Sunday, 19 November 2017



Ode to Pina

Pina and her dancers
Joy and abandon
Pure physicality of space
And shape.

Dance with
Water
Earth
A forest
An open cast mine
A Modernist glass building.

loose hair And long dresses
And their bodies move with grace and staccato
In minimalist repetitions.

And I recognize my own body
in this form
and saw my body strong and flexible
it too could work like this
with this hair and this dress
I too can be Pina
in her hat and wellies.




Dream Poem 92: 1960’s Classroom Affair


A 1960s film, very stylized

The relationship between a woman teacher and a late teen boy
He is blond and overweight by todays fashion standards
She is dark and tanned, hair cut in a bob, beautifully cut clothes.

She is in line with the young man and is fighting her feelings.

She sits in her apartment in the evening.
All in white, white YSL dress, white Mary Quant shoes
She sits at white plastic furniture leafing through a copy of Paris Vogue.
It is a very modern roof top terrace
There are high windows
all done in the Modernist Bauhaus style.

West Side Story – a doomed love affair.

The next shot is In the class room
There is an info graphics film about the
physiognomic difference between a man and a teenager.
With kooky drawings and comparison measurements.

The next scene, He is there at her flat
She is trying to tell him to leave
But cannot help crying
He wants to comfort her
But convention stands in the way.

In the next scene
They have crossed that line
And he is close to her
With his face close to her face
Things have changed

The power balance has changed.


The Change part 6: In the Fall-Out of Chernobyl, Black is Inapposite


She is in her black as usual.

Black coat and bag
Black bra and knickers and slip
Black dress
All black, every day.

Saying – he is dead and I am sorry
The semiotics of the outfit.

She is in her black dress at the doctor’s waiting room
In the hospital
Surrounded by women like her.

Some crying silently, anxiously,
some dead eyed,
exhausted with an IV of nuclear-ness
drip, drip, dripping into their bodies.

With husbands
With women friends
With mothers, with daughters.

She is alone, and happily so
she needs a break from the well intentioned baggage of others.

She looks at herself
And she says
“This narrative has to change”.

This event marks a way stone,
a departure from the path she thought she was going on.
Her agency in this new reality asserts itself and says,

“Dump the black, Live. This is your time now.
He has had his slice of mourning, duty paid, honour given.
If you don’t seize this moment and change you will miss the point.
This is for you and you alone, This sweet juicy slice of life, of loveliness
Is yours
Are you going to waste it mourning?
In black?
This is not your part, not your role
It is time to swap, To change, To move on.
And now you have to write your own script.
Black is no longer ‘in’.”

Sitting there she leafs through Hello Magazines, more stories about Princess Kate
Numb
Speechless.

She forms an idea on which she will act.

The news in the consultation room is
Doled out like cold porridge
Sticking to her insides as she digests the news.

She sits impassive,
the doctor not sure she has heard and asks
“Did you hear me, do you understand?”

But she is frozen,
She must damp down this nuclear explosion with great effort and expertise.
A small smile on her face.

While inside –
Devastation,
Deva – station.
Hurricanes, volcanoes, peril of death
Anxiety, fear, terror.

Outside – flat mill pond.

“Yes I understand” she says
“I will have an operation,
I will have radio therapy,
I will have medication for five to ten years.”

She repeats it back,
the doctor is satisfied that She has heard.

This will take some ironing out later.
This amount of inner turmoil will unravel
At some point
And she wants to get it out of the way
Now.

But it is not as convenient as that
It is much more protracted
And messy
And will leave a trail of destruction like the aftermath of Chernobyl.
That will take decades tidy up.

And so the black is out
The black is binned
Black is rejected and put away
It is time to change

To turn back black
Turn it inside out
It is her time
Black is over

Mourning is done.

Thursday, 16 November 2017



Dream poem 89: Disingenuous Back Problems

There are three or four of us with back problems.
I am across town
teaching a community class
outside is a ‘Back Problems Van’.

Later the van is at Kirkstall Abbey
I return with Pudsey people to go to the ‘Back Van’

It is a lengthy day
of seeing doctors and nurses
and procedures
but at l the end of it our backs are better.

I am the first one through
and I see the assembled doctors
and thank them for their intervention.

And I say
“My back had been previously so bad that
I couldn’t even put the handbrake on or lift a child without pain
Now it is completely well”

Even as I am saying it
I felt completely disingenuous.

My back had not been that bad for years.
As for lifting the kids
At thirteen and fifteen
I do not carry or lift them at all anymore.

I felt it was what the doctors wanted to hear
especially the lady doctor.
She wanted us to be grateful
She wanted to make a difference.
It was part of a script that should be said.

She was very tired
and had been doing the same thing for a long time,
long hours with ingrate patients.

At the same time as she wanted thanks, she also didn’t believe me
She looked tired and jaded
But accepted my attempts.

I returned to the centre and collected my paintings
The Pudsey people were there waiting
for their turn to give a speech.




Dream Poem 88: Blue Dyed Yarns

In a police car
He is helping me.

I am crying about…

A woman walking down the high street in rags
Blue dyed yarns in her hand.

His place is a right mess,
dust and clutter everywhere.


Wednesday, 15 November 2017



Dream Poem 79: The Girl Who Wasn’t There

In a small back to back house a young adult is staying with us.
She is dangerous.
We are looking after her but I’m afraid
She is
Hard, unfeeling, uncaring.

One of ours has gone missing
The girl has sealed the woman inside a cardboard box
And fastened her behind a wall
Walled her and boxed her.

It takes us days to work out where the woman is
And when we finally breakthrough the wall it stinks
And the woman’s body is emaciated and covered in her own faeces.

I am more scared of the girl now
walking down stairs I see she is there, lying on the floor
She looks at me with hate in her eyes.

“You should go upstairs out of the way
You are indecent like that
No one wants to see you”

I go upstairs I’m really upset
The girl is always listening.

And as I looked at her, she disappeared – became invisible
But it meant she was everywhere and nowhere
Listening malevolently.
We have to get rid of her
Get her to go away
She means us harm
Great harm.

The husband finally comes to see me upstairs and explain what she has done.
I put a dressing gown on and go down stairs.

The girl is there
Acting pleasantly
Pretending nothing is wrong

As if horrors have not happened.


Dream Poem 77: The Important 3rd

I’m in hospital having a baby
I’m having triplets or three children,
I have had the first two
but there is another one in there.

My stomach is hurting
and I’m wandering off to different rooms in hospital
away from the first delivery room.

This last one is important and it hurts.
I’ve got to go find a new room to give birth in.

No one is ready
the doctors and nurses are busy somewhere else
and I’m surrounded by distant relatives and relations

waiting for the baby to be born.