They are not lies, you understand,
but carefully navigated truths...
this edited life of mine on display.
Curated and gauzed,
trimmed and snipped.
A reality made hazy
and smudged at the edges.
Images of buccal cheeks
gnarled by nightime worry,
Standing on imagined beaches,
waiting for a tsunami of grief for people
not yet gone,
These are things that will not make it to my wall.
Neither will the stones I carry in the pit of my stomach sometimes,
where babies have slept in deathly slumber.
The fear and shame
at plans gone wrong.
The words, unwritten.
The things not done.
The skeleton whispers
(they sometimes shout).
Or titles bestowed upon me,
against my will and wishes.
Oh no, these thin...
It’s 2002 and I’m reluctantly living at home with my parents during the most traumatic chapter in my life. I didn’t want to be there. There were days when I didn’t want to be. I was supplying at a local school which allowed me to drive home zombie like for lunch to take my fixed smile off for 45 minutes. Dad would make my food, every day. He’d invariably talk to me about a thousand things in which I had no interest. On a particularly bad day when everything was a struggle, Dad was even more effervescent than usual as he saw me drag myself into the kitchen.
‘Did you know that the first submarine ever invented, sank?’ he began, cheerfully.
'Right.' I thought, 'This may be it. The day I finally unravel, brought down by one of my father’s stories.'
'Sit down’ he said and placed my lunch in front of me. I could barely find the energy to pick up my fork.
Onwards he continued, 'Well I was reading this morning that they’ve found the wreck of that submarine off the coast of North Wales…'
She would lie quietly. Still. Beautiful. Stillbeautiful. Ethereal. Yes. That’s it. Ethereal in Egyptian cotton. In a bed as big as Russia. Dreaming of the men she has kissed and the men she would like to kiss but who have left her. By the side of her bed are wilted roses in white and a book of Neruda’s poetry, in Spanish, which is tear stained and smells of faded perfume and sad thumbs and disappointment.
The light outside pushes bolshy-like through a slit in the curtain throwing a shard of day over our heroine’s face.
A violin begins to play something that was once used in an advert to sell chocolate or sofas or dreams or bleach. Or all of the above.
In her half awaked-ness, she tries to make sense of the moment and hour and day and life in which she lies.
An over fondness of compound words has meant that it is the way in which she sees the world. Everything stuck together. Connected. But not. Connectedbutnot.
At some point in her notquitedream, she runs, out...
I love caravans. They’re just a little bit magical. I love their not-quite-beds and their not-quite cupboards, their oompa loompa sinks and banquettes. How can you not love something that’s equipped with a banquette? They take me back to childhood summers sitting around the limbo dance inducing table (there was a technique to sitting at ours which would definitely challenge current health and safety regulations).
Then there’s that caravan smell. The smell of childhood. Of butane and bacon, aftersun and imperial leather, mam’s ‘going out’ perfume and drying bathing costumes. A tin can memory maker where we played ‘twist’ for 2p’s and giggled in the dark.
The ‘Ace Pioneer’ was towed into our lives by my father’s ford cortina in 1978. It was love at first sight for us all. We loved her beige-ness, for she was definitely a ‘she’, and the brown-ness of her belly. She lived on our drive (which was on an incline) and my sister and I would sit and play there for hours. Later, as teenagers, it’s...
Trâth y Slâd.
Where my father says
my soul walks
when I sleep.
Where he would play and dream as a boy
amongst the rocks. Where today I sat
Surrounded by echoes of another time,
Shaded by trees who whispered
my childhood name
Where my Grandmother would paddle
in silk stockings,
my hand in hers
(hers in mine)
Head thrown back in giggles
like a little girl.
But not today.
She was not there today.
And so she sent
to kiss my cheek instead.
Today I sat on Trâth y Slâd