Publication Date: August, 2019
Location: poetsonline.org, then go to Archive, then ‘the summer of’.
Genesis: Another one of those poems I doubt I would have written had it not been for the prompt. Incidentally, if you’re wondering whether the folks at poetsonline.org ever reject anything, or if they just take anything that vaguely fits the prompt – well, I just found out the answer! It’s early December, 2018, and the prompt for November was ‘news in poetry’, which was expanded to “…we asked for poems about the news as it is found in poetry, or the poetry found in the news.” I went ahead and wrote a poem about the news, and it didn’t make the cut. Why? Because I made the basic schoolboy error of not reading the prompt properly. I’m pleased it happened, though, because a) it’s proved to me that they carefully read every submission and are not afraid to reject the duds, and b) I have a pretty good poem about the news now! Which is not appearing here as it has not (yet?) been published.
The Summer of 1991 Was the delightful layer sandwiched Between the worst year of my life And the year I emigrated to Asia. I spent January 1990 in hospital, My right femur snapped in two In a car crash on black ice. In the early Spring I was fired, Less than a month after returning to work And on the day my new company car Was due to be delivered. My Grandad died in May. My girlfriend of five years announced she was leaving – That was July. She didn’t move out until November. On New Year’s Eve I wrote down all the disasters of the year And mindfully threw them into the bonfire At the Tar Barrels at Allendale, And chose to have a better year, next year. The Summer of ’91 – It was all about the friends. Sara. Little Tim. Calvy and Katherine. Warren. Colleen. Carl and Tina. John and Paula. Three of us were bikers and we formed The Blackheath and Deptford Motorcycle Club, Or Bad MC for short. We’d ride down to Surrey on sunny Sundays, Each with a pillion, For walks, picnics, the inevitable pub. We all went to Glastonbury To see Carl’s band play. Sara and I conducted a powerful magical ritual In the woods at Downe House Where a tiny, seconds-long rain shower Out of a clear blue sky Confirmed our connection with the Divine. We wore wild clothes. We threw wild parties. We got drunk. We got stoned. We got laid. And we laughed and laughed the whole summer through. Nothing lasts forever. Katherine and Calvy split up. John and Paula went travelling. Colleen lost the plot and drifted away. Tina moved back to New York and cocaine. Bad MC struggled on a while longer, Down to just two bikes, But we knew it was over, Just like the summer. Five months later, I was living in South Korea.