Weekly Diary


Initially June stood on a hill and I stood in a valley (later I had to climb my own steps – although with little prospect of actually reaching the top – which anyway was already occupied by an unbreakable dumper truck and a crane which can reassembled to make a young girl wearing a Nineteen Twenties “flapper” dress and having a spaghetti marrow for a head). I worked in a pretend rurality indoors as outside the urban landscape subsided and the houses (by coincidence built in the Twenties) tried to listen to their own heartbeats – those who couldn’t find it proclaimed themselves dead. June came in as the eternal music score moved into the modern era and she talked in dissonances; I harmonised with the Mitrochondrial Eve as a convenience store went super nova in the next town but one.


I imagined myself as a roll of sticky tape with the end lost (I knew I should have kept my nails long) but still got up reasonably early; the snakes that had replaced my hair sometime ago had plaited themselves into a corn dolly and the apple tree by the goldfish pond was busy with a pocket calculator. When I used to work on the market I did all the sums in my head but sadly never bore fruit; I considered a truce should be called and watched the young children go to school as I rose at least six inches in the air after my ears had metamorphosed into phasmida wings. June went out for a short while, coming back before I was ready to go and get her. By then I had come in from the garden and was papering over the cracks in the day.


It was an unremarkable start to the day: beginning with arms emerging from the living room floor, causing the dog much merriment as she tried to weave between them, although it made playing catch more complicated. June slightly phased by the state of the carpet pulled a palm tree out of the fireplace and promptly climbed up it, reaching the top as a Mitsubishi Zero had completed its strafing run; people emerging from machine gun sown dragons teeth all the way down the hall – she complained about me spilling water from the cats bowl on the floor and promptly went out into the garden with an embracing Heathcliff and Cathy in her laundry basket. I later hung myself on the washing line to dry, coming in quite late with chocolate fingers and a knob of butter on my nose.


I had to write my lines for a bit part in a film I am directing in another dimension: It is about mathematical monkeys atop high rise buildings in a non-Euclidean fantasy world; I eventually came down to earth with a bump and walked into the jungle of my head as an immortal King Kong; June had been unsuccessfully rowing a boat to the bright green post box – she found it difficult as she has a cold. Both of us then stayed in the air raid shelter we call home (it is made from unexploded bombs from both World Wars); she baked cakes from bananas and I painted footprints all the way up a giant bean stalk – needless to say I came down to Earth again with a bump, the Stabat Mater written on my Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock bandana and a half sucked sweet in my florally embroidered pocket.


I got up early in the afterglow of a sleepless night, June was lulling herself awake and then returned to the Great Barrier Reef state of consciousness she swims in all night. I pulled a trident out of a puddle of water and a lightning bold from an energy saving light bulb (I have never found they last as long as they are supposed to!) and slow ran or fast walked to the bus stop – the bus arrived like a nude in a clothes shop and I delicately looked up at the leaves on an overhanging branch as if they had suddenly changed into hazel coloured eyes. I rubbed the leaves in my own face and photographed the tuna sandwich sky as it rushed behind a Franciscan monk street lamp. I met the lighthouse man on the headland; we talked like moving water as he shone out in ever increasing circles.


June and I went out for the day dressed as old fashioned arcade games, we both got off the train before a row of pictures on our fronts came up the same. I followed June down the serpentine tunnel where my sister was waiting with a building site of newspapers in her hand – I drew anatomical features on a row of traffic cones before entering the shopping mall with a Wells Fargo stagecoach rolling behind. We all climbed to low cloud height before lunch and then crashed down onto dimly lit plates; the waiter disappearing into the distance like someone else’s memories held in one’s head by mistake. The two women dressed in lipstick while I dressed in the dust still airborne after the stampede had disappeared across the Great Plains.


I woke with arrows in my hat again – I can only guess what I was doing during the night (I later found footprints on the dressing table although strangely they weren’t mine) – and decided to paint a Puvis de Chavannes fresco in an unoccupied sentry box before breakfast. I retreated when a figure approached, even though it was dressed in the paisley pattern pyjamas I wore as a child, and sailed across a cereal boat like the Golden Fleece searching for Jason. June went to town as I was busy trying on chimpanzee suits – all proved to be too small so I wrote a verse on a plastic boomerang and hit myself in the head with poetry on its inevitable return. I thought this was just like fate as I walked away from the week before it walked away from me.


About Gerald Shepherd

Gerald Shepherd is a painter, graphic artist, sculptor, digital/multimedia artist, photographer, writer, curator and arts administrator. He has also been involved with science art, performance art, conceptual art, installations and environments (as well as peripheral creative pursuits such as garden design).
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