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Monday, April 27, 2009


You lay on the carpet of the casino floor and pretended to be a butterfly, your wings spread wide in lush reds, greens and blues. A little splattering of truth and beauty amongst the monstrous decor; between the lies and falsehood. And so you flew; in the watery-thin splendour of the hotel lobby, you lay on your front and spread your arms around the cotton butterfly, the woolly insect, as if it were trying to escape you, as if it were intent on flying away. You, the tall talking girl from south Yorkshire and I, the boy with pebbles in his mouth; difficult to speak, all nervous and excited at the same time. We darted between deserted blackjack tables, two ghosts in the early morning machine; two hunters, hunting love, hunting something real amongst the butterflies and hangers on. Two silent engines, two figurines; we glided between the tables, hand in hand, Olympic skaters, your shoes and bag in tow. I kissed you by surprise.

Later, in my room, we stood naked at the window and let the sun onto our bodies, two observers, two priceless bottles of wine washed clean of their labels, unmarked, unblemished and undiscovered. Two cleansed hearts; we stood by the window and watched the human race float by. Two observers (with pebbles in their mouths); no words in the air between us. Two hands together and two pressed against the sun-warmed glass; squinting at the early firestorm. An angry and vengeful nature taking back the streets, the foot-soldiers of the evening in retreat.

A last night in bad-town, a last run at the monster, and then, almost effortlessly, there stood you and I, naked at the window, washed of our labels, wool-winged and set for flight. And though some numbers were exchanged, I doubt they will be used, for what happens sometimes needs to stay. Sometimes the love is in the retelling.

So I will remember our night together in exaggerated ways. I will package it carefully, seal it with a red ribbon (and bow) and place it gently where we found it. Where you and I first met, amongst the night; a thing from thin-air, beauty and truth found in between. A reminder of how you tasted, if a memory is a thing worthy of trust. Our story: left where it was found, at rest between abandoned yet not forgotten testimony. Our part in some bigger story. Faded but not lost; the winners and losers, the loved and lonely, all those bewildered and lumbering hearts. Something transitory, something momentary and beautiful. The wealth of a single second. The city marrow, the very heart and soul of bad-town.

A love-life and death in Las Vegas.

posted at 08:51 am by echobelly

Friday, April 10, 2009

I draw your face often.
On the backs of coasters, on the front of napkins left by time-short diners, the dandy revellers. On white boards with thick, whiffy markers. On the side of milk-cartons; on posters that never get posted. I draw your face often. And in my drawings you are happy; your teeth exposed to the air, for all to see. In my drawings your eyes are open. You see what I see and the way that I see it; though in our life together you rarely, if ever did. On such different tracks were we. At times our hands could barely touch, so far adrift we did journey. At times I could barely see your face through the mottle between us; the void of our fragile and often debased connection. Yes. I draw your face often.

On bus tickets, in notebooks (spiral-ringed and bound), on the walls of public buildings, in the dark corners of noisy bars. I draw your face to remind me of the all reasons why I loved you and all the reasons why I could not. Should not. To remind me that time is no substitute for pleasure; that just because something has lasted does not make it beautiful. To remind me that Time is no angel; that he is a liar and a cheat and will cheat you of all your years if he can. To remind me that where once lay something of beauty, can later lay nothing; or worse.

To remind me never to sleep again.

And when I draw your face, I feel returned. It leads me to deal with the guilt, the culpability of my loose spanner in our works. For despite all that I loathe about what I have done, I know that it could have gone no other way. Recently my heart has refilled my chest, my lungs now clear, my smile returned and Time, that wily fox, is safely on his leash. So one day I may send you all these postcards, these drawings cast from bloody hands. And perhaps you will notice, as I have, that over the years my pen has fared you well; the lines on your face have grown softer, your smile now wider than before, your eyes brighter than in the beginning.

Perhaps these drawings were just dusted wishes, a desirous facsimile of who you might now be. Perhaps in life too you have found your way again, your smile amongst all this mottle and deceit.

On the backs of coasters and napkins, on the sides of milk cartons, on posters never to hang on walls; perhaps you have become who you once were: the girl with the goofy smile. The wonder from behind the bar, my love, my forever, all the things we found and lost in Macau.

Perhaps you too have been healed.

posted at 10:18 am by echobelly
1 something  

Wednesday, April 01, 2009





posted at 07:29 pm by echobelly
2 somethings  


It is the door drawn in the breeze that ebbs on passage through. It is symbolic of the things I feel or want to feel, or feel  I want. It is holding on and letting go. It is a beginning and an end, and yet in some way there is continuity; a semblance of self carried forward. Dragged from the relative equanimity of accord and thrust under that steely knife. It is the death of a butterfly and in that regard it is sad. It is not, and never was, the pyre of a phoenix, it is not the system of severance - the capital purge. It is simply a marker, a private and quiet stamp in time. A stone at which I can, in turn, return upon at some point down said diverging tracks, and with some authority subject: it was then that I was closest to you.


posted at 07:03 pm by echobelly
1 something  

Sunday, March 29, 2009






posted at 07:29 am by echobelly
2 somethings  

Friday, March 27, 2009
She's a good girl, crazy 'bout Elvis..




..but to really earn her wings, to fly;
she must first fall a thousand times or more
without them.




posted at 05:13 am by echobelly
1 something  

Monday, March 16, 2009
Non Fiction

Burnside and Forth,
motion in my hands,
holding on to you.

Moonbeams in our hair,
two black mittens of despair,
shaking in our shoes.

And I am in danger, this is true,
I am in danger, and so are you.

Blood red Merlot,
for a bruise that doesnít show,
how weíd wear them like tattoos.

In the last and desperate days,
two mittens lost in space,
shaking in our shoes.

And I am in danger, yes itís true,
I am in danger, and so are you.

Leaves lost to winterís bite,
naked branches on the fall,
all these meanings are lost to time.

This is killing all my faith,
my memories disgraced,
and Iím shaking in my shoes.

And I am in danger, I am loose,
I am in danger, and so are you.

posted at 05:42 am by echobelly

Sunday, March 15, 2009
Happy Birthday




(i think)




posted at 05:06 am by echobelly

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Isabel stirred unhurriedly from room to room, in her mind a child unwilling, some terrible weight about her mother's side. There was really very little to be done (as things had been done and undone and done again so many times already.) She rested on the edge of the bed, their bed and held in her hands the photograph of her and Pavel taken at Baby Sophia's eighteenth birthday party. Not faded, but fading and taken years before.

Before things changed.

Before men walked on the moon, before leaders were shot dead in their cars, before children came of age and left their homes. Before husbands became phantoms lost to all but the gifted. Before she was alone.

She remembered how they had met, how he couldn't smile without laughing softly and under breath, his teeth like the pillars of the Pantheon, ageless in milky white. How she'd seen him grow from a nervous second year med-student to the director of nursing at MECP. How his touch still left a mark for minutes after it, and he, had slipped away. The things they had done (and then undone and done again.)  How they would lie in bed together for hours on end reading. How he had loved her with Kipling (all the people like us are we.) Each night a turn taken; one to read, the other to listen, head to shoulder, shoulder to head. Two bumps in the mid-drift of the bedclothes, one their unborn (and much adored) child, the very centre of their love; the other Pavel's ample girth. The very centre of his love. His love for consumption. His love affair with living.

She would lie and listen to him love her, listen to his soft, untroubled voice and journey across white cotton mountains, through starch stiff valleys to a place where big things didn't matter. A place where the uncomplicated matters stood on stools and had a voice above the low din of the day. A place where the troubled breathed freely. Without guilt. Without consequence.

And it came to her as she sat on the bed holding the photograph of her and Pavel taken years before at Baby Sophia's eighteenth birthday party (a party at which they had argued furiously.) It came to her that in the end her grief didn't matter. It was her's and her's alone. It needed no stool to stand on. No voice above its own. She knew, perhaps for the first time, that she would have to be content with the idea that they had spent so much time sitting on the bed, their bed, talking about where so much time had gone. Two humps wrapped in cotton. Two unborn children under snow-capped bedding. Two centres, one love. Two humps. One dying, one living. Two rails, one track. Thrust forward into the things that came.  The things that changed everything forever. The things that made nothing else (and no one else) count.

She placed the photograph of her and Pavel taken at Baby Sophia's eighteenth birthday party back in its place (all things had a place in that house, including her) and sat there picking at imagined lint on the section of her dress that sat in her lap.

And he was lost to her.
A Pavel shaped hole (with bump) in the sky.


posted at 12:02 pm by echobelly

Friday, March 06, 2009
The God of Small Things

This book literally stole my heart. No sign of it yet. Hold your breath and read every word. What follows is amazing, in a very real sense. The rhythm, the spacing, everything about it is just plain yum. This is the kind of writing that makes me cry, this is good chocolate:

They all broke the rules. They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved and how. And how much. The laws that make grandmothers grandmothers, uncles uncles, mothers mothers, cousins cousins, jam jam, and jelly jelly. It was a time when uncles became fathers, mothers lovers, and cousins died and had funerals. It was a time when the unthinkable became thinkable and the impossible really happened. They were a family of Anglophiles. Pointed in the wrong direction, trapped outside their own history and unable to retrace their steps because their footprints had been swept away. He explained to them that history was like an old house at night. With all the lamps lit. And ancestors whispering inside.

Rahel learned how history negotiates its terms and collects its dues from those who break its laws. They heard its sickening thud. They smelled its smell and never forgot it.

History's smell.
Like old roses on a breeze.

It would lurk forever in ordinary things. In coat hangers. Tomatoes. In the tar on the roads. In certain colors. In the plates at a restaurant. In the absence of words. And the emptiness in eyes. Some things come with their own punishments. Like bedrooms with built-in cupboards. They would all learn more about punishments soon. That they came in different sizes. That some were so big they were like cupboards with built-in bedrooms. You could spend your whole life in them, wandering through dark shelving.

the God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

posted at 04:04 am by echobelly

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