I do not hear the delivery man over the noise of the vacuum cleaner, but over the past year he’s become a usefully persistent knocker so eventually I do. I make a joke; I say: ‘sorry, I was hoovering. Once a year, I insist on doing it whether it needs it or not.’ He punches the air in delight and demands a selfie, right there on the doorstep to help capture this moment. That bit didn’t happen. Parcel in, door re-locked, I go back upstairs and spend two minutes trying to hoover up what I then realise is a shadow. Hoovering up shadows. It sounds and feels like a title for a poem, perhaps even the name for a a newly published collection. Or else a metaphor for something. Which is of course what most poems are made of.
The delivery man might have asked me why my writing pieces here on this blog has slowed to unprecedented slothness. How the past years of Octobers have been fecund leaf piles (if dead leaves can amount to such a thing) of Provencal posts, of remembered symphonies – and yet this year we are but three. It’s not a numbers game, I know, but I wonder why this decline has happened. Possibly it’s a side effect of my own Inky Conditions. Not just a busy-ness with that, because in truth there’s no time especially being swapped over there. But maybe in the writing part of Inky Conditions; that landed-upon style, that brevity, which has taken over from the greater windiness, the breeze that blows in Fisher Lane. Why write five hundred words, when eight alone will suffice – will get the point across? Why write longly about the sudden happening of housework (as surprisingly pleasing as it was as a distraction from a wasteful and wasting day) when nowadays I’m more of a mind that everything is spoken in my trying to hoover up shadows? This will become an Inky Condition, I’m in no doubt.
Or maybe it’s some other dynamic altogether.
I suck up the dust from around B.’s shoes. The parcel I’ve just signed for is most likely another pair. She loves shoes. For my part I own as many pairs as she has in her car at any one time. This is not my ideal shoe situation – I mean about the paucity in my own possession. For I too have always loved shoes. It’s just that shoes have never particularly come by me; arguably at any stage in my life. Beyond the occasional chunk of Dr Martens, men’s footwear is, on the whole, a crushing mudslide of ‘meh’. I walk, I think, in the footsteps of my childhood self, growing up with Glam Rock on Top of the Pops. Platforms making for stages. Heels as a means to rise above the everyday; to get away from home: trip-trap, trip-trap, over the rickety bridge. Other than a pair of blue suede Chelsea boots at fifteen, the relationship with shoes feels permanently stalled. This is not enough to curb the love.
The vacuum cleaner’s nozzle moves around, between, within a dozen dust-kissed pairs. The blog post concludes – as it must – with my joining up the dots. Me; then and then and now… hoovering up shadows.