• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 09
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Blank tape

I think we thought
it would be something
to kill time. She could
into the microphone, tell
memories (ones we had
already heard), fill empty
strips with sound, capture
the past, not us.

Last week we found
the old tape recorder,
record of an idea.

The batteries had left
green on its insides
like sea
like leaves
like the littered grass
that lined the path.

What she really wanted
is anybody’s guess, but
what she didn’t want
was to talk for hours with
only the machine listening.


Blank tape

All those stories. Remember
how they fooled around behind
the cash desk in The Forum
(where we ate ice creams after
sports day and talked to someone
from church). How picking
blackberries by the burn was
a way to lose hours. The women
with their price on the soles of
their shoes who sat cross-legged
at bars in town. Remember there
were shipyards and laundries,
black sheep and bairns.

Those days we taped the charts
on Sunday nights on Radio 1, those
days we sang along in the car.
If she had known I’d find
this cassette
now in a jumble of summer
(after coffee in the shed
when we marvelled that
a grandmother carries her
grandchild inside, no way
of knowing who they’ll be
and isn’t that the weirdest thing
you’ve ever heard)
would she have said
something? Would there be,
tightly wound round spools,
a little bit more
history in my hands?