I’m Volunteering My Services

Appreciate this is not a particularly entertaining blog post from me but I’d like to give something back to the world to make both the world, and me, feel good. Plus I’m bored of sitting at a computer all day. So if anyone can help with advice/suggestions they’ll be eternally appreciated (if they’re good, otherwise only the thought will count):

I will be in London for a couple of months soon and was wondering if anyone knew any volunteer companies/projects that might want a writer/reader/story teller? I’ve also done a lot of comedy improvisation, so I don’t know, maybe that too. I’m talking one-to-one human contact here, no cyber-causes please. Would rather word of mouth recommendations if poss as Internet too daunting and boring. Thank you!

Please get me on trippingoverwhippets@gmail.com if you do x x x x

 

Here I am learning to read. Now I am fully trained and can read all of Harry Potter by myself …

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Long

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Today I saved over something
that took me
two and a half hours to write
with a blank document —
it felt like breaking up with someone.

 

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Motherisms: The Great Escape …

 

I know. It’s Valentine’s Day, I’m so sorry. It is now as inevitable as Death, there is no escape from its cellophane-wrapped clutches. BUT, don’t worry if you don’t have someone to say something nice to you, or someone to buy you a fake pearl/bad watch/silk boxers/teddybear. Remember you always have your friends and family, who love you. Why not say something nice to them, as well as your beloved? Why not use today to be really nice and loving to everyone in your life instead of hoping for a bunch of roses and some chocolates rich enough to fill the hole.

These are all the nice things mum and I have been saying to each other over the last few months …..

 

I walk in to mums flat, she’s moving house and boxes are everywhere in preparation for the move. As I come into the kitchen I see her bent over and wrestling with some very thick masking tape in her mouth …

Me: What are you doing …?

Mum: It’s Chinese New Year, you can’t use scissors.

Me: Oh …

Mum: Yes. Bit of shame we’re moving today but there we go …

 

I want an animal. I have wanted one for 10 years. The quest continues …

Me: We have to get a dog. Or any sort of pet, but really, specifically a dog. They lower heart disease by 78%.

Mum: Yes I know they do darling but I can’t have one now anyway.

Me: I’ve started stroking them on the street now, just to get a fix.

Mum: No, I do Hatha yoga. Much cleaner.

 

Mum’s playing a CD in the car, I haven’t heard it since our first house. Turns out niether’s mum …

Me: Who is this? We used to play this all the time. I love him

Mum: You know, I can’t remember …

Mum ejects the CD so we can look (we’re stationary, don’t worry beackseaters) …

Mum: Bruce Coben

I’ve read it, that’s not what it said. Mum must have terrible eyesight, poor old woman, she can’t read anymore …

Me: Bruce COCKBURN

Mum: COBURN, it’s pronounced CO-BURN. Cockburn …. Jesus.

 

Mum’s moved in to a new place that has, shall we say, the ‘capacity’ for an older person. This means a lovely walk-in power-shower and a strange array cords dangling from the ceiling, neither of us are sure of their purpose. I am bored, so I reach for one to see what will happen …

Mum: Don’t pull that! God knows what it does.

I don’t. But examine it suspiciously.

Mum: We’ll spray them all silver …

Me: No, gold remember, for warmth.

Mum: Yes good. I’ll just say my daughter is a very famous artist and got carried away. Do apologise.

 

Mum’s talking about something I’ve written. She is getting carried away …

Mum: You could channel the spirit of the late Brian Sewell … very underestimated.

Me: I feel I’ve done underestimated.

 

Mum is putting on some makeup, she looks infinitely more presentable than I do, but is not happy with the results …

“Oh god. This is it. What Shakespeare said: sans teeth, sans eyes … sans bloody everything.”

 

Mum is on the phone to her friend. They’re talking about the recent engagement between Jerry Hall and babe-magnet Rupert Murdoch. Mum appears to have some interesting theories on the union …

Mum: I think he’s a reptile. I think she’ll come into their room on their wedding night and he’ll be there, sitting in a big chair, a huge reptile with his lizard claws, waiting …

There’s a pause …

Mum: Yeah I’d do it for £10 billion.

 

We’re discussing our new-found saintliness ….

Mum: I’ve lost my capacity to drink large amounts of wine

Me: I’ve lost the desire to.

Mum: Yes the desire to. Like port though …

Me: Me too. Lots.

Mum: Got to keep away from that, too much and it’ll make you fat … and give you gout.

Me: Noted.

 

It’s a few months ago now and Mum’s on the phone to my godfather. They’re talking about the presidentatial election (not in depth). Mum is struggling to remember who the “cool, old guy” is. I can’t help but offer some assistance …

Me: Bernie Sanders.

Mum: Jade’s telling me it’s Bernie Sanders. Apparently she keeps a note of my political preferences.

Me: No, I’m not keeping note. I just know who he is.

Mum starts making a variety of childish faces at me in response.

 

It’s Christmas and we’re all watching Downton Abbey – mum and I are used to chatting through TV shows like this. Today, we’re not allowed, because it turns out we aren’t as enteratining. Mum is struggling, and just can’t keep her mouth shut. The butler has come down to give the well-to-doers some news …

American Lady: Where’s Lady Edith?

Mum: Tripwire me lady.

 

Mum has a love-hate relationship with The Archers. I just have mild distain (but affection for the theme tune). It is on, as it is at 7pm every night of our lives …

Mum: Come on!!!

Archers: I think I need a cup of tea …

Mum: Well go and have one!!!

Archers: Just cleaning up the workshop …

Mum: Oh for crying out loud. I hoped Rachel would stay in New Zealand.

Archers: These cows, when I look at them …

Me: … I get aroused.

Archers: They’re like family.

Mum: Yes. Great. Another bloody homily of cows! Get on with it. Let’s have a murder for once!

 

We’re settling down to some well-deserved television:

Mum: Ah now this is Bear Grylls who’s fallen in love with a lunatic …

I laugh, knowingly …

Me: It’s Ben Fogle and Rich Hall ….

I realize 45 minutes later that, it is indeed Ben Fogle, but it’s not Rich Hall, it is a mad man who lives in a swamp.

 

Mum is looking through the Style magazine in the papers, which I now loath.  It’s turned into Mizz. But anyway …

Mum: I do wish these girls would learn to cover up one day.

Me: They will soon, I told you, Dolce and Gabanna have started making hijabs.

Mum: Oh, dear …

Me: I might get one, a hijab. As an act of rebellion …

Mum: Mmm … I won’t discourage this, you’ve always looked great in a veil.

 

Mum’s complaining about the youth of today, as usual. I agree with her but like to pick holes, for picking holes sake …

Mum: Smart phone, dumb people.

Me: And there’s you begging me for my smart phone.

Mum: Well you can fuck your fucking smart phone.

 

Mum is talking about the cold draft that comes into flat. Apparently this has something to do with squirrels …

“Now you see, squirrels have an extra layer of fat to get them through the winter …  the little bastards.”

 

We are reconvening mid-week and discussing anything interesting we have come across. Mum is first …

Mum: There’s an article in The Times about teenage feminist boys …

Me: I’ve seen it. I’ve never seen so much bullshit in all my life. The title and pull quotes were enough.

Mum: One must be aware of the bullshit.

Me: Yeah, I’m aware of it, I’m just not willing to engage in 6 pages of it .

Mum: Yes no, fair enough ….I wasn’t either.

 

It’s the Archers again ….

Archers: Can I share something with you?

Archers: What?

Me: Pull my finger  …

Mum: Oh don’t be so ridiculous jade. Shush now.

A pause …

Archers: There’s something I want to do …

Mum: Suck your dick.

Me: Mum!!!!!

Mum: You wait …

(She’s a little graphic, but as usual, correct.)

 

 

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Tracing Eights

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Our room overlooked the museum, the stone Ashmolean

with Apollo on the roof, blind to the woman watching from the warm

on the opposite side. His bare chest white in the dark.

I wonder if he knows I’ve grown a heart-shaped mole on mine,

right above my heart. I don’t stop to wonder why.

I watch his arms, rigid in another gale, holding stead-fast with his invisible staff.

How exhilarating to feel such golden solidity;

the intangible goal for those like me, who used to be so weak.

 

Old glass windows without their second glaze let in a breeze,

that pulls at the sounds of Rome from so long ago. Those old bones,

dragged in again through the holes, I turn the bolt.

Should not be god stalking, the wind is probably a warning.

I’m sure this life shouldn’t feel quite so transitory. Like it’s already gone,

I’m just watching it all, watching myself punch above my own weight,

always expecting different but behaving the same. Like this finger of mine

forever tracing an eight. Then again I suppose, it could be the green …

 

I race the lazy star to rise, and then at first light go outside.

Here I am, sand stone-faced buildings, do you like what you see?

I am the greatest unfulfilled-dream depository!

I spy the Big Issue seller, not far from me, I suppose he deserves your attention,

but if you’ve any to spare … The main problem being:

I’ll cry out for something, even if it’s not there. Do I need help?

No thanks. I write myself the finest tragedies, honour killing every dream.

If you like gruesome, then I think you’ll like me.

 

Gusts of pigeons remind me of when I watched the gulls swirl,

as many as the souls who’d just left the earth. But that was another day, another life.

Not here, not mine, not as I trace this zig-zagged line,

carved into a tomb door – sand stone, like the walls I passed through just before.

Apparently pharos would write their prayers, then drink the ink

from the Papyrus. Makes sense. Could be why I’m so short of breath,

still chocking on some ancient wish. Now, I’m embalmed in eternity,

mummified in plain sight, in nothing but sky. But that’s fine;

because my mother told me moonbeams make the best sarcophagi.

Yes, I’ve lied. Now just take what you please.

 

Have you had a good think? So what do you say?

It’s never the things you think that get you. So come play

a little further down the rabbit hole, I have a warren of old songs I used to sing,

I would like to hear you play. To see my shoulder blade in the half light, but I can’t,

and now the world is on fire. Do you have any water

to save the Arundel marbles? To save me from burning,

on this transit with Venus across the sun. I did it for love.

I did it for Apollo in December. We all did it all for that tangled, strangled stuff,

that twists in our guts like the gnarls of a tree. As if somehow it matters

what it all means.

 

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Forever Cinderella

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Sleepless in your reason, trying to leave your mind behind,
The Big Dipper out your window, talks you through your lines.
You have the theatre of the earth and the language of the stars
And yet, your mind still lingers on the rush of passing cars.

I can see you’re tired, the lines around your eyes
Circular as pomegranates, tilted by your smile.
No goose feathers beneath your cheeks, you miss those broken wings.
I know why you can’t sleep, your dreams just miss their cornicing.

Forever Cinderella, the fate of girls who lust,
Drenched in fortunes armor, like Sisyphus you sweep the dust.
Does he still remember you, the cloud that broke the blue,
After all the other rooms that he’s been passing through?

That rush outside’s an XR2.

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The Yard

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Heavy, satin air rustles gilt, silky stars above my landlocked heart.

In the thickness of the night I feel bold and in control, the brief commander of my soul.

My courage pulled by counter lever, weighted by the moon.

The safety of the ground beneath wipes the slate clean, I lie back and breath.

The north wind brings new memories, there are fractions of orange crabs scattered along the beach if you walk with me.

I was wed with synchronicities.

 

As the light slips in, pale and thin and blue,

When the bold heat has passed, hammering another plane,

And the birds begin to sing, of regrets and other things,

A sadness in me grows as if blossomed by their song.

We were infinite possibilities, limitless in routine.

Faded by the grey I stand mute and tied by actions, anchored in the fray.

Still chasing peace.

So I think of you at dawn and absorb my own catastrophe.
 
 
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