I went round to yours today to fit your new DVD player.
You said that there was ‘nothing on TV these days’
And it would be good watch to some of your old DVDs
But you couldn’t get your old machine to work.
I like the fact that you call it a machine.
So I called round. It was about 4pm. It was getting dark.
I drove to yours through pot-holed country lanes
Where no one knows how to give way anymore –
Especially parents in 4x4s with children. They tend to drive
In an entitled sort of way. Just saying.
(Did you know some of those cars have DVD players in the seat-backs?)
Your new DVD was in the boot.
I bought if for you for Christmas.
It was cheap. But good enough for watching ‘The Queen.’
Seasons 1 and 2.
I unplugged the old machine and untangled the wires.
I could feel you getting agitated as you sat behind me.
As if I was turning off some sort of life support.
I imagined a sign with DNM on it – Do Not Mess.
In big letters.
It’s a reasonable request at eighty-six.
‘How will I get the news?’ You said. And I explained.
But I could see that you didn’t understand, you didn’t follow.
So I explained it to Mum and she said she you would work it out.
But I could tell she wanted to make some tea.
This wasn’t in the routine. Who am I to mess?
So when I finished I tried to write down all the instructions for how to use
Your new DVD player. Because you now have three remote controls.
A big one. A medium-sized one. And a small one. Just like the three bears.
Only they each do different things and none of them is just right.
That takes some explaining. Even I am confused.
And tonight I just feel guilty.
For fixing something that wasn’t broken.
For disrupting. For not really listening. For patronising.
For wanting to be the son that makes everything ok.
For making you feel one-step removed from ‘normal.’
For making you feel remote from that which is yours.
I’ve never really been a fan of poems that don’t rhyme, however, I found myself transfixed to the Remote. Beautiful and moving….how we busy ourselves in the lives of others with great intention and meaning but somehow missing the essence of it all…listening and simply being with!
Great piece. It makes me want to call me my mom and apologize for ever getting snippy.
Thank you! Glad you like it.