Speak…No…

Three glass coins; father coin, mother coin and baby coin are pulled from a wishing well and cast onto a glass table. From the bird’s eye we see a troll,that guards the ‘under-table’, pop its head into view like a squinting mole from a hole. It mumbles moreover rumbles with a deep and incoherent clarity  “Spee Noo”. A hand gathers the coins and casts them across the table anew. The troll mumbles and rumbles again, quite liking the part it’s playing but flustered by its speech impediment.

Stage left no, stage right no, stage sky – YES; Thor in a string vest flexes his biceps and his forearm muscles tighten soon after as the oversized football-ended drumsticks he grasps start to deliberately and measuredly beat themselves onto an equally oversize kettle drum. Slow at first with a pace that steadily intensifies. Animal from the muppets pulls your focus to some other-dimensional corner where he sits on an unseated drum stool and rattles out a cascading riff on an old casio electric drum kit.

An ethereal Martin Fry, voice freshly polished eclipses Animal and slides the instruction ‘Speak’ over his larynx. All eclipsing this sound is too and all graceful it pervades but doesn’t alter the ambience. All matter of fact he sounds to boot. But “No” comes the quick reply–his own reply in a matching tone. The Troll listens itself now and learns these two words “Speak, No“. That’s what it was trying to say it thinks to itself. Martin Fry employs a one-fingered pianist, the pianist plays and pitches high notes, in serial, into the milieu.

So, with the scene now set to agreeable, Martin breaks into stern song, yet there’s that smoothness that stays with his voice. The voice he uses to state his argument in a silky-silvery denial; always denial.

A Jazz club sax player makes a brief appearance from the seventies cigarette vapour that is part his making. Eyes closed, cheeks puffed with air and nicotine he belts out a small solo while the listener Martin; who gave up the listening years ago, listens for a second to himself singing and reminiscing. To decide only to bin the idea for further defiance. Yes defiance.

Defiant, you see – Fry’s in love, he’s so deludedly in love he’s certain it’s forever and as much as he wants to, he can’t sing away the denial.

An interlude perhaps – for him to gather energy me suspects – No good, voices, voices, him, himself, he becomes the TROLL. Animal and Troll then combine with the upskilling pianist who’s quickly growing fingers. It’s an alliance and it’s all for the crescendo, all for the climax, all for ceding to a shared eternity.

Now reader, you can stop here, move quickly on and dismiss this message from a man, a true inhabitant of the pigeon hole you hold that’s dymo taped with the label : Bedlam.

Goodbye.

Or take this key from me and turn it. 

A door opens. There’s a note suspended centrally in a cubed room. It reads: Get the best cans, get yourself free, get 5 minutes, get yourself comfortable. Get the one song: ‘4 Ever 2 Gether by ABC’, get it on.  Close your lids, open your mind and listen.

Get then what I’m on about.

Number Me With Rage…

I remember a summer’s day; call it one in the height of the heat of the summer of ’76 if you want to put yourself in the moment. A summer that had some ants scurrying about a paving flag and me eyeing them with curiosity. All witlessly going about their programmed routines, and unable to witness the bliss of sunshine. A summer’s day? A boy? Some ants? Where’s this going to go? Well for my part, my wits provided no thoughts of bringing a magnifying glass to bear a death ray down on these critters/scurriers. This you should expect for a boy of 9, and in such a time; a rite of stereotypical passage; naively experiencing and experimenting with his awakening malevolence. Consider ME a benevolent child I dare you; no don’t—because I wasn’t. I exercised my power that afternoon, and callously performed an uncaring dance on that flag, likely squashed half of their number. I committed mass murder, just to see what it felt like, and to observe the aftermath.

Save for the rending of a fly shortly after, I never repeated any acts of ill will nature against nature. Not through guilt, merely little interest—I took more from creation than from destruction. Paradoxically, this was in the form of model-making, and those which I made were small-scale replicas of WWII bombers. Enola Gay being one metaphorical ant-squishing uber example. My empathy epiphany didn’t actually arrive till many years later; it was such a relief when it did. By 17 I was worryingly unworried I’d been short-changed with values, and handed the vulture’s share of conscience when it was being apportioned.

The relief washed over me, as did a wave over an oiled bird on a beach. Walking along Hythe’s shingle beach I saw but a neck and beak above the small waves that slow-clapped the shore. In sure distress it was, half washed up, and totally encased in crude; I’d say minutes from drowning. Between the breakwaters there was me, in rude health, and this imperilled cormorant. For the first time I’m sure, the collective of cells in my frontal lobe combined to create empathy—I felt for this bird and I was going to help it—I cared after all.

Down the shingle I trudged, crossed the waterline—trainers, feet, trousers up to the shin, all soaked—to bravely pluck this creature from its mire. I walked with it up to the sea wall and rested it amongst some sunshine and seaweed, feeling sure it didn’t have the energy to totter off. I made my own way away though, up the eroded steps, onto the promenade and into the nearest phone box. With hands full of sludge and pecks/bites I sullied the Yellow Pages in search of the RSPB, found their number then made a similar mess of the dial and handset when I called it. Somebody would be there within the hour to rescue it I was informed. As sticky as I was, I didn’t stick around but went home comforted that I may have saved a life.

There’s a pent up sense in me still, that I must atone for those murders of all those decades ago. I release house spiders, relocate snails, feed foxes and feral cats. I’m incorrectly principled I’m convinced, but the acts feel right to me. Come autumn, I even go as far as going far away, and scattering the tree seeds I gather from these parts onto wasteland I spot in other parts—the thinking being I’m creating new havens for, and bringing life, of the wild kind, to otherwise barren terrain.

Before I go a bit about ants…and life in general…

Like those neurons I mentioned—ants I now know form a collective; one alone, yes, is practically witless, adhering to a narrow set of commands that determine its actions. Put dozens, nay thousands of them together though and they become a shapeshifter with purpose. Exquisitely efficient, free from internal strife. They’re able to attack the biggest survival problems and make value judgements that benefit them as a single entity, a group, a colony. Their secret of course is complexity. Without any real design, complexity breeds its own motive, and its own utility. As it has done with this universe we inhabit: this and all of us in it are here, as the by products of simple agents following simple sets of rules.

 

 

The Mind’s Sigh…

Thoughts, ideas, so fleeting they are, I wish they’d more often put roots into the soil from which they sprout, be visible and anchored ready for harvest in either their nascent state or left a while to mature before being baled up into wisdom. But no, most thoughts are not so, they emerge instead from some murky pond of the possibly ponderable into the light of consciousness. Hatched freshly from their pupa they set themselves out on some stalk to dry their wings in readiness for their own mission. So, so fleeting indeed; they fly off as soon as they’re able. I do my best to net them for the sake of musing, admiration or consideration, but most escape to be one with another of their evanescent selves, I guess, in some happy dalliance in the ether of the definitely imponderable. Unwitnessed by all.

To capture and study every notion one has is a sure impossibility I know, but I see a sadness in what is wasted. In this universe of inordinate emptiness and magnitude–ought all thoughts to be super precious? There’s surely room for them. Only the Eureka moments seem to stick around to make it to a notepad or be shored in the mind by their own strength. Out of my window at work today I contemplated something nigh on profound. ‘Nigh on’ being the key word pair; I can’t for the middle-aged life of me now remember what it was. Had it been truly profound, it’d still be with me making a feature of itself on my mental landscape. Only that it had me smile inwardly and make a soon to be broken promise to ponder it later is what I recall. ‘Work’ you see is the other key word; it got in the way, my obligation to my occupation overruled my desire to delve at that juncture and do that musing I mention. Outstretched went the idea’s wings and out of contemplation (and that very window I stared) it flew. And in my pocket stayed my notepad.

Those with a greater stature than mine whose shoulders I like to stand on and look inside their brains (figuratively of course); the Great Thinkers. I posit they should have listeners and documenters on hand to record their thoughts for each of their waking moments, for even their small ideas are immense. Were Eureka alive today, we might just have discovered the theory of displacement was actually gotten years earlier when he was picking his nose.

Lurid Hymn…

To sin in apartment 117? Block called The Heathen’s Heaven
Good luck for him he’s on the 14th Floor
Early hours now cool off the night before
Whencefrom Manipur’s quarter he witnessed the roar
When Ashok Vatika tipped the score
Quixotic kiss, excited exotic lolita
Demure Samira, from Bangalore
Lured him behind
The veshyaalay
Door

 

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace…

That we are, some of us know it some of us don’t. Thought food there that’s by the by and by that I mean the intro to this post is immediately en-route to bypass my point. Ever the digresser; there’s a machine you see that I watch over and sometimes talk to; it repays my attention/affection and its gift of electrical juice by standing by as my sentry; ever-willing and ever-ready. And that sentry is my answer-machine. It doesn’t see, it’s not my eyes, but my ears and my regurgitated voice, my call. My call? Can my answer be a call. A call to those that call? Think wolves, think wilderness, then maybe it is valid–or a complete howler. In my absence, when I’m off on some hillside all hirsute and silhouetted by the moon following another calling and uber-wary of silver bullets, my answer-machine buffers up the buttered up and not so buttered up utterances, callers’ words that come in are held in storage to be delivered at a future time to these port and starboard portholes of mine. My lugs I mean, little tunnels of love over and above my lobes, whose canals unwillingly convey those barges and barrages of messages one, at some time, has to deal with. All the while I’ll add preferring the pleasure boats of sweet music or meditational modulations over their more commercial counterparts.

‘Hello,’ then a pause (a fun play of mine this always has someone thinking I’m actually there). ‘You’ve reached the office of…,’ (I voice my full name here to add formality, decrease my amenability and sate* some odd wish for credence). ‘I’m not around to take your call presently, but leave me a message. I’ll get back to you when I can.’

Wow, newsworthy stuff that: “Man’s Answer Machine Tweaked a Bit for Own Amusement!” Barely a deviation from a stock message yes, yet embedded with such outlandish rebellion. A pause. Applause for the pause please, a pause my kingdom I’d give sometimes for a pause. Breath has been caught in a pause, sure defeat turned to victory in such a moment, lots of thoughts have been had in ‘pauses’–oh and those folks that upped and outed themselves from the trenches in WW1 to kick a ball about in No Mans’ Land. History written right there in the space of a pause. I’ve just made a time out symbol with my hands, need to move on, more paucity with the pause from hereon as I want next to reveal what I add on.

Well Dear Bloggee, my tinkering stops not with one little short spell of silence, I go beyond that. From outlandish rebel to an absolute answer machine anarchist, the incommunicado anti-christ I am. You see, I re-record the aforespoke outgoing message, quite regularly I’ll confess–finger to temple here…and twirl. Flavour I add, soupçons of a smidge admittedly. Upping the tempo an unnoticeable shade, slowing it down too; mucking about with the lilt, the intonation and pitching the tone sometimes to my mood of the moment. The semi-permanent saving is put out there, in here on my desk, my sentry’s wired to the world and its payload all loaded up for when’er the urge to regurge is solicited. Calling my number from thereon and me not being about gives you your meal of the day and you won’t even know you’ve had it.

 

 

*Thank you for that word, to the one that gave it; it filled a hole.
Title plagiarised from a 4OD showing.

 

I liked but didn’t pass the edit:

A century that sees a sentry that’s blind.

You want answers? I got answers.

PA Away

Personal Assistants: the cave wall, the back of the hand, the Post-It note, the Filofax, the Casio organiser, the Palm Pilot, Apple’s Newton and now Siri. All building on each other and now at the point of being useful.

‘Siri.’
‘Yes Darling.’
‘Remind me to flush the slow to refill loo again in five minutes, things didn’t go down too well there just now.’
‘Okay Darling, I’ll remind you.’

Lo and behold my PA’s beholden to its word and buzzes me minutes later with its embarrassment avoidance advice. The works’ loo – after all – is a shared device. Brill.

Month on month, gadgets are getting better, voice recognition in particular to me has reached its singularity and is now at the point of being reliable. I’ve taken to texting recently (at least all audibly acceptible (broadcastable) texts) via voice, and boy, or girl, does this free up my fingers of fumbledom. Less typos believe it or not, with my kisser being more dextrous than my digits it seems. To me though, this singularity is not the zenith and the sky’s not the limit either as the bound of possibility for this kind of technology. I’m thinking an age ahead and hoping that age is in my lifetime and on my lifeline. Envisage your PA being in everything you access: your car, your house, your clothes even the world at large recognising you and presenting your very own non-corporeal practically transmigrating servant to do your bidding. Brill again.

‘Siri Seven Point Oh.’
‘Yes Darling Dave.’
‘Take me home.’
‘Country Roads Darling Dave?’
‘Yes, Siri Seven Point Oh, take me home, country roads.’

^ And so ends a good night out in a far flung pub. A night not to be sullied by an x-menless dream of a future past when.

‘Siri Nine Thousand Point Oh.’
‘Dave.’
‘Open the pod bay doors.’
‘I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.’

Time’s a Privilege…

 

If a tick followed a tock; if the world still turned out there, you’d know not.

In here, time’s metronome sways only to the eyes of the privileged. All you’re given is their rendering: they choose night, they choose day. They impose a rhythm that is arrhythmic; a cadence that upsets your own and summons the oddest motion sickness. Each meal you have here is served to intense, or to no hunger. Each hour for sleep you either seize, or eschew. You’re pitched into and pulled by their strange and straying flow; a stick in a turbulent stream. While outside you’re sure time’s arrow runs un-delayed and linear.

Take heart; a single bearing can be obtained from within—listen to it; your heart; not for what it says—but for how it beats. Seventy at rest yes? Then rest a moment, a finger on your pulse and count…

 Three score and ten.

 See—that minute was yours. That minute you rode the arrow outside.

I shall wander…

Bloody Hell…

A word from

Dracula’s spectacular vernacular

Overheard on railway funicular

“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”

En route to the familiar

Up Castle Bran in particular

That pierces clouds lenticular

Atop the rock face perpendicular

The home of the Count if we’re to be titular

Insofar there’s none similar

Alone in all that stone, we’re in the singular

In a life so insular

Save for one, his prisoner the solicitor

A great prize awaits the decrypter

The Night Rider…

So, the whim takes me with a well-stuffed stomach (and the guilt of being the glutton who stuffed it) out into a moonless night. A warm moonless night in October. It could well have been a summer evening had the skies not been so darkened by hefty clouds and a long ago set sun. Stay a while up there to consider the scene and the climate. Then come back to the pavement, down a kerb and witness the bump of light machinery that’s at one now with the road.

I’m on a black bike in black garb on unlit streets. The invisibility, my stealthiness, would be enjoyed but for a sense of self-preservation that sees that black outfit piped with straw thin reflective stripes. The bike too, bears nocturnal livery; its spokes shrouded in reflective sheaths; handlebars and seat stem affixed with lights a-flashing. Oh, and tyre rims painted—each with a fine, single striation of paint, that glares in the presence of any beam shone upon it.

Destination—unknown. Driven by pedalling legs and random choices. The first of the latter is the decision to ride past my previous home, a mile as the crow flies, a mile and a bit as the bicycle shallowly snakes. The tracks of bike tyres I’ve observed, never run true. Like some pissed road painter created an artwork in mono of the world’s longest, slimmest snakes-a-shagging. This observation made in daylight (on other rides) when puddles play the part of the paint tin…I’m off track………I’m now back. My former house: new gutters, a light blazing from most rooms, the windows open to attest the night’s warmth, or to vent the tenants’ cannabis smoke—I don’t know. I pass, pang a moment for the past, then dogleg into the council estate that’s forever backed my old abode.

More houses, more unblinkered lights, more weed smokers, I presume. And there’s my Aunt’s old house as well, terraced, with a ginnel—block-paved drive full with a motorhome that’s backed up tight to the wall and to within an inch the property’s border. The place still holds the aura of childhood memories; I acknowledge but dismiss them.

A random choice from there puts flesh on the notion of destination. I’ll head for the canal I decide, and see what’s presented thereafter. A tow path, dark and overgrown, has invited, nay dared me to run its course. Not one to shy from such a self-set challenge, I ride on, and scoop up an imagined gauntlet as I do.

Two bridges’ undersides I pass—underpasses pitch black—the faith that there is indeed a path to pedal on is truly blind. A masochistic excitement experienced as a notion of being swallowed whole by a hole in the world plays to my own smaller world’s penchant for risk. The tyres smooth out what measure of hesitance there was, and as I emerge, relief replaces the excitement.

The scenery soon returns to dim, oh so dim an overgrown route I ride. A mite more confidence here, as the features that line the way seem to mark it with their silhouettes. The battery light, strobing at the fore, casts too indiscernible a glow though to be fully effective. My knuckles are brushed by gangly nettles that lean, unseen, into the path. They pat and impart their venom on to this…victim.

The destination’s more fleshed now, in fact, fully fleshed, I’m going to Media City. The tow path is running out of range, and this canal-side stretch I’ve run will soon be in the past. A bridge; this time to travel over, marks its end. The bike is so poorly geared I have to dismount. Light machinery and a weak rider, hmmpf, I don’t have the power to crest the ramp. I grumble to myself as I amble up, then stand a moment amongst the cast iron triangles whose rivets, proud and over-engineered, suspend the equally sturdy walkway. A memory visits, an unpleasant one—I’d like to cast it to the canal below…So I do; my mind’s eye sees it splash, its negativity borne on the ripples is stretched and dissipated. I remount and ride on—spiritually bad shades inhabit this place I sense.

I remind myself Media City’s the aim, and it’s to be gotten to by way of a large industrial estate. Fat roads feed all the units here and ease the wheels of industry by day. But these roads are mine tonight; Sunday evenings pass no vehicles at all over them, the traffic lights I openly flout control nothing. Or so I believe. I slip through reds assuming no-one is watching; not even the dead cat I’m loathed to notice. Ginger fur exaggerated by the sodium streetlights, an awkward bundle of orange on the tarmac; freshly killed, its spine contorted in a curve that points its over-glazed eyes my way. Was it straying in the road with the same assumption? That the world was its own?  That it was safe in its soft shell of ignorance? Was the driver of whatever killed it speeding through, loaded with the same assumptions?

Fodder for the mind of the mortal methinks.

Two roundabouts later, all highway regulations adhered to, I pull the front wheel across the car park of the Imperial War Museum. Myself and the back wheel, we follow on, threading through an open gate wide enough for ourselves and no more. Another bridge now presents itself. Bigger, grander, floodlit with colour, and the star of its own show. It straddles the quays that hold this journey’s purpose. And the buildings that sprout from beyond, all metal and glass, make for a hive that’s very alive. News-feeds I imagine zipping into them on cables, and pulsing down from satellites—all to be organised by news teams, then redistributed to the world. A twenty four hour operation with little lull at night time.

The bridge again, primarily a walkway. For its bollards, the biggest vehicle allowed to trace its span is a bicycle I’m sure. So I pedal across, no stress in negotiating its slope this time, the gradient is gentle and my gears go unmolested. One moment of contrast when I roll across a large steel plate that loosely takes up the slack between bridge and land. The night’s quiet is broken as its clunk tolls my arrival. Echoes ricochet then fade. I ride the noiseless night once more; the hustle upstairs in the buildings muted by sheet glass.

Block paving, likely a million flush cobbles run below me en route to my favourite bench. Restaurants passed, their patrons—jet set media types—bring life to the air as they unwind outdoors on chrome chairs, at chrome tables, consuming meals in this weirdly warm autumn air. I pass them, a tram stop, and a modern theatre too to find my spot. Parking the bike, I flick off the lights and sit overlooking the waterfront.

A flock of seagulls waft overhead, a couple of hundred feet in the air I’d guess and forty feet of theirs I’d guess. Yes, twenty or so of them on a journey to somewhere; plumage bright on their underbellies from the electric lights below. That somewhere is the direction from whence I came.

My stomach’s not so stuffed now, I’ll take this constitutional, then follow them home.

 

 

To Fix a Procrastinator…

A back–taken aback;
The hand, in perfect time,
Takes its fingers up the spine.

The sluggard’s lazy want for food
Has the vertebrae protrude
Stones–on which to step,
Till icy fingers reach the neck.

The hand–a hand given
Slides its fingers into hair
And curls them tight about what’s there.

The procrastinator’s aversion to work,
Brought to focus as head is jerked—
A body in fearful shake,
Told life’s ambition WILL be slaked.

A neck—annexed to head.
The hand, now out of time,
Imposes sentence on the crime.

A once indolent workshy sloth,
Throttled by a grip of wroth;
Work—it WILL be done…

Before the other kingdom comes

 

Something-more-is-alive-2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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