And when she was bad, she was very very bad

July 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Above her the pines peered over the slates. ‘Farm shop.’ Bulb black. The mouth of the lane pursed its lips in grim refusal of sunlight. She lifted her eyes to the clouds, and watched a one-winged dove chase a flurry of soldiers. A family of snow-children appeared one by one in the heavens. ‘If you can’t stand the heat? Leave the continent.’

Sundays. Bowed heads. A boxing match in black and dirty white. A choir of pink-cheeked villagers. The smoke escaping shyly from the web of rooftops on the hill.

Leaning down she became a stretching orphan of summer gone, tanline disappearing into winter coverings. ‘Imagine yourself to be a cripple and count your able limbs.’ Glacial. Birds beating their wings to frighten frost from check-in desks. Love late on arrival. Beirut high on approval. Mercy on the sisters returning from the frozen north.

In her head she dreamt a valley, spun its colours with her fingers in a collision of noise. ‘The yellow beats its head against the wall; remember that a tunnel is merely a tunnel.’ All said, all dreaded.
A letter posted later coincided with the manoeuvre of butterflies. A bellyful, a dancing wake. ‘We bruise a deed well done, we will follow you down.’

The gate pointed its finger at her back as she retreated from the lane. A boy pursued her with blue eyes through the cover of ivy, and crept home with mind full of her curls and hopelessness.
The reddest apple here began its birth from a branch in Armagh, and sprouted a heart as heavy as the lake it leaned towards. She wielded steel like a breath attacked by hunger, and scissored under.



July 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Grandfather of the hedgerows humble



a fat lady singing when the cows come

home again: collection

of mortality

the yard winging yet down

upon strangers

a valley or three in the thighs of the land


sweet fingertips

he tastes a heel of honeysuckle, as she hoovers the hall

inside-out yearning

heartless famine of floored


‘do you berate me, madwoman’

a lake abreast replies

‘I am the way; I am the truth

and yet I lie darkly by a thrush corruption’

fathom for five


the favoured side?


July 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

I did not intend to become the soul that people reference while pressing their sticky palms on shop windows, or while leaning out of car gesturing to inanimate objects, or pointing at some winged building afar.

How can something that has no relation to me remind someone of me? And yet every morning: ‘a flamingo, there was a flamingo and it reminded me of you.’ Or ‘we looked up, and there was this cloud in the shape of an abandoned lighthouse, and it reminded me to call you.’ Or ‘I found a hole in the panelling where a knot had come loose, you know, like when you press your finger on the black bits and it falls into the hollow beyond. And then I remembered you.’

When I saw this house beside the forest I remembered the miracle, and I understood. It’s a bitten-off connection, it means nothing and everything. Strangely, three days later, the miracle returned and I accepted that this word was used to take back meaning, not to explain. Our evening, my invention, your haphazard dreaming.

Really, I only drank with you because you had a pretty name, and I liked watching it appear on my phone again and again. And while cutting out shards of paper and slivers of another for my wretched collage, I realised we are none of us as ‘nice’ as we would like. I mean, I try to be good, but that’s a very different state of being. And perhaps I repeatedly mask all of this and make myself the victim because I wonder what the hell I would be if I were not…the victim. Fear of finding out what I really am capable of? Hitting some happy balance between kneeling and walking?

How do I patch a hole that existed before I did? Even, before I was my idea of myself, or my mother’s. The sun burns on and the hole creeps further open, the great sore sphere of things.

I remember only our conversation of weeding a garden which we ‘allow’ to grow, oh damn our human pitiful conception of control. The sun is laughing down upon us. The storms have washed the sign that swings in the wind and sings ‘it is midnight in the garden’ to the backing bass of sighing trees- still we learn next to nothing. If being bored to bedlam was bound to happen, the garden too was bound to be tamed, like a tired tiger bowing to big-top terror.

Everything grows in a riotous rush of green, and in one 4×4 metre patch of earth, I play god with clarkia and watering cans. It helps me understand.

Why I Love Dinosaurs

July 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Because she reminds me of that bit in Alice in Wonderland where Alice plays croquet with a rolled-up flamingo and her main concern is that her flamingo won’t shoot straight.

Because she shares her blood with strangers. This is a reason to love someone.

Last night I woke up, dark, stretch, where the hell am I, street possibly, and when I leaned over there were floorboards and this was a good sign because it meant I was inside. In someone’s house. Not in a street.

And this in itself has restored a little faith inthe villagers. Last visit shall be swept away into the cavernous corner of repressed memories, oh Canada, Canada. Moose and maple leaves. Mountains that topple into the sky because really we are all upside-down and the sky is the right way up and all its life it wondered why we are the way we are.

And oh, hell, we are all immigrants in our souls, didn’t you know, you thoughtless sunny-faced empty person with poker chips for eyes? Yes, you.

My soul in an immigrant from 1893 Tuscany, I have inherited her heart and head and helplessness. Even as I stand I quiver and I see the street signs shiver as if imitating the history of my head, and I am aware of my life as a sphere and the old man gesturing from the platform. Leave me alone, talk to your dog, talk to that child, talk to the telephone.

She, oh she, she would have eaten it anyway and that is why I love her. If she had been there, in Eden, she would have bitten. And so would I. And that makes us women and oh so full of sin, and often, part of a vision that a Buddhist monk in Nepal bowed to one morning as he laid his palms upon a rained-on flagstone and wondered at that water.

In my head I have worked out that there is one thing we have not touched down, that piece we do not own, that we send on, that we have borrowed from the immigration council, what is it, what? I don’t know, and I am not meant to know. Not now, anyway.

Because you know, communication will kill this cat. Curiousity merely scratched the surface.


July 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

Ever heard of a Woody Guthrie song without sexual innuendo? That’s right. It doesn’t exist.

Neither do I.

“Put your finger in the air, in the air.
Put your finger in the air, in the air.
Put your finger in the air, and hold it right up there.
Put your finger in the air, in the air.”

First past the post

July 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

And so? So far, the summer has been spent thinking aloud and somehow managing to get tanned through my father’s old jumpers.

I miss faces. News doors don’t replace the old ones. But they help me forget what is behind the closed ones, if even for a moment.

Nor does the scent of berries. Pine trees. Roses on either side of a Midnight Garden. An idea has been planted just like a pot-plant reclining on some sunny sill in Brighton. Soon it grows and stretches down to the apartment below and pedestrians comment on its blooms and are distracted in a half-degree tilt of observation.

Do birds need fed in the summertime? What makes a musician- music or feeling?

Sand makes no demands, that I know. It’s like a puppet in the winds and blows a shadow on the shore. And when it moves no more, it speaks in shapes and shifts towards the moon which is always present in daytime. We are just blind to its blueness, its mooonness.

In the hostel with the uneven floors and tint-glass medieval windows, a girl named Rafa slept beside me and spoke Spanish in her sleep until the light crept through the curtain cracks. I wondered what beautiful dreams hauled their sorry shoulders over the flagstones and between her closed eyelids.

You can be shut in dreams, I thought, sleeping or waking.

And I ventured to the tower at eleven to think some more, and paint the cathedral. Three large apples stood behind me and commented on my lack of line, my vision, and my concentration.

I ate one of them.

Off to the cold north, the colder portion of the border that bleeds its slurs into machines. Talkshows, teatime, thorns and a return to the dutiful meantime.

They knew me by my burrow. A well chosen ford, narrow fit. Beyond, the carcass of a car, the peeling paint, the priest’s dwelling on the brown mountain. I wore my hands in gloves so I could dig down deep. I met a riverbed, I met a reef.

Now I hear this! This is it!

And I add Bous to my list of projects. Things to be done. Things to be scrawled alongside boxes and mentioned only once again.

A different class of weather meets our ears, here, you know. The savage gooseberry, the farm shop, the scales, the pund a punnet preached by idlers and wrens.

If I have taught a dozen, I have learnt a thousand.

Where Am I?

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