THE FIRST SOUND:
The first sound she made
every morning was a heavy expelling of breath that let the world know the exact weight of her burdens. It was a sound that put all who recognised it on alert, a melody that never altered, regardless of day or season, a song that made everyone who knew it turn inward for a second, mustering their joy in readiness to haul her out of her dark abis. Wo betide anyone who withheld their joy or skirted around the great hole, for that familiar expression of resigned exasperation would become a lasso, flung out with precision to pull them in.
She sang the blues deep as desert dust and longing, yearning for something lost awaiting it’s unpromised return.
She sang black bird melancholy strumming a guitar with fingers unable to sister the beauty of her voice. A big man to her left, old as the rocks, played something older in a tie-dye shirt. Silver beard and swept back hair encrusted with salt from a life lived beneath the sea.
The whites of her mascara eyes looked into the faces of the crowd beneath hieroglyph brows dancing to a rhythm that betrayed her thoughts. Then, closing her eyes, she leaned back in black exposing her skin & released the silence of a North African desert from between her lips.
After the ironing is done she wraps herself in shadow & sits silent still beneath a sleeping birdcage, concealed in the rhythm of dripping pot plants. Watching the night & all it’s radiant drunks, hold hands, kissing staggered smiles of summer romanced distractions slipping past her night garden without bothering to look in see her sat alone, absorbing light, black as stone.
She must’ve (did she?) see me glance in at her, catch her in her shadowland attracted to her silence slipped between the potted wonders of her garden, perfume masked by the sweet warm embrace of fresh pressed linen. Will I feature in her log of people grooves tonight, will I loose some of my light to that discrete meticulous unwavering iron stare? Will she smooth out all our wrinkles in exchange?
At night this young raven woman pulls onto the taxi rank, parks, flashing warning lights, inserts a roll-up in her tiny red car – waiting for a man. Cigarette glued to a lip jumping faster than a race car rev counter, Mascara builder, head crooked clamping cell phone to shoulder, two hands speed trawling the contents of a bag for a thing they’re frantic to find. This young flaxen woman, enquiring gentle direction, steps up to the red car window, recoils at the violence in those eyes flicked back faster than circus knives. Needle fingers pull the Rollie, pop the cork, spill the cocaine contents of the Mouth unbridled, convulses random, spasms a hole, a cut, a crack, a chasm, a beast without a brain, a bronco bucking a stone cold killer face – waves of loathing & detestation. We catch each other’s eye, the raven woman with the bubbling lips, caught with her cool betrayed, waggling gear stick desperate in the dark for reverse as I observe, unfazed, leaning silent underneath this streetlamp.
Late at night, at the shrine to the ironing woman she stands alone smoothing the world. Eyes stare through TV flickers in a white room dancing beneath a halo of fluorescent light. Surrounded by her memories, photo frames on every surface & every surface dressed in lace. Faces watch & wait for
her to join them, hold a place for her, she slow dances somnambulant, little puffs of steam – left to right & back again, left to right & back.
DREAM WITHIN A DREAM:
In the heat of the night loners walk city streets,
boyfriends speed-talk to bleary girls, not pausing
to breath or let it slip they clocked us photographing
rotted graffiti dripping down the marble facades
of midnight shops. The fashion, like the music in
this city got stuck in the 70’s & it’s all the better
for it, a living museum for time travellers like us
to pick up where we left our kid heads. I’m mapping
streets, got to keep moving because it’s too noisy
in my head to remain still. Conversation about anything
creative physically hurts, so I move, looking fast &
snapping swift with this digital eye. Me & the feral
cats feed in the street tonight, hunt the dark between
lamp light with adolescent bug eyes.
‘Brainstorm‘ by Hawkwind is my latest obsession
The Essex night sky was illuminated by a fat diminishing moon
making people crazy. Faces hardened in bitter contortions,
frustrations, stress, emotions on a knife edge. Satellites
arcing between stars went un-noticed, the cool night air
went un-breathed as we dodged the wound-up & the righteous
wobbling around the house like a ball-bearing bouncing wild &
loose inside a ball.You can fight fire-with-fire for so long,
but where’s the fun, the sun, in that? Take a drive, listen to
the rhythm of the white line beneath your tyres, cats-eyes
flicking the underside of your rubber. Flip on the headlights,
transform summer nights into theatres of vibrant green,
tunnels beneath whose arches scurry tiny things, frantic rhythm
of their miniature limbs make you smile, slow down & chill
behind the wheel. Park up & walk between the rows of midnight
shelf stackers, sit on your bonnet in an empty car park, let
the heat of the engine make you feel good. Breath. Take time,
look up at the stars, counting satellites & the winking lights
of late night long haul flights. Reconnect with the moment in
the moment & laugh…