Thursday, 10 March 2011

From A Past Notebook

Note for Stage Management

Red on top of blue.
White hanky folded square
on top.

What is in the blue &
should be shredded.

On The Ashcloud

The invisible ash, the hook in the sky, all continent condensed in a hot stream of ash ...[?] pulling asunder,, rendering,, [?] the breaking bridge to the unseen world. Images of women. Writing the unseen. Writing it out of me, the earth, the soil-noise, the not-silence, in favour of horses chanting etcetera. No word for the lady [of McDonalds] who, looking, over the bench where the ketchup squeezing, refilling, misuse of the ketchup [happens, she says:] "don't hit it please, don't hit, do this like this, hold your cup [she demonstrates] fill it full." etc...

Frozen, Mid-crossing

there are Lions and Tigers and
Prehistoric Men with
their Roughly Hewn
Tools and Small
Inkling of the
And they're Down there
on the Sea Floor
Still in the Dogger Mountains

Three Questions

What about it

How not to sound

Could it have been

Make a short sharp stab in the sawdust

Then only

P e a r & c r a b a p p l e

I’m sorry

/ I’m lost

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Sign on Motorway at Aurelia in Italy

"We sell metres at 1000 vegetables from here"

up in the air 23:45

Front Crawl / Fluxus

Fluke / Franz Kafka

Fictitious /

Flunk / Foucault

Frank / Forecourt

Feckless / Freakout

Flick / Funk / Fuckwit

Fricasee /

Fruitcake / Frankly

Fecal / Frock coat

Flock / Fluctuate

Flack / Freckly

Folk / Fickle

Forecast /

Frisky /

Frederick /

Funicular /

Fecund /

Fried Kraut /

Fork /

Fact /

Free Kurdistan /

.../ done in 2009 in London

Sunday, 11 July 2010



Dear diary, I am reading Hamlet again
I met with a mad woman, she drank iced coffee,
I had iced tea, who, when asked about madness
in the play said she saw herself as Fortinbras

Dear diary, how can I put into words
what I have seen these past weeks?
The murder of the Aztecs by Cortes - a drag queen!
And all the birds fell out of the sky above America

Dear diary, what can I tell you about the dinner
with the literary circle? The opera house in the jungle?
The poet and his lover? Berlin, you keeper of secrets,
you destroyer, you surreal dream - I lit your fireworks,
I powered your televisions and installed your satellite dish


Do you know what I did in a room today, by myself?
Do you know how I felt when she showed me her breasts
and wrote me a letter? What did I feel, dear diary
when I met the artist I have admired for so long and spoke to him

and watched his hair move and his nails and his studded boots
as he confessed that he had kissed a male audience member
in his show once, and his barely legal girlfriend was shocked
"Are you all my boyfriend?"


Dear diary, Berlin and London are one suddenly, and Gent,
Dear diary, will we speak of the heat in decades to come
and say, "do you recall the heat of 2010?"
"The sky was worn upside down by the earth", we will say

"There was no shame, no safe-guards, no holding back, only intimacy
between strangers", as the man in the audience
kisses the girl in the play who is pretending to be his date
while his girlfriend waits for him downstairs


Put your tongues away! Hold your tongues!
It was 2010
It was so hot, the cement in the middle of the road
turned to water

And your eyes, so sharp and cold and human
turned to look at me,
and became something else,

.../written in July, edited in November

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Theatre Understood

Often, if someone describes a show to me, I feel like I've seen that show and don't need to see it myself. Do you know what I mean?

The death of kings for eight consecutive hours.

Monday, 17 May 2010

where the work gets done

In the converted space above the make-shift
kitchen in unit four, we debate the extra-terrestrial.
Between the piano and television, I muse
on the dust which settles on piano keys and the
dust falling through the air as it settles on broken
steps and children's faces in China's wartime capital of
In the rehearsal room, near Vincent's old stomping ground
the work gets done, opening shared wounds,
clenched fists.
The work gets done, the dead rise from their watery graves
and walk on to the land. Possessions and exorcisms are
impromptu and happening wherever the people gather:
St Marks Square, the stadium in Pittsburgh,
London Bridge Coach Station, for example.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Now let us create, arm! Let us create, leg! Let us walk, whoreish all purpose feeling heart! We are equipped with so much more than we need.

hang over in the sun shine with one shoe and the up turned chair by the rail way line and the garden shed where pete sleeps


shooting guns
barking dogs
ring of steel
flame haired beauty
deep as populist
no - brow
is good

advertising is good
religion is evil
Detroit is on fire again
No power
No glory

. peckham. april 2010

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

facebook update haiku


Spam email which reads
'Need mouse to become tiger?'
Becomes my status


Monday, 15 February 2010

a painting of an open book by philip guston


a megalith, wounded or scarred with words or bullets or blinds
a black and white building : colours inverted
blinds drawn / or a thousand sightless eyes
pages carved from rock or from gold
full of imprisoned poetry, full of symbols,
black and bitter as coffee beans,
babel, except censored
all the peoples talk in morse code
no warmth, no huddling even


wooden book, nails hammered
words hewn from metal, not flesh
brittle, no blood, like punctuation, like potato snacks
or / PINNING THE BLANK PAGES OPEN like the wings of a rare specimen
addiction and perpetual death, prevention of present, of the turn of the page
the bulge of the previous leaf about to turn, should i go back to what was before
this the new page flat unfingered awaiting my giant outside eye, and my swollen finger, sticky
from my fat tongue I AM SALIVATING i have come down from the mountain i am holding this book up high above my head it weighs more than the golden calf, a little less than the cross


the book is a coffin we nail open rather than shut and there's no burial no hole in the ground
a gravestone not a grave and like gravestones it appears to be sprouting out of the ground straight and tall
there is no hand no giant eye
its the book at the end of the world
it will grow fins in a moment
it will have to grow arms / legs
it could turn into a boot to stamp you with
to crush you


or it will sprout a head and fly away
to spend its last day sniffing violets in a garden somewhere
it will pass into the golden sunlight, expiring gently on a tremoring leaf
yes thats it, I see a landscape prior to all this, I see two hills and a stream and I want to see, I keep looking for, an icecreamcone sun peering into the valley, another dumb face to greet me

(Timothy Taylor Gallery, February 2010)

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

things we found in our pockets

At the annual Devoted and Disgruntled Open Space event, I led a session on things found in our pockets and notebooks. Follow the link to find out what we found...

Here's the text:

Receipt Vue Finchley Road with 2 pizzas for £12 offer
Ticket stub from Norwich arts centre
T Kettle Bonus Card
Norfolk and Norwich business card
A whole garlic
A phone number (07752219228)
A photo of four women on Graduation Day, one has had her head cut out
A free party invite
Sanisbury’s Waterloo – Receipt for bottled water and croissant
Receipt for Nationwide account, account number ending *************44288
LINDSEY HOPE PEARLMAN business card with glamorous headshot
CAFFE NERO reward card with one stamp on its way to a free coffee
Envelope with loads of phone numbers and addresses and this code: J89*XLFJ
A branded piece of paper from the Young Vic with the name Mark Rosenblatt written in red ink
New York Wallet Subway Map
No fit state Carnet Valid for 10 weeks
10 Nov – 19 Jan
Plastic bag for 3D glasses
Shopping list for making couscous (ONION,
A stick

Other Things

The process of taking out everything from your pockets and bags and wallets

- dirty handkerchief, tampons, business cards, drugs in handbag
- train ticket to Cardiff




Maps people draw you when you’re somewhere strange. In which “DISTANCE IS MEASURED IN MINUTES” or by the landmarks. The pubs etc

Letter from Grandfather – “ The joy of life is in the struggle for what you want to achieve “ (He is a bad man)

Little pieces of paper

Master Key (do not copy)



(COINS) Change that’s worth something £ £ £ $ $ $ $

“you had a piece of garlic in your pocket…”

NICE to reflect on what you carry with you . A RUBBISH SHOW. A PIECE OF RUBBISH

Tickets, receipts, cards

Photograph of me as a baby, used for A THERAPY SESSION

How to survive? A shack in Suffolk.

The word IMMURE

Thoughts on abroad and on boundaries



Conscious awareness of only 7 things


How can we control the context around the objects in order to make everything beautiful?


Charles Simic

Melancholy= desire to change
Fear= Reluctance / Avoidance to act
Anger=Desire for clarity
Joy= desire to live

“ I think the very nature of Art is Affirmative, and in being so it reflects the laws and the evolution of the universe” (Barbara Hepworth)

“We are such stuff as dreams… etc”

El Huesped: In the wound there was something familiar and at the same time unknown

En la heirda habia algo familiar y al mismo tiempo irreconocible

SUBCONSCIOUS Keep things stowed away. Why> ? like atime capsule, a subconscious reminder. Waiting for them to reappear in your bag, your pockets, your notebook …


Monday, 18 January 2010

How to Fall Asleep and Stay Asleep by Dr Art Ulene

stage one:
sleep cannot be willed
or forced
It is controlled
by a primitive part
of the brain
similiar to the one
that regulates
other uncontrollable urges
such as hunger,
and thirst
stage two:
the eyes
are moving very rapidly behind
the closed eyelids
all of the skeletal
of the body
are paralyzed
(paralysis keeps you
from thrashing about and
harming yourself or others
the intense dreams)
stage 1 1/2:
transition state
wakefulness & sleep
most people feel
that they are
still awake,
are drifting
that are
stage 2: True sleep
In which aDULTS spend most of their sleep time
Little mental activity going on during
stage two and very little
sexual activity, although
aDULTS have been known to hold hands.
(belize 2008)

the donkey bridge

Soon we will arrive at the bridge. When we get to the bridge I will lead you over it. Do not be scared; we shall cross it together.
The donkey crosses his eyes. He shakes his ears. His hind legs tremble.

Donkey, we have come so far, we have carried so much. We must go on.

There is no other way but forward.

And the donkey bows his head for he knows this to be true.

Perhaps if there was to be a pretty female donkey waiting on the other side, he thinks. Or some good food to eat, or a cool place to rest. But no, we cross only to keep going. And there will always be another bridge to cross.

The donkey sighs a hefty donkey sigh.
Look, here is the bridge. Do you recognise it? We have crossed it many times before.
The donkey does not recognise it and he thinks it looks particularly unsafe. He stamps his feet and bares his teeth in disgust at the world.
Your mother and father crossed this bridge. And their mother and father before them. Are you going to bring shame upon your family?
They couldn't care less, thinks the donkey. They're dead.
The trees begin to rustle in the gathering wind.
The clouds begin to gather in the closing dark.

It is now or never.

Never, thinks the donkey, as he makes the first step.
Never, thinks the donkey, as he makes the second.

(Antigua, Guatemala, 25/01/07)

Monday, 4 January 2010

I am a boy and my dog is still living

The plants in my garden
are dangerous

The marigold will sting you when
you kiss it

The snapdragon will break your face
if you try something

The foxglove guards the shed
your granddad filled with sacks of mice

and the greengage tree
a negligent parent

whose sons all died from -
can't remember what - a love bite?

Only the lupin
ungainly lupin

with outdated frills
and pink leg-warmers
and a grey cap
and witch string puppets
dangling at its painted fingertips

is approachable

And maybe that's just cos

she grows over
my old dog's grave
(may 2007)



Wednesday, 30 December 2009

one hundred thousand million years old


(Warwickshire, 2005)

mugabe on the radio (2000-2009)

tv is the only thing
that makes me cry.

what do you remember?

a time when we spoke freely?
when we marched in the streets?
i can see the picture in my mind's eye.

i do not think i felt new
why then should i feel old now
but for this tin can heart with a piece of string wrapped around it
and a stone tied at the other end?

where do we live again?
please, miss, where do i live?
the commuter train speeds past old graffitti on the tunnel walls
'get blair out'

lost in the smallest
in the smallest

leaves turning over and over every minute of the day
sun and wind hitting the honeysuckle
row of seeds drawing from the soil

lost shoe found on the balcony
the broken escalator at 4am
lost in the pipes
in the motherboards
in the storage facility (blank puzzle, endless mystery)
and the backroom
with the kettle
and the display box of cigars behind glass

please accept this gift


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

how it is, darling, in the snow is

Small blue plastic bottle (once contained face cream), filled with brandy, the real stuff, she says

Did you drink the brandy?

Mum had a tipple

Dad, belligerent, refusing everything offered to him, trudging on in the snow

Denying: hot water bottle, brandy, chocolate, scarf, hat, gloves

Accepting: the walking cane brought back by my mother’s grandfather from Malaysia

The cane was grown from the ground up, straightened as it grew

Fastened to the top of the cane: an engraving in silver from the children of a school

On the edge of an old empire

Given in thanks

I see them in the distance

I flash the torch

Can’t remember how to signal SOS

What I mean instead: I am here. I recognise you. I have come to get you. I have walked out into the night and the snow to rescue you and bring you home. You are my parents. Hello.

Flash. Flash. Flash.

I flash the torch up into the branches, loaded with snow

The spare branches across the night sky are like fine gilded letters from an old, perhaps dead, universe

The sky itself, full of powder, glows with orange light, as the halo of light from an eclipsed star, as the aura around, or radiation from, all things

Only the electric glow of London and her M25

I hear the snow in the dark and it sounds like deer and foxes and wolves and all the old animals that slept or are sleeping where the white fell down, through trees, touching undergrowth, touching soil and skeleton leaf and fur and beak

Memory of the red horse pushing its nose deep into the thick blanket of soft snow, making broken tracks out of her desire for a fresh patch of grass, for something to curl under her tongue and teeth and chew

Walking from A

Walking from C

Meeting at B

Returning to A


The road is ok. This stretch is ok. You can keep going. I’ve been walking half an hour and I’ve seen no accidents. This road is clear

Thanks. Funny night to take a walk, mate

I clutch the cane. I stab it deep into the snow

He clutches the cane. He walks more quickly and surely on this treacherous surface than he crosses the carpet in the living room

An argument later. Shut up. Don’t tell me to shut up

A phone call. Are you alive?

He walks in front

I take her arm, her shoes slip and slide

A hot plate of food, delivered two doors down

Like a petulant child

The concert was brilliant

He didn’t play the peace anthem

He didn’t play Home for Christmas

He played the B___ R___ though

Took me back twenty years.

House lights on

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

vanishing acts

In the theatre a sword-shaped parcel has arrived for the magician. Magpies are hoarding razor-blades in their nests. A man sets fire to a tree that was a church. The magician is rehearsing his last grisly trick and the bird is hacking away in her high branches.
Every creature is preparing for the same act in its own way. A badger peers up at the cloud-strata and predicts dawn. The cows put out their tongues and note the wind temperature, hoping for a storm in which to raise lightning rods.

Everyone is busy.

A woman opens an avocado sandwich over her in-tray. It is full today. Each brown envelope contains a shard of glass. She spends the afternoon putting them together.
She stops to stare at the completed mirror. The breaks make up an Islamic pattern, all geometric shapes. She remembers such shapes do not occur in nature, but tests them secretively. The diamond shape. Did not a flock of birds create this once? The square. Was there not a single square plotted amongst all the stars in all the heavens?

The thought frightened her.