warren – for GCW

Rabbit like. At first eyes wide, alert —
Then unfocused.
Ears feel aloft, but not
Catching sounds; 
you come unwound.
Back and forth with
Hair unbraiding.
Thoughts emptying, you’re mumbling.
Lights blinding. Limbs twitching to the music you’ve only just found you were hiding.
Watch him.
He hops.
Hip hop? Not yet.
How high did you say?
Going up.
Stop –
Don’t stop. What? I was saying
…I forgot.
Chop chop. 
Lucky foot, you know that you can’t easily hop now.
Gone west and eyes dulling,
Wait. Did you..?
I’m sure that I said that line out loud already. 
It’s much less than steady while trying
And failing
But trying and floating while all else
Is rushing. The ground
Like a cushion. Can’t walk to the kitchen for nothing. For something. 
The tunnel is widening as 
You keep forgetting
And rubbing your foot.
Alice said it was lucky. That time she
Fell down
deep in the hole
In the world where you’re laying.
Still laughing.

milk, no sugar

She had palms like a lanolined handbag,
And a smile like a scratched window pane.
But she could sing carols
Like an earthbound angel.
We used to watch her as she passed our front gate.
Bundled against the cold,
Blowing on blue, painful hands while
Asking for a light if she saw you, then
“Thank you my duck!” And borne away
By the cigarette’s Lazarus wings, she walked on.
But her Silent Night could break a statue’s heart. Just
To hear her echo on the houses as she passed by,
Gin warm,
Smoke perfumed and
more free than the sky she serenaded,
That brought Christmas to life for me then.
And even now I can’t hear tell of a Bleak Midwinter
Without smelling Player’s cigarettes,
And waiting to hear the spoon stirring tea, chiming
Like the bells of advent.
Announcing her passing,
Admitting her to all.

19 December 2014

the rhythm of the waves – 16 Sept 2014, maidencombe beach

Drawing back again. Away again. Then rushing toward me.

We dance without the sea’s beat, and,
You said, “He’s dancing like someone’s dad. You know – like at a wedding.”

I looked and you were right.
He was.
While the waves kept time. 
Push. Towards.
Pull. Away. 
Dad dancing. Off kilter. 
We watched him dance as he walked up the steps. 
Steep from the beach across the cliff. Watched him,
Push. Shake. Grind. 
Left. Right. Up. 
Knees. Hula. 
The waves kept time.
The moon and sea.
We dance. 

the afterlife

Limbo. That’s what it feels like, but that’s not quite the right word. Still it’s a useful starting point so let’s go with that for now.

That’s kind of how the past four weeks have felt to me, the time that’s passed since I sat my final exam on 3 June; limbo. Almost a state of nothingness. Even as I write this I am only too aware just how trite, mawkish and downright pompous this sounds, yet it’s true. For the past five years I haven’t just been Shaun, I’ve been Shaun the student. I had a goal, a destination, a spot on the horizon on which my gaze was fixed and which helped define me. The very fact of being a student permeated my every moment and occupied a large amount of my brain’s activity. Deadlines had become part into the seasonal fabric of my year (in fall mid-term essays felt russet, smelled of bonfires; Easter’s were chocolate flavoured, perfumed by daffodils; summer’s exam revision occurred to the counterpoint of swifts screaming across the sky) and once free from their benevolent tyranny there is a sense of being cut adrift, a sense of uncertainty.

It’s not a bad thing and please don’t think me in any way miserable. Far from it. I’m just aware that something that was hugely important and valuable to me has ended and, like all things we love, it’s only when it is taken from us that we realise how much a part of us it had become. Like any lover it has the ability to inflame and exasperate, to tease and beguile, to comfort and unsettle us. Its absence is felt more profoundly because of this.

For three years I’ve been in a peer group of like minded people being allowed to think about, to focus in great detail on literature, and to discuss it with those people. I wouldn’t trade the last three years for another five years of life (nods to LCD Soundststem for that). So, now begins the task of redefining myself and getting to grips with life after working towards my BA. September 2015 is the date when I hope to begin studying for my MA, but between now and then goodness knows what I’ll get up to. I’ll keep you informed.

it’s a potato

Howdy ho my friends.

I just wanted to share my joy at harvesting my first batch of potatoes from our tubs. Not eaten them yet – I only just washed the soil of them but they look wonderful.

Julian took this photo of me being delighted by my little farming enterprise.


mangley yowling

“___ I’m back in the ___ Yarden(?), enjoying a warm evening we’ve got a fire in the chimney and Magnum Lolly, does life get any better on a Saturday. Happy weekend kids. Bye”
spoken through SpinVox