Weekly Diary



I decided to drop my real names and call myself after whatever day it was and then ventured outside into a world of giant ice cubes in a hot desert – as it turned out the desert melted before they did. On the spur of the moment June went out holding two lengths of wood, a hammer and nails; I stayed at home as Jesus and thought about his left wing politics kept alive in the nucleus of an atom. I knew the garden had eyes but I was still surprised when I found at least one pair of ears and the bridge of a nose. I thought the bridge would look nice going over the pond and wrote a poem in praise of frog spawn – by coincidence I then met a man who kept newts: he promised me some if I could draw a circle on a map and then fill it full of water.


I woke as an unnamed bubble issuing from a deep sea vent (apparently in this country bubbles are only named when they begin to dissipate). I went out into the garden carrying a lifesize cardboard cutout: it promptly started gardening while I stood like Mount Olympus: recently repossessed after the gods couldn’t keep up with the mortgage repayments. I couldn’t get into my studio so donned a military uniform from a pacifist army and worked like the only full bottle left in a crate of milk – all around me starfish had involved hands and then heads to hold in them. June went out before lunch, just after the koala bear she was holding instead of a handbag had bit me when I tried to give it some loose change.


I got up as outlawed diagonal stripes in a horizontal and vertical world. As an act of defiance I invented a theory of three simultaneous times (up, down and across) and then thought up a machine to explore them. June went to town to find clothes that wouldn’t actually fit and I stayed at home with the countryside in my head – although I suspect my head was also inside the countryside and I would have probably picked it up when I was a young child and put it on the the top shelf of my outer space house beside a collection of dunking stones kept in a biscuit tin and a jar of back pocket flowers. I stared at the space behind the canvas and had more eyes than a peacock when June returned home listening to music that neither of us would be able to play.


I had to go to London again to assemble and collect what to me had become messages from a tantalising past. I watched people the other side of the river pressing white paper to their faces and then climbed the hidden stairs after a man dressed like a tortured clown let me in the building by mistake. The top floor of the block contained dead bodies although in the basement no one had actually been born yet – I left carrying a collection of cast offs from the dissection room disco. I could see the air hanging like curtains (or the flowing dress of a pregnant nun) as I forced myself up the railway hill. The train travelled in thick air for the first part of its journey and I then viewed the passport photograph of the countryside – it was smiling even though it had been told not to.


I got up early (all the cuckoo clocks in my head had already arrived and chimed at spilt second intervals). As I dressed in my working clothes arms and legs emerged from the bathroom cabinet and it promptly scuttled downstairs, closely followed by the laundry basket which reputedly had a flour mill for a heart. The dog had become an oxymoron in her bed and I had to act like a fountain pen when I left the house, touching but not marking a white sheet of writing paper, which I later realised was June sat on the sofa like a refrain from a medieval rondeau. However I had got home again before the last verse had been sung, having met the conductor and rehearsed in the choir. The music was based on the sound of waves crashing on rocks near the pier – a lone figure stood looking out.


I woke with footprints across both sides of my body – an odd number on my front and an even one behind. This was rather surprising as the window had been closed all night because of all the punching fists in the air. After stretching myself the entire length of the garden I was able to work out the direction of travel and then condense this into a length of hair which I could keep in a locket hung around my neck. June stayed inside the glass dome that used to house a clock (this was when time was of importance) and I left the house with pebbles in my hand. I followed the traffic until I realised I had already been to where they were going and came home with a hermit crab in my haversack and my shopping hanging from my hands like congealed blood.


I started the day as a sequence of numbers, shorter than some but with still too many in front of the decimal point – which was curled up like a raccoon asleep on a milk churn. The steam train my dreams travel in had stopped at every station but I still couldn’t quite reach the outstretched hand that had pushed through the wall like a wounding spear. June and I followed the clockwork people down the hill as if they were sounds that we could hear – as it was the sky was silent and I would later stand by the river like a round window in a perfectly square wall. I imagined buds opening in my head as I watched June recede into a shopping spree distance. The man tapping out a morse code message with his shoe put his foot firmly to the ground.



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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