Thursday, 6 November 2014


Blue light shifted
Out of sight
Until only echoed brightness
In our eyes
Saturated everything.

In a memory from
Time immemorial
From misplaced youth
Only dreams are now

Lint-flecks like sudden stars
Pricked the dimness
While thunder rocked and rolled.
The detergent glare of whites,
Shirts and skirts,
Were shrouds of ghosts, shimmering.

It’s now an old room
Tawdry in the daylight
Maybe pulled to rubble
As the years sucked it down;
A dance-hall before the names
For dancing became exotic,
Before the newness wore off
And continued newness
Rubbed it dull.

Blue light
Spectral, like things to come,
Immediate and invisible
Only converted by a trick
For our eyes to believe.
Dancers spin and wave,
Embarrassed gestures
Swivelling hips and bodies
Darkness with little detail.

So the past
Catches up, or rather
Stills the image
Drains it of hope
Arrests aspiration
For the unformed and unimaginable
Thing it was.

The faces are gone.
Persons, personalities,
Several together, anchored, reaching
Through the altered light
And the jive-music,
The sound of what
Appeared to be now.

Darkened memory
Picks it out of nowhere
Nowhere special.
Shapes a moment of time
Once an instant with a pulse
Now a corpsed and laughable

This old memory
This worn head
Full of such fragments
Whips them up
And tries to make them breathe
But life is extinct
Just as all remembered things
Are hazy.

The blue light
Once so vivid
Obscured it all:
Who was dancing
Whose hands reached out.
No-one knew.

Only the lint is shining.

© BH 2014

Second-last from Initialising. Strange how a word I wrote in 1996 should spark such a memory. Far from the cosmological, I found a recollection of those far-off disco-days of my youth and pimpledness. I doubt if the Mayfair club (?), if such it was, is still there. I remember a barn of a place beyond the cafe. Inside it was black walled and dim. Then the UV lights came on and revealed the detergent brightness of crowd. All our laundered gear, pushing out a beyond-white light. There on my strange and striped serge trousers glowing like pulsars on my puppy-fat thighs were galaxies of laundered bits, all the debris of flannelette, poly-cotton, string-vest and thread.

Coolness evaporated like the illusion it was. And I've never let myself forget.

Images taken from Gill Russell's Solus installation in the Watermill, Aberfeldy, 2008.

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