Daughter of a Gambler

 

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Your first taste for winning was in 1957

You were 21 she sweet 16.

Shared the winnings with your mam, dad and 9 siblings.

Gave money to the catholic church (as if they needed it)

You married the love and sometimes blight of your life.

Four years later January 1961, you were in prison,

2 months later i was born, in a hostel for the homeless.

To a mother who did not care,

because you were not there and who badly needed help.

I was 10 months old when you first saw me

I did not know you, yet i had looked at you with your eyes.

As I grew older I watched and observed you

from the corner of my mind.

You with your Celtic hair, eyes of light green,

tattoo on your right arm of the naked woman,

beside a glass with Jack, Queen, King and ace inside.

Cards you played and lost my mother, in the money you gave away

You oozed charisma, men and woman enjoyed your company

because when you were on a high,

life was great, outside the front door of my life.

Behind the door Inside where you lived,

was a battle ground, where i walked around

on the glass of your’s and my mother’s anxieties.

You hunched over the Daily Mirror studying the horses

I an avid reader had no books but you had the bookies.

I did not belong to any gang and never fitted in at school.

My shoes with holes, second hand clothes, a stammer in my voice.

I had no choice , I became the parent to you and my siblings.

Yes i do know what it is like to be hungry, hungry for food,

hungry for love, yet i had a thirst for knowledge.

I witnessed your anger of being a bad loser and the bills not being paid.

I still carry the scars you gave in your rage.

Hyper tension became your enemy, heart disease your killer.

You died 18th November 1978 aged 43,

I your eldest girl just 17, old beyond my years.

Yet the child in me died with you.

You and my mother were my best teachers

of how not to be.

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