Through eighteen winters shedding their sweaters
to become summers
We have loved you.
The world seems old and hydraulic
as it shifts rheumatically on its oxidising axis.
The clouds purse for an open-mouthed moment
allowing the sun to bolt from its hiding place,
a startled doe, a scuttled exit from the woods.
Time moves, it is 1991 once more.
Here it lies,
A stuttering, spastic year, crying and spewing freedom
when midges and fireflies pull down an iron curtain
And Jeffrey Dahmes himself as he smiles in the dock
And we watch wide-eyed as Lithuania turns
from Communist to Eurovision in front of us
And on the earth’s flipside an exhibition soccer match in Jo’burg
becomes a showcase for death
While in the distance the eternal fire wells of Kuwait
snap like cheap cigarette lighters in Saddam’s hand
And we listen to the sound of a distant storm in the desert
Crying Bravo Two Zero boys and bidding
For the serial rights
And as the oil burns in Kuwait, we set light
To the long black slick, slicker than Elvis
left by the Exxon Valdez, big enough to melt Alaska
And our hearts start melting in anticipation of your arrival.
In the middle of the Soviet disunion
We cross the days off a calendar,
Saying goodbye to weeks
As Yugoslavia waves goodbye to Croatia and Slovenia
Ticking the days away
4th August: 571 drown as the MS Oceanos sinks – but we are floating
6th August: the Web gathers like a matrix to come into being – we are expectant
13th August: Super Nintendo arrives – and we are taking slow steady breaths
And on the 15th you are born to the sound of an iron curtain closing
as we craft your cot
and listen to a few Kurt words as your favourite album shambles in
conceived and delivered at the same time as you
Nevermind cooes the Iron Lady to her Gorby
Nevermind grins Slick Willie as he press releases his open ambition
in all the right houses
Nevermind we think as Maxwell’s silver hammer falls into contaminated waters
Nevermind we murmur as the Magic and the Mercury submit to the modern plague
And as we shout your name to the world
The KGB runs out of secrets to trade
And later, as you blink towards the sun
A Terry in Waiteing also blinks as a side door in Beirut releases him to the light
And as we christen you
Leningrad becomes St Petersburg again, re-released under a different, older name
with a new dialect of materialism
so when the old boyos provisionally blow their bombs
in the early morning of a London peoplescape
We know that we have set the fuse to something more explosive.
You are the point where the past released the future
and from the pieces came the best of us both.
Roy Stannard 6.8.09