25 November 2011

Park

At once too much and never enough.

My favourite bench is vacant.

A man stands in a sunbeam breathing hard through his nose. Perhaps close up his nostrils are flaring.

Mothers wait at school gates, happy to have something to fill the afternoon with. On a nice day like this anything is possible. Frightened children whine at crossings. Bold ones stamp and crush the leaves.

From here I can see so much of London. The Shard, the Millennium Wheel, the Gherkin. But I am glad to be far away.

I can tell now the scarf she gave me is acrylic not wool. The tell-tale plasticy sweat.

This bench is for R.K. Never being boring. Great hair. Big smile. 1974-2011. Only nine years my senior.

I am so sorry to only be able to see things from where I stand. I do not want to be involved. I do not really live here.

It is no longer an interesting situation.

S.N. 1955-2008. She loved this park. Stop and rest a while.

Caught between young and old I no longer yearn for travel. I am almost unbearably fond of this place. The longer I stay the more I uncover.

A white dog streaks along the black path.

From here the world is safe. No blood and shit behind those windows. No medications, dead pets, insomnias and good intentions. No tiny Christmas tree in the window. I want so much to be all these people. I want so much to be that cat slinking along the wall.

8 November 2011

Woman

The woman opposite me is pretty like a cheap magazine. Her husband keeps referring to them as 'we'. He is proud to be with the girl the drunks say have perfect teeth. How did you get teeth like that they ask her. Just born with them she giggles. She must have spent a long time on her make up. Her husband has hair which is totally ordinary. There is nothing about him at all.

4 November 2011

Birthday

I try to write the past but there is already too much of it. Excuses are all always in place, hanging between my eyebrows. A vice. My shoulders ache from holding up my own weight. I don’t want to go out tonight...

He spray paints the gun silver. Andy has realised his own weapon and I am a traitor again.

I cake their hair in flour over the tub. Really, they have come as themselves. I am a crazed and violent person who occasionally wears make up.

J and I watch the leaves turn red. Leathery and slick, trees should always be maroon. We never see them from this angle, from above. We’re on the fourth floor and we can see from the top down into the structure.

I am here for 24 hours. A woman across the green put a chair out and sat on her balcony all evening. She wore a pink sleeveless top. She was alone. The next day she put her chair out again and sat again. I love to see the rhythms of other people’s lives. For time to run on habit and deduction. Ritual.

When I get home I open the big blue bag. Inside it is the world’s smallest jack-o-lantern. It is a tennis ball with a ghoul drawn on it. A had presented it to me earlier in the night with a tea light on top of it for me to blow out. She came all this way for us and I am pleased.

There is a slight but noticeable difference in the sound the pencil makes when it crosses the grid lines on the squared paper I currently favour.

I am given books full of pictures.

He has cut an old skirt of H’s into squares. He has cut some of these squares diagonally in half to make triangles. He has followed the instructions and sewn together the squares and triangles to make a quilt. He has given me the quilt.

We walk. Sick of the heat of home, sick of the small space, sick of seeing trees through windows. I am grateful for the cold air and the wild orange leaves spreading all over this part of town. Even in the smallest places...

Silhouettes of witches are framed in the warmly lit doorways of suburban houses. I feel sick and happy. I want to walk all night but I am expected somewhere.

My thoughts are less coherent than ever. But every clause is lucid. As usual I can only see close up.

Tonight is a family meal in a family restaurant for families coalescing for special occasions. Everyone will try. The waiters will smile. We will talk about politics and babies. I hope to leave half drunk and smiling.

Doctor/Choir

D
There are no pictures on the wall. We sit opposite each other in comfortable matching chairs. They say: there is no judgment here. There is a box of off brand tissues on the table just out of reach. The chairs are pushed right up against the wall. I don’t know why. He is gentle but interested. He looks tired, he looks like he wants to go home. He says I look ill. I am offended. He says I have a lot of dilemmas. You are between so many things he says. But I think it is simple really. Eliminate the gap. 

C
L told me she is going to quit choir. She doesn't want to sing with the half-hearted and still-sleeping. She wants to hear her own voice streaming out of her skinny body like smoke. In games she always wins. She is still but vibrant, vibrating within a home-made framework. She would hold a lit match until it burned off her fingertips if it helped her prove her point.

1 November 2011

from Thomas Bernhard's On the Mountain (1989)

...we all live at least three different lives, a real one, an imaginary one, and one we're not even aware of
p8


...even though it's a crime to undertake anything at all, everything is a lie, every comma is a lie, all of it nothing but an appalling babble, trivial, degrading, humiliating, yet I cling to these few thoughts, and every letter matters, it comes down to every last letter and to recognizing the stupidity of it all
p19