Erm what's happened to the last few years.
They seem to have shrivelled up. My friends, some of them,
have retained a bone structure upon which to hang their
marshmallowed sagging jowells and look rather distinguished.
Me, I look like a potato. Pale and mottled with whiskery bits. If I dressed
in sacking I'd be chips before I knew it
It's not helpful if you want to be taken seriously. I have chicken's
hands. Yet I can still run about on Peckham Rye like an escaped Ostrich.
Across field and dale with no regard for wet or cold. The Marathon glory is years behind. Yet remains a possibility. Well - this is on a bad day. On that same bad day I entered my home and the term Crack Den sprang to mind. Was it the shredded carcase of a lampshade, revealing it's dreary low wattaged eco innards. Was it the Empty Quarter of the living room devoted entirely to bikes, skateboards, spanners and old socks (that had been used to clean the former). Possibly it was the kitchen floor. Plastic wood. There but for the grace of god - and held together by patches of gaffer tape. Or was it the stair carpet - with the colour, texture and smell of a long dead Labrador. It could have been the cobwebby bookshelf with orange Penguin Classics and a foxed, leather bound Shakespeare that in any one else's house would have vintage chic but in mine are just old. Perhaps it was the rest of the family, wan in the gloom, dressed in a selection of still muddy football kits - or the repellent combination of dressing gown-over-clothes. "Put on a jumper for goodness sake". This is a look that stems from the wearer's slug days in a damp Glasgow hovel. Pot of tea with a stained cosy and a pipe of something. Lentils in the cupboard. Down to the garage at 4.00 am for a packet of skittles. Actually it is much colder in Scotland and everyone wears dressing gowns and woollen tights and dresses (even the men), nearly all the time. When R visited last week from the Highlands she could barely walk through being weighed down by tweed. I had to push her round in a shopping trolley. Up to the West End. Down the Burlington Arcade to the Royal Academy in her Tam'O'shanter. Searching in the Wallace Collection for Damien and his sixth form skull that grinned smugly across the gallery at the Laughing Cavalier.
It pleases me. The revelation that TS Eliot "wrote nothing whatsoever for three years"... and saw "no immediate likelihood" of doing it. "The writing of poetry takes time and I never have any time." It makes me feel OK about the hours spent sorting pants. Or pondering the Zen of a 'buy one get one free' pack of granary baps that would do for packed lunch, in Somerfield - when only one is left. I feel lucky. He had to struggle in a suit. He would have welcomed a murky room full of bikes and the accompanying enthusiasm for them. I see mess. He would have seen the manifestation of creativity and I'm sure would have been liberated by Lycra. Oops - watch out for that tool box Tom. He would have felt the poetry in a half eaten tin of anchovies lending their aroma to some quark in the fridge. The chaos of rushing hither and thither - he would stay for coffee and stir it thoughtfully. He would use the imagery of vanilla pods sinking in a panacotta - rather than cry about it. Not that I've ever made one or cried about it. I leave that for the next phase of existence. Along with cycle touring in Spain and skate boarding up mountains. And writing poetry, innit.