We have one morning on this earth.

I woke on mine.

The sound track of my adolescence,

breaking on my insecurity across the sands of Bournemouth,

and smelling like the salty taste of Maria Costello’s mouth –

I did not know how to kiss – is the sea.

Passed Our Lady Queen of Peace,

by the cross roads,

the back drop,

to failed fumbling with bra straps

racing time and discovery,

was our beach hut.

That church, sat between me and freedom,

condemned me to even failing at solitary ejaculations,

held the altar that I served on.

John Wheaton’s elder brother had such singular purpose and stamina,

in all confessionals held

late at night on the roof of Toft,

the Bay below,

Dad’s homemade wine and our rolled cigarettes,

Feeding other peoples’ exploits, never my own.

It was well known, that my mind became like so much seaweed if a girl was with me.

And later,

I did not see them take his body from his bed.

I saw only the corpse of my father, a stranger.

Then: when I no longer cycled to Christchurch to open the shop on a Sunday,

and the sound of the tube replaced the sound of the sea,

and Delia invited me to her flat in Finsbury Park,

with the love notes from her ex still on the fireplace surround,

then all the secrets unfolded and in all these discoveries,

in the relentless drive to do.

So I took a twenty five year journey away from You,

and comfort,

and knowing how to be.

Each morning the beach is remade, smooth, virgin soil, redemption in a landscape.

Each morning the tube leaves empty and the mass of humanity moves from one place to another to earn a life worth living.

We trust in their repetition.

The sound of breaking waves,

my children asleep,

my wife sitting reading,

the sound of the breaking waves asked then, how should you live?

They still ask, who do you want to be?

And gradually we are alone again.

Amid the clutter and the chaos of my sister’s death, I remember most of all her faith.

My mother crying on the phone, her mind is going:

Can I go back to God?

Will he take me?

We have one morning on this earth.

We need to know how to use it.