Weekly Diary


I couldn’t go into the garden, where I have been growing footprints in wet earth, because Fritz the Cat – who I pictured with a Mongol archer on his back – had hidden my shoes. In response I measured how far I would have to throw a shard of broken pottery before it could be classed as space junk and then wrote words on a wide range of objects jettisoned from a supposedly sinking ship. I arranged them into ocean wide lines and put in punctuation marks to act as life boats. When I had finished this I suddenly remembered that as a young child I made a house out of a hole in the ground and an up turned pram – I would lay inside wondering if ghosts suffered from wind while the large tree in the middle of the garden blew its shadow into the shape of a nun wearing black stockings and high heels.


I started the day composed entirely of sand and anxiously watching the tide coming in. The figures the other side of several sets of doors were composed almost entirely of light – I knew they were there by the sound they made. June waved to what may have been only a reflection and I went out into the garden to be a dog perpetually trying to catch its own tail. I pictured a civilisation crumbling to dust and raised my hands against the unthinking weight of the atmosphere. A neighbour looked out of his window with falcons as eyes – I wondered if they had been fed before coming in as a photocopied replica of myself. The kitchen table had been replaced by a giant hand and I foretold its future with an unwashed pot and pan.


I woke as an arrow hit the timber of the door, looking up to see Henry the Fifth as a cloud, next to one that looked like an old fashioned telephone and another an antique chair with human legs but nothing above the waist (I did wonder about this) – none of the clouds rained although a hand answered the phone only to find that it was a wrong number. After a lagan breakfast – eaten with driftwood spoons – June and I went to town with our heads in our pockets and our hands shaking the air. Immediately above the trees shook in sympathy and I thought I could hear a cash register; I could still hear ringing when we sat down for a quick meal: I touched my bell head and tried to identify the note; June thought it was C sharp but I thought it was blunter than that.


June went out early to pull green gloves off green hands, leaving me to pad about my creative cage like a tiger in a milk bottle (as usual the dog had already pinched the cream). Even though my hands had changed to paper aeroplanes I drew pictures all day; they evolved before my eyes, eventually growing propellors and rudimentary engines. As the afternoon progressed I thought of my studio as a forest with my art as signatures on tree trunks although when I looked again later some of the names had been crossed out. June came back as a bass line, had a drink and then went out playing lead – I drew a face on the drums kit, first glum and then happier. At the end of the afternoon the audience had arrived and we all waited as one for the saxophone solo.


As usual for this day of the week I got up in a crepuscular dawn; June emerged like a flock of seagulls in my wake. I caught the big red double decker mouth moments before it spoke, getting coughed out and then swallowed again on the silent side of the hill. With the defiance of music in my mind I noticed a tablature of rooks on a roof top but sadly couldn’t spot the lutenist. As the aged and arthritic giantess climbed the hill I saw the spot where a procession of medieval mourners had stopped, having missed their connection to the church. I got mine and met the old man dressed as a royal barge – we sailed down the Thames, talking of motorways in prehistory and the archeological significance of ancient traffic jams.


June and I sat in bed as a pair of children’s bricks: when we got close together we formed a cowboy on a horse – the cowboy then walked the dog before unceremoniously falling off. We went to town so she could buy what she didn’t really want: half way as a noughts and crosses game and half way as hollowed out logs. I sailed back up stream; leaving her to measure time in purchases. I collected her again when the clock dial was full; by then I had designed a mathematical hat and a window box of music – the conductor has a watering can. Later as the clouds drifted south like a Spanish armada in reverse (the dog and I went out to play bowls) I dedicated what remained of the day to Eleanor Cobham; in my imagination, still walking the cat walk of expedient prejudice.


I got up with a picture of the sun eclipsed by two March hares in the Ancient Greek Tokamak of my mind. I wrapped my head in a cloth last worn by a close friend of Cleopatra and then went to London dressed as a Napoleon in Wellington boots – I was expecting rain but the sun danced like a lagomorph all day. I tied up all my loose ends with the ghost of a tea clipper casting pointed shadows on the pristine white floor. I returned home inside a football kicked by multiracial feet, finding myself in the back of the net surprisingly early in the evening. June was hanging upside down reading a book on bats when I opened the middle door – I placed the bags I had been carrying in a sacred circle and made a set of steps I will climb up when I am older.


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).
This entry was posted in Diary, Poetry, prose, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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