Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sail Me to The Pole Star...

walk into blue rivers

the unspelt word

on a line of emptiness broken...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I have not forgotten...

I have not forgotten the breeze in the branches of the tree outside my bedroom window, and how, during those long mornings, it kept me going. I have not forgotten the way your hair sits on the pillow, braided like a seven-year-old girl's, the sweetest sight I could ever lay my eyes upon.
     Nor have I forgotten the way you leaned in to feel me near you, when I kissed you, when I wasn't even sure if you remembered my name anymore, or who I was to you.
I have not forgotten the trips to the supermarket after the hospital, how I cowered in the drinks aisle, behind the diet cola, nor the feeling of something I could barely articulate between us three sisters, feeling so alone in the world without our mother, fussing round your bed like the oldest of souls together, the best of friends, the tiniest of children . We love you; that's as clear as the first morning of June, we love every hair on your head, and brush it with all the tenderness our shaking hearts have within them.
    I see your toes in their special white socks, poking out of the bottom of the white bed sheet. It cripples me with love just to look at them. I see your mouth, encased in plastic, and this is the part I find hard to talk about.
     I see a loss so big it will never be replaced, by wind or water or earth slide or rain storm. And you are in me with everything I do, you never go away, but also you are somewhere else. And how can that be - that you are always here and yet so far into another place I cannot reach? Here, gone, here, gone, here...awake but asleep, living, breathing, dying, seeing into my eyes, looking away, travelling, sailing, floating, shivering along another shore, a foreign land, in a language I cannot speak.
     I have not forgotten how you brought me up, how you taught me to spell, how you always nudged me to look up at the sky, to see those red and violet sunsets, to watch for the blue of the morning. How you are my only mother, how I was born out of you, how I stretch way beyond you into vastness and my own mystery, but always return, a cub to her mother bear, a fox to its hole, a bee to her hive that always was the source of honey and creation. Home. It is so far away now, and yet I carry it between my breasts, under my vest, in this heart here, and in everything I do, everything I want to do and will become, as the last light of this day ebbs into a filament of dust.
     Here are your daisies, your buttercups; the box of flowers you planted and that are still growing. They are all for you, and their colour will keep the night alive in your absence. For today you are sleeping, as you have never slept before, and when you awake, I will be there.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

honey off the razor's edge

It's hard to accept that what moves me in life isn't always what I like to think it is. Yes, the birds and the starlight and the stretches of riverbeds in Summer, the moon and the edges of hats worn by old ladies on the number 49 bus - these joys are all very acceptable to me.
     But what of all the things that go bump in the night, that step into my doorway with a stranger light? What of the things that aren't supposed to stir up joy in my soul, like the sight of blood, the edge of terror, the unfolding of betrayal, the foulest weather? I thought those days were done, but when I look in the mirror I see a desire which knows no bounds, and is uncomplicated by morals or reason or sense. Desire finds me at every turn, under every shade and nook it hides, waiting for its days to come. And so what move me are the strangest things, sometimes the very things which destroy me, that will cause me pain. And self-control will have the upper hand in practice, and kindness will play its part too. But I cannot forget the never-ending seeking of endless pleasure and torment that governs my heart, and not look all surprised when the great axe falls, not look shocked when the next bloody bull that they drag out of the ring has my name on it.
     I said I'd left Lorca behind, that I wasn't interested in duende anymore. I wasn't fussed about watching Pete Doherty on TV or reading about the lives of doomed poets. Instead, I open up to wilderness skylines and tall buildings. I walk the line. I tread in honest communication and self-respect. I behave like an adult. Most of the time. But appearances can be deceptive, and I was never a simple girl, life never was built upon solid ground but on rocks and water and broken glass and fire. I remember to howl. There is nothing else for it, if this world isn't to be one of endless adultery and murder. But I will not squash the devil in me. She's way too pretty. Lick the honey off the razor's edge (but there's no running home to Mummy). Taste the sweetness; wreck the car (it fell down the hillside before I could reach it). Worship those demons in my head. So tell me a story I've never heard before. Go on; tell it me. I know I'd die for a poetic sensibility, whether it's foolish or not, I know I'd spread my legs for the devil himself if he were to show me a glimpse of reality. Maybe I'm just some kind of cosmic slut, whoring myself out to the wind and the rain. Maybe I just never learnt any manners (though I was a well brought up girl). Maybe I was only meant to live in graveyards, or to sleep with the dead. Show me a knife mark, a naked ambition, tinkle cups at dawn, reveal a little perversion, wipe across continents with your muddy fingers. I'm so sweet inside I'm choking up on it, I'm so sweet inside, it's pure depravity.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Buddhafield Festival

I've been away again, this time not up to Wales but to Devon to the Buddhafield Festival for a long weekend. It has done me some serious good despite my strong reservations about going. What better place to be than with all your friends in the glorious sunshine hanging out in tents and structures and in fields and under trees in the Devon countryside.
     I arrived in a pretty ropey state, after having not that long returned from Wales, seeing my Mum in hospital and generally having an intense and hard time of it. Then, just as the car was speeding out of Brighton towards Devon, I received news that my sister had been also rushed into hospital, with a worrying condition, and was now residing two wards away from my Mum. It took me all my will to not beg Nick to just turn the car right around and drop me back home. It was a couple of days before I could ease off the worrying about my sister, when I heard that she had finally returned home and seemed to be improving significantly. Suddenly, despite the weight of what my mother is going through at the moment and the pain of witnessing her like that, I felt on top of the world. The thought of my sister sick and stuck in hospital when she was meant to be joining me at Buddhafield and finally getting some respite from all the full on-ness of the last couple of months was unbearable, so knowing she was back home was a massive relief. I was very happy.
     And so it was - crepes at three in the morning, endless cups of tea around Stewarts table at his tat stall, copious amounts of dancing, madness in the Lost Horizon sauna cafe, magic mushrooms, a disco and strip show to the Rolling Stones 'Start Me Up' in the back of the dodge van, complete with strobe, pretty boys playing strange instruments around fires, extremely late nights/mornings, Prajnaparamita covered in string, lots of naked flesh, searing heat, Lili's 'goat in a wedding dress' shrine, me saying I would go to lots of dharma stuff and workshops and instead just sitting around chatting from one cafe to the next, catching up with old friends, bonding more deeply with present ones, and generally being a total flakeball and loving it.
     And now I am back. I've been feeling pretty inspired in fact, spending most of my time at my keyboard trying to get back into my songs that have been largely neglected over the last year, so that I will have a set for when Chastock comes around at the end of August. I've also made a vow to swim every day in the sea to keep fit and keep my soul oiled with the right things. Today I swam in the river at Barcombe, past drooping branches and scattered leaves, the muddy bank, with one white swan gliding silently by me towards the sun. Yes, these things are good for my soul, and the people in my life at the moment equally so. I am keeping myself afloat in a sea of traumatic events and loss, and I'm still very much alive and feeling, and the happiness and beauty of life which I grasp in more than moments, is a blessing, is a magic touch I still feel deep inside, despite everything.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Balcombe Lake

And this is what I struggle to comprehend in my own childish way: the nature of things.

A fly lands on my unwelcoming body; I bat it away. The spotted ladybird crawls down the surface of my jeans. Sunlight travels across the surface of the water. The lake moves in unfathomable directions. It is hot, it blows cold, a boy sleeps beside me, cap over eyes.

Trees stand at the side of the lake for two hundred years, brushing branches, nestling into their reflection on the water.

A grebe moves, a reed bends; pond-skaters make circles like rain.

We all return in the end. We all are born of this endless mile.

The wind turns, the unborn child alights the dark and weary path to a new and distant harbour.

Skin crinkles, flowers fade, ice melts, silence knowing sound.

I am a brave animal. But I have lost my way back to the burrow. I need my siblings. I yearn for my mother.

She sinks into the earth. The trees are cracking up overhead. Fir cones shower, a duck squeaks, fish jump in the clear water. I blink once; awake.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

11.55 to Chester

And this is where I find myself - on another train out of here. That seems to have been mainly what this year has consisted of for me - coming and going, arriving and departing. That freedom feeling as I get out of a car, board the plane, enter the carriage. And that inescapable sadness of nothing staying the same, and my journey, ultimately, is a solitary one.
     I'm on the train back to Wales, back into the lion's jaw. I can't say the last few days in sunny Brighton have been all that calm and nurturing. I joked to someone yesterday that I was going back up to Wales to escape the intensity. From this train I will go to Watford Junction, to Crewe, Chester, then another train straight to the hospital. And I don't know how to prepare myself, so I shan't, I'll just eat my sushi rolls and read my book (Altered State, about the beginning of Ecstasy culture and Acid House), and remember when I was fifteen and taking pills for the first time, and feeling part of something big, the biggest thing since punk, and briefly, I was so fucking happy.
     Yes I want to read books like this and listen to pop music. Feel young again in all these trials. Go back to a time when things were somehow simple, life wasn't a complex mesh, and I believed in things like drugs and religion and true love. My legs were skinny and my hair was long, and I was about to fall in love, for almost the first time.
     But things were never simple then either, they could just seem it. As they still can now. But today, I am Clare 'complex' Davies, and life has too many wibbly wobbly lines delineating this axis of ours on which we are spinning.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Dinghies Rule.

Well I'm sizzled and sozzled by all this heat and sun, my skin is salty and red and my feet are sore and pummelled from all the walking upon sharp, pebbled beaches I have been doing today. But it's all been worth it for I have bought a dinghy! Well, more correctly, Jo and I are now the proud owners of 'Rapid 4000' (soon to be replaced by a fairer name when we think of one), a blue, white and yellow vision of loveliness and rubber.
     In my last post I talked about certain strange desires that come upon me from time to time. Well, I reckon that dinghies are the new 'answer to everything', and my desire for one today grew to such epic proportions that I could think of nothing else except the vision of Jo and I bobbing up and down like queens in our dinghy palace, gin and tonics in hand, a troop of lithe young men in fetching shorts trailing behind us attached to rubber rings.
     Jo and I braved the crowded stretch of beach between home and the Palace Pier at least three times seeking out the lowest price, (with preferable free pumping upon purchase), and so we were elated when we finally hunted out one that was the best price by far, and they even threw in a pair of oars for free.
     The only problem was getting it (fully inflated) all the way home again after our first outing in the sea. I had initially suggested that I row it all the way from Churchill Square, then around the West Pier, meeting Jo with the bags on the other side. But after it became clear that the only moves I seemed capable of were rotating us 360 degrees repeatedly until Jo had to take over, we decided that carrying it home would be safer. Since Jo's wrists were playing up, I had the joyful task of carrying all 8 feet by 4 feet of dinghy on my head, through the heaving hordes of holidaymakers making their way up the sea front.
     We finally made it to Hove and rewarded ourselves with delicious pizza and chips in Maroccos, before pushing the dinghy out again, by now, into the darkening sea of sunset. I was getting the hang of the oars finally, and we effortlessly sped out into the milky blue water as the shadows of the shoreline faded into the distance, and fireworks exploded silently over the Palace Pier. Brighton looks very different from this far out to sea, we were starting to slide out into silence, where there were only gulls, tinkling fish, and a yellow buoy in the distance. This is where I want to spend my days and nights in this town of mine, this side of the sea front. This is where the inspiration is, where poetry bobs up and down with the plastic under our hands. This is my kind of home. Jo put her head back and looked up at the electric blue sky. Stars were beginning to peep out from behind the clouds. The night was perfect.

After a gentle arrival back into shore, and a bumpy landing on the beach, we wobbled our way back to my flat, dinghy in tow, our legs exhausted from too much swimming, our arms weary from so much rowing, our skin smarting from the salt and the sun. But I, ever the impractical and slightly over sentimental one, decided that I couldn't bear to deflate our lovely new blue girl, and that she would have to be dragged, fully inflated, up to my top floor flat, where she could reside happy and fat in my exceedingly tiny hallway. So drag her I did, up three flights of narrow stairs, around squeaky corners and finally into my nine-foot hallway did we push in all eight-foot of her blue magnificence.
     Sitting here now I think, well, if I'm not to have a boyfriend at the moment, then I shall have a dog instead. But if I'm not to have a dog at the moment (I've got to think a way around the landlord), well, a dinghy it has to be. She's a lot less complicated than a man, and though she does take up more room, you can deflate her and fit her nicely in a little plastic carry all, and pump her up again when you need her. She doesn't poo and she doesn't break your heart, you don't have to take her for walks and she won't tell you how she just 'needs some space' at the moment. So there you have it, all existential problems undone. I now know how my days and nights this summer will be spent. Dinghys rule.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Robert Creeley - For My Mother: Genevieve Jules Creeley April 8, 1887-October 7, 1972

Tender, semi-
articulate flickers
of your

presence, all
those years

now, eighty-
five, impossible to
count them

one by one, like
addition, sub-
traction, missing

not one. The last
curled up, in
on yourself,

position you take
in the bed, hair
wisped up

on your head, a
top knot, body
skeletal, eyes

closed against,
it must be,
further disturbance--

breathing a skim
of time, lightly
kicks the intervals--

days, days and
years of it,
work, changes,

sweet flesh caught
at the edges,
dignity's faded

dilemma. It
is your life, oh
no one's

forgotten anything
ever. They want
to make you

happy when
they remember. Walk
a little, get
up, now, die
easily, into

singleness, too
tired with it
to keep

on and on.
Waves break at
the darkness

under the road, sounds
in the faint
night's softness. Look

at them, catching
the light, white
edge as they turn--

always again
and again. Dead
one, two,

three hours--
all these minutes
pass. Is it,

was it, ever
you alone
again, how

long you kept
at it, your
pride, your

lovely, confusing
discretion. Mother, I
love you--for

whatever that

than I know, body
gave me my
own, generous,

inexorable place
of you. I feel
the mouth's sluggish-

ness, slips on
turns of things
said, to you,

too soon, too late,
wants to
go back to beginning,

smells of the hospital
room, the doctor
she responds

to now, the
order--get me
there. "Death's

let you out--"
comes true,
this, that,

endlessly circular
life, and we
came back

to see you one
time, this

time? Your head
it seemed, your

eyes wanted,
I thought,
to see

who it was.
I am here,
and will follow.