Archives for posts with tag: lost

mother of pearl x

My head is blocked up with half remembered thoughts and feelings and images from a time that rests no where.
I remember her carpet and the hard chair tucked away that I would sit on, half there, half keeping beyond the main event. And the early days of the dog with the ball and how I avoided the bitten, slimy missile despite our toddler’s interest. And its brighter now, I can see her limp shuffle in through the half obscured door, the one with the slanted plastic handle . Was it inlaid with mother of pearl or have I made that up? I can see it though, I can feel it, smooth, cold, swinging back by the grandmother clock with all it’s innards showing, messed and tinkered with, damaged by the real disease in her life. And she could never leave him, not now, back then.

And I remember the spiralling moments, the constant theme, the anguished words to save her, to take her from where she’d set root. But it never happened, couldn’t happen and although we looked at options, it wasn’t her time, wasn’t possible. And while the conversations play out in my head, your burning rage and desperation, feelings I’ve come to take on, to make my own, I see her bending with the little yellow dumper truck. Its full of big safe duplo bricks and they tipped rushed in a primary mess besides her chairs and our toddler fiddled with them for a while. Our preschooler built-invented places as we waited for her to rustle in, get back, to look for something once more. And we’d whisk her away before he could say too much. And we took her to Blackpool and fought through the coldness to feel like naughty children, buying her fish and chips though ‘he’ said she wasn’t allowed to have them. They were full of fat and grease and not good for her but it wasn’t her arteries we were worried about. And I can see her in that small cafe, wrapped and powdered in her warm brown coat and you sat on her right, proud, devoted, concerned. And she turned to you and said “it’s nice here, did you come here with your parents?” and I felt something in me drop away, a moment, a split second and I saw the claws of the process digging in stealthily, into her button bright mind.
And a look passed between us as you answered her but we spoke no words till later.

And all my time with her is swishing around me like the way I used to dance when I used to be that person. And I think of her in photos and your favourite one of them. Probably Thetford, might have been northern and she was around fifty, briefly made up, smiling with her small mouth, arms linked with your Dad. And he was dapper and knew it and he smirked in his self satisfied way. And as I think of him I hear his loud bluster burst though, his I’m-a-right-funny-bugger-sense of self that hid a broken sensitivity. So I see the photo, black and white although it may have colour and you always thought he looked like a young Frank Sinatra and I could see what you meant. They were your memories from before, when your Dad was still there, when life was ok, when you rode bikes with Nigel. A simple unburdened child’s moments, impossible to see the future is, with a torn and ravaged mind and an adult pain walking away from the first of the many homes she was displaced into.
And I only knew her properly for twelve years and many of those were the fading but before it all began I caught a glimplse, an distilled echo, a sound reverberating on the air, like a half remembered song that nestles in your head, and I saw her through the looking glass and knew who she had been. And we connected and remained and the song stayed in my mind and I sat close with her inbetween us and stroked her permless hair. And I know what I said and I can hear it calling now, coming back at me through the love, through the memories, through the moments.

And I couldn’t comprehend your pain but I get it now.

And now I flip to warmness, heavy august air and the grounds are lush, rich green, the birds sing but we can’t listen to them and the gravel crunches as we stand studying our shoes by the door. And I’m there holding your pain and our sons hand and his shirt is tucked in as best as we could manage. And I’m in the thick still quietness re seeing what we saw. Hearing the things we chose together and the weight of our sons arms around our shoulders and I saw your Dad take your hand as he sat on the very edge, keeping my place warm though we didn’t know it. And they had advised us the curtain rail needed oiling but it really didn’t matter in the scheme of things. And I sit there now feeling the hardwood, slippy beneath my trousers and my eyes are not as sore as I’d expected because I’d little left after the moments from the day before. And we have that time and I know what I said and the song you played me sometime later.
And I sit there numb with feeling, noting the circles on the fabric and as I look up again they hide my yellow petals.
And as I’m deep inside it our son wakes and asks me who invented warp drive and tells me the consequences of achieving Warp Ten.

And I think to myself about the song I chose and how I sat through it again eighteen months later and now our son aims his Romulan War-bird at me, dispatching fully operational quantum phase torpedoes in my direction.

We’re leaving now, window down, warm breeze on my bare arms, heading south, no one really talking. Car heavy with our thoughts.
Our sons downstairs, I get a moment to finish this though my earlier deep filled silence is scratched with American dialogue bubbling up the stairs.
I’m numb with feeling again, I don’t know what day it is, what year it is, who’s life I’m living. You’re on compassionate leave and I wait for you to come in from the shops.

You fill the house and I can’t move for reality.

I’m there frozen in time, miles and moments from the first seat. And now I sit on the end of the row and I see me from above, small and curled, thinner than the week before, taking up no space as I fill everywhere. And they look at me from the back and the side and my hair hangs round my shoulders and once or twice my head drops down. I sit brittle glassed in black, I wear her scarf again, I am not there as I look out, passed and above, through the high window out beyond my surroundings, over houses and towns and roads and hills, up the motorways to Pendle hill where you photographed me holding her arm and our son was heart beating deep inside me but right then I didn’t know.
And he sits beside me in his moment as I clutch his hand and never release the hold. And I wear the Tao necklace, can’t remember where you bought it. But it’s made of wood and one of the circles is a slightly different material and the white side is shaped from mother of pearl, like the door handle in her lounge.

In two seats, two moments
Love linked
Shimmering from pain.

tao flowers x


Trapped inside this endless maze of rooms and with each turning every corner is a familiar place. The walls push in against me, the ground will not give way, there’s little air in here and what I can breathe in makes me cough. I keep going. Round the next corner, must find the centre of the labyrinth to climb the steps and ring the bell, to turn around and see the clearly painted sign to the exit and gift shop – but it’s not there. Just another dusty corner. Everything is grey today, not black. Not the black that’s intense and heavy, that swells and consumes all around, then shifts and lifts, but this all pervading, saturating, relentless greyness. Grey thick sides, dense walls, stumbled terrain, slimy seeping dripping sticky to the touch, oozing at me, clawing me in, pulling me closer, one foot in front of the other. Hands on walls either side, pushing along. This looks new, turn here, narrower steeper, am I going uphill, the air thinner, turn again to darkness. Feel the distance behind me, the distance ahead, the madness sending me round again. My dress is heavy, old grained linen, deep grey, long and ripped, faded embroidery round the unpicked hem, my filthy bare feet bleed into the ground but keep moving. I don’t really feel, I can’t really see or hear, I’m not in this place anymore.

Somewhere outside I hear chaotic fairground music, I imagine the horses, their chipped lacquer, snarling grimaced, bouncing around to nowhere, pointlessly going up and down round and round waiting for the music to stop, to rest, to breath, till it starts up again. And I want to get up to the fairground, to the trip over cables, with the flashing brightness, the sickly rich stench of toffeed candied burgers, the noise I can’t join in with, the distortion, everything big, loud, gruesomely cheery, shouting at me Everyone a Winner. But the sights on the guns are out of line and the tin ducks laugh at you as you miss and the crowd are a melt of faces as they slam and rattle by.

But I still crave it somehow, I hear it somewhere out there while I inch round my mazed cell like a scientist’s mouse, bloated and squinting on drugs that won’t help me. I keep going, scratchy nails scamper the dust away, waiting for a corner that lifts or lightens.

Holding myself up through this repetition. Narrowed walls crunch in closer, the stone eating up the ground as it approaches. Turn, turn walk, wait stop. Turn, keep going breathe, turn, turn back, stop, wait rest. Turn walk, wait. Turn, turn this way, no this way, turn, no that way, no, stop stop here. Here, no next one, no here, turn, stumble wait, stop breathe. Breathe breathe breathe.

Round the next corner I find it, the centre, then I see her ahead of me, all around me. Me in mirrors, repeating me into infinity, shabby stained, strained, stripped, ripped raw, roared out, outside of myself in the shiny glinting reflections of all the paths around me. And as I spin from one to another lunging at each for an answer, up above me the hurdy gurdy whirls on in the muck and the filth, the brightly painted stalls thrust out their wares, neon burning over the throaty chug of diesel, the leather smoked complexions full of empty promises and fat knarled hands still grasping at your money, Roll up Roll up, a prize every time!


Under the old unused candles I found them, shoved in drawers slightly bent, and the words and weight of the pens we used charged at me full throttle. And the images underneath them from when he tried out his new camera and experimented with light conditions and we sat under the heavy green painting that our son used to like to point towards. The one we bought at the beginning, from the fusty trip hazard antiques shop, up the packed stacked stairs to strain our necks to reach it. And it hung over our life above the settee that his friends made for us and unpacked from their battered red van that early Sunday morning before we’d taken root. And the painting hung quietly while we went out on our hen and stag nights to lose ourselves in others plans and we didn’t glance at its image when we giggle wobbled lurched home later.

And now it lies under the bed with the album that followed, and the dust and the camera that he sometimes used in spite of progress.

And I saw that old painting today, cropped to fit our view as we started out. But tonight I sit and type, I cook for our son and help him with literacy. Tonight there’s no plastic horseshoe round my neck.