Weekly Diary


June rode out on an antelope to the fluffy toy lions den while I stayed in the garden as a variant of Spanish moss; later changing into a wax rubbing of King Henry the Second – the original effigy supposedly found on the the bottom of a Ford Anglia car (all the tyres were bare but the upholstery was roadworthy). I had by then called the garden my church and planted a candle (I was surprised when it didn’t grow although its smoke signals were answered by a tribe of North American Indians long thought to have become extinct). Much later I played the church steeple like a Fender Stratocaster and invented a pose that represented the small flower found inside every young child while squat on a single staddle stone in the middle of an otherwise empty field.


I came down from my tree bed, several hundred feet up in a Sequoiadendron, and found June under a duster almost as big as the room itself. I drew a door and went through; on the wall was a portrait of Vittoria Colonna, who I pretended to know – I discussed her poetry with the artificial coal fire and then resolved not to bathe for the rest of the year. Outside the distant hills had crept nearer during the night, I calculated they would be touching the unopened window by the end of the month, and the sky seemed to me to be smiling to itself. I foolishly stated that it might end up blinded like Polyphemus even though as a small boy I had been promised in marriage to an elderly sheep. June walked to town using several different routes simultaneously, she arrived at various times.


June wanted to go out, pulling behind her a collection of kites who had grown too old to fly. I stayed in the Nautilus tying string together before leaving the inverted bridge (sometimes called a rainbow reflection) for a short while in the company of Joan of Arc and the goddess Athena (I didn’t find out until later that they were one and the same). I came home a long time before June, talked to a dinosaur who was thinking of taking the vows and then to a nun who wanted to be a warm blooded reptile. Apollo and Artemis brought June home, I removed the skeleton that had been transformed into a drum kit from the boot of their car and then patted the black hole which will eventually swallow the entire solar system as if it was a small dog.


I sat, squashed between a row of gardening books, on a shelf in my library. June got me down instead of a book and began to read; before she had finished (I hate endings) I showered in the garden and then took the dog out, me on a pogo stick and her on a mobile trampoline. We came out from the underpass with sore heads and on my return to the copper kettle house I diligently squeezed myself into a tin can to work. June sat with Poppy on a row of sardines: who collectively dreamed of being architectural columns holding up the widest viaduct in Western Europe. I thought they should be lighthouses shining vertically up into space – as I thought this a raven landed in the very centre of the amphitheatre and made a sunken galleon out of an electric violin and a piece of brain coral.


I got up early, pulling June after me like a battleship pulling a cloud. I left the house in a cloud of butterflies and settled on the bus stop as psychedelic dust. I met the grand old man just before he changed into an upright piano and temporarily left, his music still floating about the small room slowly reaching a crescendo. I left myself some time after dressed as a panda; before being a panda I was a high priest at the organic altar steadfastly proclaiming that the supreme being of all knights of old is a mushroom cloud (all of his creation is preprogrammed to sit in an ice cube and then light a fire). I came home on a rocking horse, not understanding why the scenery remains unchanged. When I finally got in I found June as a hazel nut still attached to the tree.


I had to go to town to print out the dance moves I hope to make with the ghost of a chest of drawers – it lived with me in my favourite house until I was eight (when I was eight I had thatch for hair and grass snakes for finger nails; however when I reached nine the snakes had changed to spaceship controls and the thatch to steam engines passing by too quickly). June came with me, holding what was left of the cooker tape deck with which she used to listen to her refrigerator music. She went to the wool shop for cotton and then met me on the bridge of a ship which I pretended was sinking – like most things in life this was an illusion and in reality it was just the water that was getting higher. We both came home as clouds; sadly neither of us rained.


I had to go out early to collect my own piece of unpromised land – I planned to attach four skies and one sea (unfortunately seas are in short supply tonight at the moment). While out I took the opportunity to bundle up a set of unused words and post them to my friend, the subterranean poet, who I thought my use them more often than me – he lives quite close to the subterranean artist who is waiting to reach the surface so she can rediscover impressionism. I had to move like shadows on a sunless day before running, arms aloft, on the stage I call my studio: there isn’t actually an audience just rows and rows of wolf spider eyes. While they watched, my largest paintbrush followed the lines I had already laid out in the privacy of my smallest sleep.


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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