29 November 2010

No ifs, no buts, say NO to all the cuts

UCL Occupation, Day 5

Between the meetings, discussions, updates and proposals, we dance a ceilidh. The caller is a music teacher from SOAS, heavily moustached, the other side of middle age, and wearing a bright knitted jumper. He sings in Italian. He sings a song about wallpaper that hails from Bethnal Green. We dance to his fiddle. We all get hot, not bothered, for an hour or so.

But there is something to get bothered about.
But you have to dance too.

23 November 2010


Mixing florals, mixing patterns,

I want to wrap myself in prints

and create paisley damask distractions.

Textiles tailored for straightjackets.

The busy shapes fail to tessellate;

they cannot fool my senses.

I wrap myself in prints

as fingers wrap themselves around

the cross-stitch strings inside organs,

plucking fingerprint beats

and pulling pulling gentle persistence,

undoing what was sewn.

Beneath cotton hibiscus bruises

I see the imprint of you.

17 November 2010

At work I've been building forts out of boxes and books and brown parcel paper. (Plus dogs.)

Outside of work I have been trying to build forts out of gingerbread lattes and mince pies (Sainsbury's, sub par and too soon really). I've only managed a fairly flimsy cave of imagined tarpaulin.

Oh. I must read Tom Paulin on Elizabeth Bishop for class.

15 November 2010

Such stuff as dreams are made on

Rainy November Sundays, complete with a little thunder, are for catching up, pubs and museums. Not dusty, musty, boring, compulsory family-day-out museums. But museums of EVERYTHING.

Before a warming latte, we walked to Primrose Hill, by way of Chalk Farm, and found a curiosity. The Museum of Everything. Carnival, circus, fairground, gaudy clowns, marionettes, married midgets, bearded ladies, woman-mountains, stuffed animals, two-headed lambs, tiny leathered dogs, claustrophobic tunnel of boxing squirrels at eye-level, all moth-eaten, dog-eared, the frogs and toads were the worst, I could barely look...far from Beatrix Potter is Mr Potter's stitched up anthropomorphic menagerie, yet not a load of cock robin. Scientific Automatic Palmistry - place coin in slot, read your girdle of Venus and follow your second life line...

This little Sunday life was rounded with strawberry cider.

Edmund Clerihew Bentley

A shame Jane Austen
Never got lost in
Jilly Cooper's fiction;
She'd be baffled by the diction.

10 November 2010

Write me. Write.

Anna who was mad,
I have a knife in my armpit.
When I stand on tiptoe I tap out messages.
Am I some sort of infection?
Did I make you go insane?
Did I make the sounds go sour?
Did I tell you to climb out the window?
Forgive. Forgive.
Say not I did.
Say not.

Speak Mary-words into our pillow.
Take me the gangling twelve-year-old
into your sunken lap.
Whisper like a buttercup.
Eat me. Eat me up like cream pudding.
Take me in.
Take me.

I love Anne Sexton. And then I find that she had an aunt named Anna
who went mad.
She thought of Anna as a mother. She watched her
slowly go mad.
A knife in the armpit.

8 November 2010

Suet pudding and mashed potato, red woolen fingerless gloves, my orange Autumn coat that smells of old ladies, breathing clouds of Heaton weed, flame leaves trodden into tarmac, donating giant sparklers to children, jumpers that have to have sleeves rolled back and almost reach my knees, piling up books for my bag, new poets (to me) and old favourites, the beginnings of a bird poem (don't hold your breath), sitting on a bench between two man-brothers watching cranes to counter hangovers, wine and Downton Abbey and baklava before midnight. AND ACTUALLY READING A NOVEL.

3 November 2010

I am eating all and sundries at the moment. Because I have an appetite? Because a person ALL full is better than a glass half empty? Because I can? What I most crave is a home-cooked meal at my home in Northumberland. I could dine for weeks on this. One of these meals could keep me going more than any amount of snacking, masticating, attacking like a gannet can when I'm away for too long. I am eating so much and so frequently because I am trying to re-create that fullness I feel when in the kitchen by the Aga reading the paper and being told to 'not to smack my lips'. Half-cream hot chocolate heated on the hob with friends, topped with cheap whipped cream that scares him, is most excellent in Autumn. But it acts as an appetiser to the weekend feast.