Thursday, 28 November 2013

Over my Head

My days are being meted out by the waning moon, who is out more at the moment or maybe I am out more at the moment. Hence I notice the moon. With the excuse of a dog I see many sunrises. The gold clouds turning pink turning white. The occasional extraordinariness of skies on fire and circular pre-dawn rainbows. At the moment the simple pleasure of an icing sugared world. All this through dream-soaked eyes. It’s easy to find magic in the mundane. 

The library will be closing in 10 minutes. Please bring any items to the counter to be issued as soon as possible.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Dewey Eyed

I frantastic, scribble down every book, every poet, every thought. My visits to the depths of the library are always with that muted excitement. This book may be the ‘one’. I confess I am fickle, and fall in love too often. And after I’ve been there, elsewhere, otherwhere, when I have to go back to the real world, everything is grey. Heartbreak happens at the end of every good book.
My guilty pleasure is re-reading. I go back to stories I’ve enjoyed at the expense of new books or even reality. A similarly afflicted friend once buried his set of Lord of the Rings, he was so trapped in a circle of rereading. A solemn funereal farewell to a good friend or a desperate attempt to cure his Tolkienian addiction.
I am currently building a Babel’s tower of books. I promise I have not maxed out my public library card and that I haven’t taken cunning advantage of the fact I have a staff card as well as a student card at the University. But I have thought about it. I’ve tried to impose a law on myself; no renewals. This is to force me not to just get books and hope they will jump into my mind by osmosis, but so I can conquer this Jenga of knowledge and also to keep things under control. I have only broken the law twice. I do keep beginning them. This week I began Don Quixote, Ulysses and Frankenstein and I’m itching to lift the cover on the Inheritors (but that would be back to rereading).
The problem is one thought leads to another thought, leads to another. The problem is the connections. But this is not the problem, it is the pleasure, it is the possibility, it is the whole bloody point.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

I've been Away

I feel like I ought to write something inspired by the sucking tide,
By the escalator sea
That drains anxiety
And calms,
Smashing at stones.
We unsure foot
Over baby boulders and black sand.
A cloud hand whips away
To reveal the striking sun
Oven hot,
In-out waves.
Mother’s pulse
Washing away
Real life
So this is the way to write. Right. Sling back 2 tiny coffees, face the sea, pick up a different pen in a different place and begin. My mind is somewhat Paul-Austered and Woolfed and after being so submerged in story, reality is surreal. Where is my narrative? What is our plot? Poetry is possibly closer to reality unless you can capture like Virginia that contradictory world of the inner. 
Stones sting-tingle my feet. The waves beat and catch and here is the delightful fright of the ice as they smack all at once not just toes but thighs and the tops of shorts are soggy but the sun will soon remedy that and if I plunge further that cold will be become cleansing, reviving, aliving and for a little piece of time we are happy animals, in our element. Don’t let my magic sands run out without enjoying them.
And by the wilderness of the sea
A neat square of swimming pool
Chlorine clean
Sunlit meshing on the bottom
Goggle clear

Monster cliffs crag out of the sea, layers of time exposed for all to see, ancient, mock eternal. Humans are just hiccups, an irritating parasite to these rock people. Down on the shore the discarded ear of an iron man. Lovingly rusted to orange, red, brown, purple – a wondrous weathering we too emulate, splashing on lotion but desiring a darkening, our skin to contrast with this white heat. The pebbles are volcanic, some are holed like skulls, and the bleached bones of old trees run along the high tide line. 

And back-dropping this is the carousel of the Ramsey’s dinner party.

Here, my pens sings along the page and my mind is full of words and perhaps poetry is more honest than prose. The swimming pool is a bitten square, the vents at the bottom make a cubist Mickey Mouse head. I should read the excellent introduction to ‘To the Lighthouse’. I am loathe to read the excellent introduction to ‘To the Lighthouse.’ I read it and it is excellent, the introduction to ‘To the Lighthouse.’ And another wave smashes down and sucks away and it feels like we will live forever lying here in the sun (in the sun) but we are as ants or the little lizards that shelter in the shade of the lip of the pool. 

A man in white shorts comes and sellotapes fresh black bags into the bins. He stretches tape out, he takes his time, skreeeuuutch, skreeuuutch. He is a methodical man in white, the bins his charges, their gaping mouths wait to be taped, for us to throw our apple cores into. One time I found a bin full of lizards with a little niece and we emptied it and rescued many little critters who had been feasting on fruit but now fed were trapped, an unfortunate fate for a carefree creature, me and my little niece agreed. Of course we were reprimanded, what are you doing knocking over bins and poking through rubbish and unleashing a hundred lizards (or was it 55?) but we both knew we had done good. Complicit, and she was protected from punishment because I am an adult, that eccentric auntie, hang out with me and they can’t complain, just roll their eyes and smile and say don’t poke through bins, its unsanitary, disgusting, but we say, Free the Lizards!

The tables are sea and salt scarred, bright copper streaks through grey, through black. My drink is cold and fizzing and why is lager nice in hot countries whereas at home I sneer at this beer and stick to ale. The same holiday philosophy that allows me to sit in floral hotpants in a public bar and R dons his Arthur J Prufrocks and the sea still licks our souls. I’m afraid we live in the wrong place, it may be pretty but when salt and sky and ocean enter you however can you live inland. In Land. On Land. But when I had the sea I hankered for trees and now I have trees I hanker for the Downs and Happy Valley and bluebells and beeches and funghi and orchids and the land to fold in that particular pattern. Contrary. Always going back, it’s a sickness. So much better to be in the present. Not to waste life in the Not here. Well to allow myself to waste some time in books and dreams and discussion but better to breathe the being, the time in between thoughts. And a fly keeps landing on the same spot on my shoulder and how did I become older that the tops of my arms are bubbling, softening – a living decay has begun. On my face for some time and I am resigned to that, but here is a new bit I must kiss goodbye and still I sit in otherwhere, other here, proud in hotpants. 

Goodbye Mrs Ramsey, although you die on page 140, you are immortal, captured forever from 1 to 139.




Saturday, 2 November 2013

Hello Stranger

There are a number of people I Hello but I don’t know how I know them. One man asked me recently how we knew each other, and neither of us actually knew. Reflecting, I now know that I don’t know some of them. Some of them just remind me of others. They are doppelgängers of previous people. Mistaken familiar faces.
   After I Hello another random, R asks ‘How do you know them?’
   ‘I don’t know how I know them. Possibly I don’t know them but I’ve been Helloing them for so long I now know them, you know.’

  I remember years ago going up and Helloing someone in a pub convinced they were someone I knew and they weren’t. I don’t have bad eyesight. I wasn’t drunk (well maybe a little tipsy). I confess I’m not the most visual person, embarrassingly remembering names better than faces at work. But still! The awful thing was my friend was called ‘Old Paul’ (He was all of 36) so I went up to this man and said ‘Hello Old Paul’. He gave me a look of confusion and hurt.
   ‘But you’re Old Paul!’
   ‘No I’m not.’
   ‘You are! Come and join us.’
   ‘No, I’m really not. Look, here is my driver’s license.’
   Poor old Not Old Paul. Nobody likes to be called Old. And poor old Old Paul, what a cruel name for someone not yet forty. 

   The other proper doppelgänger I met was not my Grandmother. She was not Nanny because Nanny was dead. She looked exactly like her, except she had straight hair and a green dress, whereas my Nanny had a perm and wore a maroon dress. I couldn’t talk to her properly. She wasn’t a ghost because her name was Mrs Simons and she was sitting in a deck chair at the top of my friend’s garden. She still made me feel unheimlich with her bright green eyes and quiet grace. 

  All I can conclude is there are lots of not yous and not mes happily going about life not knowing that they are "nots". And if they are our "nots" then we are their "nots". If I see them I will remember to Hello them.