My cheeks are hollowed out by the drums in my head

  • Sunday, April 11, 2021
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“I don't feel particularly proud of myself. But when I walk alone in the woods or lie in the meadows, all is well.” 

(Franz Kafka)

I am idle, a little sore from yesterdays run and I am thinking about colour. I love the colour of Rust. Of Ochre, Umber, Sienna and straw, head high and Yellow. For Blue give me big sky. Beneath my naked feet I want the squirt of Red dust and sharp bone White thorn. For rain I'll give you Silver. Unless you are a dove you can keep Grey, I'm not fond of it. These colours are the pegs where I hang my nostalgia, textured hooks full of comfortable old clothes.

These are the extent of my thoughts. I’m sprawled in my garden, my cheeks are hollowed out by the drums in my head and a lone dove is staring at me from the neighbours garden. Above me are the clouds of my enemies and the universal sun. I feel it burning my legs and wonder if I can take my shirt off. The Cherry Blossom sighs and there is a single white feather between my feet. I have been lazy, held back by the snakebite of pain in my right Achilles but I need to run now and stop thinking and writing. I especially need to stop thinking. Time is invisible, sliding silently towards me, the year slipping through my fingers, transparent and unrestrained. In my eyes the stars are winking out one by one.


Winter has been dull and I have become anxious. The world is mad, probably no more mad than it has ever been or shall be but I seem to be thinner skinned. I need control. Pain is my remedy but perhaps instead I will find it in Spring. April is the cruellest month, TS Elliot wrote, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. It is the month where we are crucified with outstretched arms between the seasons, dying but not yet resurrected. 


In my dreams I am always hung between worlds, belonging to neither one nor the other.


I hope my body is on the mend. My six mile run yesterday was the easiest I've felt over any distance for nearly a year. This is the moment to build, the woods are drying out and the temperatures rising. I need to prove that the rumours of my collapse are exaggerated. I have only one skin and it is rarely comfortable, it is either too loose, getting caught on irrelevance or too claustrophobic and I cannot breath. My answer is to start again. I have been thinking that the keys to a simpler life are minimalism and self reliance. 

I am at ground zero in so many ways so I will start again, with my body, with my friends, my job and my soul. I am going to reduce the noise in my life, the things that distract. I shall have less, do less and pursue colour.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and stoic said that the soul becomes dyed with the colour of it's thoughts. Do my thoughts contain colour or do I think death? It is an interesting question, my thoughts being powerful enough to define me. I have knelt too long beneath the tattered flag of a monochrome landscape that I was told flowed with milk and honey. 

They lied.


I have been running, my beads bouncing like rain against my throat. I follow the spoor of the ancient Anglo Saxons who once lived in these stony woods, leaping dongas filled with tiny trickling tributaries, sticks and mud and choose narrow paths between earthy banks and fallen mossy trees. I gather the sun and hold it against my breast like a child, seeking clarity in the midst of natures poetry. I am a captive on the conquered earth, running with deliberation and open eyes. Like the Stoics and the Aboriginals I live in each moment as it happens, rooted in the colour of the natural world surrounding me. I cast off the rags of my endeavours, breath on the embers of hope and drown in grace. Beneath my naked feet I want the squirt of Red dust and sharp bone White thorn. This is my only way out.




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