Category Archives: ASSIGNMENT 1

Blank Dream

In his dream he had lost short and long term memory. It was an ordinary day at home but he did not recognise anything around him. The walls, the rooms, the carpets, the pots and pans in the kitchen were things which he saw for the first time. He spent hours picking items up, examining them, trying to work out what they were about. Finally his neck muscles began to give way involuntarily and he felt he was drifting. He got into bed hoping he would wake up and remember.

Now he lay awake, the sheets wet with sweat. There was no light. There were no shadows, no flickering tree shapes on the walls, nothing. He stretched out his right hand in slow motion, the fingers loose. It came to rest on a flat surface at the same level as the bed and beside it.

On the table, under his palm, he felt a sharp-edged oblong box, the size of an oyster shell he thought. But it was not rough like a shell. He picked it up. It was smooth and tacky under his thumb and forefinger. He felt the surface move like a skin across the more rigid face below. He squeezed the narrow edges and felt resistance. He tried to pinch the wider faces together and they gave, then sprang back as he released his pincer hold.

Towards one end of the box there was a break in the skin and, below, a thin, linear gap which opened as he pressed his thumb on one side of it and made a dull click as he flicked at it. Moving his thumb across the gap he felt the top edge of the box tilt away from him. His thumb slid into the opened mouth and he felt a row of tubular teeth, regularly packed like piano keys, rigid but slightly spongy. He lifted the box to his nostrils and sniffed inside. The smell was comforting, mellow, warm, like a cake cooking. He opened the box a bit more and extracted one of the teeth. It was longer than he expected. A thin, dry, long cylinder. He licked it. The curved side seemed to suck saliva from his tongue and he had to peel the tube off it. As he licked the end of the tube, shreds like dried grass stuck to his tongue. They were bitter and woody when he bit, and a little minty.

This box and its contents felt and smelled familiar but he had no idea what it was. He must have put it there by the bed himself because he felt quite alone where he was. He couldn’t remember. He wanted so much to be dreaming.

First Vote

I never vote and tell me why should I?

They so don’t get the state that I’m in now,

No cash, no work, no voice, no fun, so how

Can I shout out and make them hear my side?

The selfish London bastards ought to try

And think like me and hate like me and doubt

Like me and stink like me and feel like nowt,

And see how they get on without a life.

I got a chance at last to shaft them all,

The last one of my life they tell me now

What’s going to piss them off the worst you reckon?

I went to vote with all my mates and scrawled

My cross inside the box for leave, for out,

For screw you Dave and you too Jezza. Cretins.

After Lunch

A dead fire of whitedusted stumps

Old friends on flimsy fading chairs

Messy meadow, down to bleached grass

Groyne wood bench for best sunset view

Wavy tamarisk bush bobbles.

Spitspattered sea, redwinged windmills

Skyline silhouettes of boxy ships

And Southend on the horizon.

Marcelle’s Mug

I drink tea from this mug at my father’s. It’s one of a matching set of four. Of course he didn’t buy it – my mother did. It’s very her. More slender than your regular mug and taller, with a splayed trumpet mouth reaching out.

On the outside the off-white china is illustrated with painted gardening pictures in leafy, woody, earthy colours with mushy pea green foliage. They look like the effortless drawings she did for us as children. Each item is labelled like a vocabulary exercise: spade, fork, tomatoes, herbs, wellies, water, seeds.

The inside is now beige-stained. A potted bay bush rises over the tea horizon as I drink. Just as she, in her tall blooming elegance, rose above the standard suburban household stuff to something special.

Mind Fly

Oh mind, you fly away all day and night

Since I was young and quiet, I don’t know why.

A noise, a light, a thought, a glance enough

To send you off on random paths to love,

To laugh, to weep, in sleep, awake. Recall

The child, foretell the man, make sense of all.

I train you on my breath to empty out

The calls so loud, but still they jump and shout

About, demand attention from you, mind.

We’ll tire and land one day I think you’ll find.