Weekly Diary


I got up quickly after unexpectedly pulling a full deck of cards from my navel; I nonchalantly shuffled them as I walked downstairs thinking of man stuck on a waterwheel and getting wet on a regular basis – I concluded I wouldn’t want to do anything on a regular basis and then took a deep breath. The hermit crab that haunts the house in lieu of a ghost was sat in the chair immediately opposite the door and stared at me intently. I thought this was rude even if I was holding a picture of a naked horse with a clothed Lady Godiva. June went out early to stand among walking crowds and I went to work in the garden (the hippopotami in my imagination fighting like old currency). Nothing much had been accomplished when June came home holding containers of cold water which had once been hot.



I queued with myself outside the bathroom thinking of all the things I have to do this week. June wanted to buy an iceberg even though she knew I wanted to buy a ship. She went out wrapped in a liana which was previously rejected by Tarzan – he used a retractable ladder instead. I walked the dog using old books for shoes; the one on my left foot, which incidentally is larger than my right, was still unread. I was marshalling goods trains in muddy puddles when June came back with countryside highlights in her urban hair. After a linear lunch I went out with Poppy (who had been rehearsing for a part in Shakespeare’s Henry Four And A Half); following main roads to side roads and side roads to rough patches of ground where I promised to found a city in honour of glowworm brides.



The man with pulled teeth for clothes turned off the lights in the broad daylight. He walked several feet above the ground and the shadow of the dog passed by underneath (she absentmindedly turned the page of the music score she was listening to). I had already gone out without a shopping list and now June went out without any money. We had to meet in town to reconcile these differences; me with an empty aquarium for a head and her with a mind full of fish. When I got home the tooth man returned with an ache. The ache, which resembled the Horsehead Nebula, mended the electric socket above the gas cooker (we call the cooker Williamina) and then tried to get to the first floor without using the stairs. I imagined a swarm of small boxes with wings in someone else’s head but not my own.



I spoke to the cobweb lady, who was packing a bag in the space between my imagination and the real world – I have given the space a boy’s name even though it is probably female. After some time in a tunnel without a clear entrance or exit I talked to the spider lady again – this time she was unpacking her bag (we agreed to call it Nigel). To avoid what was left of the sun I made an avenue with my fingers only to be surprised when I caught someone walking down it. They were idly scattering words that someone else would have to sweep up – I told them it wouldn’t be me and turned my inside out hand into a church for nonbelievers – they had been told they face a mechanical oblivion which I hope myself to miss: in the latticework distance tree branches seemed to catch people like flies.



I had a very early start: pulling back the blue/black sky to reveal the day still asleep with dreams of yesterday (June called the sky curtains and the ventriloquist’s dummy, who still engages us in conversation even though the ventriloquist is gone, called them an opening to the soul). I rode out among the herds of mechanical horses, pulling strands of colour out of an otherwise grey sky. I met the old man as an incandescent light in the middle of a fog and we exchanged the information of lighthouses, pulling pieces of paper from our hair as we did so – I noticed that more of his paper pieces had been written on and resolved to get a new pencil. I came home astride a mechanical ostrich and holding a haversack full of sand.



I woke with black and white stripes and walked down the zebra crossing stairs with a row of stopped cars in my head. June was still asleep in a motorcycle sidecar with a winged horse on her chest. I would have called my breakfast Bellerophon if it hadn’t already called me washing up. The man in the shadows (I knew neither him or the shadows) had a guitar for a head and strummed a chord – I thought it was a seventh but he said it was a sixth and a half. While the cloud people cavorted overhead I poured water like scorn and watched a very large bird slowly ascend higher in the sky – the child in me imagined it going right through the surface of a second ocean and then up into a second sky (the adult who is not quite in me wondered how long this process could be continued).



The little hunchback chimed the bell in my head, simultaneously waking me up and putting me to sleep. June was dancing with a goat when I walked down the hall trailing an arm that I had found still clinging to the net curtain. As usual we went out in the morning; she had her hair arranged into a Portuguese man of war sail and mine into a wheat field just after the harvest – harvest was early this year and I caught myself thinking that old age was a precursor for youth and cause always follows effect. As I thought this a group of space age Vikings walked through the shopping centre: apparently they were still looking for their ship. The sails on their heads startled a group of pigeons by the entrance and they all stopped to watch me lift one leg off the ground as a sea eagle landed on it.


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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