sung of in obituaries
but those you knew you cared for you shared moments long moments with on long rainy
nights chewing the rag-end cud on the sofa
you wonder where or what they could be like
if they too had not gone too soon crushed under split tires
skewered through contorted metal

now the long vigil begins
daily the diurnal chores of waking to your querulous pallid face mocking the vain ambitions festering under your lids
each morning
waking again after the thrall of mind-flushing siestas
fresh as the first springday you went out to your first girl at the thronging choked spewing mouth disgorging the Underground
the madness now brings alive
in all her colours odours crinoline frills
no thwarted thoughts linger
only the regrets
regret at not having done better
regret at not having served her longer
nor tasted the fun offering for as long as she bent to caress your face her tresses enveloping your cheeks your neck your ears your locked-in flesh

by how many more badbyes may you count your days
visits to the doctor
the unpaid bills rain
like the pathetically interminable urgent blood-on-your-hands requests demands for donations to succour Africa's dying masses Asia's flooding rivers & ground-shattering scientific research

arms for aids
aids for arms
alms for arms

letters dwindle even from friends you thought were friendless
you read the Monoprix's cutprice lists for the spring opening over and over again
and eye the shining lasses in tartan skirts pink cheeks lean pinky thighs drawn up to the chins
the dejectedly opened books you have not read and always wanted to read
now that time is all yours seem so frivolous in your constricting space
thoughts that nag at you from every turn in your tiny grubby flat from inside

you walk out in your slippers
in the dead of noon
and pass stragglers lunching on mayonnaise-oozing leafy baguette- sandwiches
without so much as a grumbled « salut »
linger searching for an excuse to pass away yet another few minutes gazing at a municipal billboard
staring blankly at the same old inane inept faces permanent lodgers at the Mairie
under the sparse shade of an ant-lined silvery birch
thoughts lost among throngs of gaily bickering garrulous sparrows screeching within well-coiffered leafless forsythia bushes
the will moves on unwilled to there
where a solitary mud-splashed park bench lies lame forlorn
you crouch for an instant
your lungs expunging your longfelt hurt
your eyes blind to the couples stuck one-into-the-other on the muddy dog-dunged grounds
you lay yourself back to expunge a long pent-up sigh

was it the lit-long day
or was it yesterday
or was it….

June 16/17,1997

From the privately pub. coll. (rev.) : longhand notes (a binding of poems) , Paris: 1999,115p.
© T. Wignesan - Paris, 2016

Topic(s) of this poem: old age

Form: Elegy


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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 22, 2016



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