To Seek A Great Perhaps

The End
By Mark Strand

Not every man knows what he shall sing at the end,
Watching the pier as the ship sails away, or what it will seem like
When he’s held by the sea’s roar, motionless, there at the end,
Or what he shall hope for once it is clear that he’ll never go back.

When the time has passed to prune the rose or caress the cat,
When the sunset torching the lawn and the full moon icing it down
No longer appear, not every man knows what he’ll discover instead.
When the weight of the past leans against nothing, and the sky

Is no more than remembered light, and the stories of cirrus
And cumulus come to a close, and all the birds are suspended in flight,
Not every man knows what is waiting for him, or what he shall sing
When the ship he is on slips into darkness, there at the end.

September 23, 2011. poetry. 1 comment.

Cookies & Cream, even

Watching American Gigolo.
Wearing Coco Chanel-esque silk pajamas.
And red lipstick.
And eating Haagen-Dazs…
Straight out of the tub.

Sometimes it’s nice to just embrace the cliche and take it as far as you can go.

July 14, 2011. Tags: , . food, movies. Leave a comment.

The time for that

Staying After

I grew up with horses and poems
when that was the time for that.
Then Ginsberg and Orlovsky
in the Fillmore West when
everybody was dancing. I sat
in the balcony with my legs
pushed through the railing,
watching Janis Joplin sing.
Women have houses now, and children.
I live alone in a kind of luxury.
I wake when I feel like it,
read what Rilke wrote to Tsvetaeva.
At night I watch the apartments
whose windows are still lit
after midnight. I fell in love.
I believed people. And even now
I love the yellow light shining
down on the dirty brick wall.

-Linda Gregg

June 12, 2011. Tags: , . poetry. Leave a comment.

Any Other Way

I love being introduced to drinks that shouldn’t work but do. Dancing in someone’s bedroom-disco, to dirty Italian pop. Watching strangers fall asleep on each other on the night bus, and wake-up, Britishly. The satisfaction of navigating myself home through unknown suburbs in the early morning. Wearing knee-socks and sneakers and a tattered tutu and spiky rings for Sunday morning brunch. Sitting in silk pajamas, surrounded by pillows, in a big white bed.

I’m so so alone, and sometimes that just makes me feel lucky.

May 15, 2011. Uncategorized. 3 comments.

Fashion Police

Had the following exchange at Border Patrol coming back into London today…

Fierce Female Official: What kind of visa do you have?
Moi: Tier Five
FFO: What are you doing here?
Moi, slightly intimidated: Working holiday
FFO: Where are you working?
Moi, worrying: <That which shall not be named>
FFO: Where did you get your jeans?
Moi: Uh, Zara?
FFO: I want some. Do they come in green?

I got the stamp.

April 17, 2011. fashion. Leave a comment.

The arrow that flies, the bow that is stable

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

April 10, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Circling each other

These quotes, or the vague ideas behind them, seem to be written on the back of my eyelids right now. I’m not feeling particularly dark. They’re just circling, neutrally and independently of me.

Taken from Orthodoxy, by GK Chesterton:

“Not only is suicide a sin, it is the sin. It is the ultimate and absolute evil, the refusal to take an interest in existence; the refusal to take the oath of loyalty to life. The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men; as far as he is concerned he wipes out the world. His act is worse (symbolically considered) than any rape or dynamite outrage. For it destroys all buildings: it insults all women. The thief is satisfied with diamonds; but the suicide is not: that is his crime. He cannot be bribed, even by the blazing stones of the Celestial City. The thief compliments the things he steals, if not the owner of them. But the suicide insults everything on earth by not stealing it. He defiles every flower by refusing to live for its sake. “

Mad Girl’s Love Song
By Sylvia Plath

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell’s fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan’s men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you’d return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

March 6, 2011. Tags: , , , . poetry, writing. Leave a comment.

Time, Difference

I’m hurtling, I’m hurtling underground
and thinking of your still sweet head
all messed up
on the pillowcase
avoiding morning
and I’m so far away from it
and you
might be with her.

I hope,
years later,
we’ll remember this time
always one of us watching through the night
while the other slept.

February 6, 2011. boys, poetry, writing. 4 comments.

Deeper still

 

Nights like this
I just want to get slammed

by a truck.

January 30, 2011. Uncategorized. 2 comments.

Gay and Innocent and Heartless

I think my favourite chapter of any book is “When Wendy Grew Up” from Peter and Wendy (the original Peter Pan story by JM Barrieyou can read the whole book here). What comes before it – islands, mermaids, pirates, flying, fairies, “to die will be an awfully big adventure”, is all wonderful. But the last chapter changes everything.  Here are my two favourite passages. If I’m ever able to read this without breaking down, then I am not me anymore and you can do what you want with her.

If you don’t remember, Wendy and the Lost Boys go home, and Peter promises to come back and take her to visit Neverland once each year…

She had looked forward to thrilling talks with him about old times, but new adventures had crowded the old ones from his mind.

“Who is Captain Hook?” he asked with interest when she spoke of the arch enemy.

“Don’t you remember,” she asked, amazed, “how you killed him and saved all our lives?”

“I forget them after I kill them,” he replied carelessly.

When she expressed a doubtful hope that Tinker Bell would be glad to see her he said, “Who is Tinker Bell?”

“O Peter,” she said, shocked; but even when she explained he could not remember.

“There are such a lot of them,” he said. “I expect she is no more.”

I expect he was right, for fairies don’t live long, but they are so little that a short time seems a good while to them.

Wendy was pained too to find that the past year was but as yesterday to Peter; it had seemed such a long year of waiting to her. But he was exactly as fascinating as ever, and they had a lovely spring cleaning in the little house on the tree tops.

Next year he did not come for her. She waited in a new frock because the old one simply would not meet; but he never came.

“Perhaps he is ill,” Michael said.

“You know he is never ill.”

Michael came close to her and whispered, with a shiver, “Perhaps there is no such person, Wendy!” and then Wendy would have cried if Michael had not been crying.

Peter came next spring cleaning; and the strange thing was that he never knew he had missed a year.

That was the last time the girl Wendy ever saw him. For a little longer she tried for his sake not to have growing pains; and she felt she was untrue to him when she got a prize for general knowledge. But the years came and went without bringing the careless boy; and when they met again Wendy was a married woman, and Peter was no more to her than a little dust in the box in which she had kept her toys. Wendy was grown up. You need not be sorry for her. She was one of the kind that likes to grow up. In the end she grew up of her own free will a day quicker than other girls.

And Wendy keeps on growing up, and has a daughter called Jane, and turns her old adventures into bedside stories.

“But, alas, he forgot all about me,” Wendy said it with a smile. She was as grown up as that.

“What did his crow sound like?” Jane asked one evening.

“It was like this,” Wendy said, trying to imitate Peter’s crow.

“No, it wasn’t,” Jane said gravely, “it was like this”; and she did it ever so much better than her mother.

Wendy was a little startled. “My darling, how can you know?”

“I often hear it when I am sleeping,” Jane said.

“Ah yes, many girls hear it when they are sleeping, but I was the only one who heard it awake.”

“Lucky you,” said Jane.

And then one night came the tragedy. It was the spring of the year, and the story had been told for the night, and Jane was now asleep in her bed. Wendy was sitting on the floor, very close to the fire, so as to see to darn, for there was no other light in the nursery; and while she sat darning she heard a crow. Then the window blew open as of old, and Peter dropped in on the floor.

He was exactly the same as ever, and Wendy saw at once that he still had all his first teeth.

He was a little boy, and she was grown up. She huddled by the fire not daring to move, helpless and guilty, a big woman.

“Hullo, Wendy,” he said, not noticing any difference, for he was thinking chiefly of himself; and in the dim light her white dress might have been the nightgown in which he had seen her first.

“Hullo, Peter,” she replied faintly, squeezing herself as small as possible. Something inside her was crying “Woman, Woman, let go of me.”

“Hullo, where is John?” he asked, suddenly missing the third bed.

“John is not here now,” she gasped.

“Is Michael asleep?” he asked, with a careless glance at Jane.

“Yes,” she answered; and now she felt that she was untrue to Jane as well as to Peter.

“That is not Michael,” she said quickly, lest a judgment should fall on her.

Peter looked. “Hullo, is it a new one?”

“Yes.”

“Boy or girl?”

“Girl.”

Now surely he would understand; but not a bit of it.

“Peter,” she said, faltering, “are you expecting me to fly away with you?”

“Of course; that is why I have come.” He added a little sternly, “Have you forgotten that this is spring cleaning time?”

She knew it was useless to say that he had let many spring cleaning times pass.

“I can’t come,” she said apologetically, “I have forgotten how to fly.”

“I’ll soon teach you again.”

“O Peter, don’t waste the fairy dust on me.”

She had risen; and now at last a fear assailed him. “What is it?” he cried, shrinking.

“I will turn up the light,” she said, “and then you can see for yourself.”

For almost the only time in his life that I know of, Peter was afraid. “Don’t turn up the light,” he cried.

She let her hands play in the hair of the tragic boy. She was not a little girl heart-broken about him; she was a grown woman smiling at it all, but they were wet eyed smiles.

Then she turned up the light, and Peter saw. He gave a cry of pain; and when the tall beautiful creature stooped to lift him in her arms he drew back sharply.

“What is it?” he cried again.

She had to tell him.

“I am old, Peter. I am ever so much more than twenty. I grew up long ago.”

“You promised not to!”

“I couldn’t help it. I am a married woman, Peter.”

“No, you’re not.”

“Yes, and the little girl in the bed is my baby.”

“No, she’s not.”

But he supposed she was; and he took a step towards the sleeping child with his dagger upraised. Of course he did not strike. He sat down on the floor instead and sobbed; and Wendy did not know how to comfort him, though she could have done it so easily once. She was only a woman now, and she ran out of the room to try to think.

Photograph 1: Tom Lowe
Photograph 2: James Neely
Photograph 3: Kinematic

 

January 17, 2011. Tags: , , , , . books. 1 comment.

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