Saturday, October 28, 2006

do it yourself

beyond reasonable doubt
(or how to make sense from confusion)

First, take the last book left on the lowest shelf. Tear out a blank page from the beginning or more likely the end. Find a pen - one of the ones hidden in the place you would least expect to find a pen.

Write down the riddles that fiddle their insidious tunes at the back of your mind. Write them in code. Write them back to front and upside down and inside out - any way so that no-one but you can know them.

Write them boldly in black ink that always smells faintly like the stains left behind by spilled white wine. Then fold the page in half and half and half again - then go one fold beyond what the paper is willing to allow you.

Tear out lots of little pieces - if desired using your fingers and teeth. Let the newborn confetti gather around your bare feet. Unfold the page, now grown a hundred fold by the elasticity of your words. Wrap the paper lace around you, thin against your naked skin, and see only little pieces of you showing through in erratic patterns.

Walk outside and stand still. Wait for the weather to notice you - don’t worry, it might take a while but it always will. When it comes, don’t forget to greet the rain by name. Then stand and be bathed in her gentle blame.

As the paper dissolves, the riddles resolve and the words and the thoughts wash free from your skin. They pool at your feet which slowly sink into the welcoming ground. Until all you are is a ripple on the surface of an uneven puddle on a cloudless day.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

easy way out

[All week I have been trying to write a piece about something that struck me as vitally important last Sunday morning. About a someone who had been overlooked. And only now I realise I am writing a story. Dreaming a fiction of your reality. And that is as bad as forgetting you altogether. I realise this is a familiar pattern I fall into. Filling the holes of unknown with imaginary detail. This is wrong. I have no right to claim any story but my own. So no cohesive piece today. Just the random threads pulled apart from my attempt to weave a blanket to keep you warm.]

I see you. Sitting. Legs folded. Thin carpet beneath you. Light enters the room, and falls as empty angles across furniture. You don’t notice the light. Similarly it ignores you, but does not choose to leave. It lingers. Like time. Like breath held too long. A thought grown too strong. The thought that your feet could be anyones but your hands are all mine. And they fiddle with each other. Ever restless. Ever impatient.

They called you the one with the quiet voice. They say you lived on the periphery, whispering thin secrets that we could only catch by the edges. They say you lived a quiet death. A silent puncture, and a gentle deflation. They say you died in a place named after echoes. They say that’s all we hear - the cyclical repetitions of the things you shared with us.

I never sent a postcard. From nowhere. For no reason. I never answered the phone, before you’d even dialled. I never held my breath to hear you speak. I never kept your letters between the pages of my books. I never made you sigh. I never saw the way your hair fell in the morning. I never reached for your hand in the middle of the night. I never laid flowers on your grave. I never knew you enough to forget you.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

unlikely treasures

Sick of complaining that I have words to spare with nothing to pin them to, I remind myself to look everywhere for inspiration, leaving no nook or cranny unexplored. And so I lead you to an overlooked. A place seldom glanced. Just spun a few revolutions each day on the quest for a clean sheet.

And I find a butterfly inside our toilet roll tube. Or at least the shadow of a butterfly. A black stamped symbol with four fold wings. There is a number printed next to it. Inky digits laid there for a reason.

Things like this preoccupy me and make me wonder what it means. Perhaps that toilet paper is made from butterflies. Or that butterflies are made from toilet paper. And that exactly one thousand one hundred and seventy six go into the making of each.

Bear this in mind the next time you sit in contemplation in your bathroom or your garden. Take care that your toilet rolls don’t take to the sky, or that your butterflies don’t dissolve in the rain.

Friday, October 13, 2006

a gift from the earth

Like the jeweller loves his precious stones. The thrill of a treasure found hidden within compressed centuries. Chipped it out from its surroundings and dragged to the surface. Measured. Cut. Polished. Held up to the light - all perfect angles and magic surface. All colour and light contained within - secrets of the underworld.

I’m dazzled by words. I prise them out from their paper chains. Barricades of ruled lines. I let them dance on the tip of my tongue and wonder at the partners they choose. I spin them through my fingers - a literate card trick.

Today the sparkle comes from the partnership between -

One letter to divide and differentiate. One letter to mark between the sharp novelty of a pulled cracker - and the breathy warning of the snake in the grass.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

under a full moon

[an anniversary message from me and my blog]

Its a year to the day since I sank to this unclaimed stretch of the abyssal plain. Since I planted my flag and claimed this barren patch as my own. When I accepted my mission I suspected I was the only one foolish enough to plunge to such depths. But now I grow accustomed to my home alone on the sea bed.

There is no sound under my ocean. And only limited colours. But unlimited wonder if you are willing to hold your breath and squint. If I am willing to learn to listen to the sound of my own voice. My. Own. Voice.

Since landing I have let 71 bubbles float to the surface. Some large, some small. Some brittle, some bold. Some have never made it - forever adrift on erratic currents. But I am sure I have heard one or two burst as they break for freedom.

Schools of precious creatures pass this way - growing a little more numerous and bolder by the day. Among them the strangest fish. Species I am taking my time to identify. Labelling each - predator or prey.

I’ve weathered underwater storms and the changing temperatures of the deep. I’ve sent cables of communication to other oceanic explorers. I hear their steady bleeps and see their occasional flashes of light. And I know they see mine.

Tonight the moon is full, but its light is unlikely to reach me here. Where I sit still dreaming the infinite dream of impossibility.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

the ghost in you

white cat
squeezes through black railings
quiet as a ghost

A welcome return to blanket road. Where this time the shouting has stopped. All is calm, all is still. Nothing speaks, nothing breathes - but something moves. A whiteness - that eases its way between parallel lines of isolation.

A cat departs the cemetery. It rolls in the road. It licks itself. It seems to like itself. Content within its skin. Happy with its cat-self. It licks the tarmac. Comparing extremes on the tip of its tongue. Hard and soft take turns in the taste game.

It glances up the road. Chances a few more minutes in the middle. It seems more reckless than most. As if it has gathered extra lives from its padding across the gravestones. From where it loitered among resting spaces, savouring the scent of forgotten names and remembered weeds. Collecting horizontal and vertical thoughts into its furred bag. Nine multiplied by nine always leaves some spare.