Search results for "tb "


Author: joe

Monday, 16 August, 2010 - 12:40

I haven't written anything here for some time, but luckily for me, this is because I have had too much in my life to write about here rather than too little. Marriage, moving, chickens, may-poles, 10-year-olds, Florence, fish pies and poems have all made for much richer preoccupations than discourse, academia and language. More practicality, living and hot stink of fox, less of the thin gruel and abstraction. More air, more touching, more heartbeats.

Heartbeats mp3

Duration: 00:00:20; Size: 411KB

Categories: heartbeat, absence,
Comments: 2

Hengistbury Starlings

Author: joe

Wednesday, 24 September, 2008 - 20:21

The starlings - two or three hundred, I'd guess - gathered on a patch of bare scrub and bush, by a fence on which some gather in a line, others adorn the tips of the bare brush branch, and some disappear against the indistinct green of the gorse and bracken. They catch song from each other and the sound spreads and scatters in quick waves through the throng. In amongst the sounds are odd fragments that seem not to belong, but the whole seems to liquify into a seamless wave of unison.

First gargling and burbling like a bubbling up - a stream of warbles, weaving among the mass. Or sometimes a jagged hack which blisters and catches across the swarm, gunpowdered and contagious. Then the swooping whistle, low and dipping, and rising to a piercing sweep at the highest point, veering round the flock in waves, domino-ing through the bird bodies, the whole a shimmering pool of speckled heartbeats, merging into one, scattered on the bush, shrub and brush.

And then a dog - or me, or some whistling walker - shocks the air and they fall quiet, the silence catching like fear, or the chill that spreads down the down of the neck. Some reckless one or two ignore the soundless instinct of the crowd and sing on regardless, and quickly the majority fail to resist the temptation, assent to the invitation, and the song glistens around the congregation again. So on they bicker and loop, until sudden and arbitrary, they explode into the air and go, reckless and random, elsewhere.

Categories: bird, song, sound, starling, hengistbury, head, wave, nature,
Comments: 0


Author: joe

Sunday, 07 January, 2007 - 14:57

We went to Whitby in the cold, rainy, misty January of 2002; over the moors, into the crook of the valley, down the quaintness of the streets, past the noisy amusements, past Magpie fish and chips and the vinegar smell mingling with the fishing boats moored in the harbour; along the harbour wall and right to the end of the pier. There are steps down to the lower deck of the pier, where crazy men stand with fishing rods.

We each took it in turns to scatter some ashes into the sea. It was windy and when I threw them, they were scattered back on the harbour wall below us, just above the reach of the swell of the tide. 'You've got me dad down the wall!' said Kieron, mock-aghast. Kathryn threw flowers into the sea. Pink bobbing heads and stems buffeting in the wind and sea rain.

In Whitby, at the end of the wintry north moors, cobbles and slate and jet are monochrome in the wetness of January. The boats in the harbour look gaudily colourful against the sombre background of grey, and the abbey on the hill-top. The ashes are somewhere in between - grey and monochrome and indestructible, and mixed into the sea with the loud boats, with their jangling chains and masts and pastel sails.

I sometimes wish Whitby would telescope away - be the hardest place in the world to reach, clinging to the side of the cliffs at the edge of the end of the world. There should be no B-roads to the next world.

Categories: ashes, dad, whitby, grey,
Comments: 0


Author: joe

Sunday, 24 December, 2006 - 11:50

1997: just days before christmas, around about when I really started to cough blood, I was diagnosed with TB. My dad insisted I should come and stay with him, but a few minutes later, called back to say he'd realised, of course, I couldn't come to stay. I was supposed to be in isolation, and certainly not hanging around with kids.

Two weeks I had to stay away from people, and my house-mates had to get checked up before going away for the christmas break. And six months of anti-biotics and no alcohol. My mother and her husband came to stay with me, and we had a roast lamb christmas dinner in my student house.

It wasn't all bad - I was just trying to get a job as a writer with a small publishing company, and told them of my predicament. They said that having consumption was a good omen in a writer.

Categories: xmas, consumption, TB, dad, family,
Comments: 0