I sat with him at the table. He offered me bread, a goblet of wine. After I partook he gave me a quill, some parchment, his smiling eyes encouraging me to write. Somehow the quill took over, gliding across the surface with ease. Before I knew it I was looking at a line of words I didn’t recognise. I looked up at him, his kind countenance pitying my ignorance. “Try reading it again,” he said. I looked down — suddenly the script made sense. “Reading what I have just written, I now believe.” A gentle smile was pursing his lips.
In another dimension a science fiction buff might be prized. Both generations of Star Trek, scripts known verbatim, dramas wrought from billions and parsecs, all sheer make-believe: I cannot abide it. So which side is up in space? I’m passed the Van Allen belts
Dragon on vert poppy resonance dancing Tuesday shimmering, bleeding blood-high on grass smoking in Cambrian mountains or Vietnam through Afghanistan’s fields’ perfumery stains on reverse strata of Snowdon’s peak, or Cambodia covered in skulls stacked dens of white hopium masquerading as lines of snow conquerors’ castles morsels of stone demolishing molars of the starving in unbearable agony — Boudica still scowling, raging, deafening blue woad on faces bearing banners golden torque cast crushed under studded caligae mass burials’ deep turf dredging bone from mud
Sixties’ grass, love child in fifty shades acid ancestors calling thudding on our spine “wake up!” their history burned — your future denied Stand firm in dissolution on Sunday’s black evening
It’s the same sounds all round the harbour, the cries of birds immemorial, echoes through the cliffs of stacked up buildings, over masts of twee named boats, men’s bobbing toys.
Your voice is still fresh in my mind, I see yesterday’s tears in your eyes — that won’t see me again, our little talks cut off by that corporate guillotine. It had nothing to do with me.
But didn’t I say you should come here, to Whitby? Simply to sit, drink it in, watch the gnarled men with sticks hobble over cobbles, their tight permed wives with ice creams, moaning, putting worlds to right.
The goths gather here, swarming to darkness, and the name of Nosferatu, with steampunk dress codes posing, mingling with transient gulls strutting their stuff through archaic streets,
owning the place. Enough of my platitudes, our shared liking for Camembert. You made your choice, it was the mortgage and the dog, tethered to the post called debt. It was sad, perhaps
I expected more. So is it sheer folly of me to hope you read these words? — This tired old man who just wanted to show you Whitby, that we might make small talk once more.
The mime artist confronts me, lithe and contorting, nuancing as best she can with her eyes. Masked and distanced, her gestures rage out loud and proud, yet I do not understand, I can’t even take her hand to console, to reassure; so now she’s rubbing her eyes with feigned clenched fists but the sorrow doesn’t translate; such sobbing falls on deaf ears, yet it screams to my soul: She’s in her world, I’m in mine, dimensions apart, both of us born again infants deprived of facial cues.
Of course you were always there; I still see those dark eyes like warm pools of love, such intimacy poisoning nearby attention. And whilst jealousy and estrangement have enmeshed silence around us ever since — family is everything, it’s all we have to fall back on, to stand up to those moving to destroy us. So mother, I honour you, archetype in my mind, fulcrum of my heart: And may siblings forgive each other.
It was at the Turner Exhibition. Hutchings was a quiet lad, for a copper; he had a passion which no one suspected — and it got him killed. I took the call and we all piled ’round. There he was, wrapped up in bubble wrap, sequestered in the store room next to ‘Snow Storm’; not one of my favourites. Someone had taken a scalpel to him, a right mess he was, poor lad. When we got to his flat there were art books all over, though not a morsel in the fridge. Evidently Hutchings — I shall call him George — used to feed on art.