Gaga

THE FLATS (6): GAGA

These flats corral more than the
feckless young, the drug-sellers,
the drug-takers, the indigent,
the “underclass”, the immigrants
from near and far. These flats
also hold the ageing, the ancient,
the gaga.

Three o’clock in the morning,
the full-voiced cry.
Three o’clock in the morning;
no reason why.

“Mummy, Daddy! . . . Mummy, Daddy!
Mummy, Daddy! . . . Wheee!”
The elderly woman in the flat below me;
at 3 o’clock in the morning, she has woken me.
She has hair of steel, eyes of stone;
sturdy legs of sinew and bone.
At 3 o’clock in the morning, she has broken me.
“Daddy! . . . Shot!” A thunderous silence.
“Daddy! . . . Shot!” The full-voiced cry
echoes, questioning how and why.
How and why did her “Daddy” die?

I face her; plead with her to stop.
I mask my fear, my fright.
She plants her feet firmly;
spoils for a fight. Her grey eyes
glimmer with unearthly light.
“You shouldn’t speak to me like that,
it ain’t right! Lots of people
talk to themselves in the night!”

Three o’clock in the morning,
the full-voiced cry.
Three o’clock in the morning;
no reason why.

Another poem in my on-going sequence about events and characters in the flats where I happen to live.  Although I am in the middle of writing this sequence at the moment, some of the occurrences happened quite a while ago.  The events that inspired “Gaga” occurred a few years ago, and the elderly lady mentioned in it has long since passed away.  I attempted to write about it in the form of a short story, about a year ago.  The story took three weeks of hard labour to write, but I must admit that – after expending all that sweat, strain, time and trouble –  I feel I’ve captured the essence of what happened much more effectively in this short poem.

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