Be seated. Balance. Right foot for support. Rotate the right hand sixty degrees, press with the right thumb, clench the left fist, flick down the left toes, twist the right wrist, release the left fist, twist the right wrist more, harder, briefly loosen, clench the left hand quickly, flick up with the toes, twist the right wrist hard again, by now you should be reaching 60. Keep going – faster.
Seaford by motorbike. I stop at the café by the Martello tower, looking out to sea…crows on the beach chased by a collie, other crows watching me, claiming their table tops, as I sip my tea…
Back on the bike, heading towards Hastings, 1066 country ‘Sea front Beachy Head’ the sign says. Approaching Eastbourne, downhill, low gear, poppies growing in the escape lane remind me of those who have died on the cliffs.
Changing up a gear, extra throttle up an incline reflecting on mental health and stigma. The ‘labels’ – diagnoses – do not mean the same. We’re not the same people, we’re individual. I have bipolar, but I’m not Stephen Fry, and my experience of the disorder is not the same as his, partly because we have led such different lives…
Remembering the night before, on the train to London. Telltale press reading for fellow poet, Jess. From the train window, dry brick, brick dust, London stock. London Bridge construction bigger better, more shiny.
London. People spilling out of bars, yet neatly contained in patches of pavement, cordoned off by thick red ropes. Tight jeans, low cut tops. Woman selling single roses. Images of Chinese dragons, contrast light summer dresses, the air continuous with my breath. Possible to walk through these crowded streets and make contact with no-one. Look: zips on the backs of her high heels! A backdrop of people’s unuttered thoughts – give me pussy! Give me cock! Sometimes both demanded by the same person.
Hot and sour soup, thinking of an infinite God at the moment of creation, as if a mirror smashed into an infinite number of microscopic shards, became all that ever was, all that will ever be, to experience the lives of all sentient beings throughout time. Look: her arms are so slender.
From Hastings to Rye to Ticehurst, weaving a route through the traffic. The refurbished manor house, the hospital. The village in summer. Remembering those days of sunshine in 1997. At first only allowed out escorted, then to walk alone to the store for chocolate, to the second hand bookshop, to the old church, cool silences.
Putting the cover back on the bike, he remembers a moment in a silver sports car: he knew the sequence of lights, but would they change on time? He told her to go faster and she pushed her right foot down harder, the cross roads approaching so very quickly. They had swung out from the roundabout, top down, the breeze in their hair, in this spirited sports car, four hundred yards away now close to sixty miles an hour, heading towards a red light, accelerating instead of slowing, faster, another few seconds before we hit the line, he’d thought, they glanced at each other laughing, turned again to face the junction as the lights struck amber and they shot past the rear of the last car to cross from the right and headed straight to the other side, across with a loud whoop of joy!