Wednesday, 29 July 2009

what can writers do now?

The world, at least our world, seems to be breaking up into small colonies of the saved, as if we were entering a new Dark Age. If so, then perhaps the most important task we can set ourselves from here on out is to sustain, articulate, and preserve through literature the essential human values that early in the evolutionary history of our species distinguished us from our higher primate cousins—loving kindness, protection of the young, the weak, and the elderly, and consciousness of mortality.

Russell Banks;
from Burn This Book

Monday, 20 July 2009

Apollo, The Moon & Dreaming














It is forty years to the day that we stepped onto the Moon. I can recall being five years old watching it on our old black and white TV. The moon has always fascinated us as a race; from ancient times we have turned our faces to the sky to see our only moon looking back at us pale and enigmatic. Fifteen years ago I published my first chapbook called ‘Apollo,’ looking back at it today I remember how excited I was to be reaching out into published space with that little book as my rocket – one of the poems survived my editorial rigours and made it into ‘The Prize.’ Now I have a new book recently out ‘Recital’ linked into sequence with thirteen poems about the moons of the year and their presence in our lives. The cover of Recital is a big red full moon. So here’s to dreaming, to looking at the sky and saying let’s go there.

Car Mirror & Wind-farm & Michael Jackson

Car Mirror & Wind farm
Originally uploaded by John Siddique

Driving above Blackshaw Head we stop at the wind-farm - The sound of the turbines cutting the air, the mesmer of watching the rotations and the clairty of the air up here makes it somewhere we come to as if in a state of prayer. It's even better to come up here at night, perhaps when it is raining. The turbine towers like white spectres stretching out across the hill.

I've driven past this place before, but the night we heard about Michael Jackson's Death we came out for a late drive to break the sombre weight that had settled on our house. I guess we did like so many others, listened to his music, watched the news clips, wondered how such a beautiful looking human could distort themselves so much, and how much crap his poor innocent soul had to put up with over his life, especially his monstrous court-case a few years ago. Perhaps it was such burdens that wrote themselves into his skin, in bleach, and the cosmetic surgeon's knife as he outwardly tried to create himself to deal with them.

I was in the gym in the afternoon, the locker-room talk was the usual 'no smoke without fire' rubbish. The poor man was only just dead and within minutes - this nonsense, I'm sure it was the same the world over - when did we humans loose our humanity so much to the quick quip - the twitterfacespaceemptiness humour of such darkness that it is more important to destroy than touch compassion within ourselves?

We turned off the news, stopped reading the tweets. I silenced the locker room with my own solid silence, and as the night came up we needed to get out of the house, so we took to the car and headed for the moors with the wind-farm and watched the turbine rotors turn like samurai angels, or the bladed messengers of Don Quixote.