To Hel and Back :: Edit your Template To Hel and Back: December 2005

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Where have I been?

Down dark corridors, and sleepless nights, in hazy dreams and silent pain. But also somewhere very very good.

When is a crisis not a crisis? When it's a Crisis Open Christmas. Part of the reason I have not been writing, email or blogging is because the last four weeks of my life have been spent in Commercial Street working on the provision of temporary "villages" for homeless people. I call them villages because they are more than just shelters. In addition to dining and sleeping areas, the shelters offer a range of medical (alternative therapies, podiatry, dentistry, the full range), clothing, training, advice, legal, massage, sport, learning, recreation, entertainment and even a villgae green.
This year I found myself in a slightly management role, or at least co-ordinating a number of services (the fun ones at least!) so I didn't get to spend as much time with guests as I would have liked. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a rewarding experience.

To Eddy the shepherd, who hopes we shall never meet again in these circumstance; Zek the paranoid schizophrenic articulate poet; Steve the masterful painter who picked up a brush for the first time; the two old boys; the crying old Polish lady in the Santa hat; Derek who sings Nat King Cole; Tim who said I was good and meant it; Yolanta, for whom I am her Romeo; Carl the ladies man; Djarman the Moroccan waiter, and even Violent Allan - may 2006 be a better year for you all.

Photos of the COC
... and more

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Drinks part 2

Last night I went for drinks again.

I laughed and laughed.

It's been a while.

I forgot how good that feels.

It was the first night since he died that I have not cried.

Send in the clowns.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Drinks part 1

Tonight I went out for a drink with people from work. It was much needed. The people I work with are an incredibly fun group. But the drink was also good.

After I walked down narrow London lanes wafting with curry and overspilling bins; only moments away from the orange glow of laughter and comfort I felt the pain. They will not leave me, the ghosts. They choke my eyes with salt and my chest with knots. I push them down but they cry out for some small act of comfort which will not come from this city, will not come.

Last night I slept in warmth and unfamiliar pillows for but a moment. Then I woke with brutal shock. The lips that kissed me were cold and blue and the body whose warmth I lay with was stiff. After that I couldn't sleep.

After ten years, the memory of intimacy is alive. Till I put it to rest.

Monday, December 05, 2005

London, needing bandaids

Back in London last night. Communication error saw me in my fourth hotel room in five nights back in Europe.

I am aching from different beds, walking shoes, carrying bags, and mostly from salt in wounds, waves lapping around the 12eme of Paris.

I have been doing okay but mostly because, in the brusque 3 star cocoon of Ibis, I am away from people who know me. Yesterday, in the comfort of a friend's sofa in Paris I realised I am brittle, bruised, stinging. I cannot, will not, tolerate intimacy.

I dreamt of the pillow turning into huge fluffy bears, I dreamt in vivid real colours that he was alive and I could say goodybe, I dreamt I called my mum. I woke confused: where had the pillows gone, and why would people say he was alive, when the papers - the Independent's obituary carefully folded in my book, so as not to crease the photo - say he is dead. I am haunted by his smile.

I think last night, you were driving circles around me.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's Friday so it must be Paris

I love everything about being here. The uneven pavement, the crazy parking, the green street sweepers, the artistic curls of dog turd. Rue de Bretagne's array of cheese, dried meats, pressed cold meats, rotisseries chickens and spicy cous cous.

You really think I am coming back...?

More views from the rue...