Finlay’s Hours: ‘Definition’

 

A chronological collection of writing during my son’s first fortnight of life, in Neonatal ICU.

Definition

Strength is the ability to assimilate the extraordinary into the ordinary.

Bravery is the ability to meet each upwards oscillation of fate with a new intensity of frequency that establishes a new plateau from previously unspoken peaks.

Fear is the complete and overwhelming realisation that you have no means to control the things, seen or unseen, that threaten to alter the accepted defaults of your existence.

Relief is the realisation that expectations have not changed.

Joy is the acceptance of good fortune.

Happiness is the confirmed acknowledgment of Relief.

Guilt is the suspicion that you could, or should, or might be able to effect changes in your current stability that could prevent Fear from infiltrating your personal circumstances.

Love is the inability to exist on your own elemental terms, independent of the existence of another element.

Support is the tendency to recognise the underlying beneficial factors in someone else’s decisions and meet these factors with your own enthusiasm.

Commitment is the ability to choose Support on spite of Fear.

Worry is the early onset of Guilt.

-Unseen Flirtations

Finlay’s Hours: ‘Like Birth’

A chronological collection of writing during my son’s first fortnight of life, in Neonatal ICU.

Like birth,
Progress is so gradual,
So incremental,
That you can easily miss it.
But there’s always that moment,
That moment of give,
That takes you a step forward,
Upwards and into
Something new.
A before and an after,
Clearly in view.

-Unseen Flirtations

Finlay’s Hours: ‘Question Mark Days’

A chronological collection of writing during my son’s first fortnight of life, in Neonatal ICU.

We’re travelling these question mark days,
Up,
Round the bend
And heading for the straight.

Eventually,
We’ll have to come to a halt,
Wait –
And jump, for that final full stop.

-Unseen Flirtations

Finlay’s Hours: ‘The Best Art’

 

 

A chronological collection of writing during my son’s first fortnight of life, in Neonatal ICU.

(note: Before going into labour, my wife bought me a book of British short stories so as to have something to read during the process. The introduction to this collection was rather academic. Among other ideas, the editor, Malcolm Bradbury, posited the notion that the best short story writers of the 20th century challenge the notion of the short story as a format as well as seeking to make a statement through the content of their work. This thought rolled around in my head like an inky marble, before eventually being manifested in the poem below.)

The Best Art

The best art challenges the very notion of itself.
If this holds true,
Then you are a masterpiece
Because you revision life
And interrogate the form of life we had formed
In our creative minds
Before you were born.
You took our imperatives
And put a question mark on them.
You made us think, not again,
But for the first time
About what it essentially means to be.

You Quentin Tarantinoed our Hollywood production,
You James Joyced our perfect novel,
You Alexander McQueened our Spring Summer collection,
You Chris Ofilied our shitty lives,
You Emined up our bed
And Eminemed up our bars
And Nasir Jonesed our debut record.

You Grand Wizard Theodored our neatly stacked vinyl,
You Zinedine Zidaned our pregnancy final,
You Picassoed our classics
And Maleviched the four-cornered square of our lives.

You Damon Dashed our business plans
And John Coltraned our saxophone solos
Into something supreme. Sublime.
You Jaco Pistorioused our bassiest lows
And punk rock studded our high street clothes.

You Zaha Hadided our walls and our ceilings
Mike Tysoned our lights out
And Dysoned our feelings
Into a vacuum.

You William Morrised our florals,
You Michel Roux Juniored our meals
And Rodney Mullened all four wheels
That we ride upon.

You Michael Jacksoned our video,
Then Gondryed it,
Then Shynolad it,
Before you Da Vincied our smiles,
Becketted our short stories,
Woolfed our consciouses
And Shakespeared our sonnets.

You did all that
Without brush, pen, or palette,
Creative genius
Placed on this planet.
Your raw material:
Intensive care,
You Finlay Hostick-Boakyed
The air.

-Unseen Flirtations

 

 

 

 

 

Finlay’s Hours: ‘Imagine’

 

A chronological collection of writing during my son’s first fortnight of life, in Neonatal ICU.

Imagine watching your 6-day old son have a tube forcibly inserted down his throat, into his lungs, before having mucus and secretions withdrawn manually.

Imagine his arm spasming with every push, his mouth forced open with a plastic brace tied across the rear of his head.

Imagine his quaking body and curling toes, his silent protestations and bandaged nose, another tube in one nostril drawing substances from his stomach.

Imagine his eyes, glued shut with fatigue and morphine, struggling to open as well-meaning hands pummel his chest.

Imagine seeing his signs of life digitised in primary colours, fluctuate in real time.

Imagine seeing him retch and stretch in seeming distress, bare chested, breathing in flaps, bursts and jets of activity.

-Unseen Flirtations

Finlay’s Hours: ‘Question’

 

A chronological collection of writing during my son’s first fortnight of life, in Neonatal ICU.

(note: Even in 20/20 hindsight, I can’t unravel the crypticism of this poem. God knows what was going through my head at the time of writing)

 

Question

Is this the bravest thing I wrote:
Do these words show naïve hope?

-Unseen Flirtations

Finlay’s Hours: ‘Some Shapes in the Sunshine’

 

A chronological collection of writing during my son’s first fortnight of life, in Neonatal ICU.

We slowly pick our way through treacle days,
Our arms outstretched in constant hesitation.
New born: each step in studied desperation,
Eyes down, to see the feet and find a way

To navigate. We stagger in directions
Dictated by this landscape we have made
Of scattered twigs and dust and naked questions
That sit like snares with open jaws. We wait

For day. But simple light is all it brings.
Illuminating what we cannot see
At night. And struggle still to really see,
With no idea of what these shapes could mean.

-Unseen Flirtations