For Appa’s birthday,
I meant to send him a postcard
showing him my room,
in all its sunlit glory.
Behind it, I scribbled
the only line I’ve typed out in a Word document
for the London Piece I’m trying
I moved to London last September. I walked into my room with three suitcases, a litre of milk, one loaf of bread, and a box of six broken eggs.
It’s a nice room, nice-ish at least (?)
but the postcard,
drawn on hot-pressed watercolour paper
with a 0.1 Derwent Graphik Line Maker
is black and white,
London, like the cracked eggs,
and my excitement
the soggy cardboard box
sitting in a pool of egg whites
I didn’t notice until morning.
Today, in Hyde Park,
I stopped to sit at a bench dedicated
(in loving memory)
to a woman whose name I don’t remember.
The placard said she had liked to sit
precisely at that
– spot –
close enough to the Serpentine’s ducks
for bread (often stolen)
by otherwise well-behaved dogs
temporarily forgotten by their sunbathing owners.
As I pulled my knees up to my chest,
I thought, quite warmly –
Perhaps I would have liked her, perhaps she preferred to feed the squirrels, maybe she wished she had studied art, and drank her way through four pints of beer after her first day as a teacher in an evening school for working women. Perhaps she didn’t (couldn’t?) fall in love – there was no time for this anyway – but maybe she would have paused, for a second too long, at a flyer on the footpath that announced, An Invitation to See Things Differently. Perhaps she sat here like me, with her mother’s letters, watching Wellington the German Shepherd bounding at Mute Swans and Gadwalls, wishing that today, ten years later, they might also say something.
Yesterday, M set down three candles at my feet
And as she turned on her camera
Slick black against her dark black clothes and dusty black boots
(she is my favourite aesthetic),
I felt her zoom
into my fingers
– stubby fingers
as she said,
I guess, what I want to know is, What does solidarity mean to you?
I think she meant Solidarity
– you know, with the capital s
But I mumbled something about infinite differences,
And listening – you know, really listening,
Before I remembered,
My candlelit hands are going to be in a film about this Space
I freeze often here,
M has noticed – she’s seen me nod vigorously when
R reminds us that this Space,
our political project,
is – and let’s not beat around the goddamn bush –
even though we made these walls announce
that we are powerful and dangerous.
Then I think I should tell her I really really dislike –
This city, that has made me anxious
Withdraw, retreat, recoil, recede,
Because words don’t roll off my tongue like they do for her,
– M with the perfect aesthetic,
and I am still thinking about whether this thing about solidarity
is new (smart?) enough to say,
But now they are discussing the problematic, hallowed halls of academia
and decolonising everything.