Eighty years old and bursting with fire, I can smell the circuits burning.
Rebirth head, rebus interlope, dark passage then the light, all things going all ways. Kaleidoscopic visions, old black plimsolls in the sun, a dog’s piss streak on sandy road, my life old pulp pages of excited ink, smudged, recycled myths on the Underground, youths sniffing glue.
I want to move out, erase the past, yet again rising like Lazarus even as flesh gets old, the bones zing like electric codes replenished by stars in different galaxies, picking up the broadcasts, lunar base of lunar sea, reflecting Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital in nineteen thirty nine, where an old buddy was incarcerated, writing with quill and oxblood transmissions from the ethers. He exchanged words with Malcolm Lowry, that hot-head genius encapsulated in tar and awnings, greasy bars with whiskey sours as an indigo light shuttered the sky.
Now I can rejoice in such a rich life, desperate to get it all down and yet of no consequence, all out of synch, memories of events I did not witness but others did and I cannot discern who said what but the scenes are impregnated in my mind, like the sandy road which curved along the coast, sand dunes and spiky grass edging the wide ochre beach, quicksands which swallowed people, as seagulls swooped over head as if sensing food, and the rare cloud floated above the landscape, escaped from a Paul Nash painting, casting a shadow as if following me.
I was on the way to my aunt with a book from my mother, the August sun on my back, the book curling. I could see my aunt’s house, redbrick, steep gabled roof and the windswept, stunted apple trees in the garden with the battered fence. I always seem to be walking this road at noon in times of anxiety, as if the worn, weathered paperback, poems by Dylan Thomas who my aunt liked and once met in a pub in Wales, becomes fused with the glamorous sky blue dress hanging out the washing line, my aunt smoking and adjusting her sunglasses as if they are are my saviours. The key to everything coming back together, making the world whole.
Peter Woodcock 2020
Author of ‘This Enchanted Isle-the neo-romantic vision from William Blake to the New Visionaries’ and ‘Stone Clouds-Liquid Skies. The Shamanic Art of Derek Hyatt’
published by Gothic Image Publications.
Photo: Claire Palmer