The Ghost of Yesterday

I knew every twitchel, every alley
Of that tiny universe
Had a shortcut and a treetop
Where I could escape and traverse

I would hear them round the corner
And then run in fear and shame
Whenever I would hear them call,
That awful crass nickname.

“That you Ghostie?!
We know you’re in there!”
And sure enough I would be,
Cowering with fear!

They called me that in ‘86
When Maradona fame
Had sent me down the football field
In hope of playing a game

“God in’t ‘e payul?!”
Remarked a bigger lad
And I was back then
At not quite ten
So didn’t think it bad!

They all had names
So it felt right in a way
To play some kind of part
There was Chalky, well, he was black
And Whiffy, who, apparently
Was constantly letting off farts!

So it became a term of endearment
Playground banter, not spiteful
Casper the Friendly Ghostie
Didn’t seem too bad a title!

But when we went up to Willows School
The banter all turned sour
With a punch in the ribs
Or a mouthful of lip
From a different little urchin each hour

The reverse was the case
From the nicer folks face
For they’d all heard that I was a loser
And no one would choose
To schmooze with a dude
That’s in danger of beats from a bruiser!

So what hurt the most
Being nicknamed the Ghost
Was that I seemed to be invisible
I tried to be funny
Or pretend I had money
But my efforts were all inadmissible!

Now I’m 6 foot and two
But it’s taken a few
Years to catch up the mind with the body
For at first I saw merely
a little boy not nearly
The tall man within my reflection

But now when I stand
With my loved ones at hand
I see courage, respect and acceptance.

P J Deakin 2015 ©

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