by Jeremy Keighley

Why do I find myself here ?
the curse of my teenage years
its so narrow valley
where a cliff face looms white
over Victorian stone houses
with wet blue-grey slate roofs.

I ran at eighteen
back five years later
to find my roots
loved it/hated it
the cold/ the endless rain
but that June light
so clear, so focused, so perfect
on that tree-crowded town.

Those days and nights
spent in the Gate, the Boathouse
the County all gone now
that harsh-beautiful dialect
spoken by girls in terrible discos like prisons.
the crisp snow cracking alive under my boots
as rain – mud rain fell
cold from slate skies
washed away everything
let us sink into black holes

high above on the hills
the view
the space all laid out
like a model village
in the bowl below
the church clock
lit up white in the darkness
a second moon floating over the park
where the smell
of old men’s pipe tobacco
and “show me the way to Amarillo”
lingered over the football ground.
overgrown paths snake secretly
between hills and houses.

That buzz of excitement
On the M1
as the junction numbers got higher
and the miles got fewer
those vowel sounds I can still find
in the depths of my throat
those roots I once chopped
grown back fat and strong in the damp.

Jeremy Keighley was born and bred in Derbyshire, England and studied Comparative literature at the University of Essex. He moved to Vienna and then Amsterdam and has spent half his life living abroad. He now lives in Alkmaar, NL and works (non-poetically) in Amsterdam. Jeremy is a performing poet and has released 3 CDs with music by 3-Bop (Monkey Puzzle, Ophelia and Sandstorm). In his spare time he is also a long-distance runner, but has yet to find a way to combine this with writing poetry. He is married and has 4 children. He has poems published in various magazines including : Subdream Vienna, Lunar Poetry (London), Alkmaar Anders (Alkmaar NL), Fuselit Magazine (London) and Birdbook 2. Jeremy has one completed, but unpublished novel and is currently working on his second.

Photo credit: John Bennet