Binge Watching Bad Memories by Bobby Parker

Nothing sorts out memories from ordinary moments. It is only later that they claim remembrance, when they show their scars – Chris Marker


congratulations your head didn’t explode

in the supermarket

nothing triggered us

can you believe that

no one cares

I plant fists in my hair

squint a million oranges

touch myself with caution

convinced I’m an alien

tangled like earphones

fingers pulling at the knots

the hem of my red dress

I mean your red dress

whispering through the ashtray

talking to a nurse she said

you probably won’t die tonight

we agreed

our feet were

equally disgusting

I peeled his hand off my knee

told him to go

wait for the dealer

he can remember

dancing but sometimes

he can’t remember

the year she was born

shiver in a spoon

I rarely think about God

did you really see him

in the park

bumming a dog

behind a burned-out car

dirty old bastard

I heard he worked in a factory

making fences

your mother was struggling to breathe

your dad fell off a ladder

cleaning windows

on a hot day

you could drink

a frosty pint of beer

in 1.9 seconds

but that doesn’t mean

anything to me now

it doesn’t matter

what I think

we are all in a lot of pain

your dad is mowing the lawn

even though

it will be dark soon

I’ve never seen a person

mow the lawn

in the dark

so I’m obviously

quite excited

when I’m excited

I sniff my fingers

until it makes me feel weird

then I wash my hands

tonight they smell

sort of evil

just think of the fresh cut

grass on the bottom

of your dad’s shoes

I can’t seem to write my love for you

the pharmacist always

makes a joke of us

as we stare at mouthwash

waiting for pills

if I don’t get these pills

I might have a seizure

if I have a seizure

maybe I will become a witness

if I can describe what I see

without prejudice

perhaps there will come a day

without prescriptions

organic shampoo

the colour of churches

waiting room chairs

with impressions of arses

I try on a pair of pink sunglasses

a young black woman

pleads with the pharmacist

her boyfriend beat her

with a Poundland brolly

next time he’s gonna

fucking murder me

I rest the daft glasses on my lips

pretend I’m not listening

did you know

the fair is in town

it smells of skunk

win me a teddy

oh squeeze me on the ghost train

I’m sorry but Kidderminster

is terribly white

disgusting really

her boyfriend calls her a whore

even as he takes the money

she makes off these streets

no problem

he was my best friend

in high school

we did a lot of speed together

I thought he died

he should have died

the pharmacist

has very beautiful hands

she picks up the phone

as if she’s the first person

to ever pick up a phone

my taxi waiting

between McDonald’s

and the Job-Centre

how long have I been here

I’m trying to remember

or trying to look

as though I’m trying

to remember

what happened to us

didn’t we kiss

our mouths all chocolaty

like a million years ago

under a tree or something

flashing blue lights

standing over the sink

I cup my hands

under the boiling hot tap

until my fingers feel like saints

she sacrificed London

for my anxious hands

lightning for my jealousy

sexuality for my toothbrush

I said things that hurt her breasts

I said my chest is full of scarecrows

I said our bed is a famous ghost ship

she feels the true night

when I break my neck

to kiss her out of her bones

our home town was built

on Sun newspapers and tired mothers

standing crooked in their kitchens

waiting for the bats

it seems like everyone is somehow

involved with smack

nothing works

Spring by Antonio Vivaldi

tortured into a tin-can toy phone

by the Department of Work & Pensions

she tells me clouds are gay

just to watch me try to figure out

if it’s going to rain

in my most submissive role

she sees a girl

with eyes that punish fathers

as a demon breeze

hisses through the corn

she sees a frightened boy

who in the aftermath

of childhood assaults

pulled women closer

told them everything

told them too much

made them wary

she honestly believed

I could read her mind

until the meds kicked in

now we have

repeat prescriptions

we stand around the same

mysterious body as you


death to the ice cream man

death to the post man

death to the police man

death to the fire man

death to the man who cuts the label off my shirt

death to this paltry allowance

death as my voice the same as your voice

death as her voice

disguised as my voice

disguised as strange thoughts

you’re having right now

in our joyful coming

we are your noisiest neighbours

she searched under my bed

but didn’t find a monster

perhaps you could try again later

our lines are busy

the cuts have been made

we taught our scars to flicker

our appeal is pending

through the poisoned city

I wish to make a new claim

my mouth

just like your mouth

is only the beginning

I don’t know how long

he tortured me for

I don’t remember what he did

only that I was sweaty

from screaming for mom and dad

to come home

pay him for babysitting

get rid of him

call the fucking police

help me

whenever I smell burning toast

I remember that’s what he offered

in return for silence

carefully holding the plate up

to the top bunk

where I shivered like a puppy

the pain was mine

sleep could not touch it

the victim heat

of guilt and shame was endless

I got used to it

you do

don’t you

I would stare straight at the sun

I set dead trees on fire

abandoned buildings

my own soiled underwear

in the gallery of evil penises

my childhood neighbour’s

is definitely in the top three



reeked of cheese

five years later

he became the first heroin addict I knew

vomiting his stomach-lining

outside our local newsagents

then he hanged himself

before any of this I remember

mom shouting for me

her pink fingers dripping

dish suds on the doorstep

where are you

I’m so sorry

I sleep too much

I’m not so ugly when I’m asleep

I can’t hear my ex-wife crying

or her junkie boyfriend

yelling at my daughter

I can still feel the breath

of confused boys in my ear

hot tears in the soft eye

of a sad dad’s moon

when my daughter

stays with her mother

I eat all the turkey dinosaurs

finish the blackcurrant

squash by her bed

scrape off the bright blue toothpaste

she spits on the edge of the sink

sometimes I get up

in middle of the night

to sleep in her empty pink bed

and I still dream

that I’m way up in the sky

during a terrifying storm

atop a 20 foot wooden pole

that’s been shoved up my ass

and I’m clenching

my sphincter

with all my strength

so it won’t go all the way

up through my guts

and out the top of my head

thank goodness for the tablets we take


on the inside

we must look like

candy factories

colour dissolving

blood glittering as the heart

sees its own blue ghost

and shudders.


2 thoughts on “Binge Watching Bad Memories by Bobby Parker

  1. A poem is finished when the reader stops reading, to quote Billy Collins. This is especially true of long poems. I didn’t stop reading until the end, and then went back over it. 💖🌞. Wonderful imagery, Bobby Parker.

    Liked by 1 person

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