Kata

Kata is a formulaic dance

that

martial artists practice.

Imagining,

they are fighting

an opponent.

It is like shadow-boxing

someone

in baggy white pyjamas.

The summer of ’88 I practiced outside

underneath the flats where we lived

in the heat

of a Mediterranean summer.

Hot

& the little kids that stood around,

rusting bikes

and raggedy, over-laundered t-shirts

wide-eyed and tanned,

staring at me,

laughing

mocking the Scotsman, dressed as a Japanese

Shotokan!

Stitched artfully across my breast

by my brother

15 years before and

3,000 miles away.

One little kid

laughing

taunting

distracting.

&

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!

funakoshi

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