The Journey Back

Michael James Treacy

Michael James Treacy | July 10, 2024

The Journey Back


I had to go back,

there were ghosts to kill.

I remembered the main street,

the bleak council houses,

and downbeat people

in that grimy town.

Almost killed

on that road.


Siblings in tow,

hurrying as usual,

late for school again,

crossing without looking…

Landrover screeching to a halt.


That irate red-faced man shouting,

me rushing away with my ragged flock.


“Get stuffed, you miserable bastard!” I yelled.

Everybody shouted and swore in those days.


I walked slowly to the house of my upbringing

in the middle of a rundown terraced row.

Same building except for the paint.


Bittersweet memories.


Six children in two bedrooms

telling crazy stories all night.

How we howled with laughter.

Forever avoiding the Carter boys.

The times when they finally caught me,

when they beat me for being a smelly belly.


I saw the pub where my father had his brawls

and I was proud when he beat McGonigal,

then he left us again and I hated him.


I continued past the housing estate

to the rubbish-strewn canal,

the place that I escaped to,

where the Carter boys

couldn’t find me.


I sailed with pirates,

defeated aliens,

slew dragons,

rescued maidens;

ran for the hell of it all.

I was a Masai stalking a lion,

I broke the 4-minute mile barrier,

I was the first to land on the moon,

I scored the winning goal for England,

I was Scott against the Antarctic winter,

I ran with Buck to answer the call of the wild.


Just a smelly boy with his smelly daydreams.


I quickened my pace as I returned to my vehicle.


There would be people who remembered me

but I decided to give them a miss.


I left them behind again,

left the town behind,

didn’t need them,

didn’t need it.


I wasn’t



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