Friday, April 28, 2006

A link

This is a blog written by a homeless woman who lives in a car in woods near London. It's been running since February and the earliest entries are the place to start.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


For a moment it seemed like a battle of wills. The crow was in the road ahead, pulling a string of red flesh out of the squirrel, showing every sign of serene preoccupation. I wondered whether I'd have to slow down. At the last second the crow made a couple of lazy flaps to the side of the road. By the time I could fix him in my rear-view mirror, he was back on his food.

It's surprising how rarely you see a squashed crow (or rook or magpie or jackdaw). But what really impresses me isn't their road safety record as such - good as it is, they probably get run over more often than humans. What's really impressive is that it's so good even though they seem completely unaware that eating your food on the public highway puts you in danger.

When human beings don't know they're in danger, it usually means something bad's about to happen. - which is why you never take your eye off your toddler in the street. The toddler hasn't yet learnt about all the anxiety and mental tension that's required to be safely around road traffic, so we have to do that part for her. The crow seems to be in the same blissfully anxiety-free state as the toddler, - only the crow doesn't seem to get killed.

I suppose crows just instinctively take flight when any large object comes into their personal space. They couldn't not do it if they tried, and it probably doesn't even break their train of thought. So danger doesn't really come into it..

Still, granted that this wonderful road-sense is mainly just blind instinct, the behaviour of these Corvidae keeps reminding me - disquietingly, in a way, - of human beings. They seem intelligent and they seem intelligent in a human kind of way, if you see what I mean.

I think this must be related to their scavenging, opportunistic way of life. There are birds, like kestrels, who go out and make things happen. Kestrels are fine-tuned and ultra-skilled, but you sense they lack mental elbow-room.

Crows don't make things happen; mostly, they sit around waiting for someone else to make something happen. With a reporter's nose they have to develop a sense of when and where that might be. They watch the world in an unexclusive manner. When they see something, they have to decide if it could be good for them. These kind of fuzzy deliberations are one of the things about crows that remind me of humans.

And then, there's the social side. That's two-fold. First there's all that waiting, which promotes leisure and company. Secondly, when the nutritious event occurs there's often too much food for one individual. Crows don't usually need to be secretive and jealous, in fact have developed many tolerances. You can imagine their gallows humour, hunched over a bar fire.

Watching a blowy rookery as the light dims is a joyous sight. There is nothing alternative about a rook's lifestyle, so far as I know. But these very conventional families love to live all over each other and to roam loudly back and forth on pointless trips. It's like watching a housing estate with all the roofs off, or like when we stay on a campsite. Then, the trampled grass lanes, the streetlife that we spontaneously create as we join each other's barbecues - yes, that in particular reminds me of a rookery.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

brief history - latest

Entries on a couple more British poets, a particularly pleasing juxtaposition I think...

J.H.Prynne, Her Weasels Wild Returning
Moniza Alvi, poems from 1993...

Also posted on Intercapillary Space

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Oh my god, sang the stones, wheeling across them, no sooner than I thought it.

I was doing 70 - ish - and almost bung on the wheel. Calm down, calm down, I assured myself all round. This is good. I'll just pull the journey by one side, nothing to do for twenty miles anyhow.

It was the cold spring had made me think. Anyhow, it had been waiting a dozen years; but you can't ever forget words of that nature.

When I got to the nub I saw how vague it was in my mind now. I thought there would be one wood and eventually I narrowed it down to four.

Others have merely died,
Their genes dust in their gods' sawdust...

The first was Long Wood, larched and cratered, studded with cartridges. The 2nd was Ivy Wood, shining in its own rust. The 3rd was Eye Wood, mainly a drift of starry celandines. As each showed its true colours a stab of enjoyment (if you can call it that, but so it was) broke into my sleep.

The fourth wood was different. It was heavy with wood anemone and wild garlic and it was Primary, - so I thought maybe I was on it now. It was Shytte and Strewn Bogroll Wood, too. This was in the armpit of an old crossroads. The crossroads was barren and it was one of those stations in a long journey when you face up to things.

But it wasn't "Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem", that hypothetically common name that tells you everything about the none-impact of Gagea lutea on British culture. The older books, more frankly, just call it "Yellow Gagea". This scarce, reclusive plant has never made any mark.

I reach towards what has never made any mark; I believe we can have an honest relationship.

What I remembered about G. lutea was, 1. It is rare. 2. It is easy to overlook. 3. It flowers in April. 4. It rarely flowers. 5. It grows among lesser celandines and looks exactly like them.

These cheering thoughts (not precisely true, by the way) sent me home content at 19:00, to have only stretched my eyes on miles of serpentine quilt.

I was almost as content (a few days later) when I finally made it inside Camber Castle (a dream emplacement, it floats somewhere down in the marsh country and every so often you catch a glimpse of it and you can hardly believe it exists because there's no roads to it) - and yet failed to locate the Wall Germander which is long-documented here.

Others have merely died, I hummed, I rubbed my hands around the floor of that ocean, hand-washing, as you might say, caressingly.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

yesterday people

(Catches sight of the word BOGNOR upside-down and misreads it as BONGOR. Thinks about this for a while.)

Now read this. (flash slam) What did it say?


(Triumphantly turns it right way up: it says PEAHCES. Thrilled.)

    Today's Mon-day!
    Today's Mon-day!
    Is everybody happy?
    You bet your life we are!

God everyone would give you such a wide berth if you were on your own. - Right: these are going, I mean there's Relax and there's looking like crap.

    I need now to speak of myself as
    well as these swamp wattle flowering

Oh you didn't eat your shorters! Why don't you have it now. (annoying)

Because I can't open it.

(Opens it. Eats. Plane comes to a complete stop. People unclunk and get up in the gangway.)

    Collins Spanish orange block
        yesterday evening people
        sprinted, rain fell, floodlit
    daffodil yellow, green tea.
        people struggled with a poster,
    to pin it up. How much air there is,
    all over the sea, both sides of a fence.

Did she tell you off about it? Hey, do you ever dream you're fucking your sister?

No. (proper and slightly offended)

Well I do.

(shocked) You do?!

Yes, yes... Actually I've fucked your sister several times..

You cunt..

Ah, that was a good one..

    I'm glittering out in my words,
    I'm letting them say so.

    Look at these stanzas!
    He just doesn't care.

It was like walking across an ice-rink that sloped and I really didn't want to lose my footing, it just disappeared over the side. But what was amazing was seeing the flurry come at us across the tops. We looked down through it, and the lake turned buttermilk yellow. And oh yeah that's right, five seconds before it hit us these two ravens appeared from nowhere, dropped down right beside us on the ridge.

But yours wasn't a real mountain. More likely just a hillock.

(We carry on reading about crampons, snow-holes, etc)

People talk the same way about childbirth. Romanticised versions of hell.

    their swathe of flawless yellow -
        so many yellows!
    genitive seas [ran foaming] into
         spaces in shadowless morning
    came without saying a word
    a crush of sea-cousins lay down
        in the flawless & yellow gardens
    the purple & pleasant spicy leaves
    the brown & obstinate pods
        in sight of ledges sight of sea

I think it was longer than that.

Yes, I think I may have done it an injustice.

You sounded just like Roy Cropper then.

Shop stewart, a pair of lobbers

    arms folded & legs crossed - don't show any prongs!
    They'll stick kebabs on you!

I've got so much to say!

I know, you never shut up.

I mean in my book...

Oh, and that's it, is it? .. "CUT!"?

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