Tuesday, October 30, 2007

some girls

Sometimes surrounded by girls wearing curls. Knowing they made it that way with all their twisting twisted twister thoughts. Darkness spinning within. All distant relatives of the Medusa - snakes on high ground, twirling and crowned. Reptile frowned.

And some I like and some I don’t. The girls I like have warm snakes dancing around their faces, snakes that smile from laying in the sun. Snakes who want to chat, and sing and drink gin. And the bad girls? well, their snakes are pencil thin, with teeth of rusty nails. They snip and tear and whisper secret poisoned berries with bitter pips within.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

mixed metaphors

I salute the goddesses of good luck when I find the postcard - the picture that started the misunderstanding that gave him the nickname we now know him by - I didn’t know I’d missed it, but I know I miss you

I used to list words - no meaning needed - just for their sound or the patterns they made on the page - like a child builds a tower of blocks only to knock it down and start again

its not that I’m ungrateful or unable to appreciate beauty - but its true that the carnations fascinate me as much, if not more, now they are dead - crisp rustles as I touch and the smell of deep dark dank forgotten bottoms of lost ponds - faded relics of who they once were with weird white worms emerging from one - almost as if it was trying to eat itself, one last brittle supper

hands wrinkled by water - as if my fingertips are trying to fold in on themselves and disappear - as if they want to resign their uniqueness and keep me hidden

woodpigeons walk lines back and forth across our overgrown lawn - like little forensic men - careful footsteps - heads up, heads down - searching for evidence - tasty treats hidden between stemmed green

Friday, October 12, 2007

better best forgotten

Wednesday. The first face of the morning is the face of the missing. Not my missing but yours. We all have one, tucked away somewhere - at the back of a cupboard, bottom of a pocket, boot of a car. A certain someone - gone but not forgotten.

And those clever people who live inside the computer have used their digital imagination to spin a spell of zeros and ones. To show us how someone might now look - if we turned a corner and found them back from the dead, standing, smiling in a patch of sunlight, dug up from the bottom of the lost property box.

It’s a game we can all play with our missing. It’s make believe and re-draw the picture how it might have been. It’s fold the corners and crumple the edges, fade the colours and bruise belief. It’s smudge the smile and place coffee cup rings around the eyes.

And however well you play, it all turns out the same - a thumbnail image of someone you never knew - who day by day grows to look a lot like you.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

the one that got away

[an anniversary message from me and my blog]

Last Friday, walking home from the supermarket, down the ramp into the subway under the big road. An onion overtook us. We stopped for a moment, slightly stunned. And then gave chase. It was our onion you see, fallen through a hole in our carrier bag. We only caught up with it at the bottom of the ramp, once it had stopped its escape attempt. These days even the vegetables outrun us.

Two years on and I’m still writing here, still chasing the impossible - and you are still reading and sometimes chasing with me. For that I thank you.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

blue print

When we look to the south we face the sea. We cant quite see it, but we know it’s there - always ready and waiting for us. Sometimes snoring, sometimes sighing, sometimes sad. But just there, behind the line of houses, behind the line of trees.

But today there’s a wrenching and a ripping in the air, and you’re not here to hold my hand as they tear apart our view. As the nameless men uproot the little trees, like milk teeth with no-one to put them under a pillow, no-one to pay 50p. I see multiple green tops and tips sliding past at unlikely angles. I see bits of old fence flying through the air and soil hefted higher than it wants to go. I see a mean little digger tear apart the decaying shed.

And despite this sudden and most welcome burst of October sun (surely a sign from the sky that you’re on the way home), despite the new window they are determined to cut between here and there - I can sense the sea pulling further back. A yard or two more distant from me, from you.

Monday, October 01, 2007

my space

[please click the corner to turn the pages]

Picture postcards always frame the seaside in the sun, but I like the dull days too - the grey sky mornings when the gulls are white against the clouds - cut-out shapes that offer a glimpse of the bright beyond.

A seaside town closing down - kiosks boarded, coaches going going gone - children back in the classroom. Empty shelters with no scraps for the opportunistic onlooker - and the only one smiling for a snapshot, a young gull perched high and bemused over a stone clad fruit basket.

She taught me to always ask the birds permission before you take their photo - otherwise they will fly away just as you hit the button. I think its connected to the way that people used to believe that early photographs stole a piece of your soul - and the birds haven’t quite given up on this idea.

A place of shadows and stains and secret corners to hide from the wind - to huddle away with a book and a pen and a bagful of recycled words. I’m at home among the older faces, the creases and the frowns - taking time to gather dust and watch the waves come and go and return again. To catch scraps of conversation as they drift by - talk of ‘gas masks and all that’ as the old man clutches his tobacco pouch to his chest, like a long lost grandchild - and she says how ‘he never had a day of ill health in his whole life’ and you just know this is posthumous praise.

This is where I live - just another seaside town, except that this is my seaside town - not quite where I was born but most likely, hopefully, where I will die, or at least drift away. Good on the bright days but just as much mine on the grey.