July 1973, Khanka Abadan Abad
On the first evening: thirty people stand together in front of the house,
half of them blindfolded. The young boy - I thought, what a beautiful boy,
what a young boy - with a long neck and crest of hair like an elegant bird
with pimples - chose me. I pull the bandage tight round his eyes, see his
hair flatten vulnerably under it. Grasp his right hand with my left, and
hold it up on my arm, courtly dance, so the length of my arm can steer him
like a wagon tongue. The ground, the steep bit of bank, paths, hedges, become
care and tenderness. He's breathing very fast as if frightened, I feel how
young he is. We run forward on the road, I feel my awkwardness. He's bold
and light and never stumbles. I take his hand to feel the gate. We stride
though grass and I ferry him quickly to the front, I'm listening to everyone's
feet as we pass them.
At the top of the slope we stop and stand silent for a long time, facing
across the countryside, I hear dogs. Then in careful excited silence I undo
his bandage, smile into his eyes, give him the bandage and step in front
of him to offer my eyes.
I'm led running down the slope, I rock on uneven ground and can hear
others run past. He's being careful of me; I hear dogs and then ahead a
rush and stumble, heavy breathing, lowing: a herd of cows runs by, flanks
almost next to me, confusion. The boy keeps my hand steady, I squeeze his
to show that I'm smiling, the pleasure of this rush of cow spirits whose
smell is strong as the wheeze of their breath. We begin again, he takes
my other hand to bring me up a slope, then tugging me sideways pulls me
under the scratch of a branch into complete black, another kind of black.
I feel he is blind as well. It's slippery underfoot, mud sucking. I blunder
into branches. There's a confused melee, he seems to keep me aside and wait
while everyone else goes through a narrow passage, then he takes my other
hand and bends, pushes, me sideways through. Another slope - he raises my
arm so it points the angle of the slope. He tries to point me over a ditch
- I discover it's a ditch when I splash in. When we stop he turns me half
around and we stand in silence. He unties my bandage - the same tact - and
I see that it's dark and we're on the hill below the house, a group of dark
people standing all facing the same direction looking over the dropping
countryside to a full orange moon. Like a tribe of new people.
This evening the blind woman, Malik and Angela played a trio sonata for
piano, flute and clarinet. She knew it but couldn't read it, they'd never
played it before. They plunged in, stopping to think and sing a few bars,
go back to the beginning. The struggle of the beat, struggle to place notes
made me intensely aware of the process of the music, the thought in it -
and the two of them standing erect, jogging, tapping slightly to mark their
time, both with a slight and fascinating quiver at the haunch that had to
do with their effort to control breath - Angela in a long figured lilac
dress flowing from her rib cage close over her waist and alert hip, and
then wide, her blond hair corrugated down thick and healthy. She was a spirited
Russian princess in a candle-lit drawing room. Malik in jeans and a work
sweater, the same elegant shudder at the hip. Hafisa played from memory,
would stop and say "Ja, my sister and I, when we would play this one,
we would play desperado, when sometimes we were angry."
She played the piano with her eyes shivering, sometimes smiling a little
around her buck teeth when she liked the music. Her time was perfect and
she knew all three parts - "I've never played the piano part before.
When I played with my sister I would play the flute." I found my face
squeezing shut into tears - was proud of them but embarrassed to be, because
I was wanting that black-eyed presence across the room to notice.
And then in the dining room on the blue carpet square the bearded Dutchman
sang American songs while another, while reading a book, did a dipsy descant
and I found myself wriggling into it until I was descanting so free and
open that I had to dance with my arms - and then when the tall boy with
straight hair and a sackcloth shirt presented me a daisy head from the salad
(one of John's! and someone else was wearing one) and hugged me and said
"That was so good!" I hugged him back and said "That was
so good!" - Everyone's gifts, solid stupefied faces opening into gifts.
The crewcut man taking my neck into his hands and massaging it hard when
I rubbed a sore spot before the meeting yesterday.
Sitting on the lawn as it darkens, I'm in line with the tension of Mershid
and Elias having secrets in the garden, Hafisa singing with Tabula in the
orchard, shouts from the volleyball court, Harold talking on the terrace,
a flute in the house. Through the fogged windows a beautiful light - it
was a frozen moment, but it couldn't have been a photograph - the light
between dark and colour.
August, Ffos Moscal in Wales
The hedgehog: Luke and I walked uphill on the main road, found a hedgehog
back uppermost like a collapsed balloon of stickles. Looked at it and spoke
to it: Poor little hedgehog we are sorry a car hit you. Thought to move
it to the side of the road, lifted it awkwardly by two spines and tumbled
it over the fence - barbed wire, then chicken wire - among blackberry and
pine thicket on the high roadside bank. It did not fall fast enough, I didn't
like to throw it, so it hung upside down in the wire: little tender hands
with long kidskin fingers, a distorted grin and a crooked kidskin nose,
entrails squashed out and a few bones pulled out with only scraps of red
meat remaining. We walked on, Luke said "Poor hedgehog very tired,
have a rest," I said yes. Couldn't leave it there, so turned back and
gathered a few flowers, Luke too but he lost them. On the roadside he found
pebbles and gave them to me - we found the hedgehog again, unpried it -
hard to touch it, I could see flies' eggs on its opened belly - laid it
nicely on the grass and put the flowers and the pebbles beside it. Said
"Dear hedgehog we hope you liked your life in this pine thicket, we
are sorry you died," and hurried away home.
Luke has talked about the hedgehog, the car that CRASHED it, every day
since. I wonder if it was too hard for him but really I believe that he
can take even the most truthful poetry of death. He's made the connection
already I think, because I'm always telling him not to run onto the road
or else -
When I write by candlelight, a flutter and a quick sizzle, the moth puts
itself out in hot wax and the flame, bent, extinguishes.
When he goes to bed I tell him a story, always the same one, that swings
round the valley and comes back to the little boy sitting on a window ledge
above the lightning-felled apple tree, and the lady with him telling him
a story about ... and sometimes swoops across to the hill and back again,
and maybe again.
With all my baggage rolled in my sleeping bag and that strapped onto
my shoulder with my scarf I feel light, a young girl with an old face, feel
I'll be able to travel as light as this as long as I like.
Arriving at Holyhead just after dark. The British Rail station where
boats and trains dock alongside and a clock tower with four lit clock faces,
enclosed little cobbled square with station's internal exterior rising like
elegant hotel, crates stacked against ballroom windows. Long stem of a road,
high brick walls on either side, turn down into town, egg and chips.
In the Ladies' Waiting Room stuffed in my sleeping bag reading the first
poem in the book:
- I have discovered that most of
- the beauties of travel are due to
- the strange hours we keep to see them
"Mornin'" says the old man, "Beautiful mornin'" and
breaks into an Irish song as he begins to take his clothes off, putting
as much vibrato as he's got into the last syllable of every line. He keeps
his straw hat on until the last.
On the way down to the sea I took a path through wild land. There were
two gypsy caravans, elaborately painted, with round canvas roofs like covered
wagons. Inside the open door of one I could see a litter of furniture, and
a long mirror broken in three places.
Now the old man has his ankles in the water, still singing, vibrato interrupted
with bubble-shivers. It's cold, long past summer.
The children at the caravans were red haired, white-skinned. "Mornin'"
The cobbled road along the river, a high heavy sliding door to go through
leading the two bicycles like horses, tethering them and walking down into
the weedy ruin, staircases and beams standing, lying. Staircases - "I
feel compelled to climb them" said Joe. One aged handrail was beautifully
finished, sanded off round, like wear. Smashed chemical bottles, one piece
of glass with neck attached seemed an ambiguous window, delighted me. I
was seeing surreally with Joe, a pair of shoes, pointed men's shoes, and
a lot of dresses, coats, laid on the seawall as if crowds of people had
left them there and stepped into the sea. Unraveled blond string underwater
beside a wreck on its side, like a giantess's death. In the Fertilizer ruin,
rich green mosses perhaps fertilized by dust. A factory with smoke and steam,
Joe said it must be full of steam which was not pushed out but leaked through
Strenuous work being with him because he didn't love or flatter me, nor
I him, although I watched him and he didn't watch me. Bicycles. My hat and
scarf, the red faced workmen leaning from the curbs to call to us.
The long sea road to the lighthouse, stones some sunk down, moss with
tiny pink flowers. Seagulls pushing around a place where sewerage boiled
up from underwater. The red lighthouse. A treehouse on barnacled piles,
platform on which I sat, he leaning on the rail. When he dropped orange
peels he saw an immediate little oil slick and then I saw it too, a quick
blue light around the peel before it floated quickly away. When he dropped
the match he saw that it made the sea surface visible to him, black shapes
swinging gravely toward our bridge, like hands of a clock.
Said Skammen was the first fil-lum he ever saw.
"We are so confused, sentimental, false that we don't see what we
see, we aren't trained to know what we feel, but somehow there must be a
way to find the keys, and that's what film is for me."
"When you put it so simply it seems very clear, but it isn't always
Face is thin, ungenerous, small eyes, sharp nose, small sharp mouth,
familiar almost invisible face, I can't remember it. Good dark jacket, small
tight body, small long hands. Just turned 26. Donegal, father old engineer,
uncle a farmer.
Looked at Madeleine's triptych mirror and saw a wise queen without defeat.
Will and humor.
End of September
At the Khanka. Woken at six when it's still dark. Go into the big house
for breakfast, a big circle on the blue carpet in the dining room - muesli,
figs, yogourt. Luke is the first person at 'table' every morning, has the
bowl between his knees and shovels in with a tablespoon. At eight we're
working. I'm at the barn site, sometimes laying concrete blocks, today measuring
and cutting 9"x3" creosoted beams for the ceiling - a carpenter's
square, a pencil behind my ear and a Black and Decker electric saw. Today
- measuring, fitting, nailing down floorboards - happiness. I feel so strong
and neat balancing on crossbeams, bending, nailing, lifting.
October, Thursday morning
Here the autumn's just beginning. The leaves won't fall until "ten
days after the blackberries start molding" said one of the truck drivers
who gave me a lift on the way up to Ireland. Sometimes the trees flashed
a few yellow branches but mostly they're slowly turning brown.
Shabby lion, shining eyes. The look he punched at Joe when we came to
the door, his ferocity for two days when I tried to entice him, made him
supper and tea, played the garden game with him ("Just an ordinary
semi-detached") (I didn't see any key"), and by Monday when I
was eating supper upstairs he said why was I going so soon. John in the
pub, saying how good my film was, Tony saying he'd wait 'til he saw it.
When we got back, played blues, John Frick being red-eyed and silly, Tony
backing out of it, but I caught him looking at me. I curled up hoping John
would soon go home, Tony at last got up, said he was going to bed but that
John mustn't stir, I laughed, but I made ostentatious organizing moves,
went out and brushed my teeth. Tony disappeared into his room. John went
home. I got into my sleeping bag with one of the curtains back and lovely
light on the other, but I got in naked for the first time this weekend -
and listened. Tony came in after a while, said Have you got the right time,
and I put my shoulder out bare to reach for the alarm clock. That's just
an excuse, he said, I really wanted to kiss you goodnight. So I put my fingers
on his jaw and kissed him goodnight. He leaned his forehead against me very
gently and we rested head to shoulder, I listened to his breathing.
Sleep with me, he said. I will, if you turn off the light. He got up
walked to his bedroom turned the light off and I came out of my sleeping
bag and just got under his covers and after a minute so did he. Wanted to
just sleep, let our bodies tune themselves to each other, but didn't know
how to explain that. When he began to come I cried out Stop! so jerked
far away and lonesome I was, but he didn't stop, and then held me as gently
as he could, his heart pounding. I thought his face was wet.
Touch so shy and light.
His beautiful room, white, red chair, the brown and white blanket, the
brick wall and chimneys outside. I woke wide awake at quarter to eight,
looked at his lively profile, sleeping, got up to go to work.
The Ram Dass Ashram's upstairs classes - we're there without names, no
one addresses us personally even to correct us, we're there as subjects,
our groping for the third eye, our privacy, our voice in the mantras, the
breathing, the solitary strain of exercises that are too difficult. Body
slowing down to cold and space.
Downstairs the young boys, they're all slight with thin beards, and the
girls in white, all buxom, with white scarves around their heads, cook in
the small kitchen. Yogi tea."Truly smashing" - don't they know
there's a yoga of language.
And at home there's Tony, blue milkman's apron on, working with fibreglass
in the fibreglass-smelling studio. I've come to cook for him. We come and
go. Our waking time, we sometimes, rarely, talk: about sculpture, ambition.
He brings John Frick back to drink several cups of coffee in front of the
gas fire. They watch television. I'm one of the boys. John has adult conversations
But to get into silence with Tony. To get into bed. He goes to check
the fire's off, cat fed. Maybe he shaves, scrubs the fibreglass off his
hands, brushes his teeth.
Lined brown face, eyes a little bloodshot (fibreglass?) but luminous,
light green. Nose broad and smooth as a lion's, swollen soft mouth, face
falling into craziness, he's loose and ready to cackle, soft as shit he
says, but not in his waking hours. Feeling up John Frick. Patiently talking
to morose Nigel. ("I love him.") He and John are like teenage
girls, taking their gossip seriously, learning from it.
When he climbs into bed he knows how to wait. We lie next to each other.
He, or I, stroke a hip, a bit of elbow, stomach, leg. It's easy as sleeping,
one-pointed it grows and we find our way. O Tony. I want to sleep. But then
I realize - he's going to put it inside me, and I get excited. We're shy
and careful with each other's sexes, delicate. No spit.
His clear clean two rooms. What I like about you is that you don't own
I'm working on my FILM, going into the Silchester Road Public Baths in
the mornings doing light tests and making notes, trying to be still and
centred so I can look and listen as well as possibly possible. That's why
I need to leave home as well, it makes me more alive. The film's going to
be about light, color, space - it's going to be difficult technically and
I'm going to leap out way beyond my depth - and that's only good.
We gathered outside the house and walked into the woods. A clear black
night, the moon on the far side of the earth next to the sun, stars and
shooting stars, the tight little bunches of the Pleiades and the Plough
(Big Dipper) nearly on the horizon. A different sky from yours. Walked fast,
far into the woods. Somebody knew the paths, scuffing in leaves. Malik began
to sing Praise the lord, praise the lord, for he is gracious and his
mercy endureth for ever and ever. I didn't know the tune. It was a round,
with harmonies like High Mass - we sang it for a long time. Miles later
Elias and Malik who were tramping at the head of what had become a procession
in starlight between high tamaracks and dense beechwoods began the strange
complicated lovely Kyrie from a Gregorian chant - did they remember
it from altar boy childhoods? We didn't get home until after midnight, ending
at the fringe of the wood by - spontaneously - snowballing ourselves into
a tight hugging mass cheek to cheek and shin to shin, shoving, struggling
for balance, just managing to keep ourselves upright while gathering up
people outside - left me panting and electrified in all the contact spots.
That place is so good to me, so serious (sometimes ludicrous) and so
frugal that it softens me into a child again; whenever I go the lines fade
from under my eyes and I cry easily about old griefs and grievances.
Later in the day, in bed (sleeping bag) with a hot water bottle at my
feet, the radio next to my knee, BBC Radio 3, somebody's beautiful mass,
Luke asleep in his sleeping bag, one hand stretched out to his teddy bear's
neck, his Rabbit, Cat and Oxfam (dog) piled next to him, fifteen tiny cars
ranged on the other side, next to me. Sweet sleeping face, not washed before
bed, hair on end, dark eyelashes on pink cheeks. Your English grandbaby:
what a shock you'll get at his accent.
Fiddling with the radio, among the crackle that suggests thousands of
miles, I've found a bit of music that's flooded me back fourteen years,
half my life, into the Mercury at night when I used to sit alone in the
dark, a green light from the dashboard, hovering over North America calling
in Vancouver, Seattle, sometimes as far south as Texas, listening to the
same song on all the stations, participating in the myth of teenage, yearning
for some/body, full of love, staring at myself in the rearview mirror and
daydreaming about a ducktailed highschool boy in white buck shoes, with
a little curl on his forehead and as much magic in his head as I had in
mine, whom I would meet, mysteriously, somehow - I guess at the same moment
in Johannesburg Roy was exactly that kind of highschool boy, flirtatious
and religious, athletic, romantic, how I'd have fallen! Time to grow up.
Sail along silvery moon, Billy Vaughn and his orchestra.
Long conversation with Luke while he was in his sleeping bag last night.
We looked at the book about mammals - there was a drawing of primate hands,
with the bones drawn. I showed Luke how to pinch his finger to feel the
bone, pinch mine as well, told him he had bones all over inside him. He
said "It's very nice to have bones." "It is nice, because
it makes you strong." "An' I like your face." "My face?
Why do you like my face?" I'm astonished. "Because it's
ve-ry beau-ti-ful" he says carefully.
Flooded with love for him I want to tell him something very special,
so I say "You know, when you were still inside me, before you came
out, Roy and I said 'The baby in there is very nice, we want him to come
out very much,' and then when you did come out we looked at you and we laughed
and laughed because we were so happy that you had come out!" Luke's
face crumpled itself and he said "I am ve-ry sad." "Why are
you very sad." "Because I don't want to go in your tummy again."
Elias' face at the Khanka, Elias' radiant face, I don't know a face as
perfect, he's God the father, smiling Jove; his countenance shines on me,
brown eyes, nothing false, nothing bent, everything beams from the centre
of his head.
He and Christina whispering and kissing through this weekend, telling
each other in our presence, "Your nipple, my tongue, tasting, feels
it rise." He says it smiling. He can say anything, from his boundless
self confidence, and it holds us, makes us laugh. Christina says "Every
day with Elias."
He came smiling around the corner at me. I was wiped out, obliterated,
by his physical light.
The few days since coming back from Notting Hill - my house startles
me, corners catch me, I stop with my hand on the door knob staring at a
display of light - the piano, the windowsill in the bedroom. The green confusion
of geranium leaves and cyclamen in the corner. From the toilet, blue and
green clouded floor, the red chair set in the middle of it, and the yellow
door opening onto it.
Luke saying as we went through the estate [Council housing] when the
dark had fallen. "It's bright an' dark." We stood on the bridge
for a long time because someone has wrenched two boards off the siding -
dangerous above the tracks - Luke talking - I said "Feel my cheek,
it's cold too" and he took both hands out of his pockets and felt my
face up and down like feeling a carpet - kneeling beside him on the bridge.
Among the dreams in Tony's bed: I was in the clouds,
so high up that I could clearly see the earth's curvature. The clouds were
like an elastic trampoline, tossing me very gently like a sea, but then
they began slowly to stretch until I was so far out (not up, because it
was as if I were in space and the earth was to the side, not below) that
I wondered if I could ever get back to earth.
In this film I'm working with thoughts that are only very partially named
- light, its presence and absence; color, its exact unnamable qualities,
mass, movement, minute changes in all these; sound and its absence, reflections
and their absence, forms of forms. O you can tell how much I love this film.
I go into the swimming pool's room and sit up on the spectator's balcony,
camera and notebook., sit and expose myself very quietly to the moments
that arrive: the sun comes out and makes a rosy smudge on the skylight,
reflection of a chimney. A white-skinned boy in pumpkin-orange trunks swims
tirelessly back and forth across the blue pool. My lens clouds over because
the room is warm and the camera is still cold. The sun disappears and a
rich pool of reflection vanishes in a second. Through the one missing pane
of glass in the skylight, white clouds and deep blue sky run side by side.
A bird has come in. A fat little black girl with yellow plastic bracelets
sits for half an hour with her feet in the water; she never goes in. Two
slim children stand motionless under the warm shower, falling into the postures
of resting ballerinas. The sun flashes through again and writes neon hieroglyphics
on the water. The tiled bottom of the pool writhes and flashes. I follow
my own thoughts about how to be faithful to all this, not tricky, not stupid,
not conventional. It makes me so high and happy.
A Saturday, November
Luke woke crying, couldn't comfort him, after a while he came and sat
on me where I was sheltering in the wicker basket. "Why are you sitting
here?" he said. "Because I'm thinking." "Are you thinking
- on - me?" "Yes, I was wondering why you're so sad." "I'm
sad because I need to go to Roy's house." Oh. After a while I was squatting
near the back window and began to cry. He came quickly to stand next to
me, but only looked, said nothing and didn't touch me. When I stopped and
looked at him he hid his face and then turned it back with an embarrassed
smile and jumped at me. "What did you do?" "I was crying."
"Why?" "Because I'm sad." "Why are you sad."
"Because I don't know what to do." "I don't know what to
Yesterday morning when he woke before me Luke was looking at the Countryside
book and found the picture of an eagle tearing the entrails out of a fox.
He woke me in distress. "What's he doing?" "The eagle is
eating the fox." He was nearly crying, and shouted "The fox is
not food!" He didn't have words for what he wanted to say, "It
isn't funny! The fox wants his daddy. The fox doesn't want to be eaten."
When I told Jane about it later, Luke said "I am not the fox."
Luke was a torrent today, woke this morning streaming with energy, jumped
out of bed and got his empire of trucks and cars organized, demanded breakfast,
hugged and teased me awake. There was nothing in the house to eat so we
went to a café for breakfast, very special, eggs on toast, sitting
side by side watching the workmen queue up for their tea and buns. Got on
the bicycle again and drove on to school with a strong wind sending shoals
of sycamore leaves big as plates rattling and scraping up from under our
wheels like scared birds. For one thrilling moment we were in the middle
of it and then it was gone, way ahead of us down the road, lifting and skimming
in one movement like a flock.
Recurring suspicion that everything I do needs to be pushed further,
everything stops too soon, I'm blinded, don't get outside to see how everything,
like this writing, is still mechanical, conventional and mass-minded. Possession
by the social being. Phantom. The language thinking.
Many moments when I come to out of a kind of darkness, or do I close
down, into some kind of darkness, I feel something like - this is not real.
Incident. Roy comes to see me with Luke, Luke rushes to give me a present.
I'm glad to see them. Hold Roy for a long time. Say I'm very well. Luke
is opening my package, I go to help him. Roy lies down, closes his eyes.
I get full of panic, begin to tidy things, he's such a weight lying there.
I want to tell him to go home. Ask him if he'd like to go out, or else have
some coffee. He says he's been surrounded by witches and just wants to rest.
Then I sit down on the chair and say "Roy I don't like you coming here
and going to sleep." He says "I'm not asleep." "Metaphorically
then. It makes me feel used and I don't mind being used if it doesn't interfere
with me, but it does interfere with me."
Roy stands there in his plaid coat and permed hair and says "I don't
mean to blackmail you but ..." and I say, "Are we going to have
that speech again about how if we're not careful you're never going to see
us again?" "Something like that." "Or because I have
the temerity to say I don't want to be used, I dare to oppose you? You just
want to be flattered like everybody else."
He stops on the rug and says "It isn't that I want to be flattered,
I just want a little sympathy." I say "But it's the way you do
it, you just come in and flop down, as if you don't want to be here, but
you just don't want to be at the commune."
He stalks out. I mutter "That coward" and Luke runs to the
window and begins to cry. I say it's alright, he'll come back. Take his
hand and bring him out to where Roy is just taking things out of the car.
We go back with the alphabet and raisins.
Roy says "I didn't come here with the intention of dumping him.
I didn't bring his clothes. But I'm desperate, I just need to be alone for
a while." "But you were all last week and that doesn't seem to
have done you any good." "What a facile thing to say, as if every
moment isn't different."
He's on his way out. Luke says "I want to go to Buckingham Road"
and begins to cry. Roy says, hard voice, "I'm not going to Buckingham
Road, I'm going to do some work." Luke hits him, Roy looks at him,
gathers him in, holds him. Luke is paying no attention to me. I'm just watching
and silent. They go off. I say "Luke can I say goodbye to you."
He says "I want to go now." I say "Can I just say goodbye
to you, it doesn't take long." He stays away and Roy says bitterly
from the door "He knows where it's at" and they go out. Then they
come back, knock. Roy says he just wants his alphabet. They come in, gather
up the alphabet. Luke at the door says "I want to go to Buckingham
Road, I want to go home." I'm just frozen. He struggles to shut
the door, Roy sends him back with a packet of raisins. I come to the door
and say "I want to give you a kiss because I'm glad to see you."
I do and he kisses back, goes a few steps, stops and looks at me. I want
to make it easier for him and say "See you" and he goes.
Christmas Eve - familiar grief because I can't make it back, there's
no one here, just something lonely that envies and mistrusts, a hole. By
nature so critical and still ashamed and weak about that criticism, refusing
to take responsibility for it, by nature so envious and then resentful,
I can't be generous to those I admire, still looking for the strategy that
will make me powerful so that I can stop being envious.
Caught a star in the black puddle on the edge of a field.
Oh my life, where is it, it's crooked and it's schief, I'm so closed
to everything but resentment, and in reading, little fleeting unconnected
possibilities that are like escape fiction.
Am smothered with Roy, am just always smothered with men so I have to
be glad when I don't care about them. Kindness from women who are kind out
of habitual self abnegation.
How many times today have I said something and simply not been heard.
When we walked, the stars rolled at our own pace, through branches.
Ten to five. Outside the kitchen door, outside the window above it, the
night sky is light blue, a quarter moon with a yellow nimbus round about
it, one bright star, maybe a planet, two less bright stars, and when you
stare, countless other stars as pale as freckles, just coming out - like
a rash you're not sure is there. The fire's purring, roaring, in its round
container, one of the cats is asleep in front of it. London's wonderfully
dark, like a foreign city, like Athens, because the coal miners' strike
has made them turn off the street lights.
At this moment life is so tenuous, so aware of itself and aware of its
own passing, that I'll just listen and tell you what's there.
The cat rattling the coal shuttle, it rings on the tiles for a second.
The clock ticks, coal scrapes in a whisper as it feeds itself down into
the fire. The cat licks itself noisily - this is the other cat, who's come
in through the hole in the window. Cars pass.