Thursday, 20 March 2014

More Questions Than Answers

A Spring Equinox Story For Poet Red Shuttleworth.
Word-smith and friend

Lately, I have been getting younger. The years that shaped me haven't, it seems, gone away after all. The old attitudes, values – as they were first inculcated into me have started to bloom again in time with the spring flowers. I am started to fill the shoes of those who have long gone before me. This is not a self-conscious thing. There is no striving involved. It just happens with every move I make, every thought: even the ones that get voiced.

The days are lengthening now. A friend of mine wrote those words and sent them across the Atlantic (Pacific?).

I take my pen for a spin. After all, it seems to me, I have to put my money where my mouth is. Feel compelled to walk the high wire and everything that involves.

A silver flask. I tell them that the flask is my best friend. Take it with me everywhere. A constant supply of spiced tea to burn the throat. What I see is a kitchen which is three flights down. To get to it you have to walk along a corridor of red carpet tiles. No daylight ever finds its way into this corridor. K says when the building's empty she won't go down there. Especially when it's getting dark. Says it feels like someone is down there: someone always just out of view on the periphery of things. Someone who is always waiting down there, always watching her on the few times she has had no choice but to go down there.

In this city of bones and excavations there is a logic to what she is saying.

I try the handle and the door opens easily enough. And yes, I can feel it too, the eyes watching me as I stand on the threshold. But with upstairs only a minute or two away, I don't give in to full scale panic. Truth to tell, I like the idea on this mundane working afternoon of finally meeting this particular ghost.

The kitchen window is at street-level and it's a strange thing to look up and see people going by from the knees down, their shoes at eye level. Across the street there is an old flint wall. Endless varieties and variations of blues, browns and greys forming stony constellations. But the ghost makes no move to betray itself.

I turn around quickly.

Nothing. Just the shadowy corridor and the red carpet tiles.

Back upstairs, a TV monitor on a filing cabinet wired to a camera that watches the doorstep. Nothing to see. Just the flagstones of the doorstep.

I walk away, but something in the TV seems to be watching me.

Turn around quickly. Shadow on the step where it is too dark for shadows even though the days are lengthening.

Towards more questions than answers.


  1. Many, many a thank you for this story... as it restores me... gets me past feeling merely (after an evening nap) patched-up. Jasus, but this is lovely. The speculation on all that remains (flint walls)... and glistens ghost-like. Thank you!!! Yes... what is it that slips into rooms to peer over our shoulders? In boyhood, I thought it a god. In a time when contemporaries suffer problematic, dense, easy-clog blood in-heart and in-brain, it seems that what slips into rooms and gets behind us are.... So hurrah for silver flasks... whether for tea or for whiskey. And a hurrah to you, Jonathan, wonderful writer and kind soul!
    -- Red Shuttleworth

  2. ooh, yikes, wish I hadn't read this at midnight : / .... think I'll save your posts for broad daylight from now on ; )

    happy Spring, Jonathan......hope it's a beautiful season for you....
    Liz ~*

    1. Thank you Liz. Turning out to a beautiful season already. The drive home quite spectacular with moody skies and strange colours on the trees and getting back to find comments like these.

  3. Thank you Red. Glad we've got you all patched-up and ready for the road again.



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