If depression were a shadow

when it is my shadow

waking me up with glass behind my eyes

replacing authentic feeling with

stifled, muffled, agonies

depression tells me; don’t get your hair cut

the hair dresser will stare too hard and you cannot

bear to be scrutinized as your father who called you

many things like plain-faced and ungainly but most of all

stocky leading to a starvation worthy

yes that father who because of his own mental defect

could not really stand long in the sun of parenthood

you’d have been better off loose and lopsided

with latch key children

to climb dog piss stained trees that barely held your weight

as they pushed through concrete with white pealing hands

as city green must

an effort make

we would chew on wild rhubarb, give ourselves stomach aches

eat dandelions and wild plums and share a precious few

hard-boiled sweets sticky in our pockets

some turned our mouths the color of tar

behind the corrugated iron where bombed out houses

stand like disfigured moments

collapsing in tombed neglect

we chased skinny wild cats and built fluttering camps

fortresses around destruction and sadness

something I learned to carry inside

when I sought to travel far from the city

its anonymous bricked faces

lending little grace

when I said goodbye to prefab family who

had their own lives

I was an appendage

needing to find my tribe

instead inheriting faulty DNA

tingeing my wake with sorrow

much as I tried

even on the warm days I wore leg warmers

pretended to be auditioning for FAME

when I ordered a hot chocolate and watched curling waves

change sequined shoreline in slow swell

though the world amassed around me

glorious and glittering like water touched by fire

as bleating sun dipped low against horizon

I could not find a way to feel unburdened

or climb aboard the impulse to slough skin

care nothing of what others would say

try hard as I could to become


that ephemeris

out of reach … thing


41 thoughts on “IF

  1. It’s the fear of any parent who cares, that their child will grow up feeling uncared for. It isn’t always easy to show that you care, and sometimes children are looking for the wrong things. Memory is also very selective. Family life is complicated.

  2. Hey! I was a latchkey kid. 🙂
    Oh my, Candice Louisa, what a trek through a garden of thorny bush memories and hazy reflections.
    Reading this made “me” feel like a school counselor, except I have done those things,
    and have been told those things but not by my parents.
    Hmmmmmmmm. You have courage.
    I would say: “Put those leg warmers back on, girlfriend!”

    Next level is the forgiveness revolution
    — an even more treacherous road to run through much less walk upon.

    I give “IF” 4 out of 5 courageous hearts ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. Ah, this is me in many ways and feelings… even though I may fight against it … my DNA likes to tell me NO as well as yours it seems… (my family history is a plethora of sorrow that I inherited) I never asked for that will and testamount

    I ran from that piece of paper trying to be given and read to me by the age of eighteen of what I might receive in the years to come… things like that seem to find you eventually…

    Come join my tribe dear Candice…. the fire is bright and we can daze under the stars and forget the rough histories that try to own us… 🙂

    much love C

  4. I must have been near the same thorny bush! 😉 did you go to ‘adventure playgrounds?’ oh I miss those so much even now. Definitely agree about the legwarmers!!!! Irene Cara here I come! 😉 Thank you my friend Larry xo

  5. Very true. I admire you and others with larger families as you basically have a lot more on your plate, I really don’t know how I would cope, I would like to think I would but … it’s an underappreciated job that people do not realize if you get it wrong you ruin lives. I think you’re right, it’s not easy to show you care but I know you do in little ways, maybe that’s a lot better than spoiling a child which I truly think is a terrible choice.

  6. Spoilt children make awful self-centres adults. On the other hand, a lack of attention makes undervalued, uncertain adults with no self-confidence. It’s hard to get it right.

  7. Dearest Philip – thank you. I agree DNA is a bitch. (I like the plethora of sorrow line, couldn’t help myself) I totally agree that you just have to keep moving ahead and hope you outrun or out fox it – right? I’m in your tribe you betta believe it

  8. Tastes change. Young parents read magazines to find out how to do it RIGHT rather than just getting on with it. They worry more about getting the decor in the kid’s bedroom right than how to talk to them.

  9. Absolutely. We focus on entirely the wrong things. Back to basics makes more sense. Of course over here in America with people fooled into working more and having less time for family (despite not being more productive) I’m surprised it works at all because nobody spends any ‘quality’ time together.

  10. We replicate ourselves, our ideas, our preferences, the way we behave, the things we say. Children demand and they get because they see that their parents don’t have a clue whether they should or shouldn’t have it. Parents want to be their children’s friends, so there’s no authority. The kid who shouts loudest gets his own way. And what do the parents have to offer? Trips to Disney World and crap like that.

  11. I think it’s a creepy idea, but a lot of us do it unconsciously. Some of it’s called ‘passing things down’ like wisdom and such. Mainly it means voting patterns, eating habits, attitudes to foreigners etc.

  12. Very true about eating habits. I know families that eat SO slowly and mine ate so fast I had to deliberately re-learn to eat when I was alone. It is funny how you take on the characteristics, so many you are not even aware of.

  13. Except you never look anemic at all and the doctor ALWAYS asks me if I am *irony as I never have been* which can work in my favor when pulling a sickie of course 😉

  14. My friend. I think you try and succeed a lot. But it’s hard when you have chronic pain – it’s really hard because try as you might every day you need to start over. I’m not saying that negatively but realistically and I know you have battled a lot. I admire you. I know you may have a burden but I also believe in your ability to carry on inspite of it. HUGS

  15. Ah. Yes. Now THAT is the downside often isn’t it? I often hark back to the ‘olden days’ in an attempt to find what I feel is missing in today. But truth be told it’s human nature, we are doomed to repeat. xo

  16. I’m coming to the conclusion that people were neither better nor worse in ‘the olden days’ they just didn’t have our possibilities for creating havoc.

  17. Well said. I like that and agree. The only reason we believe the past was better is our lament when we see things that are wrong now, we must have some solution and that appears to be the only succor, but as you say, it’s a false memory, human nature hasn’t changed much. Regretably. Maybe music has worsened though, can I say that? 😉

  18. Yep. At least there is art. Although EVEN art can make me despair when I see who wins the awards I want to cry! Ah well we have to console ourselves with our ability to know what is worthy and what is simply bollocks (the Turner Prize where they won for turning a light bulb on comes to mind!)

  19. While we have parents who shower their children with gifts, yet when the child is punished he is reminded how greedy he is receiving so many gifts that other children don’t have the opportunity to have and this is the thanks the parents are receiving in return. Who’s fault is that? Confusing on the child’s part. Love this poem, smooth writing as always. Hugs, xo

  20. Exactly. Funny you should say that as something akin to that happened the other day. I told an old friend I went to see Roxy Music and he did what they used to do at school and laughed like I was deeply un-hip and I felt so removed from the need to ‘fit in’ it was liberating!

  21. Ha! And do you ever wonder at the people who fill concert halls and sit for hours listening to toneless experimental music? The applause at the end must be so enthusiastic because it’s stopped and they can all go to a bar or restaurant and talk knowingly about it while having a good meal and lots to drink.

  22. Definitely! The other day when I saw Roxy Music I did notice most of the audience were older than me, but he was TERRIFIC (I mean, hello? He wrote AVALON what a song!!) and he’s 71! I knew that some of my friends would laugh at me but I have never cared, good music is good music. The stuff that passes for music sometimes scares me!

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