The growth of March

Started off seeding the Sunflowers, Artichokes and Little Gem Lettuces about 10 days ago now, and i’m pleased with their progress! Nature is utterly exciting. Magical, really!

Meanwhile, at the allotment, we continue to dig and turn, dig and turn, extrapolate the roots of all those determined Dandelions (sorry guys, but you’re in the way of the Broccoli beds!), and get the beds ready to grow a floral, vegetable feast in them.

With the addition of Gladioli bulbs, wildflower seed mixes, forget-me-nots, and the odd Dutch Iris bulb buried here and there, within that soil (so far), hopefully we can inspire a Spring/Summer of vibrant colours too.



She lives in you Twiggy, and she lives on in vibrant, bold and sparkling memories, imprinted upon and wrapped within the minds of her many, many friends.

There isn’t a day go by when I do not think of Emma, and I only had the joy of knowing her for a short while. Yet she is woven into the fabric of my brain like a song. It makes me think- if this is the effect she has had on me, from knowing me only a couple of years, then I can’t even imagine how brightly her flame burns in the memories of others.

Those who knew her longer, knew her deeper, knew her as you do, as family! My brain can’t even comprehend it. I feel almost like a tresspasser in my grief, because it is so intense, and feels so close, almost like the ‘volume’ (don’t know if that’s measurable) of grief carried and poured out, matches the level I have felt throughout life, for my own intimate family.

I question my right to cling so hard like this, to memories and photographs. If I am affected, so strongly, by her imprint upon my life’s story, then how (really, how!?), do her family… Remember, and live?

She is woven into the minds a hearts of anyone and everyone I think she ever encountered. She exists for ones who lost her, as a thread with the strength or a spider’s silk, spun beautifully all over the world.


She is fading
Yesterdays hang in the air
Threatening to take her
She grows fainter
Back then she seemed so clear
But distance spreads out
It’s nearly 3 years

And I am here clinging to shadows
Grasping memories, holding moments
Imagining our lifetimes
Now just trapped in photographs
Now just trapped in minds
She is fading, she is fading
And I am not far behind

She is fading
And I am here wondering
Why lights that shine so brightly
Have to fade, why everything fades eventually
Why I grow old, while she is 28 eternally
It’s nearly 3 years

And I am here clinging to shadows
Grasping memories, holding moments
Imagining our lifetimes
Now just trapped in photographs
Now just trapped in minds
She is fading, she is fading
And I am not far behind

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I wrote this about a month ago

Winking, the night drives on

What with it’s charcoal reprieve and

It’s cradling of our;

My, Yours, Whoever’s mind.


Absence of light is great

For the fermentation of

Seeded secrets we keep, buried in deep

To the earth.


Never mind the stars, they’re

Not listening, anyway.

I am the night, and it’s

Absence of light, which makes

The poor things glisten, as though…


In wake or through sleep

It’s your secrets I keep, invisibly inked

Then stitched in, over



I know that you know,

That I know what you know.


What I don’t know, you

Know of neither. Those questions

Barely even yet thought through,

So as to be assigned a number.


This is why, it is preferable

To sleep; the night needs no

Distractions. From the insomniac

Minds, like children asking, tugging,

Sobbing. No, the night is not some

Sitter. You must find a way to sleep.


I need perfect quiet, when

Sewing these seams. Not

Un-picking the stitches. More

Embroidery over these glitches. Psychedelic tiger re-design in oils


Alcoholic Summer

sheffield beauty in natureA winter once

Upon a time , there was

Hypertension in the contracted

Ice fractures

Enveloping the sleeping twigs

Slept not soundly

Did the bulbs on the back

Of an Earth, harassed

Spun like a cart wheel

Tattooing the soil with the last seasons’ tracks

Carried forth by an anonymous wind

Winter, she whipped no slack

Biting, she sugar coated in blankets,

The sun to its heel, begone

Begone! The Soil shall endure

The cold pin pricked recoil

The alcoholic’s cure

Abstinence; it’s for your own good

You drunkard Earth, stupefied by sunlight

Merriment will kill by eventual

Overdose of gladness

Remember to revive, the feeling of sadness

If you ever want to sing hazily

Through thick pollen once again

So the soil was placed on the program;

Rehab for the intoxicated Chlorophyll

Those leaves drank in such volume, their sweet sunny cider

They were beginning to show discoloration

Sallow, over nourished skins

In the shape of old stars, curling at their edges

Solitary confinement and sedation

For the Earthen organ

Until the blue, beautifully blue

Yellow centered, Spring scented

Forget-me-nots push through

The night shift bell rings out

Unleashing new Earth, re-invented

By sleep and blistering atonement

For over-indulgence in summer’s tonic

Skeletal, thirsty- a short lived moment!

When Earth thought it was going to change this time,

For good, it promised, to the void of the heat! Never

Again will I slip into old habits, indiscreet…

Said mother Earth, with a grin on her face

At the crack of May’s dawn

She was back on the gear

Birds merely singing; Summer’s here, it’s here!

Drunk again, the Bees get back to work.

How to become an Artist

I have just realised how much of my life so far, has been stretched into a shape and road to come; wondering about what it actually is I have always been so fascinated and captured by which constitutes ‘Art’.

I won’t launch into any kind of really distracting life story for context here- I will simply get straight to the point today- I think that in order to become an Artist of what you do, you have to deeply burrow into something about the human soul which is secret and disturbing. You have to admit to yourself that you ‘know about the dark place’ and can see the significance, the compelling, of the grotesque. Then, you have to explain it back to yourself via a process of translation.

It is then that you have to decide what to do with it. Do you blatantly declare emotional and psychological war upon it? Do you divert from it, finding from that darkest inner realm, your own steps for ascension, and how to reclaim yourself?

For your own sake, can you sing it, write it, sketch it, sculpt it, bake it, compost it? The real challenge comes with having to explain it back to others.

Art is the pleasure, the language and the song which emerges from the soul, it is like a photograph of one moment lived. And in that one moment of living, a thousand battles were fought, a slick skin of emotion and association was peeled back, to reveal the insides of a mind through which a single truth could be found.

chest of drawers of geology and weather

Momentary meltdowns

So I ended up getting ‘sent on sick’ leave at work, due to a climaxing of several momentary meltdowns, into a longer, more insidious one. One which took me to the edge of the cliff, and had me dangling off there with just my bare hands to muzzle deep into the chalky periphery, and claw into the Earth for dear life.

All metaphorically speaking. It’s a way of conveying speech which I think is one of the only ways you can explain, and illustrate, mental health, and how it happens. It is just so much easier to paint a picture via metaphor, when trying to find the shapes which define your mental world, and narrate it’s story.

Trying to be fair to the recipient of your story, which includes yourself and those you voice it to, or those you don’t, it enables some kind of structure for understanding.

It is hard to talk about mental health.

The judgement which you (human), cast down on your own thoughts and feelings, suffers from it’s own distortions. How can you ‘diagnose yourself’ if you don’t know all your own mental parts, which of them you like, and those you don’t (and why?).

This is incredibly difficult to do objectively, when the ingredients of the ‘self’ come so many different sources. It comes not only from our historic, biological DNA and organs; that physical and’see-able’, quantifiable, human blueprint. And it comes from what our senses made of the environment, from birth to now (and counting).

There can be no such thing as a self which can replicated, because the variables, which shape it are too rich in their diversity, and all the odds are against the idea of there ever existing another self, which is identical in it’s on-going crafting, of your own.

So, returning to applying judgement- It’s fair to say that all of us can only use the tools for understanding which we have. Which is the condition against which we struggle, trying find the words to talk about mental health. We find that the words we have to work with, to describe and to think in the language of, are too ambiguous, too contested and too ‘sticky’ to talk with easily, about mental health.

When it comes to how people, including myself, can express and communicate matters of the mind, it’s almost like we’d need a whole new language to do so in a way which does it justice.

I myself can most certainly not be arsed, to embark upon threading some new complications and intricases, into our already infamously complex English Language.

So thank the weird minds of us all, for metaphors.


trip shadow 2 123rf design

What is Human, I begin to ask…

If to be human is to feel loved, then I feel non-human,

If to be human is to procreate, then I feel inhuman.

Even if the human is the gardener, in the kindest, clearest, blue-ish world,

Then I feel inhuman.

If to be human is to loathe, then I feel most certainly incapable of humanity, which is slightly strange and sad. If it is to exist within a group, and submit to a social stacking order, I even then feel not a human, but a near observer. Of a hive that is not quite my own, but is still the most accessible to my body-bound mind.

Birds in flight from paint

Attention diverts to the outside of a mind… 

There is something wrong about the house. I shan’t even call it ‘my house’, as it feels completely not my own. Nor even Rowett’s, or the real landlord’s- perhaps more like the old man’s, who lives next door, and has done for many, many years.

Even then though, I feel he would take ownership of this house from a distance, as if knowing it’s rightful owner needed their claim to the stain of the bricks to be respected and left alone.

It breathes dust, ash, dirt and smog. All contents turn soon to a kind of trash, and clamber over one another in order to reach the little light.
I want to leave this house. It is uncomfortably temporary, and uncomfortably permanent.


Stories from anyone’s mind

The cold was stifling my ability to think, to wake, or to dream. I lay there, wrapped in a cocoon of duvets and blankets- I had all the necessary luxuries in life that one could need for comfort and survival. One of the lucky ones, out of the world, as a whole.

But still, I lay there, shimmering in my own unblanchable flesh, feeling chilled through to the bone. Cold was something i’d gotten used to then, a constant state in which I had to endure or forget. Functioning like a ghost, you crack on.

I remember a point: walking back from one place in town to another, with an old friend. We were talking, I think the conversation was trivial and non too demanding, but interesting. Enough for me to mentally curse the hands of mine, which had gone beyond numb, to physically exhausting in their ice. They were distracting me from the conversation, which was a low moment for me, because it was the first undeniable evidence, that at functioning, I was failing. Failing to even hold a conversation, trapped by the price i’d had to pay for commanding and distorting my own body.

I’d become too emotionally attached to the artwork I was trying to create. The point at which the artist becomes the victim of their own insatiable will to manipulate imagery and colour, in order to spill out of themselves, a never ending flow of constant change, and perceives it as ‘progress’. There comes a point, at which every painter has to make the decision that the final piece is indeed final, and it is time to soak the bristles. Hang up the apron, stand back and let the landscape be.

I was stuck in the mud of my own addiction to crafting. I’d actually stopped painting, drawing, singing and making, in the external sense. All of it came to a halt, when I embarked upon the new project of internal consequence; depriving and diluting my body, in an effort to sculpt it into a new shape, a shape of shocking contour, freakish distortion, and many many edges. There could never be too many edges. I got lost in my own little ‘treasure hunt’, to find more jutting edges, new lumps, new angles and their contrasts to bone.

It was, upon reflection, an abstract mission, kindled by surrealist yearnings, which necessitated the adoption of a kind of minimalism, in order to find solace through expressionism.

At least, that’s one way of looking at it. man-ray-brassai-and-gelatin-silver


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