Tuesday, 21 December 2010

another story



Wednesday, 21 July 2010

some more things placed in various places




Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Middleman

Story I wrote up at Kill Author:



Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Other things


Friday, 7 May 2010

There is a small section of double-yellow lines along Oxford Road, just in front of where the Mathematics building used to be, where some leaves...

There is a small section of double-yellow lines along Oxford Road, just in front of where the Mathematics building used to be, where some leaves were trapped between road and roller while the paint was being applied.

And it's beautiful.

And it's that kind of knowledge that tells me what home should feel like.

When I have guests and they ask me what there is to see in Manchester I take them there.

We will be approaching the place and I'm all 'Here it comes' and 'Get ready!' and they are looking about them for a sign, for a flashing light, for a pointing arrow, for something larger than anything.

And then I point to the ground.

I'm jumping about now, reeling off stories about how I once did a double-take while riding my bicycle. About how I stopped and got off, lifted my bike up and onto the pavement. About how I came back and turned around and knelt down with my camera. About how I walked the length of these imprints of leaves, photographing each one in turn.

I point out my favourite.

I ask what they think, if they have ever seen anything as perfect as these.

And some of them do enjoy it, although some of them look at me strangely and ask the way to the museum.

I think that's how I know who my friends are. Or who they will be. I like the kind of people who appreciate the coincidental timing of the double-yellow lines being repainted and the falling of leaves.


look constantly

It is too easy to begin a text with the word 'I'. It is too easy to be looking constantly and killing minutes as if they meant nothing. It is too easy to be breaking life into smaller and smaller percentages until you are left with time in its most useless form; abstract pieces that are too soon over, that are too soon replaced by the next. It is too easy to land yourself with no reason. It is too easy to forget, to distract, to obsess. It is too easy to launch yourself into that charming future, with all its promise and possibility, with all its unending size and unexplored space. It is too easy to launch yourself into a dimension in which you hold no weight. It is too easy to run with your head three paces ahead of your frail shape (it is impossible). It is too easy to live one-hundred and seventy three centimetres above the ground (we are impossible), with a face in low clouds, advancing toward the future, breaking off (like time), breaking up (like people), becoming small and useless like human bodies when they start to shrink.


Monday, 26 April 2010

The Solar System

I could only ever like the night that was made of city lights
- that isn't pollution,
it's safety -
it's all the romance of twilight
for eight hours a day,
shattered across a thousand windows.

It's two degrees warmer when you're in the middle
of all that breathing, and the shadows
are smooth, inoffensive shapes.

It's one blanket less
per lamppost, per annum
as the light tends away from
toward a fine white sheet.

It's bringing the sun
that little bit closer,
so you don't have to sleep
so hard,
or so tightly,

or at all,


(i am trying to rest at a busy junction. eight lamps look at me lying there, like eight planets so close to the earth and all wanting the same thing)

April 2010


The only intimacy i ever felt
that came from me without impurities
was in crowded places. Trains,
nightclubs, the backs of taxis; that's the kind
of reciprocation i'm after. The one
that simply is what it is: a warm hand, a clammy palm
accidently resting on my thigh,
my fingers. I don't move
because i rarely get touched like this;
where neither one of us wants anything
(but i want everything,
i'm dreaming of this)
where neither one of us wants anything
and we're so blasé about our bodies
that we don't even notice we are

April 2010

Friday, 23 April 2010

Whole People

I wonder when it was that I began to have real thoughts. The kind of thoughts that men are made of. I wonder when it was that I began to think myself worthy of abstract contemplation. Because every time I look back I see a half-formed person convinced of wholeness,

trying to tell herself she is right about something. Trying to say to herself that one topic at least is completed, that she is definitely done with that one thought. Every time I look back I see an awkward child smacking around in some sand pit with a fistful of empty words;

words which by comparison make even the sand seem countable. I see a child profoundly howling. And she doesn't understand why her throat hurts. She's shouting across oceans, but sometimes she forgets to check which way the wind blows, and her words come back at her

fiercely. To remind her of those thoughts she thought she'd left behind. Thoughts she'd forgotten, and ones still being spouted. And she isn't sure which is worse. To believe in change, or to believe in one's convictions strongly enough to continue to say the same thing,

just more heavily edited. Controlled, like life. This is the house you show the visitors. But really, I'm still writing about how I haven't changed my socks in days. Or how I sleep in my clothes sometimes because nobody is looking anyway,

and even if they were I would persist. Because otherwise life would be too mundane. I only know how to escape in childish ways. To the backseat of recurring dreams. Where everything is discreet and vague, and I can pretend it doesn't mean anything. I pretend I don't remember

what I used to be like. It's easier if you don't connect the pieces, because each piece is the same shape. And you need only admire the colours. Like photographs. Where everyone is smiling and keeping their thoughts in place. Like real completed people. I don't know

when it happens. I am constantly waking up. Into what I think to be the real thing. I keep watching and the contrast of the past grows thinner. It becomes harder to see. It turns into a dream again. Of a person who isn't yet old enough for real thoughts.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Starboard Home

I'll run a mile when that boat gets here,

and we'll both be so sorry
we didn't stop to take photos
of the port.

April 2010.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Stationary Holes.

the long edge of the door,
the four corners of a rectangle -
sat by myself in the corner,
in the corner of one’s eye.

a chair in the garden,
a hole in the clouds.
Fixed in position;
a stationary sound.

a tall man in an overcoat,
a strange floating in her eyes,
a novel that moves slowly
throughout my million years.

a pair of hollow structures,
a crowding of indifferents:
my boots, my accomplishments
cover them with trees.

a bit more rest, a little
excited, an infection of the hand.
The tearing is a memory,
a memory of sounds.

i imagine motorway traffic,
i long for unmoving wholes -
a sudden light that made me
blink, a memory of sounds.

an overcoat that followed,
a noise twisting from the rooftops:
sat by myself in the corner,
not able to be moved.

the streaky pink marble,
the event that took place…
fold in the egg whites
fold in the egg whites.

(April 2006)

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Manchester: Falling in and out of love with asphalt.

There isn't another city of two million people that could feel so much like a village to me. There isn't another city that I want to apologise to so thoroughly for my absence.

There isn't another city whose air bowls me over - there is something in the water - I can feel the scent of Manchester in the rain; in the time just after, when the paving slabs shimmy with the noise of tiny stars; reflected from lampposts, passing cars, offices, derelict cinemas.

There isn't another city where I can gauge the angle of every road from every given location, where I can see how one part connects to another, where I can slot right into place with such ease.

There isn't another city where I can simultaneously stumble across three ex-boyfriends. There isn't another city where I can simultaneously so much want to stay and so much want to leave.

There isn't another city where I know my way from one end of a hospital to the other, where I have seen so many lines appear on faces and so many hairs fall out of heads. There isn't another city that has aged me, that I love and that I sometimes dread.

There isn't another city where I have an opinion about each new building, where every alteration of the skyline seems like a personal affront.

There isn't another city where every corner is soaked in memories, where somewhere beneath the rain and the piss I can be sure to find the trace of one or another of my life's momentous occasions. There isn't another city where every postcode is stamped into my genetic make-up, where every street sign rings alarm bells, where anonymity feels like such a stranger.

There isn't another city that I am able to remember in stages; where I can long for past buildings, old fields; where I can linger regretfully before bricked-up windows and remember where the glass used to be. There isn't another city so able to bulldoze the years, so easily able to flush out events I thought were imprinted. There isn't another city so quick to refresh, to annul, to alter my dreams.

There isn't another city that has made lies of so many photographs, that has redesigned itself in my eyes with such speed that is has me walking into walls, grabbing at absent railings, exerting such force onto revolving doors that have ceased to be. There isn't another city that has me lost in so many of its buildings; expecting chairs, finding fruit machines; expecting solidarity, finding movement.

There isn't another city that so often abandons me, denies my history. There isn't another city so content to be without me, so happy to carry on. There isn't another city I would so love to fling my arms around, to embed myself in its rotundas, to submit to its double yellow lines being pasted all over me.

There isn't another city where my feet feel so comfortable, where the tarmac becomes me, where the trees line my outfits. There isn't another city where I can wait in the dark and, wrong though it is, feel as though somehow these roads will protect me; where I can feel as though somehow the time I have spent here grants me immunity (my own city could not kill me).

And wrong though it is, I feel safety. I feel the strong beams of streetlights like warm blankets around me. I feel puddles. I hear sirens. I touch walls. Look at houses. I hear late night brawls and raising voices. I walk on and the city street curves beneath my paces. Nothing can touch me because I am in love with this city. I keep my eyes to the ground and my feet know exactly where to go.

There is no other city that so much resembles the shape of a human heart.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


I have spent six months now in this city and have watched its seasons change. I have watched the skies fade from blue to grey and the ground from green to white. I have watched the people wrapping themselves up, layer on top of layer. Throughout the winter I have watched coats and hats envelope freezing faces, and now I begin to see them fall away, faces thaw, eyes spreading out.

I have spent six months now in this city and I begin to know it. I begin to choose my favourite roads, my favourite walls, my favourite times of day. I settle into a different pace of life, into a distant routine; a routine built from a job and a street I call home and a small bag of things I brought from England. I write the story of my days here, and my habits are all chosen.

I have spent four months sheltering in an attic watching the cold Koszalin winter. I have an enormous window that greets me with light each morning, sometimes bright, sometimes dark with low clouds telling me that there is nothing for me out there today, better to stay where I am with hot drinks under six blankets. But I always look. I have never seen a winter so vibrant, so true to its name.

Every morning I walk to my temporary window, I see the panorama of the city's edge sweep before me. I see low houses with red sloping roofs, perfect flat walls and deeply embedded windows. I see tubes of smoke racing out of low-lying chimneys. I see strong seagulls and stronger trees.

I see resilience and time and endurance. Never have I been so aware of temperature or of the changing months. I step outside and I know it is four degrees, I can feel it is October. I set my alarm early to watch the sunrise, to see the brightness of early mornings before the cloud comes in. I have never felt the seasons pass so strictly. I never witnessed a such a definitive Autumn.

Perhaps I am outside all this, perhaps I feel it because it is not mine, perhaps Manchester winters are just as magical, perhaps it is the temporariness of being here which fascinates me, perhaps it is beautiful to me because I do not know the meaning. I learn words, I read signs, I speak and I speak to people. I piece Koszalin together. I piece Poland together. I understand so little but gradually sentences come to me, small fragments of history are explained. Koszalin opens up, it expands before my eyes. Steadily, the days get longer.

And as the world gets smaller, as we connect and connect, as we all join hands and compare Tescos, I cling to my long journeys on Polish trains through the flatness of fields and the silence of nights. I am rocked to sleep by the sound of the train's slow mechanical motion; my journeys across Poland always end too quickly. I am at home in those carriages, seperated from each other by thin layers of snow, and though it may be cold and drafty I always preferred the warmth of people to that of a centralised heating system.

In England people don't say goodbye when they arrive at their stations anymore and not enough people dress up elegantly for the theatre.