Silence down a Phone

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

We’ve kicked the cousins and their entourages out of the house at last, so it finally feels like we’ve had Christmas. It lasts a long time in my family. Now for New Year’s.

At this time of year, for the brief period of time when I’m back in England, I sometimes get in touch with old friends. This year, I’ve put my mobile somewhere stupid, so I’ve not spoken to anyone except those who’ve rung the home phone. And Nick (my twin) has dealt with calls from local, mutual friends. And actually, strangely, it’s a bit of a relief to be away from everyone, and just with the family. I’ve always been close to my cousins, and we’ve always got stuff to talk about… and we never seem to have awkward silences, as we can just move on and talk to the next one.

This poem was written over the summer, when I was rushing around trying to meet people. It also fermented during the “let’s get drunk and write poetry” experiment. Looked back on it today, and decided it was reasonable, so I’ll post it up.

Silence Down a Phone

We haven’t spoke in months.
Sure, Facebook, once or twice.
Does that count? Still, it’s
your voice, this time. Different.

I planned jokes, in fact.
Silly things to say, but
I dropped them, not knowing if
you’d changed, or worse,

stayed the same. Strangely,
we picked up as though nothing –
but with extra silences.
As if our natural conversation

always had those gaps, between.
So I quickly turned the call
to a purpose. Let’s all meet up
I said, catch up, I said.

Yeah. Good idea. What’ve –
what’ve you been doing,
these last few months.
Oh, you know. When I don’t,

really. That wasn’t the question.
The question was, are we…?
Are you? And more, am I?
Because I don’t know.

But neither do you. And maybe,
if we meet, we’ll know. But
we have, you know. Changed.
But let’s regress for a day.

Beach at Night

So, I’ve JUST posted, but as I feel I’ve been neglecting this old blog, I’ll post twice. To get fully up to date, scroll down and read “Eloy” first. Or second. Whatever, you crazy whimsical creature.

You know how, for a year and a bit, I’ve been living with a family? Oli, Angela, and the adorable Liliana Seeley, who is now nearly 4, and author of such fine works of fiction as “Coconut Together” and “Dog This Big – A Tragedy.” I’ve tried a couple of times recently to get her to help me write a new story…. no success yet, but I’ll try again later this month.

I can’t right now, because, you see, I’ve moved out. Temporarily. I’m living with my friend Jo, who you may remember from this poem (wow. That’s 4 links back to my own poetry now. Talk about blowing your own trumpet). She lives outside Barcelona, in the little town of Casteldefels. It’s half an hour by train to one of three central Barcelona stations, one of which is a 5 minute walk from work. The town itself, from what I’ve seen tonight, wandering around, is gorgeous and smells fresh and natural, which is a nice change from BCN. It’s no distance from a train station, and even nicer, it’s one block away from the beach! And what a beach.

I’m here for a trial run. 3 or 4 days, see if I can survive living with Jo (she’s a little…. dramatic), and then back to the Seeleys for the rest of the month. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyhoo, walking on the beach in the dark, looking at the stars, reminded me of another old poem by me, only I’ve not posted this one on the blog before. It’s set in Mauritius.

Southern Hemisphere

Away from the music, drinks and decking
I strolled the quiet beach barefoot
with my neck craned back –

just letting my feet pad down a path
between cool waves and the supple sand,
listening to the tide –

Where a plough had been for all my life
my vision traced a scorpion’s tail
and strange stars spread to the dark horizon

a

and my heart gaped wider to fit
all the new space in

a

but it wasn’t big enough.