A Dialogue Of Doubt

My daughter Millie was on a school trip this morning, but I wasn’t sure where it was she was actually going to.

“Where are you going?” 

“I don’t know, but it’s Science Week, so it’s somewhere  to do with science.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll ask some of the other parents at school.”
Seemed logical enough, yes?

Here are a selection of answers I obtained from the other Mums and Dads. 
“Evie told me it’s Lancaster.” 

“It’s somewhere in Rochdale.” 

 “It’s Manchester.”  

“The Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester.” 

“The Police Museum in Manchester.” 

“What trip?”
I thought I’d be better off asking the teachers.
Teacher #1 (who was actually going): “I think it’s Manchester University.”

 Teacher #2: “Preston University.” 

Me: “Is there a university in Preston?” 

Teacher #2: “Maybe it’s Lancaster.” 
Last resort parent: “I’m not sure where it is, but it’s somewhere to do with DNA.” 
There you go, Millie. Enjoy your time on Jeremy Kyle. 

*It turns out that they went to the University of Central Lancashire in Preston.

Sept 11th:Tragedy; Love Story; Poem

Recently was the fifteen-year anniversary of the September eleventh attacks. For my generation, this was our JFK moment, where everybody remembers where they were when they first heard, or saw, the terrorist atrocity taking place.

At the time I was a postman here in Manchester, and had just caught up on my sleep with a couple of hours in the afternoon. I saw it all unfold, disbelievingly, as I was getting ready to pick my daughter up from school.
On the mantelpiece was a postcard, having arrived that day, from a woman who I had known for many years. We’d first met in infant school, and became best friends in high school, that close friendship continuing long into my adult life. The postcard was from New York, and among the scribbled lines was a throwaway comment that she was intending to go up one of those towers that I’d just seen erupting into flames.

After a few frantic calls, (in the days before we both had mobiles), I discovered that her mother had heard from her: she was safe in L.A. She had been about to travel to San Francisco until all of the planes had been grounded, stranding her there.

This was the first shaking of my complacency about our long relationship.

Today we are married, with children. I’ve seen the photographs she took from the top of one of those towers just a couple of days before it collapsed, unable to fathom the sheer desperation that could force people to jump from such a height.

I wrote a poem not long after that tragic day, a long one called American Trilogy. It wasn’t about 9/11 per se, but it did feature. How could it not.

 The poem didn’t make into my book. Perhaps one day I will publish it in its entirety.

Here I post the closing lines, referring to that day and the idea that my lifelong friend was over there. Somewhere.
I received word across

Atlantic squalls

that your wings

were torn upon the besieged


your eyes reaping shelter

from a holocaust

of lenses.

A pre-emptive strike

at my complacency,
praying for an eye in the storm.

And you, snug in a motherland 

of flag-waving lambs

where everyone wants to be quarterback,

everyone wants to be General,

everyone wants to lay the homecoming queen.

Icons in an American dream.

©Andrew James Murray

Cap In Hand

I saw this being shared on Facebook and headed over to Amazon to check the stats on my book Heading North.

Reviews on the Amazon UK site stand at eighteen. I’d love to get them up to twenty, so if any of you fine people have read my book and not left a review, I would appreciate it if you’d consider doing so. However short, they all help. I’ll even put you in a draw to win a Snickers bar (as long as I can find my wife’s secret chocolate stash first). 

Everybody wins. Except the wife.