Tag Archives: literature

Anonymity in the City

11 Aug

Sometimes I like to

make the anonymous

passing faces

human,

 

picture them smiling in a

kitchen on an autumn night,

chopping carrots and

drinking wine

 

see them looking at themselves

critically in a bathroom

mirror, before

a night out.

 

I try to climb inside them

to see through their eyes;

make them the first person,

myself the third

 

fleetingly, as I walk by,

unknown and meaningless,

as our lifepaths cross.

And uncross.

 

And I wonder where they go to,

perhaps home to a husband,

and a house of

smiling children,

 

or back to a lonely flat and

a sad dinner for one,

or maybe to the bedside of an

fading aged parent.

 

And sometimes it overwhelms me:

all the ‘I’s in the world,

with our multitude of lives lived

separately and together,

 

and though I’ve heard it said that

“no man is an island”, I often feel

like we’re adrift and floating

through the world.

 

This is something I like to do on occasion: try and transport myself into the psyche of a random passerby, and picture the world from their eyes. There is nothing psychic about it, there is no way I could even begin to imagine what they are thinking, but it is interesting to create fictional characters from them, giving them a story and a life, instead of just ignoring them. Sometimes I might base this story on what they look like, and the facial expression they are wearing – just why does that poor man on the underground look so world-weary? And what just happened to that woman that has brought that subtle half-smile to her face as she walks along a busy street?

I think it is nice to look at each and every person and recognise their humanity and importance. Sometimes the bustle of modern life and big cities makes us write one another off, and view each other as just more meaningless fragments of the enormous body of humanity. In fact we are all in this together, and there is no telling what each and every random person on every bus and in every supermarket aisle would do for you if you needed help and they knew you, or even if they didn’t know you.

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Insect Landscape

29 Jul

Tickling as it walks

the spider traverses my chestscape

as I lie upon the open lawn

in the sun.

Tiny and harmless,

I relish its movements.

 

And next to me, another friend:

It looks like it’s Red Ant

a-wandering.

Hello, Red Ant,

In the grass-forests rummaging,

how are things with you?

What’s new and how d’you do?

 

I like you Red Ant

You are solid and dependable.

I would almost let you climb up

and roam the sparse-haired savana

of my skin, as well;

but I know what you are like.

 

You would abuse the privilege,

with your spot of searing acid

spewed forth bravely;

a suicidal mission

against an enormous enemy.

You would take one for the team

unthinkingly.

Like the perfect soldier

undaunted in the face

of me, your world-filling foe.

 

Except I am not your foe,

little ant, not me,

I’m here to bask, not bite,

and so if I might, I’ll just lay

here beside you a little while

as you go about your industrious day.

 

I like to do this;

lie on the summer grass in the sun

lie prone, immobile, like a landscape feature,

insect-crossed and edificial

like a temperate Ayer’s Rock.

 

To the insects, and to the bugs,

And to the worms, as well,

I am a mountain,

or at least a significant

landscape feature.

 

But to the plane passing overhead

(and to the skies, to God)

I myself am the ant,

Sprawling and burning in the sun.

In the doldrums – trying to catch a breeze

29 Jul

Body is slow

Every action a battle

By a weakened will

That’s swallowed in sluggishness

First tiring….then flagging

And finally failing

at first sign of setback.

 

No wind in my sails

No lead in my pencil

Nothing but the doldrums

On my shortened horizon

Of unemployed, unenjoyed

Hours and days,

At dead end after dead end

In my self-made maze.

Dead Ends, Ocksblog 2009

I wrote this poem today about how I have been feeling. I am a 23-year-old failed journalist (yes, it didn’t take me long) trying to find a way to fulfilling my literary dreams. Unfortunately I steadily realising that literary greatness, and even literary mediocrity, doesn’t just happen to a person. No matter how much they like reading books.

I have to pull my finger out, put some effort in, and direct the thoughts and feelings I have on a daily basis towards a creative end. I do this already, by writing the odd poem, attempting the odd article, but not with enough gusto and determination. My poem, Dead Ends, is a realisation of this. It was also the tipping point that made me finally overcome all self-doubt and begin a blog.

“You do have interesting things to say,” I told myself, “Think of all the conversations with others where you have jabbered on about this or that, rambling on philosophy, cultures, sense of being, and people seem absorbed. Or at least not bored. All the little observations on life and existence you sometimes share with others, who often find them witty.”  

The grinding, aching self-doubt remained to a degree. The lethargy that has been gripping me every morning for the last 10 weeks since I lost my job as a local newspaper reporter. Then I played a few trump cards on myself: the “You have nothing to lose” card, and the “sort you fucking life out” card.

And I started my blog.

More to come later on who I am, where I am, and what I am doing with myself (if I have worked that bit out by then).