Our Daily Walk to School (an experiment with a rhetorical strategy cannibalised from a certain ontology)

Concrete crumble-block

    falling all along

        for about half,

    perforated

unevenly by

 

brambly

    brush-and-scrub

        or

    leafy

shrub-and-branch

 

that’s

    clipped-but-always-clawing

        right

    at hedge-hugger

height (you and I, wee girl)

 

Oh, and dodge the yawning driveways!

    Cast sidelong double-checks

        for cars

    nosing or backing

into our momentum

 

And it’s

    shine

        or

    grey-shine

or grey

 

Every day

    suffused

        or

    else

refused (The Law of the Occluded Middle)

 

And

    when it rains

        it

    mostly only

spits—

 

hence,

    pram

        sans

    brolly

or buggy rain-cover

 

(plus,

    you like it

        in your eyes,

    you say,

your hair)

 

Plastic wheels,

    jacketed elbows,

        reddened cheeks, whitened knuckles,

    the lollypop man,

the green man

 

—the bearded man

    ‘…who walks

        his wee girl to school every day,

    have you

seen them?’

 

And you wave the traffic on,

    wave after wave,

        little pink hands

    shoving the air

like a solid thing

 

(‘I push

    the cars,

        dad!

    I make

them go!’)

 

The shadows of buses loom up like whales

    before they ever touch us, girl,

        their heft-in-flight

    taps us from behind

like a well-meaning giant,

 

spooks little walkers out of their bones

    and back in again,

        who affect

    not to have jumped or jacked,

play cool like a couple of fonzies,

 

to look

    like we took

        the hulking

    ghost-bump

in stride

 

Then the bus-whale itself swims a-flank of us,

    still huge and ichthyic

        with rows of transparent eyes along both its sides,

    which I can see into

to the seats and rails and people it has eaten

 

And I see through too

    to the smaller fish swimming alongside its other side

        (fewer transparent eyes

    on those fishes’ sides,

fewer people swallowed)

 

and the store-fronted

    or housing-dotted

        shoals

    beyond

even those little car-fish

 

And ah! the execrable dances

    we execute, my girl:

        The Guano Side-Step (gulls above! the guano!)

    The Dog Poo Swerve (‘poo dog!’ you cry)

The Chucked-Chips Wide-Berth (‘the waste!’ I think)

 

Oh and a dozen pairs

    of people-eyes

        flit-avoided too,

    mostly car-clad,

but fellow pedestrians also

 

One-quarter smiles

    that look like grimaces

        or aggression,

    not meaning to be friendly

if you’re not up for it

 

(but also

    trying

        not

    to come across

unfriendly)

 

And turn off

    into the final stretch,

        the invaded neighbourhood

    that clusters

round the schoolyard

 

We straggle up

    with the last

        of the

    school-walkers

closing in

 

The evil-eyed woman and her loping daughter,

    the large and little dogs on walkies,

        the joggies on mums-for-fitness,

    the trackies on lads-for-life,

the dads on jags with junior

 

The pensioners

    clenching up

        at all

    the kid-fodder

in their cul-de-sac

 

Yes,

    there and back,

        There and Back Again,

    we wend it

every day

 

You and I

    ply the ambient,

        its variants, my girl,

    its object-

opulence

 

This is the way

    we

        walk to school

    walk to school

walk to school

 

This is the way we walk to school

    early

        in the

    morn-

ing.

406301_221102854638160_874595582_n

 

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)

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