By Stanley Collymore
You came into the world on 1st February 1958; an inauspicious
birth among one of three to a perennial drunken father and
a similarly inebriate mother who would subsequently
tragically die of cirrhosis of the liver. School, or
more importantly your attendance there, was
consequently and unsurprisingly given the particular family
circumstances that from your earliest childhood existence
you found yourself habitually growing up in, was never
ever going to be a requisite necessity much less so a
crucial priority either for your parents or you to
give any acknowledgement to, so apparently
and rather predictably, you were neither
encouraged by your parents nor from
your own perspective, assuming of
course you even knew what that
word meant, saw any pressing
need to attend; so naturally
you happily grasped that
consensual opinion to
heart and evidently
you rarely went.
Predictably from the very start of your puberty the
seemingly enticing sexual world of adulthood,
initially and curiously exposed by you then
soon afterwards keenly accommodated
on your part, rapidly ensnared your
passions and at sixteen and with
parental permission  clearly
from their point of view
one less mouth to feed and from yours the
desperate aspiration of finally escaping
a controlling and still consistently
inebriated woman as a mother
and an often drunk himself
but even so submissive
husband of hers as your biological father, and
when one added to this you going absolutely
nowhere either in social developmental or
even protected employment terms while
ongoingly as you saw it and possibly
forever so entrenched in a working
class area terraced council house
and what moreover was a demonstrably
dysfunctional and also noticeably a
debilitatingly oppressive home
my reflection on the situation
not your own  you simply
got married! For having
queried the uncertain
wisdom of politely
putting up with more of the same
that you already had or actually
leaving home altogether your
responsive decision was
basically to earnestly
choose the latter
of these two
An alternative arrived at more from the impulse
triggered by the desperation of your personal
situation rather than any motivation of real
love for the man who you married, since
as you well knew when you decided to
get involved with him that like your
father and mother, even though he
had the skilled knack of readily
turning the charm on at any
time that it suited him, he also was a heavy
drinker and quite discernible to someone
like you who had grown up in a house–
hold of drunkards an unmistakably in
denial alcoholic; yet quite bizarrely
you carried on your relationship
with your then lover, married
him and astonishingly and
of your own free volition
sedulously protected
him by maintaining
your firm silence
concerning his
intensive and
But worse was to come for as with your mother drink
only brought out the worst in your husband and
with his obsessive jealousy that any man who
spoke to you no matter where or however
trivially so, or even glanced admiringly
at you either fancied you or you him
and therefore beating the hell out
of you when you got home was
an appropriate solution and
additionally a necessary deterrent to stopping you
being attractive, if not physically at least then
psychologically, to any man, your specific
experiment of leaving the family home
for one of your own clearly wasn’t
paying off as you’d hoped and
had even become more of a
terrible problem for you.
For in the interim you had become a mother
thrice over: giving birth to two girls: Cathy
and Tracey and the boy child that rather
fixatedly your husband always wanted.
But even the significance of being a
mother couldn’t or didn’t alleviate
your parlous situation; for your
son tragically died as a baby
a random cot death incident;
however with his passing
blamed firmly on you by
his enraged father your
husband’s hedonistic
binge drinking and
periodic beatings
of you suddenly
became nastier
and a lot more
unpleasant in
their cruelty.
About this time you finally saw sense and considered having
a divorce, itself made easier by the fact that your husband
John seemingly wanted to get out of your marriage too.
He’d in the meantime got himself a mistress who
evidently craved much more than just being his
bit on the side and in addition to that for him
the irksome problem of all the accumulated
HP debts that you and he had jointly run
up coupled with child support for his
two daughters and maintenance for you who wasn’t working
didn’t the least bit rank favourably with what he generally
considered to be a worthwhile or profitable way for him
to be living, so he willingly consented to your starting
divorce proceedings against him, knowing full well
that by the time they in essence got underway he
and his girlfriend, who apparently came from
the north of England, would long and quite
permanently have departed from the area
of your marital residence that consisted
of the absolutely charming and rather
pleasant Berkshire town of Reading;
making it quite unfeasible with his
whereabouts distinctly unknown
for him to be logically pursued
by the courts in any resolute
fashion for either for child
support God forbid his ex
wife’s maintenance that
he had no intention at
all of ever of paying.
There are all sorts of mysterious reasons that baffle
questioning minds as to why completely out of
the blue things suddenly happen, and your
accidentally meeting at a local bus stop
Pauline, on account of a late bus that
on its ultimate arrival would then
take both of you into Reading’s
town centre where somewhat
coincidentally the two of you were independently
heading, an unfamiliar man that as it happened
lived just one hundred yards distance from
where your home was but who previously
you hadn’t met, were unknown to each
other and accordingly were what you
would call archetypal strangers but
all the same following that chance
meeting between the two of you
would fatefully, spectacularly
and markedly constructively in every possible
way change for the infinite better not only
your patently muddled life Pauline and
your gloomy outlook on it but equally
the lives, potential and expectations
of both your daughters: eight and
four years old then, and which
providentially for all three of
you would turn out to be
unquestionably one of
life’s truly amazing
and unsurprisingly
so unfathomable
and distinctly
Happily too for you the man you met that day Pauline
and whom you got talking to afterwards on that late
bus on your shared and reciprocally pleasurable
journey towards Reading’s town centre was
by any criterion which you could possibly
have devised a very exceptional person.
Clearly a local himself he was deeply
involved in a local community and
communal extracurricular education
programme that he’d altruistically, voluntarily
and solely devised and besides was himself
the coordinator of and that was expressly
tailored for and perceptibly directed at
educationally deprived members of
all ages over eleven years within
Reading’s broader community
devoid of the benefit of any
significant education or else if they were still
of lawful school age had found themselves
discriminatorily and immediately kicked
out of their learning establishment on
the basis of rather specious reasons
for not having them there, and as
assuredly as hell in those very
prescriptive circumstances
never ever likely to get
any sort of education
much less so minus
a determined and
committed try a
practical one!
However, with amorous intentions noticeably on your part
Pauline and quite obviously resulting from this chance
encounter that you had with this stranger focusing
intently in your head while simultaneously and
calculatedly encouraged by your similarly
actively cultivated, and themselves even
having a degree of urgency all their
own about them, expectations that
quite rapidly and unimpeded coursed through
your highly stimulated veins; a passionate
assignation, more so than any uplifting
educational agenda operating as the
principal motivation behind your
eager desire for pursuing this
brand new and exploratory
relationship, became your
superseding focus and
single-minded remit.
A promising association, as you very much saw it,
quite manifestly in the physical mode and itself
largely uninhibitedly complemented by - and
as you plainly and grievously felt in your
ambitious and overtly outlined personal
circumstances an exceptionally cruel
and wholly gratuitous sex-starved,
emotionally unsatisfied and, as
well, a marital, sexually-constrained and completely
insufferable situation full-blooded, extravagantly
indulged in and consummately unrestrained acts
of truly licentious coitus. And having as agreed
met up later on in Reading’s town centre after
your personal business there was out of the
way you amicably had coffee together in
one of the local restaurants  you said
you weren’t hungry so no need then
for you to be fed  freely swapped
phone numbers with each other
and amidst the cheerful chatter
expectantly waited while the
stage was set for the next
chapter of this evidently
unforeseen but, all the
same, gripping and
fascinating saga.
Later that night you phoned your new friend, explained
that the children were soundly tucked up in bed and
therefore you were all alone; thus categorically
through what you intentionally said during
that specific conversation coupled with
the explicit and accompanying well–
rehearsed and quite purposeful,
coquettishly enticed invitation that you proffered and
which was instantly and likewise decidedly taken
up and satisfactorily signalling that both of you
were fervently conducive to the impending
chance of fucking each other, decisively
conferred the green light on the 1 July
1984 for the first sexual encounter
ever within the confines of your
marital home between you and
the man you’d intentionally
and somewhat deviously
as pivotal events would
later show assigned to
be your latest lover.
And in contrast and most profound in every way Pauline
was the positive contribution that this new man you’d
taken into your life brought not only into your own
but also and distinctly so the separate and joint
lives of your two children. Taking both girls,
after careful consideration for their future,
out of the sink school close to their home
that they were unsurprisingly expectedly
in, he constructively spoke to the then
incumbent Headmaster and an ingenious acquaintance
of his and had them both transferred from where they
were being “schooled” for their envisaged devalued
function in life to the absolutely first-rate English
Martyrs Catholic Primary School with its truly
exceptional teaching background, and from
where Cathy: the senior of the two girls,
would subsequently by virtue of adept preparation
at English Martyrs and her passing the requisite
entrance exams be promptly registered at and
become a highly gifted pupil of the all girl,
well-renowned and justifiably esteemed
Kendrick School in Reading. A very
apparent improbable prospect had
she and Tracey been obliged to
remain at the primary school
where previous to them
relocating to English
Martyrs they had
formerly been.
Furthermore, this thoroughly engaging man in your life
Pauline had at the voluntary and consistent request
of both your daughters, since their biological
father had long ceased to play any role
either meaningfully or financially
in their two young lives, been
asked to become their Dad
and following detailed discussions that were had
individually with them and collectively with
all three of you Pauline in favour of this
particular outcome willingly acceded
to do so. A terrifically gratifying
realization for him since in his
now constant dealings with
Cathy and Tracey, a direct consequence of his
steady and developing relationship with you
their mother, his feelings for and his every
day reactions with them had ever more
taken on a purposely and very much
appreciated and embraced by the
girls fatherly aspect; so in the
inclusive scheme of things
he fully understood the
girls’ filial sentiments
to which he fittingly
and accordingly
conferred the
A situation none the less that long before this collective
decision, which relative to them formally assuming
their new dad’s name for themselves had either
been consensually arrived at or agreed upon,
both girls had outmanoeuvred and also pre–
empted as was acknowledged by yourself
Pauline. For Cathy and Tracey had of
their own free volition unilaterally
and determinedly taken their new dad’s surname
anyway, which they then routinely applied to
all their schoolwork that in turn prompted
their teachers and the school’s admin
as the surname they were using didn’t
match the official one in their class
register or the school’s records
to politely request individually of the girls, you
Pauline and their new father too what really
was going on? Then fully satisfied after
their detailed investigation that it was
all initially the children’s very own
idea and purposive wish to be so
named and that no coercion or
unwarranted dominance of
them was involved at any
time in Cathy or Tracey’s
independent decision,
uninterruptedly and
officially this time,
let this definitive
action by their
pupils’ own
assertion to
carry on.
However, there was an unseen fly in the ointment. The
children’s new dad had with their explicit blessing,
that of their biological father, who he’d earnestly,
secretly and successfully tracked down but only
for this one specific purpose alone as no one
within the family honestly wanted anything
further to do with him, and your express
authorization too Pauline as your new
man’s locally accepted and generally acknowledged
involved relationship partner, faithfully wanted to
legally adopt the girls, drastically assuage and
finally heal the sense of estrangement that
they were agonizingly experiencing at
being in limbo over the constancy of
having a biological father who’d
callously abandoned them and
didn’t care, and a surrogate one: immensely
responsible, marvellously understanding
and always there for them but whose
personal rights regarding them as a
father weren’t just an unspecified
matter but lawfully as well were
disturbingly unclear; and thus
in what through this altruistic
measure he was assiduously
trying to do was genuinely
and amiably balance the
progressive state of the
link, which apparently
existed between him
as your decided on
loving companion
Pauline and you.
For everyone who knew of it, including the outstanding
and tremendously conscientious, local Labour Party
councillor for your area, Jo Lovelock to whom not
only your family but also its circumstances were
especially well known, and who I see is now in
2016 not only the leader of her party locally
but also that of Reading Borough Council
while continuing unsurprisingly to serve
the electorate she represents and the general public
too in the selfsame committed and conscionable
manner she has always done and in that regard
alone causes me to truly believe that she is
intensely blessed to have been fashioned
in the same unparalleled mould as her
national Labour Party Leader Jeremy
Corbyn, all readily and with sound
justification Pauline congenially
concluded and encouragingly
commented on the genuine
attachment which they’d
perceptibly and equally
receptively discerned
and that intuitively
was transparently
present between
your daughters,
their dad, and
your partner.
Life being what it is in Britain it seldom means that
what’s being sensibly desired or even necessarily
required will always be allowed to happen. So
conscientiously and responsibly as was his
nature and in the given situation that you
were all in relative to the prospective
and important realization of your
daughters’ adoption by him, your partner with
a studied conviction that was pragmatically
conceived undertook to fully discuss the
issue in hand of your daughters hopeful
adoption with a highly recommended
and, as it conveniently happened,
local firm of solicitors whose
particular specialization
was family matters.
However, the outcome of his in-depth discussion
with them ended up leaving him in no doubt
whatsoever and also devastated that his
ambition to adopt Cathy and Tracey
would be vigorously thwarted by
the court system that was
further compounded by
a general, profoundly
entrenched and a distinctly racially motivated
mindset held by the magistrates and judges
within the exclusively white run courts
operation that having non-white and
especially Black fathers, or even
mothers of colour, adopting
white children wasn’t for
them an ideal prospect
in any circumstance, however emotionally or
suitably attached these children and their
likely substitute parents were to each
other, and bearing in mind also the
marked negative connotations in
relation to the social fabric and
constructive cohesion of the
United Kingdom. So rather
than fighting a battle that in all possibility
couldn’t absolutely be won, if at all, it
would instead be much more rational
and to circumvent all distressing or
unwarranted anguish on the part
of your daughters and yourself
Pauline to knock that precise
aspiration of adopting your
children decisively on the
head; that after key talks
with Cathy, Tracey and
you, your partner quite
plausibly, regrettably,
But thoughtfully did.
But life has to go on and this harshly impeded
expectation cruelly suffered by the children,
disappointing though it was for them, only
served to reinforce the already intense
bond which freely and unreservedly
existed between your partner and
daughters that largely owing to
their sterling and impressive
resilience quickly and admirably bounced back
from their own enforced disappointment and
courageously embarked on the challenging
but resourceful task of optimistically and
confidently moving on in the interim
with their youthful lives under the
comprehensively guiding, and
correspondingly subliminal,
influential motivation, in
relation to their mutual
and daily interactions,
inspired in them by
your partner, their
obvious mentor,
and the person
they joyfully
prized and
as their
Motivated both by their father and also from within this
twin-pronged assertive stance taken by Cathy and
Tracey also began to reap other constructive
dividends and not least so as regards their
mother Pauline. Previously not having
throughout her life, and it was the
same for the girls too, set foot outside her hometown
Reading far less so the county of Berkshire that
Reading is located within, now and thanks
solely to her partner foreign paid for and
additionally lengthy vacations spent
in previously unaffordable and
not used to holiday destinations in far away
places cloaked in all year round tropical
sunshine routinely in virtually every
way for Pauline and her children,
and very much so through the
courtesy and generosity of
her partner and the girls’
father, became the
order of the day.
And it was the same from Pauline’s educational perspective.
For having initially and resolutely declined her partner’s
casual but all the same purposeful suggestion that she
might care to get involved in the extra-curricular
educational project he had locally initiated,
vigorously championed throughout its
continuation and was transparently
efficiently running, and besides
with both Cathy and Tracey
progressing by leaps and
bounds educationally and in other respects to
boot at their new school, Pauline not at all
desirous of being left behind began to
think there might be some valuable
benefit after all in her acquiring
a bona fide education too; and
having for the first time and
of her own volition raised the matter
of improving her education with
her partner’s assistance, as a
result of her deciding that
was what she actually
wanted to do keenly
revised her earlier
decision and, by
doing so, also
changed her
own mind.
Thrilled, very impressed and immensely encouraged all
the more by her straightforward decision relative her
positively upgrading her education, which in the
interim her partner had propitiously but also
guardedly out of his genuine concern not
to inadvertently give her the distinctly
mistaken notion that he was craftily
putting any coercion on her to get
the requisite decision which he
wanted and consequently to preclude that, even
after her previous and resolute refusal to be
educationally implicated in what he was
doing had secretly got in touch with a
number of progressive and standard
universities on her behalf, rather
eloquently outlined to them her
particular circumstances and
considerable potential, the
project he was involved
in, and confidently outlined too that he
could create a worthy student of her
if any of them had a mind to have
her; and in response delightedly
had received from all of them
their explicit agreement that
were he in turn to deliver
on what he’d promised,
all of them would be
ready to accept you
Pauline on to an
honours degree
element as an
adult student.
A year of devoted, intensive and comprehensive
tutoring of you then Pauline by your partner
coupled with a reciprocal appreciation of
and your own commitment to what he
was conscientiously doing gainfully
saw you through this demanding
but all the same commendable
endeavour you had willingly embarked upon,
and following the conclusion of the formal
UCAS clearing house procedure that all
prospective university students must
officially go through the aforesaid
universities which your partner
had formerly contacted plus
a couple more of them had
individually and officially
proffered you a place at
their establishment to
begin the instigation
of your undeniably
life transforming
But this social and quite promising upliftment on your part
Pauline wasn’t without its unwarranted and deprecatory
impediments, with your father for one openly damning
what you’d done and making it absolutely clear that
no way should you be going to university; since as
far as he was concerned a woman’s place was in
the home permanently caring for her husband and children,
and with your pie in the sky and attendant irresponsible
notions about achieving an education it was hardly
surprising then that your former husband  your
divorce by then had officially gone through
had left you for another woman. While in
the meantime your neighbours on the
council estate where you lived quite
cruelly ridiculed your university
aspirations, considering them
from their own constrained
and a discernible lack of
their self-progression
aspirations as you
vainly essaying
to be socially
above your
Even the bailiff who thankfully it did appear hadn’t a clue
regarding your impending university commencement
else in all probability he would have got those who
were employing him to sequester what meagre
assets you had together with your university
student’s grant  this by the way was the
epoch long before students’ loans were
ever conceived let alone inaugurated  to pay off some
at least of the enormous HP debts that you and your
former husband had quite improvidently run up,
sporadically kept on calling at your house as
was his stipulated remit no doubt although
realistically expecting nowt financially
from you, as he evidently and rather
injudiciously still thought that you
were still on DHS remittances as
your solitary redoubt following
your husband’s abandonment
of you and the children; and
which was something that
neither you Pauline nor
your partner were the
least predisposed to
apprise him about!
Reading University just three miles distance from where
you then lived Pauline readily accepted you for a place
there but you politely turned down their offer after
clarifying to your partner that you didn’t want to
give your detractors further ammunition, as it
were, to fire in your direction as an apparent
to them social turncoat with affected ideas
socially that in their eyes were manifestly
above your station and commensurately
theirs too as it happened. Since several of them likewise
single parent moms from the same council estate or
neighbouring ones were longstanding recipients
completely on social security benefits of one
kind or another that some of them covertly,
and often out of necessity, supplemented
with black market activities and hence
didn’t want you being pointed to by
the snoops of the Social Security
Department as some kind of a role model which they
could all emulate while personally viewing them
negatively. And for these basically convoluted
reasons and also because you still had to live
among these people Pauline you shrewdly
steered clear of moving to the university
in your hometown Reading and chose
in its place to be an undergrad at the
City of London University where,
on a regular basis, you wouldn’t
be so visibly in their faces, as it
were, but generally speaking
would be diplomatically in
the given and worrisome
circumstances, be truly
and consequently less
provocatively, it was
clear, in their way!
However it was an agreed decision that meant your partner
would now be primarily responsible for looking after the
children’s welfare for example: getting them up in the
morning, preparing their breakfast  no need for any
packed lunches as they had their midday meals at
school  meticulously but jovially supervising
their preparation for school, after that taking
them there and naturally fetching them for
their return journey home when their school day was
over; and in this overall process fulfilling every
other expedient role in between that a loving
and caring father instinctively, to the best
of his ability, with the utmost sincerity
that he’s humanly capable, and also
as someone who is always there
and as a result intuitively does
for every dependent charge
that rewardingly for him
rests within the ambit
of his devoted care.
And in the midst of all this you were neither overlooked
nor ever forgotten Pauline; for while making sure that
undisturbed you unfailingly had the maximum time
possible allotted for your university studies your
partner additionally, willingly offered, agreed,
and with your receptive backing undertook
to assist you in every way that he could
academically and supportively, and
from then on painstakingly and most diligently efficiently
carried on helping out with your studies. Then to amply
assist this accommodating strategy and process time–
wise and also in terms of any required adjustment
contingent on your daily travelling to and from
London positively and practically made sure
that on your return home, and in the most
favourably relaxing circumstances and
approving environment manageable,
that a suitably cooked, nutritional
and appetizing meal was always
ready and waiting for you on
the table, and appropriately
as well that there were no
household odd jobs still
pending and logically
waiting to be done.
A splendid option all round and made possible by your
partner’s welcomed innovations: like him for example
moving in with you and the children although he’d
rather judiciously decided to still keep his own
place; a situation which per the Department
of Health and Social Security’s rules in
situ would not only have specifically
forbidden him from cohabiting with you in your home
in view of your status as a recipient of social security
benefits but also negatively and very significantly
too affect your social security payments if these
said regulations were knowingly to the DHS
contravened. However with your changed
social and economic statuses now those
of a full-time student at university and
furthermore in receipt of a statutory Local Education
Authority grant this transformed situation on your
part of you no longer a “National State Benefit
Recipient Employee” Pauline, that decisively
established DHS constraining and besides
all-encompassing prohibition predictably,
understandably, most welcomingly and
now rationally; no longer, neither for
you Pauline nor your partner, had
any officially permitted or come
to that restricted authorization.
But just as leopards never change their spots with
some human beings, and you’re sadly one of
them Pauline, old habits die hard; and with
your partner now living almost full time
with you and the children unspecified
and vigilantly concealed incidents,
shall we say, willing occasioned
by you Pauline and that before
and understandably didn’t register with your
partner because you made absolutely sure
they were out of the way, entirely under
the radar of his intimate observation or
else given that you knew impeccably
well that trusting you as he plainly
did he wouldn’t be acting in any
distrustful fashion by looking
out for them, as quite simply
he wasn’t the sort of person to do anything
like that with no sound reason, none the
less gradually and puzzlingly for him
and particularly ill-starred for you
unanticipated things now began
to sink into his consciousness.
Which however you wilfully and rather
duplicitously in your deftly construed
Siren scenario to his conspicuously
involuntary Jasonesque situation
did everything in your power
in these totally unexpected
and potentially damaging
circumstances for your
relationship, to ensure
that this likely threat
to it, and especially
from the viewpoint
of the girls you’d
extremely bewail,
would not attain
any real chance
to ever prevail.
Stanley V. Collymore
1 February 2016.

Author’s Remarks:
This poem and its associated articles were conceived and written in January 2016 for publication on the 1 February 2016 but were subsequently deliberately withheld by me for a number of salient reasons that really don’t concern you but were and still are important to me. And both the poem and its accompanying articles, now published a year later and fittingly on the 1st February 2017, are specifically dedicated to Pauline Cassidy and her accomplices.

Usually I comment on the poems and other literary work I write and publish. I shan’t this time however, as some things are beyond the pale and I most certainly do not only have my red lines over which I shan’t under any circumstance gratuitously or otherwise cross – and frankly have never done so in the past – but also similarly and quite significantly I neither appreciate nor would I contemplate for a solitary moment living in the sewers of perceptible degeneracy which considerable numbers of other people seemingly and thoroughly enjoy experiencing and even relish in permanently doing! But you, whether you willingly choose to or not and totally with my utmost indifference, are completely at liberty to either dismissively ignore or else form your own opinion on that matter; and that too is of no significance to me.

For in this specific case I’m just the chronicler of this poem and these accompanying articles, fully cognizant of all the pertinent facts, and consequently am not the arbiter of your personal judgement; a position I’ve no aspirant desire of undertaking or any intention whatsoever of ever aspiring to becoming.


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