Sunday, December 31, 2006

memento mori

As the final hours of the year slip through my fingers my thoughts turn to the way we mark our days.

I recall that I first started keeping a diary around easter 1993. At that time I would catalogue all my highs and lows, dips and disappointments in a series of A6 notebooks. I used a rainbow of whatever pens came to reach and my handwriting was as erratic as my mood. I wrote every day without fail. I never had nothing to say.

Sometime since I graduated to A5 notebooks, my handwriting has stabilised and I only write in black ball point. Currently my days are trapped between the pages of a book with cold corrugated metal covers. But with every progressive year I write less and less often. In 2003 I made 23 entries. In 2004 only four. In 2005 I wrote on 3 days. And in this past year I have not visited that paper palace even once.

Which leads me to wonder…

Where do they go when a poet loses her words? Where does it end up when a philosopher loses his train of thought? Are my diaries getting larger even as I have less to say? and where will this ultimately lead? Will I spend 2007 spray painting a slogan on a brick wall? and the year after scrawling silence across the sky?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

breadcrumbs in a line

out-takes on a seasonal theme

-- the postman approaches, cloudy and vague through my condensation
-- browsing virtual shops, done up in the glory of festive fonts
-- whittling down the Christmas card list
-- eating ice-cream at bedtime - sweet to smooth away a bitter day
-- as winter grips my lemons surrender and fall from their tree
-- mail order frenzy, day by day, more of our Christmas arrives
-- wrapping with ease - grateful for small square gifts
-- once a year sentiments, scrawled and sent to distant friends
-- seven days between now and then - eight letters between you and me
-- I trap the hours in the holes formed by letters - each loop just large enough to hold a drop of blood
-- wood grain always lays in one direction - knowing itself and where its heading - I look at the spiralled confusion of my thumb print
-- the hazy sense of sleep approaches, anytime, anywhere unannounced - middle of the day, middle of the room
-- an excuse to try to smile and to eat iced gingerbread reindeer
-- frozen morning and you hold up a perfect replica of the inside of the bird bath bowl
-- we smile despite our false best wishes
-- baubles on the tree and cocktail cherries at the ready
-- wondering what you will wear on Christmas day, wherever you are
-- a years worth of news - good and bad - squeezed beneath the printed greetings

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I know the mortar in the wall breaks

Back to the walls (of October 2005). I was wrong. I can see that now. I focused on the holes at the expense of the bricks.

Its not that we need more bricks. We are inundated with them. They fall from the sky. A never-ending tetris monsoon. Chucked down by the gaming gods. We can dodge them all we like, but the pieces will just pile up at our feet, and trip us with their technicoloured edges.

We need to stand still and take the time to slot them into place. But we must break the rules of the game. We must leave gaps. Gaps to breathe, gaps to look out and see our fellow builders coping with their own walls. And if we spy anyone too good at the game - blocked in solid behind their wall - we must fling a brick in their direction, hoping to break a window in their rainbowed frame. As within those walls there is only darkness and suffocation.

I remind myself, we must not fix our holes. We must not plug our gaps. We must play but we must play badly.

Friday, December 08, 2006

beginning of a great adventure

I prefer anticipation to instant gratification. I like to catch the scent of my dinner cooking for a while before I eat it. I like to get lost in lengthy introductions to favourite songs. I like to see daylight calling through my curtains before I open them.

I like to be teased. To have the moment of pleasure suspended rather than immediately granted. The real treat is in those extra few moments that allow the mind the chance to prepare itself for delight.

And so advent is always welcome. Its one of the few things we choose to hold onto from all the childhood pastimes that we willingly discard as our years advance. We give it our own trademark - less commercial, less tacky. We share pictures and sentiments and little gifts each day. Twenty four packages of homemade love.

And its not so much about a countdown to Christmas. Its not about opening a numbered window to a glittery picture each day. Its more about remaining aware of the inevitable passage of time. One day at a time for one month of the year. About finding ways to make each day a little more individual and unique.

Friday, December 01, 2006

divine retribution

For the record this is the sum total of my amber collection. Two bracelets restrung from beads that originally hung as one necklace - I prefer to shackle my wrists with colour these days. One silver set ring smuggled home from when I sailed to Copenhagen. I had another amber ring, given by a friend, but I seem to have lost it - the friend or the ring, I’m not sure which.

And a fake plastic impostor. As if it wasn’t obvious from its pale comparison to its surroundings - you only have to put it between your teeth and touch it with the tip of your tongue to know. It lacks the bittersweet treat of genuine amber. The flavour of its heritage.

Because we all know how amber is formed - the slow solidifying of sunflower honey, with a little of the garden always left behind. And we know that the pieces we receive are nothing more than the boiled sweets spat out by the gods. Ejected from their mighty mouths once they have sucked away all the pleasure. Discarded just before they reach the insects or seeds trapped within. Just like you or I might refrain a second before we reach the worm lurking beneath the tequila.