I Dare You

I believe that the most important single thing, beyond discipline and creativity is daring to dare.” Maya Angelou

Today, I am daring myself to draw again. To allow myself to draw and dream and to be just curious again. To try things out, to practice with colour and not worry if it’s not right , if I get it wrong. I dare myself to get out my coloured pencils and to just try. To draw for me. And this is scary as it’s for nothing else I’m working on. It’s doing something for no other reason than to just try. And it doesn’t matter if I’ve got no time and other things are pressing. And it doesn’t matter if I don’t know where to start, or what I’m doing. I have an inkling to try so why not go with it. I dare myself today.

What are you daring yourself to do today?

Who’s afraid of the dark?

A 6.30am alarm wakes me. On a Sunday. And the gadget, a smart watch, ringing the alarm is somewhere on a desk somewhere hidden in a dark cold hotel room.
I stumble out of bed blind and unsteady, hand and arms outstretched in front of me, combing the black air, trying to touch something soild. Trying to stop the incessant noise.

I was brought up to fear the dark. It didn’t take my small imagination much to conjure up monsters under the bed and ghosts on landings. Lying perfectly still in my bunk bed pretending to be dead already, the dark dug deep into my psyche so that I grew up fearing my own reflection.

When I’m not watching my weight (come on, when am I not watching my weight?) I enjoy an extra cold pint of Guinness with a shot of blackcurrant to cut through the bitterness. A drink of pure iron. Thick like treacle, it works well as a lining on my stomach before multiple rounds of alcoholic concoctions follow. Who knows? Who cares? But as long as my core swims deep with the dark stuff I’m ready for anything.

On our living room wall in our maisonette flat in Bradford where I grew up, we had a velvet scroll depicting two islands. The land was made up of bright green stitched thread. The towns and villages were named in golden thread. Bright red blazed across the top, ‘The Islands of Trinidad and Tobago.’ I’m not sure if we were ever told but our dad came from those islands. It was a silent fact. I liked to touch the thread, when I got the chance. The stitching was tight and taut. My eyes, though, were pulled into the expansive black crushed velvet Caribbean Sea wondering how he survived the swim over to the U.K.

I thought these smart gadgets were supposed to make your life easier. Why wasn’t it flashing neon green, or red even, at the same time as sounding an alarm, giving me some clue as to it’s whereabouts? I felt I could have done better with my eyes shut. But I’ve been living that way for far too long. Now with eyes wide open to the dark, I’ve become wise to the tricks of history. I’m woke.

Flaneuse – 4/30

Out walking earlier than anticipated today, due to other commitments, the sky was blue and the sun was shining. I felt like I was walking taller, feeling the benefits of the practice, spine straighter. Also I was noticing more, being aware of my surroundings. Flowers, leaves and berries.

Blackberries take me back to childhood and going blackberry picking with friends. But never managing to reach home with any of our harvest as I would always eat them beforehand. Not today, came home with a cup full as well as a few scratches along my arms and plan to make a coulis with them. Of course some blackberries didn’t make it home as I had to test their sweetness mid-pick. Juicy loveliness worth the scratches.

Child Refugees Arriving into the UK

it’s a jungle over there
families and homes lost
swept away in the nights
of terror and violence
reoccurring cries and
rivers of blood
rape and pillage
dead bodies piling up
left for maggots
normal life floating
to the bottom of the sea
then these minor chords
flood British ports
saturate our decent society
with facial hair
built like men – ‘my, haven’t
you’ve grown!’
let’s check your teeth
same old story
show us your teeth
open up
turn around
skin and bones
a minor detail
we worked you
until there was no life left
poured you out
broke you down
into our sugar
coffee tobacco whatever
fields flowing with profit
you were nothing to us except a price tag
now you’re coming home to roost
we’re checking tags
we owe you nothing