Kata is a formulaic dance


martial artists practice.


they are fighting

an opponent.

It is like shadow-boxing


in baggy white pyjamas.

The summer of ’88 I practiced outside

underneath the flats where we lived

in the heat

of a Mediterranean summer.


& the little kids that stood around,

rusting bikes

and raggedy, over-laundered t-shirts

wide-eyed and tanned,

staring at me,


mocking the Scotsman, dressed as a Japanese


Stitched artfully across my breast

by my brother

15 years before and

3,000 miles away.

One little kid





I told him to get lost.

to get away,

back to what he should be doing.


His brother

coming round (w/ pals) to

my house

Wild-West justice;

Knocking at the door,

tussle in the stair-well

Broken nose

off to the hospital

Young doctor correcting me on my grammar (he didn’t throw – he gave)

& Michelle arriving

Blood spattered on the tiles

& no one home


No, we didn’t have mobiles

or any means of communication.

and the Kata.

the dance macabre.

Sabre rattling, toothed-tiger.

…those were the days!


Published by rodkersh1948

Trying to understand the world, one emotion at a time.

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