Insomniascapes

i have started to make surreal landscapes with various phone apps when I wake, customarily, as I do, 2 or 3 times a night . I am so used to this now ( though am not saying that I like it) that it has become a ‘normal’ pattern. I realise it is not a good idea to have a phone switched on with its awake-inducing ‘blue-light’ but displacement from all the awful anxious stuff that swirls through my mind is what I’m after. Creating these ‘insomniascapes’ – some with my tiny self juxtaposed against an unearthly scene- somehow helps to shift the psychodramas in my head a little.

I am still in the PhD tunnel, every day, of this, my supposed summer break. It is a long, slow gruelling process and I have some way to go. I work most intensely from about 8am to 1pm; have a break, then do other less intense, but related tasks until 3 when I go for a walk. I have a poetry collection and am writing around 30-40, 000 words around it from my various drafts, pulling together my three main areas of ekphrasis, holography and ‘flaneuserie’.  It has an unconventional structure: ‘zones’ instead of ‘chapters’; prose in with the poetry and vice versa. Finding the form has been quite a challenge. I’m not entirely there with that yet. One day, after it’s in, sometime in September, I’ll write more about it all, the process and my subjects, and the poems. But for now, I’m too superstitious, and scared and this is a reason to roam around in my insomniascapes as a way to  to confront all those small hours shadows.

I also redraft other poems in those small hours-like this one, from an activity a while back for The Poetry Business Writing School visit to Rydal and Grasmere.  Paul Stephenson and I were throwing words around in the bar of a Windermere hotel and the poem came out of that. It’s not a final draft -I’ve decided that no poem- of mine, anyway, is ever really finished – and it comes from some strange place of spectral light and looming planets. Thomas de Quincy wasn’t really a woman, by the way.

Dove Cottage / afterhours 

We could have had the other guided tour.
The Devil led me to the church.
I ordered a pass for the secret floor.

You remembered the door code, wrote it on my hand.
It was the wrong pass but I didn’t know.
We could have had the other guided tour.

Thomas de Quincy might have been a woman
Shft gears and put the keys in a bowl.
The Devil led me to the church.

The church was boarded up.
I ordered a pass for the secret floor.
What window has wings, what crowd in the room?

We could have had the other guided tour.
A stain on the stairs in the shape of a dog.
Shift gears and put the keys in a bowl.

I remembered the door code, wrote it on my hand.
I ordered a pass for the secret floor.
What window has wings, what crowd in the room?

Thomas de Quincy might have been a woman.
A dog on the stairs, a pass for the secret floor.
You wrote this on my hand … ‘the Devil led me’.

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