Archives for posts with tag: books

February 22nd
It’s quiet – apart from the birds opening their breaks, trilling their throats to the skies. It’s quiet apart from the over the fields sounds of traffic and high above this quietness is the hush brush throb of a plane. People going places, like they do. To the right, out of sight, the ubiquitous farmer pulls his trigger yet again, startling a flock of large birds. They scatter in a cluster over me, a few stragglers hurrying behind and rain pats at the old patio knocking down the moss, splitting a splot on the car roof and I watch.

I try to hear a rhythm in the rain, a haphazard pattern almost there. I’ve been learning about counterpoint and variation with our son and everything seems to be made of music, of repeated imagery, broken up with altered patterns and we note the numbers underlining it all, the circles of fifth that encase us and we are this song.

Today is the first day after half term, it’s grey but almost fresh. And although the dates lie one week out I remember. Five years ago we went back to school for the first time; the first time since we’d been changed; the first time since the world we’d known had been severed away and our friends walked us in and I left. I took our son to the door, everyone had been informed and I watched his back as he started his new day. I peeled myself away to the headmaster’s office and there in the black sphere that became my cell, I started to try to find words. And afterwards I must have walked back home where my parents waited and people came and went with flowers from the day before, with faces and information that I couldn’t understand and then they left.

The unseen farmer interrupts my thoughts with another salvo, he’s on a mission again. There was a dead rabbit on the drive yesterday, maybe stopped by the circling kite and somewhere in the prickle of hedges a family carries on foraging because they have to.

I remember this date from seven years ago. We were leaving for school when our son noticed that his fish was on its side. I told him we’d check on it later and later while I was at work you rang me to say it had died. We’d bought three fish, one each and I sighed that it had to be his that was the first to go. We discussed the plan for the evening, how to manage his first loss and when, if he wanted to, to go back to the pet shop and buy another, and we did.  I remember the sound of the door closing as we’d walked up to school, then with a fish floating, and two years later in our brittle broken world and the sound, the leaden searing sound of closing the door again from the inside, when all of the visitors had gone.

And now. I watched our son’s back this morning, his trousers are slightly too short. I used hemming tape on some new ones but it didn’t work well, so just for a day or so he’s still in the trousers from last half term. They sit just above the shoe, showing his growth, showing the passing of time. He has mocks around the corner and I help him prepare, now like back then, I support, I encourage him to find what he needs but then I watch him go. Into his world, to deal with it all in his way, in that classroom five years ago, in the school hall soon, this week and next and in life. Trousers getting shorter, birds calling out for food and our planet, its orbit.

On the way to school we pass new builds. I notice the lintels hanging from cranes, the fluorescent men manipulating windows. Someone will live there someday soon, in a new way, in a new world for them and they will stand at their window, like I stand at mine. The rain will wash the muck away, cars and people will go about their business and the birds will open wide their beaks and sing.
A repeated song, a variation on a theme. The music of our life.

February 28th
I brushed up brittle bamboo leaves in a chilled afternoon. I must have disturbed so many creatures building homes underneath the mush of winter. I looked out for them as I cleaned but they were too small to spot. They were busy rolling in the dust, startled, wiggling their feet to find more soil again, to right themselves and regroup.  I watched a sycamore spore twirl in the air, it spiralled up and across in haphazard patterns till it settled out of sight. Our son was warm indoors, studying atoms, how the outer shells will seek out what they need, if they haven’t enough electrons they will bond to other elements, they adapt and  make changes to their structure. And I prepare the new food for the birds, hang it in the tiny cage up high, sprinkle more seed on the brushed patio and go back inside.

February 29th
And now before he strode off to Chemistry and English, I reminded him to watch out for marriage proposals from all the girls today. He checked his watch for the date but the small rectangular plastic still flashed out that it was the first of March and somewhere deep inside, it still was.

Steam rises up from the new flue outside our window. I watch the conservation of energy, the water transforming, changing shape and form. As its elements become a part of everything, the birds peck and fill their bellies with fresh food from our patio round the back.

Its early, I have work to do. We have all we need.





I remember the late days of pregnancy, the heat of summer evenings and the walks up to the ridge before my back went. It was the first season of Big Brother, a novelty – something to watch back in those days. I see our tiny house, the faded green carpet that we inherited, your rug from the people at work and our airer by the kitchen door, by the breakfast bar space that was just used for boxes.

I have boxes now, different ones, full of toys and years, the jobs in front of me stack higher than these memories, things to sort, to sell, to chuck and everything needs looking at. I’m overwhelmed by the work ahead but can only chip away, paying attention to the moments and moving towards now.

I need to find the old book I wrote in, in that other life, where I scrawled something in it every night, even if it was just a sentence and I kept it for months and months. Years later I would add to it on key dates. The book was filled up, evolved to become folded up A4 sheets, in a stash inside the cover, notes and thoughts of the world you’d passed through. I remember changing the style and the tone. I hadn’t worked out when I’d give it to him, maybe aged seven? Couldn’t imagine having a seven year old, what would that be like, what do they do? What are they into? what do they need? Or maybe I’d keep it till he’s ten? Still writing to a child, adapting memories to my perceived sense of what he’d understand by then.

Unresolved. Maybe it was best for an adult, a gift at twenty one, so it shifted and changed as our life moved and the hardback red book I originally wrote in moved from its home by my bedside to some box, in some cupboard waiting to be unearthed, tucked away by your old telly, the one you used to watch from the floor in your first home, a floor more comfortable than that settee.

So the words remain in the cupboard though I’m drawn to get them out, pour over that life and write up and neaten the things I need to. Looks like it’s heading for an adult gift then and by then he’ll have these chapters too. This other book that evolved from the sidelines, from out of nowhere, this record of movement and change, a permanence of thoughts in this constant flux. He will have your book too, the one that sits on your bedside table and the printed up version lying flat in the bookshelves. Collections of words that form us, tell this story, map the journeys as we move and through the ink splots and lines of print he’ll see it all, see the process, the patterns and the love.

Some time ago, in the old world, I bought a book. It talked about the power of Story, about gifts handed down through generations. Nothing tangible, wrapped in bows, or beautifully packaged like the slick layers of an Apple product box – but tales, stories, memories carved through eons, the sounds of a soul through its ages. It talked about a gift for a child, to write them a story about who they are, their qualities, skills and dreams woven through words, something you can’t buy. A story of them from the inside out.

Somewhere I made notes, had thoughts on the structure, tried to form it from a wondering of who he’d become. But I didn’t write the story then, I just bought things to wrap, life pushed in the way and we slipped suddenly between the worlds to this place now.

Looking back to that old red book about broken nights and full nappies
I see the start of this road. It feels high up here from this distance, like the top of the hills that we climbed and the stones we picked up, kept tucked away, safe in pocket, another solid something to look on, to hold a piece of that place. And I feel the gusts blow around me, make my eyes run as I look down on the town and fields, the life before us, down there, in the cradle of hills with the winding path up to this one.

It’s just turned September today, I was due to give birth back then but it didn’t happen and continued not to happen for another two and a half weeks. And that story was thirteen years ago – thirteen, really? I remember your words on that subject and now I’m here on a different page, writing it, breathing it with him.
I see all the strands entwined, the individual tales weaving one coat, worn by us all but hanging differently on each of us. I take a deep breath as I push out into this next chapter, I’ve written what I can for him so far. We’ve given him his own pencils and paper, I help him sharpen up the colours that he chooses, the colours that belong to him.

Sept 4th
Sat in that familiar space, the first day of term. Same yet different as the condensation obscures my view in my wooden place. The pigeons are close. I feel like I’m inside a flock, soft battering of feathers all around me. I could be anywhere on the planet in this sense of space-time and this feeling would wrap around me now. I brush my fingers down the glass, confused that the mist is on the outside, I don’t understand it. I stick my hand out of the window and draw shapes from the other side. It’s all different to what I’d expect but that’s how it is.

I’m cast back to last September and the moments that came years before when the fabric on the rocking chair was still golden and rich and the pine bed was new in its warm honeyed glaze.
And here now, by the pond in this gentle ripple of morning, under this cloudless sky, I see his book wide open, the parts we’ve written and the smooth pages calling him, (with these flutter of wings), calling him to fill them with his own words.

I remember writing in another world, in another place, that the spiders had reclaimed the swing. It’s a similar feeling now though I can’t see the swing from here. The pigeons are so noisy today, prompting me to move, showing me the way.

I feed the fish and go in.

September 14th
I’m in both places, aware of the act of memory, aware of the act of seeing.
I have an all permeating sense of my story and its sounds and shapes are jangling around me now.
I see where the stories start to merge, existing dependant on each other and I see their separate paths, letters and words forming new routes as his story evolves in parallel to mine.

I have a sense of sitting somewhere,
moving through time and experience, my colours changing and deepening. Paint loaded on the brush, nib shined gold under this sharp pungent pool of ink. The black blue drips onto the page as I stroke through it, forming lines and curves, this story in some guise – through time, being in the words.
I hand the pen to him, but he already has his own, he’s busy, focussed – becoming.

We write.

September 17th
The night whips around me, the trees sing in the storm. I remember the willowing calls, the pierce of lightning on my glass, the loud tick of clock as I slipped into sedation, in the late evening of my longest day to come.

I bring the presents in, in the present. The moon shuffles behind a country sky, its bluster fits the day. The night plays around me, peeling back layers of our world.
Everything tingles on the turn of this new wheel.




It’s the first snow I think, don’t remember it last year, I know I took our son to town for the bright blue plastic but it came to nothing and I shoved it in the cupboard.

And the year before there must have been some but it’s very hazy, that winter just before, just before the last trip north, just before the meal with Nigel, just before the blues with Al. And now the blues are dark and not quite black, it’s early and school’s closed. I’ve told him to go back to sleep before another of those days of childhood, days of innocent whiteness, numbed red fingers, heavy crunched wool and a bite you don’t feel for hours because you’re out in it, laughing and the freeze tells you you’re alive. And I popped outside, not fully dressed, scrunched out my mark and stood in the pinpricking bitter. A dawn somewhere out there an expanse called to morning, not quite yet, beyond blue beyond white.

A black shape startles me, looking for food, a disappointed flash into the trees.
And I want to get out there, wrapped up in sealskin layers, huddled in arctic softness, a silky rub against the cracks of time, with tennis rackets on my feet and steaming huskies panting our way. And it takes me everywhere, to the last garden I remember, when you were tapping away upstairs, working from home while we constructed three snowmen. Out the back and we wrapped them warmly, one for each and I have the photo somewhere, our son on the edge and proud, an expression of an older face to come though we still had a year but didn’t know.
And our snow, squealing up the Jungfrau when my hiking boots were stiff and I beamed at the top of the world and we were new and cold and the air made us dizzy.
An under it I’m in Svalbard on a quest I’ve just begun, tapping my compass and watching the twitch, pointing a route to the lights. And I drift back to now, conscious of my elbow as it leans on a book, that book and the blue has faded grey. There should be Alps out there somewhere but this changing light brushes up a hint of green, a weak shade undercover and down the lane the little angled rooves shelter one small dot of orange, a tiny slit of warmth shining, someone else looking out.

It’s strangely familiar odd, dusty iced specks, a distant whiteout but no blizzard, not yet.
Think I’ll finish this in the garden, force my feet into fur, the pond will hold a mirror out there, in the quiet mist of dusted fields, the charcoal etch of trees, the endless sheet of sky and mountains beyond it that I can’t quite see.

Looking out through the frozen water to the aching backs of snowboulders caked in slimed leaves and twigs that we shaved sides off to shove through the gate and the early morning rushing when I got him up before the alarm, to cocoon ourselves out there, for a quick grab and roll, the wet gloves before school and you saw us from the window in the days of the old world when the snow blanked out a different place and I usually wore red, but not now.

7.59a.m – in it, forgot this noise, the soft burning pittering on my hood, the fired up hands, nose and eyes run in the cold soft fall of memory.

The first snow – I don’t know where I am.



Stood here feeling the ache in my legs, the pressure of the floor under my boots, the sun increasing heat through the glass, warming up my neck, see the shadow I cast on the bed, my shape distorted, stretching out to the other side of the room near the wardrobe barricaded with time. Feel the coldness of my hand as I rub my cheek, a sense of looking out from within, of pushing at my edges, of being contained in something, like a fine wine, fermented over time, in rich old kegs, oak warmed flavours roasting the berries, rolling the fruits till they burst and pop from their shells, bleeding goodness into the black stained crimson.

And I’m bottled, held, contained for now, waiting to be poured and consumed, tipped into another place drenching the throat I don’t know and becoming part of a greater thirst. Moving and changing from bud to grape to bottle to mouth and I’m here in the sunlight, in my mass, in the photons, just waiting to be drunk.

Deep, warm, contained.
For a moment,
before the rush.

Ps I know why I wrote this today x



I’m not sure where this is going, not sure what I’m trying to find. Taking a moment to think, to feel where I am, up away, out of the bookcase, where I’ve been looking carefully for something. Need a quote, something to anchor what I’m working on and it may be in there somewhere but I know what I need and I keep coming back to them, more and more frequently.

It’s all there, lined up and ordered in the corner of our room and it contains your thoughts, your processing, your ideas and beliefs and the new stuff I’ve taken over. But it doesn’t hold some of these new theories, some of the places I’m getting into, though you’d have skirted close to them.

I’m moving into new concepts and watching the edges blur, the osmosis between yours and mine and the unfolding landscape infront of me.
It’s still standing, just, weighted down with it’s accumulation (like me) and I was in it again rummaging recently, umpteenth look for the book that wasn’t there, but then, there it was, on a lower shelf, filed where it should have been filed, (of course) and I was focussed on the wrong part of the title, of course, and it was right where it belonged, where else?

And I’m looking out at greyness, feeling the thoughts swim around me, taking me back to our not so brief history and our time of understanding stars, in the universe that preceded this one. And my joke about you and the cat and how you quoted it in your battered old scrapbook, in the days when things were written down and paper curled and time coloured it’s elements and your thoughts raced and gathered energy, crackling overhead like a time in Svalbard. And I’m swirling with it all myself, my coloured particles dancing in a new position, velocity changing as it needs to and I’m darting in and out of things, familiar strangeness on the edge of something else and I sit next to words in the comfort of concepts, waiting for this to settle and I’m back on the phone in that other world on Mum’s dining room chair, the one that they’ve still got, that messes with my head when I look at it. And I’m sat there in my youngness and the phone is dark blue, push buttoned and new in it’s oldness from here, and it’s late but the words keep coming. All the things you bought that I didn’t understand, that I grew to love, that filtered through into this place, that I hold, that I explore, that give me a springboard now, sat there and here, late in the dark, on a timeline that moved towards now.

And it’s quite messy in here, in my head, in my life, still quite me, but there is ordering, there are cycles, there is filtering going on and I need to leave this really, need to get to the library, need to work on my references, need to stop thinking.
I’m taking it on, your words, your thoughts, but allowing the shift encouraging the process, sitting back and letting them shift into mine.

Just like our cat before we open the box. Just like then, with dust from a distant sun, like now, with colours refracting through the photons, spinning as we observe ourselves still moving through time.

Milky grey out there, heating clicking in here, hunger calling me downstairs. Should go and boil up the molecules.

In our place with those words, writing on my birthday.
Joy and pain.

A constant of the universe

Out now, sat with sun on my back.
Something buzzing behind me, bird calls I don’t know, a fly bashing itself up the pane, can see a life it can’t reach. The back of my head heats up, I feel it’s warmth with my hand.
It’s peaceful.
I need to go back in, check my word count with a bibliography to do.
I’m here.

(I left the door ajar, the fly might get out.)



Sat waiting for some new furniture in my oddly tidy lounge. Yesterday made a few changes with the help of our son and cries of ‘oh I love this’ and ‘so that’s where it went’. And we moved and cleaned and sorted around and about the coffee table with it’s scratches and stains of our life, the faded deep pink from the coaster that bled, the one we got in the fossil museum on the way back from our last trip west. And the stickers collected from the Sticker Lady, degraded by time, from all those years ago when she’d come to the door with her smile and her parcels and a sticker made it a good day for our growing toddler. And the table has been around forever, bought home to a different home, hundreds of years ago by my Dad in the the life before the life before this one. I can’t remember the tale that came with it, some old crafted story that was polished through childhood until it took root in their lounge before my slow transition and I remember it in the early morning light when you stayed before some meeting, some nonsense you’d travelled to, to put up with when the put up bed was in the lounge and the chiming clock disturbed you.

And later the table migrated with me to our tiny home of beginnings and I nested and dusted around it, crawling on the carpet, preparing and arranging as our son turned cartwheels in my tummy, when the fruit bowl was the basket from your Mum and the coasters came from Africa by way of Boscombe where we fed the ducks in the cold. And it sat pushed to the stairs with plastic protection, cornering it’s points as the crawling became clambered and finally stood and was filled with assorted animals and breadsticks, finger foods and sticky mits. Often trying to simplify but never getting very far. And it moved to the centre in the new home, baskets of stuff underneath, the Thomas flash cards from the model railway and the books, books from earlier Christmasses, Christmas lists from when it was a big event and the post it notes, forgotten then remembered that stopped me in my tracks.

And yesterday I moved around, and worked through the mess of memories, found dried out, brittle places, shifted things from the days when the week was full of visits and visitors and elbows of vicars. And afterwards when the the table was cleared, for a moment before the doorbell, to be covered in things that weren’t real, that couldn’t be happening, that filled our lounge with colour and smell, that filled our senses with horror, that stayed for a while and then went. And our new world filled it with books of What now? Of How to and Why? And lendings from friends travelling similar but different paths by my lantern, bought for me from me in the final Christmas when I loved the market and amber glass warmed my complexion in the months before I bought candles.

And now I lie here waiting for the van, listening to our son’s breathing as the sun warms up a frosty start. The light in the room has changed, from winter grey, heavy lids, hanging onto the bed to get up, to a slow thawing deep blue, angling soft shapes on my wall. Downstairs the tidyness waits for a new shape, somehow both necessary and contingent, like your favourite concepts and it will take quite a while to own it, to make it ours but we will. And it’s similar but different with a deep dark place to hide things away, to cover over when it’s not time or safe to show, to fill it’s heart with the things that matter and only certain people will see inside, will know what lies within it’s old carved wooden sides, it’s secret places of pain and beauty, cleverly constructed to serve it’s purpose, to continue the role. Bought from a faraway land where you travelled to in the world before this one and the trees grew around you in the days before the cutting, before the shaping and forming of our special place, our new symbol, to look after and use.

A white glare of sun sits on the high glaze of my vase, it splinters out creating more light, reflecting the otherness outside my window.

I’m tired. I wait for the bell.



I can’t get it, can’t think, can’t feel, lying in the grey milky nothingness, poking at the wounds, wanting to tear in deeper till the pain makes me pass out, like I did back then. And the timeline’s all muddled, three layers of games playing round my head as I look through your old curtains, tired and pointless, them and me. String theory flowers, rippled water marks, encoded circles buzzing a language I can’t hear. How old is the thread that machined out this pattern? This place of fabric that hung at the front of our world? We inherited it with the moving in, someone else’s choice that we never quite erased, scrunched up, shoved in and abridged on the new shorter windows nearly nine years after the first home. I lie through it today, watch myself come and go between the weft, wanting to replay every second that passed infront of them as they hung silently in our life. I can’t catch it, can’t hold them, too many, too slippy, too loud, too quiet, a slipstream to nowhere. Wanting to lose myself in their mess but I’m too empty, too voided, struck out, cast off, dispatched and detached. I hook myself on to the wavelengths, imagine myself a photon in this drizzled day, not wave, not particle but both and neither simultaneously as I move unseen in and out of the circles, weaving myself through something that feels like it’s there and I’m only the messenger, carrying light, passing through two places at the same time, my strange experiment in being, only a moment of physics, whatever moment means. 
My diaphragm  inflates out of habit, the only sign of shifting in my ennui. The radiators need bleeding, hear them creak their protest as I drift back with less urgency now, back to the drive up the motorway, waiting for the new keys, the empty rooms Pisa-towered with boxes and your pretend settee with no real redeeming features apart from not being the floor.
And I flail in the net, knocking scales of my battered body, gasping for memories trying to catch our world. Was any of it real, were we really back there, then in the walls that made us? It’s too slippery, I have to follow it’s nature, hold it briefly into focus before it eases through my fingers again out of sight, back to the pool it came from.
And my slight hunger reminds me I’m still here now and time continues to gnaw away at me. 
It’s all just numbers, an exotic language of the forms, just out there marking it’s self. Fifteen years since we opened that first can of worms, two years since our squally sailing round the bay and twenty months since the packing away of a way of being, a sliding down the bank into the mud at the edge of the river carried by your quotes to fish the big waters alone, where “all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. 
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. 
I am haunted by waters.” *

Remembering and reeling,
Reel me in.


*Norman Maclean- A River Runs Through It

March 15th 1962

She wanted her children before she was 30, managed it with a week to spare

Without that day

She wouldn’t have said “you ‘av ‘eavy ‘ead”

He’d have had no one to pin down

She wouldn’t have said get stuck in on Sunday lunches

The cowboy suit would not have been bought

The long hospital trips not needed

No Butlitz compare laughing at your line

He’d have biked the forest alone

And she’d have to lie to someone else

And they wouldn’t have been amazed at how you caught up

And she wouldn’t have bought daily chicken legs

And he wouldn’t have driven up and down till he found you

And he wouldn’t have caught up with you after all those years

And she wouldn’t have been challenged to know it wasn’t right

And he wouldn’t have been held when he came home from ships

And she’d have played games with someone else

And they wouldn’t have had the back up they needed

And they wouldn’t have had the steely decisions

And their choices would not have been clear

And she’d not have put the world to rights

And she wouldn’t have remembered and smiled

And his issues would have been different

And she wouldn’t have got the egg

And she wouldn’t have sat up talking all night

And she’d wouldn’t have had the momentum

And she wouldn’t have dealt with debate

And she wouldn’t have made the journey

And she wouldn’t have stood at the top, though the snow hurt her eyes

And she wouldn’t have found the Bronx choir

And she wouldn’t have felt the fluttering in the Millenium Dome

And there were no more breaks

And he wouldn’t have been held in the first half hour

And they wouldn’t have made a nest on their lounge floor

And he wouldn’t have your steely eyes

And he wouldn’t have the knowledge

And he wouldn’t have the genes

And he wouldn’t have the thread that connects

And he wouldn’t be

And I wouldn’t have made the changes

And I wouldn’t have grown in this way

And I wouldn’t have took on the challenge

And I wouldn’t have clung onto the spark

And I wouldn’t have learned what was there

And I wouldn’t have uncovered cycles

And I wouldn’t have carved out a strength

And I wouldn’t have shown who I am

And I couldn’t have taken her ring

And I couldn’t have taken his ring

And he wouldn’t have been dreaming little lad dreams beside me

And I wouldn’t have this day ahead of me

I wouldn’t have had us

I wouldn’t have had him

I wouldn’t have had me

I wouldn’t have this motherhood

He wouldn’t be who he is

I wouldn’t be who I am

We wouldn’t have this voyage

We wouldn’t be

We wouldn’t have this life

We have this life

March 15th 2012


Not real, not here, writing from nowhere.

Can’t make sense of it, don’t want to see anyone, the dogs give me no lift today. Need to leave the path I think, go behind, back to the dark and scary woods that we negotiated with our toddler.

It’s too open out there, too revealing.

Free and empty but not for me today, have to find me in the brambles. Wings sneak out, cut through cloud. I need my mast to climb high, can’t see if there’s land ahead. Should I spear the bird, feed them all or keep heading out?

Let’s see what happens, it’s too early out here. I feel ill today, heavy, puffy, weighted down. I ignore the struggling saplings, they have little point this morning.

I find a cut through under barbed wire.

And beyond it white grey void, it’s appealing but I’m not brave enough.

Not ready to come out into the open, keep drifting to find somewhere new.

Out there the day is trying to find itself, telegraph poles creep towards me, adrift galleons to steer around.

The crew has gone, my compass is rusty, the glass scratched, eaten away by the salt. Tap it and hope for the best.

It’s too quiet but not quiet enough.

There’s a temptation to stroke my hand firmly across the barbs as I wander past, like a ten year old stick-banging against railings, but I resist the need for a different pain and keep it deep in pocket.

And now I’m out, don’t know where?

It’s all changed from when we used to walk with our son to the trains.

I really don’t know which way to go.

Where is this? Lined up in a drip of old trees, ancient and clawed into the earth. Creatures smirking and hiding behind them. I take the fragile tissue paper from the twig, study its veins of direction. They all think they’re invisible but I know they’re there,

hiding, like me, not doing a good job.

They’re my sea creatures, waiting to tip the boat, the roots unsteady me. I find a harbour by the fenced off field. The sky hangs upside down in the weight of the water droplet, gravity taking them down from the berry, the new fruit shining over wrinkled age. Moss creeping, coating bark while I stop to study the burned out shack, some structure remaining, though its purpose changed.

It’s struts are in place, the wood underneath, the angles sharp and clear. But the surface gone, stripped, devowered. With care and attention it could do it’s job differently, new and renewed. Changed but still having a point.

I’m not ready for the mist to lift,

but turn for the shore before daybreak.

I scuff my hand on the slimy limed creatures, they’re not as fierce as they look. I can tame them if I choose and head back to familiar waters.

And now I don’t mind the openness, the nobodys coming out of the mist.

I can’t tell how far down I am.

I tap the screen, wait for the arrow to settle, to find north.

The day hangs around my neck

fluorescence near the shoreline

I stumble from the wreck to wander with my story.

Studying the worn out, creaky old thing in the corner of our room, time aged and unstable. No, not myself through the looking glass but his old bookcase, held together with masking tape and love. I spent many moments grieving through his books, looking at his favourite, the heavy old one, battered dust cover with pages he poured over and consumed. His need to understand to make sense of everything, to put it in boxes then make connections, to have his own world view. There in the pages, the ideas learned, projected, assimilated, the evolved musings and the notions we discussed. Thank god he got that book read. He’d been saving it for years – a real treat, like a great bottle of wine.

At least those words were drunk, swirled around and savoured. They made him dizzy and happy for a while.

But what about all the others? The new ones neatly ordered, ready to be worked through over the next twenty years. Pillars of novels now academia was out of the way. Mind you it would never have really been out if the way, always the odd new concept to creep in, something else that needed to be looked at. Couldn’t resist it. At least he worked through the books he bought, whereas I just bought books and added them to the pile. However,the past eleven months have made me read – greedily, desperately, searching for what others did. How ? what? why? stepping stones, outreached hands, nets and sky hooks, real hooks and hope. I have to get through all my new books before I can look back at any of the others.

And now his books sit and look back at me, questioningly. The pages, the chapters, the paragraphs, the sentences, the words, the letters, the punctuation, the hours. Will I read them for him? Maybe some of them, will our son? Maybe some. They sit collecting dust, like me. I picked one off the shelf in the early days, one from the top of the pile. ‘Descent into Hell’, another bit of light reading… Oh the irony, turned out to be my journey, not his. All of them of the old world, the old order, when there were plans.

What if it had been me who didn’t get to see out her plans?

What would he have made of this? How would this have fitted into his Weltanschauung? or veltanshnitzel, as I preferred to call it. How would he have coped? To be a single parent, to carry the weight of responsibility, the full-time job of grief. How to make sense of all this? The tumbleweed existence, this relentless nowhereland? How would he have moved concrete steps through the quicksand seconds?

Everything was about understanding.

And now I do the same, but its all about feelings not thoughts. Am I creating this grief because I experience myself as being alive? Is that even a valid question?

I get close sometimes then it slips away. It’s almost as though I ‘get it’ but it’s just off to the side in my peripheral vision and if I turn to look at it, to bring it into focus, into consciousness then it disappears. It’s there, I feel it, I sense it, but it can’t be looked at head on. Bit like existential angst but the flip side, he’d know what I mean. x

Battling with it all this morning.

Back in our early days on the phone, wrestling with four-dimensional space time (as you do). Then into the mothering it became less of a focus, for me. I was too busy or tired to think about Schopenhauer’s struggle with feminism while my own view on an ’emergent property’ had more to do with both ends of our child than a theoretical feature of the universe.

He nicked a friends classic line and often tried it out on me. ‘But how do you know you exist?’ Best delivered for maximum effect and impact while he was sitting comfortably looking out of the window and I was plate spinning toddlers, trying to find an illusive shoe or fighting fabric with my head up a duvet cover… Oh how we laughed.

Now I struggle with my own mind-body problem which is centred on the realisation that its morning and wondering whether or not I can be bothered to haul my carcass out of bed?

So now it’s me who sits and stares out of the window in this empty museum of wonders. Stale ideas leaving coffee rings around my heart. A delight of knowledge that served it’s purpose, a cycle, a journey, a mind. He didn’t like intermittent faults, liked to get to the bottom of things, to solve and to fix. No, he certainly wouldn’t have liked this. The irrational, the unpredictable, the ambiguous nature of grieving. This abstract and empirical process. To grieve, to occur in the grief itself, or of the grief itself? He certainly liked to challenge himself, but this is a book he’d have left on the shelf. Good job its my story, that its me bent double, tying myself in knots, feeling the ends of the universe as I unravel and implode in my own singularity.

Now I can finally answer his question.

Yes I exist, I know because I’m in pain.


First thing

As I crunch freeze into the last month burning gloveless, isolated tweets and hurrying calls. Too cold even for grief. Should have worn the scarf. Icing sugared sparkled bridge, wanted to stay but I daren’t. At least it’s frozen the recent mud. Too hard to be slippy today. Icicles instead of tears. Must go, steadily tiptoe down the rushy glen, tentatively over decorated steps. It’s hiding in the undergrowth today, a little bit timid and shy, it rustles at me as I hurry from the cold. It’ll be back, can’t do much with it if it won’t be looked at. Round the corner past the end house where we had the BBQ in a frayed lost summer. She talked without censorship and he assessed the potential, while our son entertained himself on the pointless slope. The wall blew over in the recent gales. I helped the owner throw bricks on the garden, clearing a path through the tired rubble, the bricks make my hands sore and scuff my fingers as I hurl them. They bash down hard on hopeful plants that were waiting at the edge.

Managing destruction… yeah, ain’t we all?

Nearly home, take the path by the drain cover, somewhere low and dark, it’s carried regardless, I hear it muttering, un-stemed, busily plotting and churning beneath us.

I glance at the crumpled cider can, finishing off their fussy border, their marked out territory, christened with Strongbow. I leave before the sun gets round to me.