Artwork: Ken Riddles (Photoshop)
(a teenage memory)
So here I am – (was)
Standing still in a pause
In assembly of teenage schoolers
Incessant, chewing-gum droolers
As called for – lined up we are
Bustling, bouncing, on a par
Then suddenly the biggest bully
Shoulder charges fully
My weak frame in a spin
I attempt a grin
‘Don’t push me’ he suggests
When I’m – the chicken chest
‘I’ll knock your head off…’
his intelligent offer
His big bully friend also the scoffer
‘Outside at a quarter to four…’
(I thought – Pictures of me on the floor)
‘Ok any day…’ I hear myself say
He is twice my size, time to pray
No intention of meeting him again
My agenda is – avoidance of pain
Ah! Alas! Lunchtime what took place?
Bumped into him face to face
Straightaway I put on a front
‘Now’s the time you skinny runt…’
Vroom! Grunch! Pow! Crash!
Tried to kick back – I was up for a bash
My shoe flies off – hopping on one
He finishes the job, he’s having fun
Swollen lip – I tried to disguise
The teacher doesn’t notice – to my surprise
‘Why are you late for class’ he asks
‘Sir I was breaking up a fight, quite a task”
You see as a Prefect we were there
to keep order
No one informed me there was no border
The badge on my lapel
Up to now, had served me well
Even though I hid it from view
On the back of my lapel – (it’s true)
But bullies don’t recognise skinny guys
Who carry Prefect badges in disguise
He should have known I was one of those.
He didn’t – that’s how it goes
From that time on did the badge have
Having been moved to the front from the back?
NB: Later in life I saw the guy
no recognition given by he or I.
The same only different
We can’t go back in time.
Except in our mind’s eye.
As we try to – unfortunately it is often with little exactitude.
Nevertheless we remember the feeling state of youthfulness and anticipation of the future.
So the teenager, part-time visitor to
the College of Art.
What was he feeling at that time? At that time of trying his hand, at his first attempts, at working from the model.
Students hoping to make an extra few pounds, offered their modelling services.
Likeness? Pretty sure none was captured.
And yet the drawings represent a time gone past, when youthful zeal in it’s searching mode, was intent on finding something in the art.
I can’t see – as you can’t, that this was the same girl, – but I’m pretty sure it was. (What was her nose really like?)
(And one wonders what ever happened to her – did she have a life after her pose? Who was she? Did she ‘make it’ as an artist herself? What was her name anyway?)
The two drawings – meritorious only – because they are ‘of a time’ – nothing to do with the art – what they capture is in-memoriam.
Memory stirred by the pencils record on paper –
Feelings, ‘of a time’, when the oyster world beckoned – when everything was possible in youthful wellness.
paper and marks and marks on paper –
stuffed away in a dilapidated, damp smelling portfolio
that joins the secret society of portfolios
stuffed and stuck in innumerous attics across the globe
amidst the junk affirming years gone by,
and owned by the would-be artistic geniuses
who drifted into suburban lifestyles –
from clerks to family planning consultants – to train drivers and window dressers instead –
Portfolios that are stumbled on
to renew melancholy and considerations of exhilarated bygones –
with strained muscles pulled out from below dumped books and
explored and separated
and the chosen few finding their throne
of golden picture frame and mount –
now permanently –
Conversation pieces –
Talking points –
“cast your mind back…”
“you were with me at college…”
“remember how we used to…”
acrylic stiffened pieces of
they thought their day
would never come –
Imprisoned in portfolio prison
they thought they would
be thought of again
the girl with the two types of nose
whose ‘bump’ never found it’s exact place
is the celebrated choice
paroled from the leather smelling dungeon
released in Mandela-like return
Wants to say:
“framed, framed at last
thank God Almighty I’m framed at last”.
…but I digress.