Previous Post
Death of a poet
Friday, April 15, 2005
My friend calls me to tell me that Julia Darling has died. Of course we were all expecting it - reading her fantastic blog been an obssession with lots of people recently - but still it hits you, the finality. Most recent posting has one of her last poems, End,a real beauty with an unforgettable image of the poet slipping onto a horse whilst her life here folds away like the cardboard images in a child's pop up book. It's such a perfect image. That, and the light from an English teatime, after rain. I hope she's somewhere wonderful, free from pain and restored to beauty - she was gorgeous - the first time I saw her at a party in my house in Jesmond in the early 80s, her hair long then. She was a lovely woman - and her dying was inspiring in a weirdly uplifting way. My friend and I, we talk about death, worry about who will go first like an old married couple. We want to be as brave as Julia. We worry about never seeing each other again, never seeing our families, lovers, gardens, rivers, trees .. it's a long list. But then Saul Bellow talking to Martin Amis in an old interview I watched after his death last week - how much he was looking forward to seeing his parents in the afterlife - but then reflecting "Eternity is a long time". Yeah right. How soon would you get sick of each other?
6:30 AM   0 comments

Friday, April 08, 2005
I wrote this poem for my brother a while back - he has an on-going struggle with addiction of various kinds - and at the moment he's back in the bin again. The strain of mental illness - mainly for the sufferer, of course - but also for the family. I see us both as little kids sitting at the top of the stairs listening to my father, drunk, abusing my mum. We were scared. We were powerless. And he still is it seems, stuck in the nightmare with a change of role - now he's the one doing the abusing - and maybe I am still on the stairs - worse - I'm in the room, witnessing, trying to stop it, but still powerless myself. All I can do is tell myself I have a life which is not this, which has beautiful daughters, poetry and beauty, things that make me laugh - sometimes I can't hear this list of blessings, find myself peering into the dark.
But it's quite terrifying how he has turned into my father, his voice, his mannerisms, his self-justifications, his miserable junky whinings - sometimes all my compassion just fades away and I find myself filled with contempt - but listen to yourself - we all have our addictions - just because mine is work don't make it any healthier (well a bit maybe).
How to deal with it? How to feel compassion without drowning in it? The thing is, I don't trust him with my life anymore. That makes me sad as hell.


You back in here after all those promises
holding my hand over the plastic table
in the cafeteria that calls itself a bistro
but smells of blood.

You don’t blink. Your eyes are full moons
orbiting the planet past
swimming in chemicals
dragging down the drowning tides.

If I slapped you, would you wake up?
Or slide under the table
sunk like an old wreck
headed for the sea bed.

We were children once and suffered.
Our powerless pact was to escape.
You keep going through the door marked backwards
Looking for something you lost.

You won’t find it here.

The corridors are endless
As devious and tricky as your addict’s brain.
I don’t trust you with your life
But I’d trust you with mine.
9:58 AM   0 comments

Showers sweet
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
It's been a while - because I've been busy writing and working - a new piece with AWOL (my new poetry girl band! It's so fab working with them all wonderful poets) called Recess then Electric Ladyland played again - with me taking the part of Ethel Rosenberg. So frightening - acting and singing - and especially when it's your own words - to inhabit them from the inside like this?
There has been so much performance there has been not enough time for writing - not enough time for anything, and my head feels full and empty at the same time - full of rubbish - schedules, old clothes, annoying boyfriends, a family slowly sinking into collapse too far away in every sense for me to sort it - and empty of anything to do with me, my writing self, my hopes and dreams - I don't know my arse from my elbow.
This weekend phone off hook smell the spring find the words. And maybe talk to a friend that you love instead of messing with the men. Reading JD's blog - life is so damn short and wonderful.
8:13 AM   0 comments