Monday, November 20, 2006

The Yellow Submarine

Under the water I see you,
With bubbles coming out of your mouth.

You came up, breathing,
Gasping for air and,
Clinging onto the side of,
The yellow submarine.

You clamber up on,
The side of the vessel.
The edges are slippery,
And unforgiving.
Your tiny heart is beating,
So fast.

There is a yellow hatch on top,
Takes a deep breath,
Just a little boy,
You are,
With soft brown hair and a miniature smile.

A father's hand ruffles you from above,
Cradles you in his arms,
Lifts you up,
Onto the woozy tumulus of his chest.

He bounces you on his knee,
And after he sits you down,
Settled quietly,
He tells you he will,
Sing to you and your mammy.

You look up into his tender face,
And smile,
His voice descends to bass,
And for a moment,
He sings, joyously:
'Mah curly haired boy.'

You bounce up and down,
And laugh and laugh.
A father's hand holds you tightly,
In his yellow submarine embrace:

Not a care!
Not a care in the world!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Two Boys

Once I saw two boys on the bus and they were obviously running away from something. They were full of the energy that only young boys can have. They almost smelt of growing.

I heard them talking, jumping over words, fleeing the day.
They were full of fight and defiance and hands tucked in pockets.
They were running away from all holds. Parents, school, brothers. Get off me, leave me alone. Get off my books. Get off my things.

Bouncing with the joy of it. They made faces at each other, out of the window. Laughed at trees, old ladies, poodles. They were fighting with the keep-it-under-control fizzy-pop of youth. And they were leaping, leaping up and down and sideways through the air of the bus, echoes of sounds of our past. Wishing we were there.

I reached for a flask of Scotch. It was in my pocket. I took a long gulp of fire. Ah, that feeling once more. Almost back there, back there with that energy. I was that boy once.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Train Times

Watching digital train times,
Moments of dotted red.

Flickering change:
How seconds can change everything.

1st:1 minute to Charing Cross.
2nd:3 minutes to Cannon Street.
3rd:7 minutes to Charing Cross.

And flickering red moments of hope.
Flickering dot-moments of take.
Ellipsis until next screen.
A touch-screen.
Flickering red dot dot dot.

I come home a different person.
You may have to change and take,
A replacement bus.

I have been replaced.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

She is the Builder

She is the builder, constructing an amazing feat of architecture before our very eyes. The structure is so very strong, you can pound your fists against it. It is a pile of one thousand bricks, reaching upwards to skyscraper proportions. Some might say it is a pyramid against the wilderness. Ancient monuments of stone stand in awe and wonder. She builds and sometimes she stops and pauses to look across at a fellow thinker. She is just as lovely for cogitating along the same mortar lines as our original worker. They are both studious and create with ease, designing it all upwards and outwards. They are conceiving new forms of construction. The building cobbled with faces, tailor-made to suit me. It is engineered to go up and through skies filled with cloud. It is masterful and proud, productive and exalted. The soaring forklifts have elevated it to new heights and it scales unchartered, heady escalator highs. It is, so it seems, head and shoulders above the rest. Our two builders sit studying their new skysucker! It is fantastic! They have dropped from the sky a real whopper and it has swoopstooped like a giant into my life. I have touched down somewhere in the middle of it, abseiled down the side of it, fallen like rain over windows and doorways. Popped my legs through a letterbox and got in. The stones dripdrop and buck against each other. Trilling and murmuring voices interlock inside bricklets. Pelting rain can mizzle and smir and we shall not be stopped in our progress once inside. Trickling and overflowing, it drains me through splashpercolation. On top of all this, you have still managed to stem the course. I have the seen the interior and it is to my liking. You have made it well. Is it not a masterpiece? I get to my feet in here! Spring up and hold my head just so. On tiptoe, I never thought I had it in me! Upsy-daisy! Up you get! I’m feeling fine again. The assemblage is wonderful.

For a moment was almost...a.......l......r....iiiiiii.....ght

Jewellery Box

She has just found,
My jewellery box.

As I watch her,
At the foot of the bed,
I suddenly think back to,
My mother’s jewellery box.
It was a white leather case, like mine.

My daughter says:
It’s fun! Shiny buttons!
These buttons are very, very shiny!
Look at that! That’s better!
These are big and these are small.
These patterns I think.
These spirals. Can I? Can I?
I show you how to make spirals.

She puts the beads in rows.
She finds a blue button.
She touches a key.
She shows me a spiral:
A blue bracelet.

I think back to what I saw:
- a gold heart with red paper inside, no picture
- pearls with a broken clasp
- a blue bracelet
- some buttons

I think of spirals.
I touch a key.
These buttons are very shiny.
I put the beads in rows.
I show you how to make spirals.

The Purple Lady

Intricacies, I love them. Twisting, turning, conundrums working back, in and around themselves. Some say "oh, the complex web we weave" as if it were a shame we had even started something. Me? I can't wait. I toil at that loom of tale-telling. I want to be a good person though. I don't believe people should get too hurt, or poisoned, or die or anything. Dark, dark life. Sometimes so dark you just can not find your way out so you just have to go deeper - and that was the mistake I made on February 4th 1976. It all began quite nicely, I got up as usual woolly-headed and in need of tea to revive. Two cups in a row - one for me and one for my elderly mother - and then to work! I make lists, many lists to remind myself of what is to be done. I must have my lists in supreme order otherwise I have to start again. For example, if I am to start at home with the basics such as cleaning my teeth, tidying up after mother, and end with some supplies from my local shop - I just simply must have it all in order. First I will write the order in which I will definitely do them and can not perform shopping tasks unless my list is written in order of how the aisles are laid out. Goodness, I've spent so much time shopping and not shopping, abandoning baskets and even been most unfairly accused of shoplifting all because I've had to go out and start all over again. I need to know in advance if they change the aisles around as I my shopping simply can't be done to the list of the day if that is the case. You might think it's the same with my appearance. I know people look at me and mother in the street. I'd like to think they are interested but probably not. You see, not many people know but black and lilac (all versions of except mother cheats and wears pink which makes me ashamed) are colours that sing to the soul. I dye my hair black and always wear my cats-eye sunglasses to protect my eyes. I've worn them so long now I'm used to the view from that side. Sometimes I sleep in them which can be a little uncomfortable but you can get used to it. I bought Iris my mother a pair. They were quite hard to come by as they are not so fashionable now. She hates them but I make her wear them when we are out together as we must be protected. I never wear shoes as such, just plimsolls. I like the nice soft white ones from Woolworth's. I only go to the childrens section as it makes me feel like the little girl that I am. My mother says I'm too old and that I pad about too much. She cries and says I creep up on her all the time. Well I do. I like to frighten her but she's not quite sure. That's why I wear them. And I'm creeping now. She can't hear me. She can't see me. And I don't think she ever will.

(This excerpt is based on a real person I used to see when I was growing up. We used to call her 'the purple lady'. She was quite an ecccentric and used to pad around Barnes dressed head to toe in mauve and black. Her hair was jet black and she used to wear the most pointy 50's sunglasses, with creepy little white pristine plimsolls on her feet. She occasionally used to drag her mother out who was dressed like a podgy overgrown little girl - hair in bunches and ankle socks with lace trim. They were a bizarre couple. I often wondered what the inside of their house was like. The mother died and the purple lady wasn't seen out so much. Last siting about two year ago which for some reason prompted me write this rather mean and cruel little story).

16/08/03 - back of red notebook found under my bed

The rot was definitely setting in she thought. Sitting in the once pristine garden, it was now awash with curled, dead leaves. The beds were splattered with weeds - an untidy reminder outside as to what was going on inside. Inside her head, inside her house, inside her world. Nothing obviously happened mattered anymore (sic). Everything had been left to get on with it. She gulped the tea from her favourite mug - a strange kind of comfort tea from your favourite mug. She was sitting on her favourite step drinking tea from her favourite mug. She thought how childish of me, how sad that life's little comforts and obsessions mean so much.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Roaring Lust in a Farm

As we toy with the time-worn evening,
I see the friendly gauze of night coming.
It is creamy and simple against,
The tender and refined light of dusk.

Do you want to get the cows in?
Do you want to close the farm in tonight?
Do you want to put your wellies up against the door,
Lodged here, safe for the night?
Do you want to watch the little Rose-bay tails of lambs,
Snuggled up against the ewes?
Do you want to smell the chocolate of slumps,
Brushed off the side of your coat?

I do, I do and I do, you said.
I do and I do and I do.

The crackling fire,
The hot, red cheeks of the hearth,
The smell of moss on your hair,
The milk of your smile.

The snore of the old sheep-dog on the corner slate,
The daub of iron in the grate,
The reverberation of footfalls,
As the people turn in late.

And you, and you and you, I said.
As I tousled your fern,
Splitclickrattled you!
Clapraptapped you!
Slamwhamcrashed you!
TickCuckooTocked you!
Back-fireburst you!
Under the eaves of the ancient farm.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

From Beside The Pool Thailand April 2006 - back of work notebook

Slightly overweight couple with an air of cheer about him and a distinct air of sadness and disappointment about her. He has a tattoo, she doesn't. He is or certainly looks younger than her and both seem very close. Sometimes she looks really down and he is very caring and tender towards her. They drink alot and have made friends with a stray dog that sleeps under her sun-lounger. Couple on holiday. Can't believe they are not bored of each other.

She Sat On The Bed (Feb 2006)

She sat on the bed and felt heavy. Laden with fear and uncertainty, not knowing herself anymore. Sun was exploding around the side of the curtain bleaching the carpet. A woodlice caught her eye. It was struggling against the pile of the carpet. Small fibres must seem like small branches. She thought about being kind and putting it back outside but wondered perhaps whether it preferred to lodge in the warm?

Do woodlice actually eat wood she thought. A stupid but nonetheless valid question. It struggled on its way bumbling across the floor to somewhere else in the house. Perhaps if it ate enough wood the house would just eventually implode and fold in on itself bit by bit culminating in a large, dusty collapse? She hoped so. But no such chance. She had to carry on and face the music. Why was it so hard? How could it be so hard? She took her son to see a children's animated film. In front of them sat a gianormous, childless couple. The man didn't laugh but the woman laughed alot and snuggled into her hefty companion. It occurred to her that some adults might be so desperate for children that they go to childrens films just to hear the vitality of the little audience's laughter. It made her feel sad. Later, they met up with Jim and pretended to be a family. They went out to a pizza place and used their son as a distraction to their fractured, chipped marriage.

Old (18/09/06)

My child is scared of me getting old
But no-one more scared than I
Today I look in the mirror
And I see a drooping eye
It's drooping because I'm sad
And not because I'm old
No one even notices
I'm old in the sense of bad
And bad in the sense of decay
And decay in the sense of cold
In a harsh and fearful way.

From The Top Of The Bus 2

I wrote about this on my blog - eavesdropped (and recorded on my phone!) on a conversation between two guys travelling on a District Line replacement bus around midnight from Turnham Green Station to Richmond a few months back. One was going on about how he was coping after dumping Jan his girlfriend. His friend was being irritatingly supportive in a really selfish way. He was obviously lonely and was angling for his newly single friend to move in with him. I've never heard such a shallow conversation in my life. Here are my notes:

What about Laura - the girl in the pashmina? Splitting up, insecurity. I've got a dry loft you can store things in. No water coming in or's safe from elements. We're mates...Jan's getting really petty. I had to do it. You're really brave. Everyone at the office thinks your'e amazing the way you're coping with it I'd be in pieces. Meet someone some day. Be thankful. Sounds cheap? Just embrace it......

From The Top Of The Bus 1

June 2006: scribbled in the back of my diary

Dartboard in garden, hoodie on line. Lobelia in a basket and a convenience store. Used to have a dog but had to have it put down because it bit Kayleigh.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Sore soaring up into the sky. Fingers plucking at the air-strings. All of those little place-parts that are part of the octave. It goes like this: flute, flute, flute.

I wonder where all of the minim parts go? Are they hiding in amongst the dirty parts we hide? I look for them amongst fluffy crotchets. Dancing, dancing pianissimo moments in the dark.

The dwell on one note is always beautiful. It is always clarinetandsugar. It is in me and diving through me and out through my mouth. The mouth-piece of word and finger. I am licking at it and sometimes I want to throw it out to the world. The truth of it all. On the tip of my tongue. The lark-voice, the little lippings that make up a song.

One, two, three. Fox-trot in the darkness.
Waltz-marks on my wrist, the dancing knife was there.

Oh, the staccato dreams and the dip, dip, dip sound of movements up and down the harp. It is a the scree and talus fingers that move up and down the scale.

Oh how I long, I love to play the piano. With all of its heart and the fingers, the fingers. I want to play to you. I want to play into the night and into the day. I want to play 'Pavane for a Dead Princess' all through the fingers hear the lovely warmth of death.