Friday, June 29, 2007

a long way down

She had always wanted to join them, high in the sky hopes and all. She said she dreamed the same dreams, schemed the same schemes. And at first all seemed well. She talked the talk, she squawked the squawk - and they even forgave her when she didn’t know the truth about bluebirds. But while ignorance is bliss, bad birds must be punished.

And yesterday the eagles passed judgement. They took her up to the top of the tallest tree to remind her of the rules of the game. They said you mustn’t use your feathers as weapons. They should lift you high, and let you see the world laid out below, all gameboard smiles. They said feathers are light, but sharp too. They should be used to draw comparisons, and sometimes even conclusions, but never to draw blood.

Yesterday the eagles passed judgement. They plucked 180 feathers from her wings and sent her down to live out life on the ground.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

piece signs

I’m prone to ramble in those little comments boxes. This will not come as news to those people I visit regularly. But this is the first time a comment has grown into a post of its own. When I saw this recent image in the box of delights that is grey dandelion feather, my mind went into flood alert.

I'm not religious, but certain scraps of christianity come together when I see this. The shroud of turin, stained with the blood of the crucifixion. Warnings about original sin, and the spilled juice of the first forbidden fruits.

I see innocence. But innocence lost, or innocence stolen never to be returned to its rightful owner. Kissed laid gently on skin that never sees the light of day. A well intentioned touch that burns and leaves a scar.

I picture a beautiful woman walking through the sun, fan in hand, caught in a downpour - washed suddenly from youth to old age.

I’ve said too much, I haven’t said enough. But I’ll stop, and leave some breath left in the room for you to make of this picture whatever you will.

Friday, June 22, 2007

for the restless

The following letter was found under a dented pillow in an empty bed. Folded and refolded and faint with age. Over the years the ink has seeped through the pillowcase, infusing each and every feather, eventually passing through to mark the skin of the sleeper. Should you encounter this person, who you will surely recognise, please tell them they have lost their letter.

negligence #1

I hear a chainsaw slicing through the breeze. Sharp against the edges of the morning. A sound disembodied from its owner. By a wall, taller than me, or a me smaller than the wall. They’re cutting down the ghosts in the graveyard, my dear.

The ghost of trees grown too big for their roots. Or their boots. Their footsteps set to disturb the ancient sleepers, grown mossy from too much dreaming. Chiselled names faded, memories ivy-strung and jaded. They’re cutting down the ghosts in the graveyard, my dear. And you don’t care.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

hand in glove

The other week I had a thought about a childs glove dropped in the snow. Colour sudden amid absence of colour. A knitted hand unravelled from its owner. I wondered if the child lost the glove or if the glove lost the child. I cant recall where this thought came from - like the glove I am well worn and am often losing my threads.

Then yesterday I saw a cigar dropped in the street, still in its plastic wrapper. And I wondered again. About the cigar, and the smoker. I wondered if it was meant as a celebratory cigar, to mark the birth of a baby. A baby never born, hence the drop. The child never grown up to wear the glove found in last weeks thought snow.

Unanswerable questions. Time now to drop this train of thought and let it lie buried as more snow falls, unlikely but not impossible in June. Maybe I will rediscover it come thaw. Maybe it will have grown into a glove tree, blooming with new girls to wear new gloves. Maybe they can tell me where the thought came from, and more importantly why it came to me.

Monday, June 04, 2007

reading the tea leaves

Once upon a time I used to care about numbers. It mattered how many times the bell above the door rang to say that a customer had come into my shop of second-hand thoughts and lovingly refurbished ideas. But that doesn’t matter much any more. Now I smile when familiar faces place their footprints on the welcome mat, when they buy an antique smile or a battered hat.

But I’m still fascinated by the signposts that strangers follow to get here. Because as we know this little shop isn’t clear on the maps, and permanent ink never does what it claims to. So people gaze deep into their teacups and see the fortunes the leaves spell out to them - sometimes the message is clear, and those people end up here.

Recently someone called in the hope of finding ‘how do you loop jelly bracelets on your wrist’ - sadly I have no idea, although I’m sure it’s a useful skill to know. Another came looking for ‘Tales from the Rainbowed Seas’ - but I was all out of stories that day and even my poems were coming through in black and white. Lots of people seem interested in the path ‘through boredom into fascination’ - and so am I, but I’m still perfecting my route. And someone unnerved me a little by looking for something that says ‘Horror is important. It reminds you that you can bleed. It scares the life out of you just to show you how safe y…’ which is strangely familiar, in fact I’m sure its something I said once before. But it seems like some nasty creature, hungry for overblown words, ate that traveller before they arrived, so we’d best keep our voices down.

Once upon a time my signpost was newly painted and the destinations clear. But the weather came and flaked the paint and made some of the letters disappear. For the record, I gave up travelling when I learned to walk - I gave up praying when I learned to talk. But if I can make a pilgrimage then my holyland is beckoning - and its a place of shadows and spotlights with shabby gods dressed in unlikely suits. And for nothing more than the hymns we sing its worth abandoning without and stepping within.