Sep19

Festival

I

On the clattering train Tom and I sat
Passing deep rolling wheat and oil seed rape.
The gold and sharp yolk flowering fields baked
In the June sun that threw up a peaked heat haze.
Although we wilted in the greenhouse carriage
We jabbered like wild, impatient children
Craving a go on the new fun fair ride.
Tea, spilled in my lap, left a blood red stain
But couldn't still my delirious heart
Yearning the chance to live in the moment
As we'll dance till dawn, live all the dreams we dreamed,
Hold in our hearts the time we think we gleamed.

II

This was my first time at the festival.
The crowd at the station bubbled and fizzed,
Effervescent, like the lager they swigged.
They got more drunk and more wild and more gone,
And I wavered slightly: the fear; the threat.
Will I let go? Break the invisible
Wall of conformity that holds me back?
What would this night hold? A fresh night like
Unpicked fruit hanging on the tree of life.
I was unsure. I was scared to give in,
Take that chance, live that life, free from all bounds.
Here I could lose all my senses in the grounds.

III

As we moved through the frantic revellers
Tom and I clasped hands together, in love.
Like a bright gold chain, I clung to his chest
And he pulled me closer, kissed me deeper.
I knew, then, the heat of pure white, clean love,
When a pair match in sync with everything,
The kind of love that holds the whole world whole,
A love that stretches from heaven's summit
To the deepest dungeons of the abyss,
A bond to test the bounds of time and space.
We ran with our full packs and our shared thrills
To fate and dreams and luck and risk and pills.

IV

As we built our short-stay open-air yurt home
We hugged, in shock at our staggering feats.
From our perch atop the hill's proud dome
We snort the drug drawing each smile-locked face.
Inside, the craving of approaching joy
Drove us on in haste to complete our tasks.
The distant punch of the rumbling bass-line
Evoked an aching desire to escape
And join the crammed crowds swaying to the beat,
To quench our thirst with beer and joyous dance.
The crush of the crowd pressing hands on flesh
And joined pairs that will end this night less fresh.

V

We ran as fast as we could down the hill
Baked by the relentless heat of the sun,
To the bustling bright red and white striped tent.
Inside were throbbing crowds lost to passion
And a fearless band that threw their hearts and souls
Into the pulsing punch of drum and bass
For breathless, heaving, sweat drenched boys and girls,
Who curved and swayed in time, like angular
Statues captured in the blinking strobe lights,
Back to back they drank down that pumping sound.
High on the hazing drugs of life, they jumped
Till drunk, stoned or dazed into sleep they slumped.

VI

When I awoke with blurred recollection
I guessed I was in a dark woodland glade.
I was not alone. Two comatose boys
Lay either side and memory returned:
They both raped me as I was drunk and prone.
My head swimming, I grabbed for my strewn clothes
And pushed through the trees in phasing shock.
I can still feel their hands on my weak arms,
The crude spit of their rank groans in my ears
And the pain, like a blunt, crisp blade inside.
Have they robbed me of my chance of new life to come?
They took my emotions, my control and struck me dumb.

VII

For lost hours I sat alone in the tent.
I shut out the world, my head in my hands,
My eyes tight shut but phosphene blobs moved and morphed
Into those boys faces, and I'm there again:
The taste of their foul spittle in my mouth;
The searing, burning as they invade me.
Weak, dirty, filthy. I will wash off their vile smell,
Strip off my make up distorted by fear.
Will I know my own face in the mirror?
I jumped at each sound that hung in the air
And flinched at the wafting stench of the grass.
I felt brittle, like I was made of glass.

VIII

He returned. His face slapped with a dumb smirk,
Acting as if the world still turned and we are a pair.
I'm not his now, not ever. I'm alone,
Filled with enough rage to raze every tree,
I screamed at him and he snapped into focus,
"Where did you go? They took me in the woods!"
"When I left, you said 'I'm cool with those boy's',
I didn't realise, I thought you'd be safe.
"
He blinked his great black dish-shaped watery eyes
And sobbed as if it was he who was hurt.
I couldn't contain my anger any more,
"How dare you leave me?! I'm nobody's whore!"

IX

Most of that day was filled will numb phone calls:
To mum and dad, the police. All so cold.
I cried through it all, reliving again
That desperate realisation of pain.
Like a tantrumming child who's lost his toy,
Tom cried along, as if reading a script.
His life will go on, mine is damaged,
And I will spend the rest of it in fear
Of being alone, the smell of grass,
The twinge and baulk as a man comes too close.
Tom is a child, his future awaiting.
I'm broken, my pain never abating.

X

I sat alone on the full train speeding
Past the dull heads of wheat and the oil seed rape
That seemed to droop and wilt as I passed them.
The slow, sad sun blinked at my flat, sick shape.
I plucked that fruit and found it was rotten.
I felt like an old unwound clockwork toy,
The turning key misplaced, the innards broken.
I was walking blind into a wild blizzard
That pushed me back, blinding my vision,
Made me abandon all the plans I made,
As I crashed with the dawn, threw out old dreams dreamed
And broke my heart that time I thought I gleamed.

Michael Eavis hosts the first Glastonbury Festival on his farm in Pilton, Somerset, on this day in 1970.

William Golding, British novelist and playwright, was born on this day in 1911.

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Infosec guy by day, Poet by night!

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