The past is a dangerous place

It has been a week for finding the familiar in the unfamiliar.  Of revisiting the past, through a series of ‘sliding doors’ style vignettes, and reliving experiences – some good, some bad.   The shock of the old and the clumsy trip over the barely remembered.  I’ve been made to look in old mirrors, and find no Dorian Grey, or Mad Old Hatter, or indeed anyone I recognise in there.   The people and thoughts I’ve found are instead cloudy and blurred, or digitally enhanced and pixellated.  My memories are fogged through lack of use – overgrown weeds in the dark corners of the mind-garden.If this sounds a little flowery, well it’s partly because I’ve been rediscovering poetry, as mentioned in the last post.  Through sliding door #3 I’ve found a whole batch of poems I wrote in 2003 when I was in a ‘happy’ place mainly called Hardy’s Bin 57.  [In attempting an automated update of this blog software I managed to bork the site – so I took the opportunity to do a little housekeeping.]  In clearing out some digital clutter I found this whole batch of verbiage back from when I was merribly bouncing from one personal catastrophe to another.  I’ll post some of it anon – some of it’s awful  Some of it’s quite good.  And some of it has been listening too hard to Mike Skinner.

Through sliding door #2 I found my blog from my last concerted attempt to write fiction from home.  Not particularly pleasant reading, particularly as some of the characters and plot lines are still unresolved all this time later.  And I found my 9/12 post.  And similarly, long unpublished blog entries from events eight years ago and more.

Which leads to sliding door #1.  The coinkidink chain involves several links on my side:

  • Resign
  • Spend training budget as part of the resignation process
  • Book on random course with vaguely interesting title
  • Change date of course
  • As date now coincides with tube strike, contemplate alternative modes of transport
  • Can’t go by bike as the night before, of all nights, my back wheel is stolen
  • Decide against running or walking, as I’m feeling lazy
  • Go by train, which involves walking through a bit of my postcode I’ve never seen before – ie I bimble
  • Arrive at station at same time as train, but decide not to get on it as I have plenty of time
  • Bimble some more up to the end of the platform and wait 15 mins
  • Next train is short and I am nowhere near a door.  Run down the platform but it is now full.  So have to wait for another.
  • Check with ticket office that next train is 8 cars long, and return to original waiting place
  • Get on next train.  Am so amused by the leaning-post chairs that I choose one of them facing the door instead of one of the empty seats elsewhere.

At the very next stop one a reminder of one of the people that define my adult life gets on the train.  And the shock for me/both of us means I/we do nothing. No acknowledgement.  No… anything.  Furious nonchalance of a type only bettered when faced with the mad tourettes lady on the District line.  And then the doors slid open and the carriage dynamics changed.

Only later in the day do I notice the merest digital nudge of curiosity (that I half-expect).  And a cherry-on-top detail is added.  In the telling of this story over the weekend my friends have asked me why either of us didn’t speak.  And, well, life can be both amazingly simple and pretty complicated.  And no amount of contrite half-smiles (mine) can make the past just disappear.  Anyhoo.

So, without further ado, and in the hope that it placates some creative being on another plane,  so that it will return my mojo from lost-mojo-place, on to some word-pottery poetry:
Shallow grave
I dug the hole today.
It was right that I should dig.
Look for clues.
Move earth.
Break earth.

I stabbed the earth
and the earth bled;
bitter pills of past emotions.
Congealed lumps of denial.
And bile.
Good for the heart
and good for the soul.
It felt good to run
my fingers through the soil,
feel it crumble, flake
and drift skyward.

I held you before I buried you.
I want you to know that.
I couldn’t before.
I hope you understand.
I put your pillow in with you.
You know the one.
It reminds me of you too much,
even without my fingerprints on it
and your screams embedded in it.

Fluvial deposits
Wine, whine away my tears
my eyes red and conscience said.
I played my part, I played my part.
Bottle green and thoughts unseen
of feelings mean and feelings keen.
Upset as my applecart
by your sudden change of heart.
I shrank my world
and drank my tears away.
Shell my soul for the corporate prophet.
Bottom line is my new goal.
Snout to trough and face to sphincter.
There’s no depth I can’t sink to.

Shit to do,
shit to eat,
shit to shoot
the shit about.

Kill the fatted calf
and bake bread
with the other side.

There’s no such thing as commercial suicide.

Your soul’s up for auction, no known reserve,
Blank out the people, hold your nerve.
Shoot stares, shoot the breeze
laugh along with the latest web wheeze.
You never meant it to get to this,
news, cameras, commentary axis.
Money. Your demons want it more than you
sell yourself for your Jimmy Choos
they are more you than you.
Kiss your children, sell your eggs
make the tabloids, shag the dregs.
It’s not your style but now what’s left
but hammer down and the devil’s cleft.
Sell your hole and sell your soul
make your price and pay your toll.

Care in the community
Raghag Jonah picks up paper.
Receipts, flyers, tickets, whatever.
He has noticed an ongoing decline

in the quality of finds he finds,
until he found the scan –
in a bin, behind the doctors.
A baby.
A beautiful black and white baby,
an alien in close up.
An alien with ‘for termination’ written in pen.
The streets are getting harder every day.

How thin is the line
between heroism and pity?
The thickness of a glass.
Mustn’t laugh.
I’m a joke.
My ego is broken.
I hid it in a bottle and
now it’s been recycled
by the Council.
Eco-warrior, that’s me.

Sad songs don’t do it any more.
Like drugs, their effect is dimmed
through over use.
If anything, they cheer me up,
old friends in the middle of unfamiliar places.
Instead my nightmares live,
and common old garden songs resonate
with meanings until now occupying
forbidden space in my cultural lexicon.

Filed under popular.
Popstars become genuises,
and well heeled Scandinavians
become Poet Laureates
to a generation intestate.

I never listened to the words, I
never had the time.
I always wanted rhythm and the rhyme.
Now I’m broken and confused,
it’s all middle eights and medley choons.
I hate myself for feeling them,
but I hate more the feeling of loss.

Loss of roots and loss of boots.
It’s easy when you’ve got no memory.

Shameless, timeless, in command.
Easy to be cheesy when
you’re not living
hand to
to hand.

Nobody’s perfect
I’m nobody’s fool
I live in a dreamland
where crying is cool.
The fatter the tears
the better the year
another true vintage
for bottling in beer.

A virtuoso performance
an homage to romance
in killing the spark
that made your eyes dance.
I’m in love with myself
and nobody else
in love with my pain
and the sound of my

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