When I was a little girl. When I lived there. When I was cross-legged inside voluminous leather headphones. When I threw a ball against the kerb. When I walked around Laura Ashley and thought how beautiful everything looked. When I was wishing for the first time somebody dead. When I found myself deceiving someone I venerated. When I found myself sitting by the brook smoking one after the other. When I walked the back way. When I used unfamiliar words in the wrong place. When I closed the bathroom cabinet mirrors around my face. When I was sitting up there. When I stood behind the curtain. Stop. When I lay in the bath. When I walk for many miles. When I stand in a gallery. When I stand at the kitchen sink. Stop. When I closed my eyes. When I leant against a wall and opened my mouth. When I stood on a train platform and closed my eyes. When I opened my mouth. When I faced a tree. When I leant back on a bank of earth. When I closed my eyes and opened my mouth. When I held onto a tree. When I sank into a bank of earth. When I opened. When I felt myself sinking. When I opened my eyes. When I was holding. When I got on a train. When I was sinking. Stop. When I stood in a gallery. When I stood in these stately gardens. When I looked down that supermarket aisle. When I reached to adjust a person’s hair. When I sat opposite. Stop. When I was at the window. When I was no age at all. When I left early the following morning. When I worked in a bakery. When I was in the taxi. Stop. When I was a little girl. Stop. When I was on the patio. When I was wearing a leotard. When I stood on a chair in the middle of the kitchen. Stop. When I threaded red wool through a yoghurt pot. When I stuck dried beans into white Plasticine. When I baked cheese straws. When I took the shell. When I was in the sun. Stop. When I went back the next day for my make-up bag. When I tried on a pair of shoes. When I rescheduled an appointment. When I borrowed a dress. When I left lipstick in my jeans and put them into wash. When I tried to give directions to where I live. When I realised the bookcase was better where it was. Stop. When I think about the lawn. When I think about people listening. When I see myself standing. When I picture the glass of water close to hand. When I receive the smell of grass just before I say the first line. When I look up. Stop. When I imagine two people in another country having dinner. When I imagine two people in another country going abroad. When I imagine one person in another country waiting for someone who is also in that country and not very far away. When I imagine two people in another country talking while entering a square room. When I do this often. When I do this again. Stop. When I explained to my friend what had happened. When I walked by that house near the estuary. When I saw a metal spiral staircase. When I wrote about that house near the estuary with a metal spiral staircase. When I stood on the other side of the water and watched myself enter and climb up the stairs. Stop. When I am like this. When I am in France again. When I am thinking about maps. When I lend books. When I go to the beaches. When I walk back from the laundry room. When I see the moon last thing. When I notice hands. Stop. When I told my friend about the disconnection. When I poured wine from my glass into another glass. When I broke actually. When I saw the waitress approach. When I hid my face. When I saw I had failed actually. Stop. When I read back through. When I cut and paste. When I sit for a long time. When I imagine someone somewhere must know what I am doing. When I realise that nobody anywhere knows what I am doing. Stop. When I take a towel off my head. When I feel as if English is not in fact my first language. When I feel myself tapering and this other ontological effect emerging to replace me. When I prod the fire apart. When I try to steer clear. When I see my eyes. When I order myself to not worry about where a thing goes or what happens after. When I fake indifference to uncertainty. When I find myself disrupted by admonishing sentences that rise up. When I commend myself on momentarily arresting excruciating patterns of thought. When I feel myself begin to tremble. When I come into the house. Stop. When I stand for a moment. When I feel I could go either way. When I find some activity that intervenes for a period of time. When I hang a towel on the shower door. When I move a stool across the room. When I feel my mind still in the habit of reaching to close distance. When I feel my mind bringing unwanted things nearer. When I feel myself helpless before habits that were formed during a time that befitted them but which are now no longer of relevance. When I try to push it all into this one small space. When I replace one word with another. When I see the meaning does not change. When I read back through and delete some things. When I wonder if it makes sense actually. When I recognise it cannot make sense actually. When I hope that regardless of not making sense it is in some way engaging. When I consider the word engaging vague and inadequate and actually somehow distasteful. When I suspect that every line is not an effort in disclosure but a barricade. When I wish I could do this differently. When I accept that there is no other way. When I feel myself on the verge. When I look past the computer screen. When I drink some beer. When I resent the difficulty and the precision. When I am nostalgic for losing control and going to oblivion. When I cannot go further than this. When I resolve that in future I will travel as far as is necessary to stand and show what is happening to me directly. When I begin to feel claustrophobic because being here becomes more difficult but I can’t leave until I’ve reached an end. When I see that no end waits. When I realise I must pick a moment. When I reject the idea that the end of the year is a good moment. When I consider the idea that a good moment must be an ordinary moment. When I try to conflate an ordinary moment with something that doesn’t exist. When I resolve to participate more in reality. When I consider the word reality vague and distrustful and actually quite distasteful. Stop. When I break things down. When I am so concentrated on breaking things down I no longer have available resources to feel. When I no longer feel and am solely attempting to reconcile bewildering discrepancies. When I have successfully contrived a severe mental landscape where the human image cannot append. When I am satisfied that I have done this long enough. When I have succeeded in atomising everything beyond recognition. When I utterly subordinate what is in my heart to what I can do with my mind. When I no longer know what is in my heart. When I have used my mind to break things down to the extent that the things in my heart are vanquished. When I become aware of my vanquished heart. When I lean back in a chair. When I smoke one more. When I put a hand first on my wet hair then on my clean face. When I notice my hair is longer now. When I suspect the end will have nothing to do with cessation. When finally my hair falls to my shoulders. When my hand drifts away. When I look in the other direction. When I see myself sitting next to a fountain. When I do that it’s like feeling time fall back. Time falls back and there is a spider on the wall near the window.
It is very quiet and the fire has sunk. I’ve played a song I like very much but haven’t heard for a while several times. I’m listening to it now.
The spider’s body is huge.
I like how my skin is feeling. I like how my hand is there and my gaze is here.
My friend who lives nearby is always seeing foxes. I haven’t seen any.
I wonder where they are.
I wonder if there are any badgers. I wonder what being inside the earth feels like.
I rub a leaf.
Put my hand into the plant pot. Prod the soil.
I look at my fingers and see a dark line of soil beneath the nails.
Tomorrow, in the morning, I will go to the laundry room and see if my sheets are dry.
It is beautiful and terrifying to wake up.