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Signs: Float On

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Why for the choice
to live in bubble
floating high in Dreamland
encapsulated, ensconced
and apathetic
untouched, unloved, unwanted
but separate and untroubled too
cut off from pain and hurt
refusal and rejection
Why for the choice
to live in bubble
when bubbles burst
and lose their life
as soon as contact
with earth is made
Why for the choice
to live in bubble
and not to raise the stick
or roll forward to
prick and break free
of depressive thought
numbed by convention
bricked off by experience
Why for the choice
to live in bubble?

11th April sitting in the wrong bus shelter, waiting for the right bus, in Archway. The 134 rolls up. Destination Friern Barnet - now a gated community with former ghosts of psychiatric institutions holed up in the clock tower. I know the picture is there. I take it. The driver looks shocked and full of wondering. I laugh in any case. I leave the picture in the card and many thoughts of bubbles and apathy and street fighters cross my mind whilst deciding what to do with it. I have lived in bubble for many years. I am not accusing those who do. But I want to be free of it now. And I more or less am. And whilst this bubble speech is for me I feel it free for others too who lived the life and left it to peter our existence in bubble just as it is free to use by those who are on the outside, free to picket and hold up traffic or to wave a banner. It is for us and for who we are today and it remains for me.

Posted by Rich Downes, 25 April 2016

Last modified by Rich Downes, 25 April 2016

Signs: Read Em, Write Em, Weep and Vomit

Sitting on a train from Harpenden to Kentish Town I see a blue panel with 5 characters on it. A wheelchair user, a woman, a man, a baby and a carer. I think that's the correct order. So i start telling their stories in my head. Photograph the panel as I'm leaving and cut and paste it here. My stories feel true today. Austerity claws on and attitudes stink - worse than you think. So here in reply are my two profound moments

Scenario 1. Baby comes into the world, grows up to be a man, acquires an impairment and leaves on his own.

Scenario 2. Disabled person enters stage left, meets man and woman who pontificate on him having too many benefits whilst they themselves have great wealth and can afford a nanny to bring up the baby they never loved.

Which one's weep and which one's vomit?

Thing is with my characters you can get all Burroughsian with the cut up technique and tell as many stories as you wish. Me. I'm staying linear. Reading from the left or right only. Do feel free to play

Posted by Rich Downes, 15 April 2016

Last modified by Rich Downes, 15 April 2016

The Green Man Walks

The Green Man steps out. Ginger.
Late for the Vernal, early for May
the red orange Beltane fire.
Vapid grey skies pierced by blue
Cannot deny the yellow hue
of the daffodil, the snow of the drop
nor the vivid darkness of the bell.
The ginger man steps out. Green
The rain, the cold, the winter shroud
of hearth, quilt and blanket
kept him home but not alone
And the black tar, scarred
and shadowed pleurositic lung
raps at a lack of confidence
Keeping the green man; ginger

This green man went for a walk recently. Not the first of spring but almost. I have a consultancy waiting for me where I will be given a form which I will mark according to a grade that reflects on how ill i've been of late. One of the questions I always get asked concerns activities and willingness not ability to participate. I've always marked that low. I've never not thought about going out. I treasure my plodding, my perseverance, the feeling that I know I'll get there, to where I'm going, regardless of being told to stop, to slow my step, to breathe deep, to take my time. I don't need these words. I don't need to have my focus encouraged. I just need to close down. Not think about it. Not worry. I will always arrive having left first. I am clear about this but perhaps this year its been different somewhat. Maybe i've stayed in more. Maybe, i've spent more time on the wrong side of the window than I ever meant to. One thing for sure; I need to build up to a longer distance if i am to survive the ravage of summer, bad air, pollution. In the mean time, i'm glad to be out again. I'm glad to be striving and thriving. I'm able to give myself an exercise based on that which I notice on the outside - colour. And that's about how I got here.   

Posted by Rich Downes, 8 April 2016

Last modified by Rich Downes, 8 April 2016