Tear the statues down put them in a museum have their achievements weighed against their modern moral faults Give them context It feels wrong to venerate values we no longer share
Tear the problematic statues down it’s time to move on They’ve had their light they’ve had their vaunted praise let them slip into the past I don’t want to walk beside the likeness of a slave trader on my morning commute despite their pigeon-shit coat that always makes me smirk
Tear the statues down The older folks may say it’s a pity the folly of an ignorant youth but times; they change often abruptly and sometimes it’s appropriate to force a step change to send a message Like scientists reevaluating theories based on new research Shouldn’t we reassess elevated heroes of the past
Tear the problematic statues down let’s build new ones better ones let them inspire hope and unity and in 100 years, if they must fall again then so be it History is not lost because of it books will go on, museums go on providing that all-important context for those who seek it…
There are some nights like clockwork I find myself ticking up the stone steps of the lighthouse
There are some nights cloaked in melancholy staring out, wide-eyed across the freezing seas of time
There are these nights I sit, quietly, by the lens wondering of all the other nights I have sat quietly wondering…
A thread of light stretches backwards through all my life sewing together these contemplative moments connecting me with my younger selves
We all sit there on different steps looking out to sea with our lifetime of bad haircuts and our silver fountain pens each one more expensive than the one before
We all wonder in an echo we all wonder ‘Am I right? Is my aim true? do I have any aim at all?
Where am I going?’
I long to reach out a hand somehow send out a boat to them I worry for those lost souls adrift on wild seas rocking in churning waters without a lot of hope
Through the thick blanket of night I sense the face of a future me he looks healthier, happier richer somehow looking back across the freezing seas of time fondly and encouragingly he’s smiling back at me…
Nineteen nighty five Nominally fourteen; I was sitting in the sports hall pen in hand the desks apart a teacher I didn’t know patrolled the aisles The English paper said ‘write a story include a river and an allegory’
The clock at the front clicks thin hands jerk and tick I spin my pen study the air vents above me there’s a dusty shuttlecock caught up in the pipework there’s a brown deflated football sitting on the skylight I need to start writing…
I wasn’t a reader, then I knew nothing much of stories I’d watched a lot of films I’d heard a lot of pop songs but I wasn’t a writer
Unimpressed by the aesthetic the muted light inside the sports hall I pushed my mind out onto the playing fields down the long road past the waterworks to the river on the edge of town
And I could see it there a bend in the channel where a tree had lost its leaves a tree was clinging to the dry mud of the riverbank being undercut by the flowing water being ever exposed by the erosion being deposed
And I started to write of the tree being cut and torn being pulled and weakened by the hunger of the river Hanging on with every root and the river’s endless running
The more I wrote the sadder I felt for the tree the more I wrote the more the tree’s plight mirrored something I’d seen the more I wrote the more I saw my mother’s best friend’s fight with cancer revealed before me The more I wrote the more I saw her face looking back at me and the more the story moved me
And the tree succumbed to the river’s flow as all things will, eventually
That essay was the first time I wrote something with any meaning handed my paper back a tear-stain just above my name That was the first time I wrote something and I haven’t stopped since…
Did you heal that humbling heartbreak ringing as a bell through you? Did you conquer the stifling loss bitterly coating all your notebooks?
Did you find a stranger at your door clutching wine and headphones? Did they listen with hungry ears to all the truths you had to share?
Did they grab your wrists with passion dance you into the endless night? Did they calm your fears with a simple gesture hold you the way you always wanted?
Did they lead you astray, in that inspiring way? did you laugh together in the face of darkness? Did they mute the chill of rain upon your senses? push the mundanities of living back into their places?
O, how I wanted to be that person how I wanted to be the one standing there on some unexpected evening with that bottle and those tunes
I hope someone answered all your longing which came pouring from your pen and I pray that you’re still writing but now the song is sweeter
I hope someone answered you the way I always wished to…