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Mind That Childhood

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The ice cream van
Has today reached
The melancholic realisation
That the only kids who
Chase clocks for Mr Whippy
And lick the exhaust fumes
In nostalgia
Are the kids who are not kids
But who prematurely aged themselves
With lipstick kisses
And cigarettes
Lowered themselves into nooses
Of sweet-sixteenths
From the age of six

We are a generation of
Peter Pan inversions
We ran ashore
And beached ourselves
Beyond the lure
Of Neverland
We are a generation of
Failed cloud-catchers
Aspiring rainbow-clinchers
Secretly slipping our hands
Back into a dead air
Of former innocence
In the hope we’ll be able to
Retrieve the pieces we left there
We queue and scramble
Like gulls for
Inches we can claw back
Preserving our age in
Wafer cones
And bleeding snows
That glue between our fingers
Each 99 flake
Is a time machine
Which we spin like a music box
And wait for the rewind
Copper coins and sea stains
And we hope we’ll find
Some of the things we lost
But we cannot predict or realign
The atoms or twist ourselves
Back into them
So we sit and watch
The incorruptibility we once possessed
Perished
Sexualised
Corrupted
Pool in the March drizzle

Someone once said
That youth was a process
Of being torn in half
By the past that pulls you back
And the future that tempts you
Being too big and yet too small
Longing but fearing
But an ice cream van tells me
That youth is a process
Of trying not to drown yourself
In what you’ve never had
And when that ice cream van tells me to
MIND THAT CHILD
I can’t help projecting echoes
Of its wisdom
On to all who pass me by
Mind that childhood
Before there’s nothing left to mind
 




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