I’ve often gone through periods in my life of rising in the early morning or taking respite in the late afternoon to write with pen to page. Often these minutes are a way of emptying the endless-seeming thoughts in my head on to a page, captured where I have no fear of losing them. Recently my head is so full, I fear if I was to pick up the pen I would not be able to stop for days.
People sometimes ask me, the difference between the thoughts I publish in pixels here and the thoughts that remain private, locked in paper. How strange it is that pixels can now never let me down, but my most secret self lives in frail paper and ink. It could succumb to fire, water and age. Attacked by rats or if I was to fall into a moment of rage or despair I might tear them up. I’m writing those journals of my deepest self in the hopes by the time my mind is old; some lover, child or friend will find my true self remembered there.
Writing on paper leads me to silence; silence of the clammering head. Like listening to music without lyrics or tapping out a rhythm without melody; it makes a liminal but precious space. In that space I cannot speak, cannot write but all of myself reaches out into the Universe longing to be heard. I highly recommend you open this link to the beautiful music of my friend Derek Mount. I invite you to play it while you read the rest of this post. Yup, do it now. That’s it, there you go. This piece is called ‘You Have No Idea’ from his project Brique a Braq. Just give it a second. Breathe it in.
I imagine in these moments every one I ever loved somehow feels me in their spirit, without touching. That everyone I ever embraced feels me in their blood for a moment and all that is good or bad or wise or true in me hangs like moonlight on stars and in the dust of the Universe, on the breath of the Earth. Somehow in that moment, listening for each other in the great Silence and making a beautiful fingerprint in the world, both compass and constellation to navigate by.
Ten Thousand Million Atoms Deep
listen to me now
really listen, beyond clammering head
eyes closed and all your atoms
stretched towards me
feel the electric hum of
my atoms reaching for yours
listen with your whole body
for what touches without touching
names without naming
that remarkable thing within you.
Forgive me the frailty of language,
my incompetent hand, hip and tongue stutter –
were I trying to convey words
on a page my fingers would fly
instead my lips frozen without breath
but listen to me now, straining towards you –
I concluded there is nothing to say –
but my longing is you to hear me, wholly myself
in the dust of the Universe
giddy amongst inverting stars and moon we share
in the air and blood of me
ten thousand million atoms deep
wherever you are, say without speaking
shh and listen to me now.