When My mom bought me home from hospital
all ten and a half pounds of me – pride of the ward
I was paraded for the neighbours.~
My mom remembers that
as I sucked my foot Pauline from number 14
took one look at me and said.
“He looks soft in the head
I think he’s puddled,
no, no he’s yampy.”
And just like that an old phrase
was fitted round a young boy
who started to grow into it.
“He’s Yampy.” My neighbours said about me when I was young,
as I rode my Grifter bicycle no-handed past their shocked faces,
laughing as I crashed into their beloved shrubs.
“He’s Yampy.” They whispered from behind their windows
as I walked to school,
laces untied, shirt hanging out, head in the clouds.
Teachers echoed these taunts.
“Could do better, must try harder, slacker.”
I didn’t care as I couldn’t change
as yampy was encoded into my DNA.
Fast forward I grew up – a bit – and discovered beer.
“He’s Yampy after a few.” They said in my local.
“He’s Yampy before he’s walked in the door.” Was the reply.
Fag in my gob, pint in my hand I joined in the laughter.
When I met my wife she used to laugh at my bad memory
“Come on you yampy bugger ,” she’d say.
“Why can’t you remember my favourite drink?
Why can’t you remember when my birthday is?
Why can’t you remember your own poems?”
It’s true us yampys do have memory problems,
our brains are like attics
stuffed with junk that we think one day might
come in useful again.
Then when we want to remember something we
struggle to find it,
often forgetting why we wanted it in the first place.
When my daughter was born people said,
thinking they were out of my earshot.
“I hope she takes after her mom.”
I ignored them as I cradled my new born, writing a poem about her in my head.
Poetry I know, I was as surprised as you.
But us yampys are drawn to poetry like
a seagull is drawn to chips.
Snatching ideas and words, squawking them back out
cackling like the bird brains we are.
Poetry was one of the many plasters I applied to my brain,
I tried drugs legal and not but
being yampy cannot be cured only
lulled into drowsiness until
it snaps awake at 12 am demanding your attention,
like a pet dog demands an urgent midnight piss.
Recently I thought about burning all my old school reports,
then I thought about burning all my old school photos,
then I thought about burning all the mementoes of my teenage years.
But I didn’t think about burning my bridges
I’m yampy not stupid.
Yampy is a local term where I live to describe someone who is daft or losing the plot.
Quick plug this poem features in my latest poetry collection A Pigeon among the cats.