“When I found George I was 14 years old”
When I found George I was 14 years old
by Elizabeth Wewiora
When I found George I was 14 years old
When I found George I was 14 years old. He said he was looking for something or someone but he could not remember which. I think he had taken a rather heavy blow to the head during his bumpy flight over from Poland.
When I was 15 years old I lost George. He was playing in the back garden behind the rabbit hut. I hoped that he would come back if I left his favourite song playing from the radio on the Kitchen window. But apparently he didn’t like that song anymore.
I think I first decided that I hated George on my 21st birthday. He never dropped by to send his wishes. What we had together in those previous years was meant to be special but all that was ruined now.
I think I first decided I had fallen in love with George when suddenly he began to flap his wings with a rhythmic beat, suddenly the sky became full of birds, moving in unison to George’s improvised beats. He suddenly turned his head and disappeared, and then came back with a record player that would act as a stand while we went for tea.
I’d forgotten all about that record player until my sister reminded me it was in the loft of my mother’s house. It was an old battered beast of a machine, just like George really! I hope one day he flies back to me.
Do you think a creature that is not a bird but not a human either, can really love a foolish girl as much as she loves him?
George was a funny type of guy really, because he always insisted on turning the light switch on and off three times before he could settle to bed. I found this particularly strange because he was a bird.
When George turned five he decided to flee his homeland to pastures new.
In this foreign land he found love. The love of a good women. I would like to say that this woman was me, but alas I was only a distant memory: a nice and polite girl he met once on an allotment site.
I think George has always been frightened of commitment, that’s why he disappeared from behind the rabbit hutch and flew away, then thought about what he was missing so came back just to check and stay for a while, with those who he loved but was too scared to say. So he said it with a record player that, whenever used, was a reminder of him.
George’s children were the making of him – literally making him up from anything they could find around the house. Patches of fabric, buttons and all kind of bits and bobs. There were two girls and a younger boy in the family of his household. They were a creative family and puppets were their favourite things to make. George often felt like a puppet on a string, passed around from child to child, even the dog sometimes.
George once shared a secret with me; he told me that he NEVER RECYCLED.
George then decided to join AVEN as an honorary member on 28 April 2012. He doesn’t know what it is though. Maybe he could Google it but it’s hard to type with claws. My aunty said she would trim his nails right back if he wanted, so he could manage his day to day tasks a little better. She was a nail beautician by trade, but George did not have much time for nail beauticians and so rejected the offer.
Perhaps if George hadn’t left so early in life, I would have been a more intelligent daughter, but it is hard to say and wrong to judge.
The most important things about George really is that he would like to one day return to his homeland – back to this roots – wherever that is?
Floating between two countries, two cultures, George struggled to set real routes. He always felt this sense of limbo and responded with slight unease towards the question, ‘where do you come from?’ It is a question which many of us can answer with confidence and clarity, but not for all of us, not for me. And a question which continues to challenge us more that others, especially for George, is ‘where do you belong?’
The inbetweeners is a difficult term to be a part of – just ask George.
Today George had what he likes to call a ‘Eureka’ moment – the light bulb of his mind suddenly began to flicker and develop into brightly shining light. George had an idea! He decided to collect a found object and put them in a box – he turned this into treasure in an unmarked spot in the garden before leaving the house for the final time.
She met George in Liverpool. Turns out he is from Liverpool. He’s very nice, a very good person. Once day he asked me for something, I said no.
Today will be the last day we speak of George – the pain of his memories are just too much for me to bear.
When I turned 26 I left George. He is with you now, where he has always belonged.
Dogs or Kids
by Richard Taylor
A shark’s body had cracked in two and its white dolphin-like remains were awash the steps in front of where we picnicked that day. The tower that loomed in front of us had no bottom. Instead it dissolved in the surf that licked at lower foundations of iron abdomen.
The unrelenting stone of ages smacked a dull thud upon my crown as I reached the top of the watch tower. The Portuguese had build it strong and unforgiving, so I stepped out on to the ringed plateau with a shade in my eye. Dizziness took me and much of everything else dropped from my arms. Life is not Chess, but this Ruck was unmoved and straight in force. I manoeuvred to the wall to rest each buttock on the side-stone; cold in the shade I came too and saw him before me, his head silhouette blocking the sun. It was then that we turned to look below. Fragmented white and blue foam pulled in and out against the man-made shoreline, like sequins embellished in the heat. Beaches in the distance then stretched as far as the curving land could go and slow heaps of dunes, patched with green grass and glistening movement, touched the horizon.
We reached the shore through a thicket of sharpening knives otherwise known as gorse and rested a while on the rocks at the East end of the beach. A power station dominated the horizon and the heat arising sifted any existing foundations into bleached haze. The gargantuan build floated like a castle in the distance as we gazed at families in the foreground. Kids ran naked too and fro, from sea to sand land and back, pissing in the waves, charging at the sky.
We clambered down to walk a stretch of sand daring the waves with our toes. Soon jellyfish were more exciting and less alive washed up on the shore, drying out in the sun. My legs neck nose and forehead stung and our water supply was running low.
Its as if they had watched too many nature programmes. Their movements were exactly like the Meerkats at Butterfly World in Leeds, and they were just as exposed. But this was East Lothian and we were on the beach. The sun was shooting its rays along the coast and against the wet sand, up in to our eyes upon our foreheads burning pasty calves along the way. We turned our gaze inland away from the water to rest our eyes upon the palette of reeds and green grass amongst sand dunes. It was here the animals began to play.
One man stood all of a sudden atop the highest dune like a king set amongst cloudless skies. He was tanned and, as he started to pull down his lower garments, we could see this was an all over tan. So he was used to being naked. After a while two more men stood in the same way, but on lower dunes, and a hierarchy was played out as more nakedness appeared. Then two more men and two more and soon the dunes were full of buttocks thighs and clean shaven skin. Their obviousness matched their ability to remain as animals in a new kingdom; cruising they were and all we could do was watch as if visitors in a zoo. Thankfully we saw no intercourse, this must have happened as they dropped beneath the grass again and out of sight. And this did happen, they did drop, and all came together under the watchful eye of the top most gay man.
Modigm submersion and solid-base
by Richard Taylor
Beneath us rose this amphitheatre
enclosed to an aquarium
of under water
We had followed the swarm in to the surf
the boat had got us so far.
Oars, no longer effective, halted in the wind
as our sails flecked into stillness.
Quiet were our surrounds
we toed in to the vastness of this
great blue that happened below.
Gone boat and bye to sky
And we drowned into the deep.
It reached us
just as we took our breath for our own.
And there we found our feet.
You May Like What You See
Cows have ultimate efficiency, even though they appear slow and hindered, they seem to be able to piss and eat at the same time. I observed this fact shortly after my train pulled south out of Berwick upon Tweed in to a flooded area, which caused the East coast train line route such problems days previous to this journey. We rolled over a hill and out in to a clearing of sea and wet sand. Workmen were busy fixing more drainage to the hillside, extracting water from underneath the rail tracks reducing subsidence. The train was considerably slower than it normally would be and as the black cows came up towards the tracks to drink from the flooded plain, they then urinated and consumed grass simultaneously.
The carriage I am on is divided by pink hens and stag-like mediums. I sit here with Emotional Joystick playing out in to my ears, my music of choice, loud and fitting to douse out the noise of men on heat and women trying to be just as hot. Pop goes the champaign. Cheers go the rest in reply. Touch my laptop with that fizz and I will banish you from this journey forth-with.
As we approach Newcastle the clouds draw in, and the wind picks up. My mother’s best friend’s sister lives in the city. The other day she had to move out of her home due to its lower floor and basement being flooded. Farmland passes us all by, I seem to be the only one looking out the window. Out numbered my buttocks stay firmly fixed to the seat. It is mine and they will not have it. Small lakes have collected themselves offering more to the otherwise medley green landscape. Vans flags and caravans scatter the shore line and the next song I have to myself, starts and hovers on.
What would you do if, after an apprenticeship with a joinery firm, your teacher laid you off just to hire another intern? Strapped for cash would you accept a pay out from a scheming friend asking you to transit a package of crack from Manchester to Leeds? Would you then store it in your home? I owe something to these Leeds men who spent most of their time brewing vodka with magic mushrooms, eating MDMA like Synthetic Smarties and cooking up horse tranquilliser to snort like wet animals. They would often piss and inhale at the same time but you have to give it to them, they had taste in music. And there was a select few of us who enjoyed it all.
The room we entered just before Christmas was decorated to the teeth and the ceiling appeared at half its capable height. Jade green plied with lager danced on the highest of heels. She touched the plastic shine of Christmas come with her red finger nails, her leopard-print dress filling in the middle of each shake and twirl, her tights well chosen to match the top half with the bottom. Red hair tied back, lips on, she’d beat the whole of this carriage with her style. They would not know what hit them with her Lancashire twang. Gabba played on. We drank more lager. Soon I was matching her movements and together we danced and tore down the room.
The train is moving faster now and thank God we are closer to where these animals might alight the train. Despite the ticket-master’s announcement they will probably fall down the gap in between the door and the platform, much like other hoofed and picketed creatures would trap their lower parts in cattle-grids.
Trees now crowd around fences that mark out field upon field. We still hug the shoreline but the horizon is now mostly farmland, weather measurements, abandoned tractors, shining rivers, rolling viaducts and the odd tip of a white sailing boat dotting in the glistening distance.
We must be gaining on a city now, there are more tracks conjoining and the train is in steady flow, it feels altogether straight and less ragged and raided. New suburban builds pass us by and pylons give way to wind farms catching the rays of the sea breeze. Hillocks of yellow mess decorate one field in between furtive allotments that hide beneath bushes below our trajectory. Radio masts taste the sky as points to recognise farm houses that stand alone. Small corrugated huts house food for cows that are now a shade of light brown. They eat but do not piss.
Near Omsk 24/04/11
I am very much enjoying having Bill Bryson as my travelling companion on the train. He talks about people emigrating to Australia from Britain in the 1950s and for most people it meant weeks at sea. It kind of has that feel on the train, that we are no longer in 2011, but some earlier time, when people expected international travel to take a long time and didn’t have the impatience of our privileged position towards travel today. From the window of the train is certainly doesn’t seem that the world is getting smaller, in fact is it so large that I have difficulty comprehending the sheer scale of it.
There seem to be less houses now and just naked silver birch and brown and yellow fields. There doesn’t seem to be as much snow, we are heading South.
The landscape and the people are slowly changing. We crossed a wetland for many hours this morning. The houses, some made of brick look less like garden sheds. Vast concrete silos, industrial buildings don’t look so abandoned any more. I had a nice time brushing my teeth and peeing with the bathroom window wide open, the wind and the world zooming past, and washing the porridge from my cup in the old steel sink. My cup is used for everything! There are less Russians on the train, the Turkish men left in the night at Omsk. The faces of the passengers are changing as we cross the vastness of Russia, leaving Europe behind and entering Asia.
The towns in this area look like someone has abandoned an old Lada in an allotment.
Time for some instant noodles, chicken or beef, I’ll have the beef please!
The fragile clumps hang precariously from their perch. A long tail hangs down from them, seemingly holding them all together. Every so often one of the clumps will twitch and they all take a juddering trip a little further down the stalk, but somehow manage to cling on. If you felt so inclined to anthropomorphise them, you might cloak them in red waterproof jackets, like a string of amateur mountaineers, ill prepared for the conditions clinging together to the rope that their guide had bid them hold onto tightly. Echo’s of their unhappy and uncertain, but not yet fearful; cries as they descend unwillingly might hang in the air. But perhaps their cries are too comical for some desolate mountain cliff-face, better perhaps to think of them as first-time abseillers, caught in unexpectedly inclement weather. Better to preserve both your and their hope.
Occasionally one loses its hold and plunges to its dusty death, imploding on impact. The others are still for much longer than normal after each fall, as though they remember that each twitch could send them all to that fate. Below them the ground is smooth and cold - where it isn’t littered with the remains of their compatriots – and patient.
Slowly, slowly, they descend the tail as though the shorter distance to the ground will save them. The lowest of them touches the ground. And implodes as surely as its compatriot that fell from a height.
As though now resigned to their fate the rest give up their fight and fall to the ground, pulling down the cord that had sustained them for so long. The faint red glow of the beacon above them dims to nothing and the dust settles.
The air fills with the lavender scented clouds of their passing and for a long moment: there is calm.
Final Working Day
They tell us that
Public Sector Pensions are good
Then why would they
Destroy them if they could?
They tell us that
Private Sector Pensions are bad
Then why don’t they
Make them better and make us glad?
The Working Class deserve
On the final working day
To have a good Pension
After the Final Pay
Enough jobs should be created
There is no underclass
Just not working at the moment
We’re all Working Class
Are we living longer?
Or is that a Forked Tongue Excuse?
Do you know a 90 year old?
How many? Tell the truth
Many of the next generation are obese
I’ve heard it being said
Will they live longer?
A statement I’ve never read
When Pension circumstances change
These new rules are still here to stay
This proves it’s a one way street
As we don’t get back what they took away
On one side of the room, the built in wardrobe is approximately one half of the width of the wall. On the opposite wall, the window also owns literally one half. It is not that the wardrobe is particularly large or the window a grand feature bay but that the room has similar dimensions to that of a rabbit hutch. Not literally, but approximately. When the blind is drawn down, I am boxed in and I like it.
The room feels self-contained and suspended like a hot air balloon hovering in the midst of a built-up city. I do not think of its interdependency on the hallway to the right, the kitchen behind my head and the main bedroom with en suite beyond. When the door is shut and the blind drawn, the room and everything in it ceases to exist. No-one thinks about the room. Or thinks about me being in the room. The room is mine and exists only to me. Outside of room and I, we are invisible.
There is a scratch at the door, the room is not suspended anymore. As the cat creeps through the creak in the door, I lift the blind in and let her leap into her spot on the windowsill. The window is a perfect sqaure frame holding one perfect solid square glass panel. It frames the world perfectly like a glass panel in an aquarium, tropical fish swimming in and out a line of vision. The fish exist only in the present. No one can see where they came from or where they go to. This is my aquarium window except the fish are people and they do not swim but walk and cycle and encase themselves in moving vehicles. The scenery is not plankton and plastic castles but other windows and buildings and carparks.
From where I sit the sky fills four fifths of the window. It takes its hue from a paint brush coated in navy and plunged into a clear, still glass of water creating white and light dappling. Soon, fusion will be complete and the night sky will relax into solid blue unmindful of day. A flickering of red and yellow light races through the last of the silver linings. It takes approximately seven seconds for the aeroplane to cross my window screen from stage left to right. I watch in amused bewildermint as I imagine this tin shell with wings exporting and importing hundreds of little people across the Firth of Forth into Edinburgh Airport.
No one knows that I have sat in this box of mine that to you in your areoplane does not exist and that I have saw you fly across my line of vision imposing yourself into my existence and that you will never know me who watched you.