Edgy

Edges are a discovery.

I presume they emerge as separation,

unseen and unknown;

separation not discovered as absence

but as an encounter,

a coming together,

a rubbing up against,

a path meeting a fence.

They become a place for love and rage,

soothing, erotic, vicious;

the velvet touch of warm skin

the taut profile of a figure against the skyline,

the door to the secret garden,

the gun lined turrets.

Across the moorlands

they are marks of history,

of bloodied, blistered hands,

and dry stone, of bug bitten

faces grimacing through bogs and thorns,

of aching legs on

precipitous hillsides.

Edges define,

create the possibilities of difference,

wake us to the new.

To be whole is to be divided.

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The Portrait Gallery Cafe

No messing – we went straight past
the first line of defence
to the gallery’s unconscious –
its basement bowels? No,
not even to the anal floor
but directly to the good breast
where the suck of a five pound note
releases a flood of sweetness.
And there we stayed,
the social worker within us
happy as pigs in muck,
seemingly with no regard
for the painterly struggles
with appearance in the rooms
above. Perhaps it was this
subterranean womb-like warmth
that liberated us?
Anyway the ideas flowed;
tact was left giggling;
and we danced lightly
around the solemn medley of living

Digital Album

Ten thousand, four hundred and twenty three –
at the moment;
a log jam of images piling up
against the rocks of my continued existence.
Rocks that one day will be swept
away by some unforeseen inevitable flood.
They will crash over my children
in their encampments
down stream in a jumble of incomprehension.

I recall the days,
full of youth’s idiotic righteousness,
when I scorned the image
and stood for experience in the raw,
in all its evanescence,
sure that truth would lodge itself
like blood cells crowding through my veins.
No need to deny time,
to resist mortality…….

But now
ten thousand, two hundred and twenty three……

Literary Criticism

Jack opened the door ………
I say ‘the’ door because its relation to the people who use it, observe it, or in this case read about it is too problematic to resolve. Was it ‘his’ door? Or perhaps ‘her door’. Both options change Jack. But either of these raises a question of ownership. Can the door be owned and if so, do we need to introduce the mortgage provider at this stage? But then again, this is only a story so the door may only exist in the writer’s, – and now the reader’s or listener’s mind. Unless this is a documentary piece referring to a real door, whatever you think ‘real’ may mean.

Or the door may be needed just for formal reasons – to rhyme with ‘poor’ for example, rather than as imperative to a narrative. You may not need the door, though the name ‘Jack’ suggests a world in which doors are to be expected.

You would avoid the whole issue with –
Kipchu stepped into the street…….
Well, perhaps not the whole issue. ‘Street’ probably brings a whole range of assumptions.

Let’s try – She stepped into the daylight…….
What’s wrong with that?
True, we are lucky to be able to walk, to take our own steps.

For the last time then – She emerged into the daylight …………..

I know I can’t put off making choices for ever. At some point, it has to settle down to whatever Jack, Kipchu, she becomes in the eyes of the world. Even if he/she is not sure of his/her own identity or inhabits multiple identities. He/she will have to turn left or right, or return however long they may stand blankly or in contemplation.
Maybe a dog emerges too, barking at the sunlight. Dogs keep options open. It may even stand on the ice outside the igloo which you may not have expected. But they do rule out prisons, where I’m sure dogs are not allowed – unless he/she is security, responsible for sniffer dogs.

Anyway, who is to say that the emergent being is not a new born baby, and the inside the womb? To be truthful, it is probably all these events and people ………..and dogs. It’s just that this does not get us anywhere, beyond uncertainty and bewilderment. Though I suspect that these qualities are underestimated in ‘real’ life – much easier to ascribe identity and plot and to evade doubts about agency.

Did he/she emerge as a consequence of a self-determined act – to set out on a journey, to take the air, to escape whatever is inside? Or was the emergence something socially determined, instinctive or unconsidered, driven by some unnamed, unknown impulse – claustrophobia, anxiety? It could be that the emergence happened to him/her – once the scrabbling hands of neighbours and emergency services had cleared the rubble in which he/she was buried.

Which gives me an idea. Who is the ‘I’ to say what happened anyway? I’ll leave you to clear the rubble and rubbish and see what emerges…………

Confessional

Oh! we are so in love –

we are in love with outrage –

that blessed alibi for sin,

that set of ear muffs protecting us from a new thought,

that thread of connection to the like-minded,

that illusion of virtue,

that fraudulent mouth-piece for love.

Oh! we are in love,

in love with outrage

The Needle Point

If I walk down my road to the junction

I have to choose; left to the Autumn trees,

right to immersion in fact and function.

 
This is a boundary that no-one sees,

hidden where the day breaks and the grey plain

of  routines blind those who pass in the breeze.

 

Damsons rot unnoticed in the cool rain

as neighbours nod absently, and dogs pant

and pull their leads to sniff an alien stain.

 
It’s true I yearn for those days when I can’t

choose, must set my nose whichever way

duty takes me, but choice gives a new slant

 

to the road end. There are those who would stay

between, where neighbours nod and damsons rot,

to be where they are and take neither way.

Virginia Creeper

The wall was there to be climbed.

To start with, he’d flailed about,

to him it seemed, randomly

though it was always upwards.

Around, above him, all rose

shaking off the summer storms

that made him shiver and hide.

Could have been imitation

or the force he could not know

within, that took him higher,

and there laid out before him

was the fresh green of promise,

peaks of possibility

and progresses’ acrid scent.

For a while, he could look out

at Nature with complacent

confidence in its beauties.

He could reach out to absorb

the sun’s warmth into his pure

benevolent intention.

He knew he could climb the wall

there at his back, and he rose.

 

Then, as the shadows shifted,

he saw the world as it is,

bones strewn from countless slaughters,

the burden of suffering

all too clear in the dull drone

of history’s legacy.

Few take the dramatic way

hanging their pain by the neck.

More look the other way

choosing the junction of spurs,

the rough texture of detail,

blind immediacy’s tangle

to miss the inevitable

onward march of failure.

Now his climbing was over

he found that he was clinging

to the wall, just awaiting

the blush of the fading days

and the dying fall of night.