Monday, 26 September 2022

Taking Stock.






Where do we sit?


Well, right now, on a stone bench across from the church, under these trees.


The trees are purple and the church is grey.


One person is saying that they wish the church would fall down… though it DOESN’T look like it’s going to fall down any time soon.


‘You know God is only responsible for the interior, the bricks and mortar are the responsibility of the commune’.


Jack didn’t know that, he also didn’t think it looked like the church was made from bricks and mortar. Stone hewn from the soul of ancient time perhaps.


Or concrete. 


‘I don’t think it’s not going to fall down any time soon, and I don’t think we will be here when it does.’


He would have liked to laugh then, but it was true.


Dan had a stick and was waiting for a hip, nobody had any teeth and Peps‘s eyes were so bad she couldn’t recognise anyone until they spoke.


’Why are we here?’


The question was simple enough, but the reason was unclear; unclear like the day, like the year, like the times they found themselves living in.


‘No one remembers anything anymore, all that they they know they, they have read digitally. Memories are largely forgotten.’


But Jack remembers.


He remembers the bank that was on the other side of the road, open once a week on Thursdays.


Thursday is market day.


It’s Thursday.


The market has come to a stop ( although someone is still selling cactus fruit) because someone is standing on a table telling stories.


She told the same stories thirty minutes ago but now she has drank half a bottle of Champagne and she is telling the stories again.


Everyone in the market is standing around the table; they are happy to listen again and the stories are also their stories.


Sometimes they even shout encouraging details.


Sometimes they drink a bit more bubbly.


And eat Pizza.


There is always Pizza on Thursday; the whole village eat Pizza on Thursday.


Jack is not from the village; he is eating a peach.


Jack lives in the forest distant and came to market looking for fruit, he is not ready for summer to end.


‘Do you remember the post-office?’


Of course he remembers the post office, the Minitel on the counter alongside the bunch of newly picked roses.


What was her name?


He could remember her face, but not her name.


Her face was the only thing he could see from the other side of the counter; he liked the way she would lick the stamps before putting them on his envelope.


Her son’s name was Nico, he wondered where and what he was now.


Probably one of the last still with memories.


The person on the table remembered a lot, just not that she had told the story about the old car three times already.


But it was a good story and everyone clapped.


Except Dan who had to hold on to his stick.


And Berne, who was holding a David Bowie disc, ready to place on the turntable.


Electricity was flowing impatiently through the cable that stretched from the Library, just down the street from the bank that no longer was.


Berne was patient, waiting for the applause to finish.


He was thinking about the library and when it was upstairs in the room at the end of the corridor, and downstairs was still a school where children slept in the afternoon on camp beds in the basement.


And when the garage opposite still served petrol and mended cars.


The pump looks lonely today, and the workshop doors are shut tight. 


‘How many versions of the hotel do you remember?’


Jack thought about it; when there was a shop and a bar, then when there was no bar but hot air balloons, then when there was a bar and no balloons, and then she ran off with him leaving the other him and they got divorced and left, and then the dogs, and then the people who are selling it now. 


The times when people came from the valleys around to dine on wild boar were not his memories but those of someone even older who had passed them along.


Or someone who had eaten there at the time.


Who would have been older.


‘No one will buy it.’


‘Unlikely’.


‘Who would want it?’


‘I’d like it but I don’t have the money’.


‘Those who have the money don’t want it, and those that want it don’t have the money’.


Jack was neither, he had the memories and that would do him fine.


And then one day there wouldn’t even be that.


He stood up.


Another table was being set up and boxes of pizza were appearing from every corner.


He waved goodbye and set of up the hill to the forest.


He hated pizza.


Thursday, 22 September 2022

Unless Otherwise Stated.





The hairs on my left leg, down by the ankle, have turned white.


Only on the left leg.


The right leg, ankle area equally hairy, remain(s) a sort of brown.


I’m aging on the left side, from the bottom right.


I wonder if it is connected to the right hemisphere of the brain because I think I read that the left hemisphere looks after the right side of everything.


This may not be true of course, and neither may it be so that the ankle hairs on my left leg are turning white; you only have my word for it.


Which is, in fact, all that is here in this blog.


Unless otherwise stated.


Unless Otherwise Stated, is the name of a band in which I play the cornelian-muse, a fiendishly difficult instrument to play.


And if you believe that (what?) you will believe anything.


As it seems many people do.


Talking of the cornelian-muse, there were a couple playing double base and harp on a corner in the market today (yesterday).


A couple of people, not a couple of cornelian–muses.


Which would be a crowd.


The music they were playing was not a traditional, classical piece that you might associate with a harp/double base combo.


It was closer to a jazzy-hip-hop bounce.


I found my left foot tapping along.


Could it explain the whitening?




Friday, 9 September 2022

Queenie, Queenie.


not my photo




Queenie queenie who’s got the ball, is she short or is she tall?


I don’t remember how the rest goes...


Or when you chant it….


Hang on…


Queenie, Queenie, who's got the ball?

Is she fat or is she tall?

Is she hairy, or is she bald?

You don't know because you don't have the ball!"


Ah.


A ball game.


I remember now.


I remember the Queen from when I was little.


Then an adolescent.


Then a young man – I poached salmon on her river in Scotland.


(Only once.)


As a father.


Tonight.


The Beatles.


The Queen.


Public telephone boxes.


My time.


R.I.P.



Thursday, 8 September 2022

September 8 1985





He said; who’s singing?


She said, It’s Van Morrison


He said; It’s nice.


She laughed.


He said, how do you like your eggs?


She said; I don’t like eggs.


He said; oh, I didn’t know that.


She said, there are a lot of things you don’t know.


He laughed.


She said: it’s important the first thing you put into your mouth each day.


He said; what was it yesterday?


She said; a peach.


He said; shall we go out and find some peaches?


She said; what have you got there?


He said; eggs, bread, coffee, orange juice.


She said; is the orange juice fresh?


He said; it’s fresh from this carton.


She said; then it’s not fresh is it?


He said; I’m learning.


She said; I think you have a lot to learn.


He said; who’s that singing now?


She laughed; it’s Van Morrison.


He laughed.


She said; what would you like t do now?


He didn’t answer.


She said; give me your hand.


He said; which one?


She laughed.


He said, that tickles.


She said; have I told you about the time we were all tickled?


He said; there’s a lot to tell.


She said; we have time.


He said; Time is The Simplest Thing.


She said; why the capitals?


He said it’s the title of a book I read once.


She said; would you read it to me?


He said, he would.


He did.


She said; thank you.


He said; are you stil hungry?


She said; haven’t we eaten?


He said; I don’t remember.


She said, what time is it?


He said; the sun is on the London Plane tree across the square.


She said, it’s not a London Plane tree, we have those in Spain too.


He said; my mother told me they were called London Plane trees.


She said; what was your mother like?


He said, she could run fast, as fast as me , I was surprised.


She said; surprise is good, it means you are ready.


He said; ready for what?


She said; you have a lot of questions.


He said; I want to know everything, I want to sit here and say all the things that we don’t usually dare to say.


She said: that’s not a good idea.


He said; so there are no surprises.


She said; surprises are good.


He said; and who’s singing now?


She said; guess.


He said; do you have a sister?


She said; no .


He said ; a brother?


She said; no.


He said; oh.


She said; can you hear the ocean? Close your eyes and listen.


He said; turn of the radio.


She said ok.


He said; I can hear the cars.


She said; listen beyond the cars.


He said ; I can’t.


She said: try.


He said: do you think you can do anything you want?


She said; yes. Listen.


He said; I hear something.


She said let’s go and swim.


He said; I have no swimming costume.


She said; we don’t need one.


He said where are the keys?


She said; in the oven.


He said why in the oven?


She said, it’s a good place to keep the keys, you will never forget.


He said; are you forgetful?


She said; what?

And laughed.


He said; I like the sound of your laughter.


She laughed. Let’s go, before the sun sets.


He said; we have all day.


She said; we only have this moment.



Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Every Cloud.





The people living by the river are worried; it hasn't rained for several months and they can no longer hear the sound of rushing water.

 

At night they gather on the bridge and look into the quiet dark depths, during the day they try to shade the fish who are suffering even more: shelters have been awkwardly built from branches and mud, neither of which are any good though is the best the river folk can do.

 

Construction is not their metier.

 

Singing is, but they do not feel like singing.

 

It is too dry.

 

Scratchy.

 

Desperate.

 

Some folk say that this is only the beginning, that tomorrow will be worse, others say things couldn’t be worse.

 

But it could.

 

It will not rain this month or next, some already know this for a fact and have moved away.

 

To the mountains.

 

They hope to find at least clouds there.

 

Clouds with a silver lining.