blackmail press 37
Carol McGhee
New Zealand

Mere & Child - Penny Howard
Letters to Nins #1

Iain Donald Douglas 1952-2014

My beloved brother Nins
A father 
Gifted artist builder gardener and friend
Most of all a fisherman and surfer to the end.

Even in our dreams Nins
We trailed together
Watching tides and winds
Each trapped within our own respective cells.

I loved you Nins
For teaching me about the nuances of
Tight lines and ‘troutus maximus’.

We are devoured it seems
By those we least expect to be.

You’ve left your mark on me dear Nins,
The late night early morning calls
My hope…..
You dance beyond the freedom’s edge
Away from acid tongues and frantic dis-array.
And that you lie at rest I hope
Filled full of knowing that the time had come.

You knew dear Nins
That you could simply walk away
That you and I could live
To surf and fish another day.

We’ve both been captive of
A nightmare life it seems
But now you’ve gone
And I’m left wondering
Is this a dream?
I love you Nins.

Letter to Nins #2

The week you died Nins
The world was crying.
It rained before….
As if it knew.

The low clouds hugging rivers lakes and streams
Filling them with tears and misery
The trout escaped and free….
Because your line
And homemade crafted flys
Will never more be cast to stream or sea.

You’re fishing somewhere else now
I like to think
Off some craggy rocks
Upon some distant shore

The wind had filled your sails with new life
You’d left the sad times
And I know you always wanted more…

Than harsh dark words
And lonely nights.

I like to think you’ve gone now
To a gentler space
Of peace and warmth and light

Letter to Nins #3

Tonight I spoke to Tony O and Eleanor
I told them you had gone….
Somewhere else
Away from us.

And when we remembered that
You’ed loved the way he’d given you
His board to ride without a thought
I realised….

You always appreciated kindnesses
Shown to your sweet and humble Scottish soul.

And you know Nins….
That it reminds me that
Somewhere and distant way back
Words of hate and loathing fell upon you
Out of someone else’s ugly space.

The child
The boy
The man that you became
Was thankful
Desperate to claim his rightful grace

Letter to Nins #4

Dear Nins
I had an arty sister once
Her name was Robin
Fourth in line
A Cranch

She married you….
It seemed in post-hypnotic trance.

Those nights in Devonport when we had
Discovered spaces where our minds could go
With friends now gone…..

Was it that long ago?

Our cultural fortitudes dictating then
That marriage was the sentence when
A maid fell victim to the one-eyed snake
No time to bake the blessed wedding cake.

And purple-garbed….
Dear Julie took
My place as bridesmaid
Frizzed and fancy free

And thank you Rae
For inverted….

I never wore that purple bridesmaid dress…
You placed a barrier that stopped me.
Due to notes
And lack of currency.

Whose culture has a wedding that
Has drawn a line
That says this isn’t quite your time.

I never wore that purple bridesmaid dress…

Though now I do
Back then I couldn’t guess
That Rob and Rae
And even scarey Jan….
Would suck the balls
Off every living man.

Is this a convoluted means to spend
And get the final blond revenge
On fathers who were never really there…

Only on Sunday
When through force and fear
They sent you off to toil
Your way to church….
Returning to domestic bliss
And birch.

It wasn’t anything you did dear Nins
That made your life a special hell on earth.

We’re all a mirror of
Some other bastard’s wrath
And though some seek
Not all will find the cross.

The difference between a life
Lived long with love
With my once arty sister Robin

Letter to Nins #5

I once knew a sweet young Scotsman

I once knew
A sweet young Scotsman
Craftsman builder
Friend and kinsman

We’ll go sailing
You and me Nins
Sometime later
When we’ve all been
Through the times
With loves and haters

Robin cooked
But you cooked better
Robin drew
But you drew clever
No-one likes a life in shadows
No-one likes a voice that bellows.

Me and you Nins
We’ll go back then
Way beyond
To a new time when
We’ll be there
Together amen.
I once knew a sweet young Scotsman

Letter to Nins #6

I’m not taking sides but

Dear Nins
I love you
Miss you.

Gone now from us
Cursed for late night phone calls
Only wanting contact
And communication

I’m not taking sides
Just responding
To a younger brother’s need

Having had
The tight late night confusion
Of a savage blow
Dealt to me
And to you
Dear Nin’s
I do suspect

There is no real excuse
For violence
And that’s why
I’m not taking sides

I’m taking yours dear Nins
Because I was that victim some times

Once too many
For you
Nins my friend
You are my hero now
You said ‘Enough’
It was the end.