Tuesday, 19 July 2011

No. 005042

It’s late on Monday night. My trousers have mud-prints down each leg. My hair has started to weave itself into dreadlocks. My nails have small pieces of campsite dirt stuck in the corners. A cloth wristband – fastened with a pressed metal ring – is still attached to my left wrist. Beneath my eyes there are long, inspired days and late, inspired nights. This is the Latitude effect.

It’s left my mind impregnated with ideas. Glowing germs on a soil sky, waiting to grow into sparks. Waiting to shower and scatter onto the blank land. Scorch words into the grass. This is what matters. This is what you search for. This is what (once found) you want to keep. You want to seal it inside a Tupperware tub and freeze it. You want to tuck it at the back of your sock drawer. You want to lock it. Alarm it. Put an electric fence around it. You want it to stay. Forever.

But it leaves, forgets to close the door on the way out. A draught stirs the dust. Particles of doubt stand themselves up tall. Look menacing. Fear dots every unwritten ‘i’, crosses every unwritten ‘t’. And you wonder. You wonder if it is gone without a goodbye. Another once defined face chiselled by the water. Unrecognisable. Lost to a sea of strangers. Murky. Blue. Green. Bottles. No coastline. An expanse of bobbing corks and glass. Unread. A smudged ‘return to’ address. Everything says it shouldn’t come back...

...And when you want it to, it usually doesn’t. It plays the stroppy teenager better than Harry Enfield. It can make a game of hide-and-seek last days, even weeks. It can push invisible pins into your eyes. Cause a pen to click for an hour without pause. Force you to stare at emptiness as if it contained something profound. It’ll bring you to the ground. Have you pleading like a Lib Dem canvassing for votes. Nothing. It refuses to be bought with promises. It makes you wait. With no guarantee.

101 hours ago I walked into the poetry tent at Latitude. Found that thing you just want to keep. Packed it in my backpack. Brought it home. For the moment, at least.

Thank you for reading,



Ashley R Lister said...


You and Shaun make it sound like an essential event for any poet's calendar. One of these years I'm going to have go.


Ste said...

'Leaves and forgets to close the door on the way out' too true. And when it comes back it doesn't wipe its feet either!