Tuesday, 27 November 2012


What do I feel?

Yes, what do I feel? What do I feel?

I feel my heels lift, my toes tighten. Whoa! Everything screams, No no no no!

Yes, I say.

There’s an upsurge of everything in my body that I hold dear; heart, lungs, blood, brain. My ribcage is a cage around my skull. What else? Thoughts. The things that go on inside me that don’t have a name. My soul, if you like.

Then air.

I am let go, finally, falling. I thought it would be faster than this, and yet there’s a little gap of time in which everything catches up. Perhaps I’m being pushed back, infinitesimally, by the force of a million exhalations far below, keeping me buoyant, floating like a cloud.

Of course it can’t last. Thoughts whoosh – they really do that - through me in a quite unnerving way, as if this, this falling, wasn’t unnerving enough.

I see him, quite clearly, like he’s there beside me keeping pace with my freefall; my father in his 1970s days; safari suit, cigarette, dark hair long and side-burned. Waving goodbye from the car window, smiling then saying something that I couldn’t hear because I was inside, behind glass and he was outside. He would have known that, so maybe it wasn’t important, but I would have liked to hear it anyway.

I see my first lover; the one I didn’t think mattered that much, so I’m surprised she’s turned up. What was it she said? You’ll regret this, you bastard. And perhaps I do now, adding it to the long list of other things to regret: the Glastonbury I didn’t go to that was the best ever; the two years wasted at the wrong university, the wife I’d had once, the job I was offered in Japan that I didn’t take, because I...well, because I couldn’t be bothered. And I regret my dad of course. What did he say to me, that last time?

It’s not all regrets, of course. But I’ve left it too late for anything else. Should have thought of this earlier, shouldn’t I? Before the falling.

There’s only enough time left to land, in one way or another.

Friday, 16 November 2012


Excerpts from The Colourist
Here, wedged in between yellow and green, lies a vast array of hidden colours waiting to be discovered, but with so few words available to describe them. Even fruit, usually generous with its naming does not have enough variations to adequately categorise this part of the spectrum. Yellowgreen, such a young colour. It’s the bud of a daffodil, softly yielding if you press it, yet firm with nascent life. If you could peek inside, just before it opened, and smell all those flowery juices, raw and acidic, they would be the colour of spring and possibility. But it’s a sickly colour as well, bringing to mind infection and nausea, and perhaps no one has ever liked it well enough to find a suitable name.

There was a cramped corner of Marrakech made irresistible by particular colour that hung from the rafters of the market house to dry – yellow; like the pollen as it gathers on a bee's legs. It made me madly, light-headedly happy as it sang its bright song and whirled away into the dark corners of the old city, reaching out to touch the faces of the woman through their veils, smoothing the lines in the old people's brows, playing with the children and twisting around their legs like cats, making them laugh and jump about. How I loved it… though, just as it’s said that pleasure comes with pain, the beauty of this yellow made all the colours in the vicinity jostle for space and I had to focus my vision otherwise it became tainted. Such is its demanding nature, casting spells that dizzy the senses.

In Morocco, I learnt that when the sufis put on their rags and forgo the material world for the spiritual one, they undergo a 'green death', full of the positive connotations of that most sublime colour and a gentle forerunner to their physical death. But I shall have a yellow death, I think, the colour of the sun and saffron, a blast of last light.