Poet Introduction I compare poetry to painting, believing that I lack any drawing/painting skills but believing my imagination and training in writing has enabled me to transfer my love of visual art to the written word
a single decker bus back to the bay, along the coastal route, past tea places and an empty fair marquee, country lanes flanked by ancient gnarled tree trunks, sun-parched fields, lone cottages standing back from a road,
signposts for a farm appear, cows in a field, gaze ahead with fixed expressions. a tall fence, an orchard,
approaching the coast, a line of cliffs stretching east, giftshops selling postcard racks, Buckets and Spades, holidaymakers ambling towards the seawall by the promenade,
The theatre was unexpectedly busy, about a third full. I sat in the centre where I had a good view of the flat stage. On Friday, I too would perform on stage and I felt excited about it suddenly.
The lights dimmed. The conversation died.
Applause rippled through the old auditorium and a man and woman stepped out of a green room, onto the stage. A well-known violinist and piano accompanist, although I'd never heard of them. They played Beethoven's Spring Sonata. Lovely, like a gentle stream with a few waterfalls.
Not again, I thought. But I had only two choices. Check in at reception and fill out the necessary forms, or sleep rough.
I arrived from Wales on the Saturday afternoon. By the Monday, I was drinking a bottle of cinzano on the Cathedral Green, not really caring who saw. The sweet intoxicating liquid offered some relief, though only temporarily, and when I woke in the morning, I knew I couldn't go on in this way.
Having no idea of how to rejoin normal society, I prayed quietly, pleading with God for a place of my own. Later, I spoke to a Baptist minister whom I'd known...
The short time I spent in Llanfairfechan allowed me to gain a measure of stability and to contemplate on the direction my life had taken: the musical aspirations that I still felt passionate about, the aimless drifting through Devon and London, the solitary drinking, the fears and anxieties.
After staying in dormitories, sleeping on kitchen floors and sharing a room with international students, I finally got to wake up in a normal bed on my first morning in Wales. In the corner of the room stood the piano that had assisted me through most of my teen years, looking well and...
Okay,' one of my relatives said when I finished explaining. 'There's a student hostel in Kensington. Get a taxi over and we'll meet you there.'
That night, I travelled by taxi to the student hostel in Kensington, but I didn't there stay for long. I had no way of paying the rent. I found Kensington a lonely place to be.
I attempted to get a job selling paintings on the south side of London, but when I arrived at headquarters to start work, the firm didn't have my details and refused to hire me. Given the long list of phobias, I don't really see how the job could have...
Have you the price of a can of lager?' the owner of the flat asked me in the morning. I didn't like parting with my money, what little of it was left, but I had no choice. Give him the money for the beer, or return to the Pound.
It didn't take long for me to discover that almost every person who came to the flat had problems with drink or drugs. And the drinking wasn't just heavy drinking, but breakfast drinking as well. The people would begin the days with swigs from a can of strong lager or a bottle of spirits. I liked to drink too but never in the mornings. Still, I drank...
I arrived in London a few hours later and began to panic, overwhelmed by the crowds and the noise. A siren wailed nearby and a police vehicle pulled to a halt. I felt truly lost, mesmerised by the speed of the city and the officers attending to an incident on the opposite corner of the street.
My first attempt at living in London lasted just seven weeks. Within days, the tentative arrangement I'd made fell through and I found myself homeless, on the way to a shelter for homeless people, not what I'd hoped for. By now, the cacophony of grim neighbourhoods had begun to drain me,...
Further discussion must have taken place, for the headmaster decided to send me to a Special School for the Educationally Subnormal, Ten Acres, in Newton Heath. Educationally Subnormal, strong words. I think they even tried to hit me with Learning Difficulties.
Of course, labels like these have the potential to spell out all sorts of problems - for example, the distinct possibility of a lifetime of struggle, in particular of low attainment in schooling and of little to look forward to in terms of employment, along with the possibility of an child-turned adult not coping...
The gate stands by a field that leads down the slope to a river. The gate opens with a creak, its wood rough after years of use. From the gate, one can see the water, smooth, almost silent, A steady stream that is always there, A faithful friend, like the creaking gate.
I get up and leave, shivering outside as I walk across the hospital front in the freezing rain, the northern winds biting at my fingers and face, the downpour reaching deep into my trainers and socks. It's nearly half four in the afternoon, and already almost dark, more like late autumn or early winter.
An ambulance rushes into the front area of the hospital, lights flashing, and pulls to a halt by the entrance. For a while, I stand watching in a type of daze, remembering another time when an ambulance pulled up in the clearing at the bottom of Whaley Hill to take me to hospital...