Words about my father

Words about my father

Broken watch

So what do I know?

I have a vague memory of deep set eyes and heavy eyebrows. A slender frame with hairy arms. I may have imagined it.

There were some photos now long destroyed that I remember seeing years and years ago – maybe this is where the memory comes from. I have never seen a photo of us together.

I know you gambled and stole money. I know you drank heavily.

I know you promised me a remote control car on the embankment at the Valley Gardens. I was probably four or five years old. I know you lied.

I know I never saw you again.

I know you were the youngest of thirteen. I heard your upbringing was hard. I heard you loved my mother. I heard you treated her like shit. I know I was your only child.

Rumour has it you spoke about me sometimes. I doubt the rumour was true.

You died an old man a few years ago. You choked on your own vomit in the bath with a bottle of whiskey. It didn’t shock me. It didn’t upset me.

I didn’t find out until after you were cremated. Months later I came into possession of what you left behind.

A broken watch and a handful of blurred photos. Maybe this was all that was left after the vultures had cleaned your bones. I know you left debts.

“God knows what I’m doing now” is written on the back of one of the photographs. God knows you were wanking to the porn that can be seen on your television set.

God knows you owed me a hell of a lot of pocket money.

I don’t know enough to hate you. You were less than a stranger to me.

So to quote Leonard Cohen; “that’s all, I don’t think of you that often”.

caption on the back of an old photo

4 thoughts on “Words about my father”

  1. Debbie Thurrott

    I don’t really know what to say other than than is an incredibly powerful piece of writing. It is something i can very much relate to.

    Thank you for putting such rawness into words.


      1. John,
        I happened upon a photo of yours in a slideshow of photographers said to be inspired by Vivian Maier. I wanted to know more about you/that particular photo/your work…instead I came upon these “Words about my father”.

        A most insidious form of abuse – NEGLECT – In a photograph assumed to be bequethed to you he appears a remnant of his former self, he seems to be exhibiting the two finger crotch crutch often employed by porn stars who cannot engage, rise to the occasion or stand tall – reminding me of an analogy and a book entitled “STIFFED”.

        These words…these odd tributes…and finally Leonard Cohen…as if… ‘thanking us for the dance.’

        Laid bare, to rest, in peace.

        Stay strong, yourself,well…
        Thank You,

        1. Thank you, Peter.

          Although not really showcasing photos I did feel that the article did show the power of photographs to a certain extent.


          PS Leaonard Cohen was a greater influence than Vivian Maier 🙂

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