Pictures from the Var Side

A small break in Provence. Five photographs to represent. Haiku thoughts. Wisteria twisting round the railings of our little balcony; catching a sunset as the islands slip away; a wall of wabi-sabi growth, decay and colour; pretty pastel houses and a toy car parked in toy town…

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The Next Few Steps

In the first window of the charity shop there’s an acoustic guitar. A make I don’t recognise and the price is just a little high. In the next few steps I think about how Dad’s going into care for a short while today: will be about this time that he’s being helped into the car and not knowing what the little suitcase is for. In the second window there’s another guitar; wide-necked, casual classical. It answers the brief I wrote in a note to myself last year (the year before?). In the next few steps I think how my godson’s getting married today. And that I have a guitar down there, where they are in France that answers the brief very well. And how we’ll see them, just married, in sunshine next week. I step onwards to the cash machine. Feels at the moment that the whole world’s just taking the next few steps. Like getting rid of the guitars.
I think about the Larkin poem (closed-book recall, Aubade?) ‘Postmen, like doctors, go from house to house’…
We’ll drink our toasts at the end of the day; end of the week.
I made a painting of Dad.

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Ghosts of Hardware

Before I start anything, I say (referring to a grand project for a very small workshop), the door will need to open the other way. Coming up on ten years this has been a nuisance. It’s funny how we let things ride. But it’s nicer how we know when it’s the time.

I’m happy that I get to use the same old hinges, even most of the taciturn screws. The ghosts of hardware.


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In Wisteria

In wisteria
The air is trying to breathe
Morning is tangled.

I wanted to capture in some way the knowingness of wisteria. Hints in its name. Wistful hysteria. A social climber climbing when your back is turned. How in bloom it can’t resist the camera’s eye, yet won’t be caught: both amorphous and self-aware. Hanging around old houses; of the age, the East. In May’s green rain looking in at me, knowing that I’m home. Sucking the air, upwards.

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Fine Rain

Another 5am start. B. to NYC. Fine rain (fine, rain) sets in
I light a candle, tobacco-scented, blow it out
The wisteria in bloom looks like a round of applause
Pick a year and invite the Then Me, ask me anything

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The Clearout at the End of the Notebook

Rationalising the contents of the little brick sheds. In the opening scenes, a Tennents Lager ashtray hits me soundly on the head. Slapstick or hospital drama. There are boxes on boxes of old branded glassware: some for brands which barely saw the Light; others for beers now handed over, handed on, and handed on. Jeez, I kept a lot of stuff from the job. Mice have been at mostly everything. I do not mind the nibbling; the confetti they’ve made of my memories – but the invisible piss that’d doubtless soaked into it all, I could pass on. A pile grows in the yard where in time I’ll reverse up the truck. Waiting to be loaded for the long ride to the tip. God, I hung on to some crap. A sweetly boxed kit for growing a bonsai is spared. I’ll give it a go and it will be a miracle if it comes to anything. It’s twenty years old before it’s even begun. Has its ki perished? Data cables and connectors from a past life, far planet, dead star, writhe grotesquely in a bag from a bookshop that doesn’t exist. Keys, ridiculously, from a company car; long and green, long gone. Over-complex technologies on the sudden cusp of usefulness. Binned. The council refuse centre is busy with men – for they are all men – bringing and receiving and pointing at various graves. Which they fill. Full.

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