As a neglected child, with a neglected history and heritage, my first question was:
What does neglect look like?
It becomes easier to remember when alone in the basement and without any contact to the outside world. There is also a worry that someone could accidently knock the wood holding the door open at the top of the stairs. The silence in the basement is peaceful, not as I expected. I expected to feel alarmed and uncomfortable.
My home is full of my 6 children pecking for my attention. A complete contrast to this basement of quiet space. All the same, what does neglect look like is a massive question. However, it resonates off these basement walls like it does in my mind.
What does the neglect of a culture, a class, a gender look like?
The neglect of a side of a story, a history, a truth or a past?
The neglect of a government for its people?
June 16 2017, 12:01am, The Times ANDY RAIN/EPA
What does the neglect of a generation look like? Of a town?
The neglect of a person?
Is the neglect of a child visible in multiple blue lines?
On one of the main roads in and out of Llanelli, there is a stark reminder of arguably the effects of neglect on a small welsh town.
Another young Llanelli boy violently took his own life. He was one of a long line of local boys that killed themselves in the recent months.
I feel so detached from my teenage-self. So detached that I can’t remember how I felt. But I do remember feeling futureless. And I wonder now if my children feel futureless? In light of this realization, I am volunteering with a youth group on a creative sculptural project. My reasons for this are partly selfish. One for research but also I wondered, if I recognize what neglect looks like, does that mean I’m part of it?
He isn’t the first young boy to believe he had no future.
And I am reminded every time I drive under his bridge.
The red balloons bounce away from their tethers, anchored to the place of end.
He mirrored the maimed of London to his own tender flesh and fell.
The loss of his life streams down my stream
He gave others life with his disowned pieces.
He saw a future in strangers
and passed them his still heart.
In the pictures that pass my thumb, the horrors of London, Manchester, London,
A digit-dart stabs down and holds, a beating pause at how bright he looked –
a fit grin of white teeth and blond hair snuggled amongst the flower-bearers and the balloon blowers.
He should never have fallen.
A quote from his father.
We should never have let him fall.
His wasn’t the first fall, and the balloons and flowers will find new tethers,
smiling faces raining down my stream to a familiar new end.
Is this what the neglect of a town looks like?
Turk’s drip-fed stolen souls
A towns heritage a plaque of flowers and red balloons.
My current reading
Our Mother’s Land: Chapters in Welsh Women’s History, 1830-1939(Gender studies in Wales) Angela V John.
Struggle or Starve: Women’s Lives in the South Wales Valley’s Between the Two World Wars. Peter Mathews.
Our Sisters’ Land: Changing Identity of women in Wales. Jane Aaron.
Out of the Shadows: a History of Women in Twentieth-century Wales. Deirdre Beddoe.