Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I'm lying on my stomach in bed, exhausted after a full night's sleep. I can't seem to win. I even went to bed before midnight. I'm sure it's my dreams. Most of them involve knives and necks and giant green snakes. Everyone is trying to kill me.
I lie there for a moment, wrestling with my memory, what was it this time?
I give up eventually, I can't remember a thing. All I know is that I have a beating headache and my throat feels like a field of thistles. I'm sick of being tired. I'm tired of being sick. There should be a word to describe this feeling.
I roll onto my back. I can hear someone rummaging around in the lounge. Probably Sophie collecting last minute bits and pieces before class. I close my eyes and there is the murmur of a river of cars rolling down our street outside. I hear the front door open and close again. It must be getting late. I reach for my phone. It's only 9:14. My class is at 12 but it's in town and the bus takes about 30 minutes if it's on time, which it never is, so I have about – (a struggle with morning arithmetic) – an hour and a half.
I shuffle into the kitchen to the beat of morning traffic and check out my options. A slightly rubbery meat pie left out overnight, a half eaten box of chocolate cookies and a packet of chocolate frogs, mostly intact. I notice the bench is also covered with breadcrumbs, which is annoying because I'm constantly telling everybody to clean up after themselves, and everybody says yes, it's a good idea, but as soon as I leave the room they transform into pigs. Suddenly I'm in one of my dreams again, and my house mates are giant malicious pigs trying to kill me with poison pie, drown me with breadcrumbs, feed me toxic chocolate. No wonder I'm sick.
I pick up the pie and throw it in the bin. I fill my hands with oranges, take a sharp serrated knife and kill them all, slicing through their bellied skin, leaving them severed and halved on the chopping board. Then I squeeze them, squeeze them all, my fingers twisting the fleshy, orange meat. I want every last drop. I throw all the rinds in the bin and drink the liquid slowly, thinking how good it must be for my throat. I put my cup down and say “Freshly squeezed orange juice,” out loud a few times, because it feels good. Today I will get better. I say that out loud too. Then I grab my lunch bag and raid the fridge for healthy food. I find an apple, a pear, some ham and cheese and two whole potatoes, left over from last nights dinner. Then I turn to the cupboard, and discover Sophie's new store of corn crackers, almonds and sunflower seeds. I help myself to these. I butter the corn crackers and layer the ham and cheese between them like sandwich filling. I cover the potatoes in glad wrap and put everything in the lunch bag....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Busking Impressions

Morning comes with a splintering of light and I am suddenly awake. My skin is prickling and there is a faint ringing in the air, as if the sun had just broken into the sky with a snap and the sound was still reverberating through my bedroom.
I slip out of bed in an instant, pull my curtains aside and slide my window all the way up.
Then I am still. I stand there, at the window, and watch. The sky is a wash of grey cloud ships, their bows dipped in gold. Colour is spreading across the whole valley, shining on shingles, lighting up white walls and casting pools of shadow behind them. I stand there for some time, listening to the sound of my breathing, the infrequent hum of early vehicles. In this moment I am calm, I am balanced, but I know this feeling will not last long.

My breakfast is rushed. I have a lot to do.

The day is full. The soles of my shoes are hot from rushing about so.

Now it is five o'clock and I take a shower. I take out my brown jeans, a blue jumper and a red scarf for the cold. Then I pick up my guitar.

The bus is 11 minutes late. The bus driver is a grey, thin faced lady who asks loudly for my ticket.
I explain that I have no ticket. I fish in my wallet and tell her I brought change for a ticket, and then discover I have none. I begin to apologise. I tell her I have no change, only a fifty dollar note.
'No shit,' she says, 'can't you read?' she says, and bangs her elbow on a sign by her seat:
I find a seat quickly.

Now it is six o'clock, and I'm sitting on the corner. Waiting is making me nervous. All I can think of is how funny I must look perched here on the rim of a garden, all wrapped up in my red scarf.
The air is fresh and the street is alive, humming with dinner conversation and pedestrian chatter. The guitar feels cold in my hands.
I plunk out a few notes. Across the road, an old man with a black moustache looks up from his table, scowls, and looks back down at his takeaway. My fingers wont move. Ironic, I think dully, all that practice and now I’ll screw it up in front of an old fart who's not even interested.
I adjust my scarf and flex my fingers across the strings, plucking softly so I can hear what I sound like before Mr. Moustache gets a chance to yell abuse.
Slowly, I begin; forcing soft notes out of the reluctant nylon. I begin to sing, but my voice is thin and reedy, its like singing through a long tube stuffed with tissues.
I grit my teeth and brace my shoulder against the wood, curling my fingers and pulling them back and forth, back and forth, building a light thrumming sound. The strings begin to warm in my hands, and I start to play louder, faster; thick throbbing chords of sound. And now I am singing, and I don't care who's listening. I am singing and my voice is floating in the air as my fingers are flying back and forth, back and forth, like spiders legs dancing on nylon strands of sound. Colour is filling the courtyard, shining on shingles, lighting up faces. In the midst of music I am calm, I am balanced.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Dark Steel

Read this and thought it was worth remembering. I have spent a great deal of my waking thoughts doing this very thing for myself...

"To do for yourself the best that you have it in you to do- to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worst - is, by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed."

-Frederick Buechner

How beautiful that there is one who would do the other thing for me!

Breath of a Soldier

I will never surrender.
If my blood is to be spilt,
If my heart is to be broken,
I will bleed to the end,
Before this fortress will be breached.

I will take up my sword
And buckle my shield
I will not yield,
I will not yield.

I will follow my King beyond Hades Gates,
Through the vale of death,
Though I stumble and fall,
I will rise and rise again,
I will rise and rise again,
I will rise and rise again,
If I bleed to the end,
I will rise and rise again,
And never surrender.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Written by Chris Phillips and Gilbert Walker


Please don't use, please don't use me more than once.
Because I, because you because we're all disposable Where are you?

Come with me to the sea,
and we'll swim in the ocean blue
I'll wait for you...
Come with me to the sea,
Come with me to the sea...

I am lost in the dark, broken hands, broken heart,
Now I'm stuck in my mind, in a place I can't find
By myself on the shelf, throw me out I'm beyond repair... Are you there?

Please don't use, please don't use me more than once.
Because I because you because we're all disposable

Why do you hesitate? Come now you cannot wait
Why are you standing still stuck by the window sil?

I am cold, I am scared, all alone unprepared
Smoke in the atmosphere, waiting for it to clear
So I can see blue sky (again)

Wake up dead man, Wake up dead man
Wake up dead man, pick up yourself again
Wake up dead man, recycle yourself again

Suddenly you can see what it means to be
Suddenly you can see what it means to be

Pick me up, if you can understand take my hand
Use me once, use me twice, use me three times disposable....

Come with me to the sea!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

There is a kind of music pulsing in the heart of every human.
A creative energy quietly whispering to the mind of man.
If you listen very closely, as quiet as you can
You can coax it onto paper or weave it into a melody.

My God he calleth in the glen.
His voice is soft
He calls again
I want to obey
But I can barely hear a whisper
Though I know he loves me,
loves me still.

Surreal paths over a dark void
many roads, many journeys
a strange light that comforts
and leads me on, through the darkness.

Lord are you there?
Can you hear my aching heartbeat?
Can you feel these tears of waiting
I am waiting, I am waiting
My soul is longing for that other place
The place where I can be with you.

When I get there
The tears you wipe away
are tears of joy
of pain answered.

I can't hear you Lord
I can't see you

I know you're there.
Reach out to me
Touch me.

Where is the hand of God?
Where is the horn that was blowing?
The Sons of Gondor are spent
The kingdom lies in ruin.

My ears cannot hear you
My eyes cannot see you
where are you oh Lord?
Are you inside of me?

Where have you gone?
Why did you leave us?

We're just dancing in the dust
your shadow touched

How long now?
How long now?

These desires are burning,
burning out forever into space
searching, searching, searching for a place, for a home
the Father's house to call my own

Suicide knocks gently at the edges of my mind

would not the eternal question be answered?

Alas 'tis my lot to live

and struggle through the darkness

To the light I know

but have never seen in all its glory.

I know my feet are on the right path

But God that's all I know

or is it?

I'm following the way

but I'm a blind man

Looking this way and that

for signposts others see

Why can't I see?
Why can't I see?

open my eyes
open my eyes
open my eyes

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Newcastle Blues

Listless limbs
Lounge on the sofa
A still body of emptiness.
Tired breath
No energy
But I want to do something
Make something, break something.
What to do? What to do?
Too tired to play a game with people
But I want to have some fun
Fun, fun, fun
No, you need a rest.
Forget the rest
Motivation like a stagnant lake of petrol.
No fire, no igniting flame.
Everything's the same.
Same, same, same.
Relax. Sleep some more?
Read a book?
Too much effort.
I know - I'll hire a movie.
But I've already seen all the good ones.
So I'll hire something I've never heard of.
But then it's bound to be crap.
Crap, crap, crap.
Maybe I'll eat something.
Microwave a pie, make some toast.
That was delicious.
Now what?
Listless limbs.
Lounge on the sofa.
A still body of emptiness.
Tired breath
No energy
But I want to do something.