How have I not let go this long


Max recommended shows and films, in his quiet way, and within 48 hours I’d usually watch them.

He noticed and I noticed and it became, if it wasn’t always, a way for him to talk to me. Or a way for me to hear his voice.

He asked if I’d seen the new season of Girls, when we were still in touch. But that’s just why it’s such a hit – everyone sees themselves in it?

Even on paper? I left for ‘grad school’ (also two years). He went to South America. How did we leave it? ‘open-ended’. I’m a neurotic writer. He’s…Adam.

I just dropped out. Because I hate it.

And when I show up in August, to the airport in Lima, a year after I left him at the airport for my fucking masters degree, I’m going to come face to face with him again and see that this has been coming the whole time. 

Who left who? Hannah’s friends feel it’s important. We left each other. We left almost simultaneously. If you’re good together, you don’t tend to leave each other. But maybe you find less heart-wrenching reasons to leave.

So I made decisions. They haven’t turned out how I hoped.

I’d better start living. I’d better make the best of this. I’d better see Europe, and sleep around, and get work, and learn the language, and the future by definition never comes.

Fuck. At least it was a creative way to break up.


Old Flames

poetry, the past

Plotting a novel, or trying, all evening. Nothing seems big enough.

I gave up and went to visit past-Arwen.


I was trying to work out if I have ever been cool. I think Name made me cooler by association, but no, I’m not cool. I’m okay with that; I don’t think being cool would make me less lonely.

I am a bit worried about moving in with Huey, Dewie, and Louie Duck. Think I’d rather go home (!!). But it’s only for two months. They are “cool”. I’m worried about re-entering the fold. 

I keep myself to myself these days. As the old ladies say; so long as you have your health. Do they say this because they’re so close to death and haunted by imminent fatal disease? I don’t have my health.

Oh past-Arwen, so harsh. Don’t worry, you’re cool now. HA.

You are healthy though, more or less, most of the time. Not many days lost to the void. You’ve turned out quite okay, past-Arwen. Well done Arwen.

Have I done well enough for six years later? Shuttup brain. Nice name-changing, btw – creative.


Starry night – crisp like machine-cut paper. Moon like a rind on a dark plate. Wish it would rain.

DH Lawrence

I like people quite well
at a little distance.
I like to see them passing and passing
and going their own way,
especially if I see their aloneness alive in them.

Yet I don’t want them to come near.
If they will only leave me alone
I can still have the illusion that there is room enough in the world.

Everywhere I see couples. Their conversations slide past as I sit on the bus.

Vikram Seth (undated 2009)

All you who sleep tonight,
Far from ones you love,
No hand to left or right
And emptiness above –

Know that you aren’t alone.
The whole world shares your tears.
Some for two nights, or one,
And some for all their years.

So, this too shall pass.

Utilities Apocalypse


Situation with phantom electricity usage of more than 17000Kc (£450ish) clarified.

It is serious.

Bit of a shock when your housing contract just ran out, you’re down to your last £300, and you’ve been paying rent inclusive of bills faithfully each month.

Everybody – everybody – agrees this is a bill of totally implausible magnitude.

If I was only in London.

If I was in London I’d invite my electrician friend to come and test our appliances and check for energy theft. I would be on the phone tearing the energy company a new one. I’m good at that.

I would have a valid housing contract and when I paid my monthly bills, my bills would actually have been paid.

I would not be living in an economy where your bogstandard part-time worker is lucky to earn £2.60ph.

And I would not have a pissed-off, worried landlord who must think we’re running a hydroponics op or something, with no contractual obligation to let me stay and one week until our paid-up rent runs out.

I don’t even have the money to go back to England. I don’t have anywhere to be there, if I did. I do have a credit card, but no overdraft facility, and almost no earning potential.

It’s not totally impossible to pay this bill. But it is impossible to recover from paying it, without a lot of pain. Time, work, and pathetically paid hard graft, sacrificed. Bye-bye dreams of an early summer drifting round Europe. Bye-bye writing time, learning WordPress, self-development etc. Right at the moment I give up the masters to focus on truly using my time for myself.

And right at the moment I run out of money.

Maybe that sounds selfish, but I’ve lived in poverty. I am alone. I have no recourse to funds. I don’t care about wealth but I fucking care about getting mine. Particularly when I’ve been pinching for so long to get it; freedom.

Someone is fucking me over here, and I’m going to find out who. I just wish I hadn’t left all my tools in London.

I have no title for this


That’s the thing; you could do everything right, make up for all your mistakes, and it still wouldn’t work out. Because you’re not the only one with agency in your life. And because life isn’t fair. Your investments are not safe.

I’ve had a weird day. Remembering the dead. Entering a new life just 8 months after the last new life. I’m quitting my masters.

Remembering past selves and past situations. Nobody here knows who I have been and only I will ever know them, ever again. There is no-one in my life right now who knows me well. Isn’t that strange?

It will be ten years at the end of this term since I left ‘home’. Ever since I’ve skipped from short-term tenancy to tenancy, across cities and now countries. So my family hasn’t known me for ten years; maybe never. A home hasn’t known me, nor a community.

And friends at this distance have love but not intimacy.

I’m going to help an artist with his grant applications. I’m going to help him build his manor house; learn some construction skills. I’m going to write.

Do things, most of all, do more things. Once again I feel my life is only getting started now. This is where it starts and starts again; the present moment.

Something has gone from my feelings for Max; imagination maybe. He’s eight months distant, never mind six thousand miles. He’s just a name and a couple of pictures. I don’t even get emails from him anymore.

I wonder if I will ever feel the same for him. I may not want to and I may not get the chance. Nor am I whom he loved.

It’s a shock to hear from a faithful heart, after four years.

I was into into someone this week, and we talked about it like grownups. I could go for a foster-lover. Someone to kiss and have breakfast with; to enjoy in the same way you enrobe.

He’s a lot younger than me and I can’t help but feel this plays a part in his decision. There is nothing to lose from the future. There is no Bank of Futures holding your investments; I wish it wasn’t true. He’s a lovely kid.

Our choices are half chance. I’m in pain.

Suck it up, self-care, enjoy, carry on, as often as you need to and you can. Life isn’t counting; you’re the only one it matters to.

The first thing I’ll make is a rhubarb crumble. I may not know my parents but there are small monuments in my life and this is one of them. We had rhubarb in the garden.

Life is a sine wave OR #1 list of nice things which happened


Gandalf the Dog got 100 likes on Facebook – and got three more!

Max emailed me!

I met a lovely German, and he’s going to be my flatmate!

It was sunny!

I talked to a boooyyy *stubs toe in dirt, draws circles*

I went for a walk in the park!

My stairgate is arriving tomorrow and I didn’t have to do anything, they realised on their own that they’d fucked it up!

I sold two handbags!

Argentinian couple arriving at midnight!

Foster cat soon!

I cleaned my cooker so now my cooker is clean!

I watched the first episode of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which I downloaded. It’s extremely 90s. And young Will Smith is so strikingly talented. Even then. Well, of course he is. Still – it was striking!

Life is a sine wave. Monday has been wiped.

Update: I got the key! All is forgiven


I have my bike back!

I rode it in the spring sunshine today. I took Gandalf for a run.

All animosity has washed off me. Hey, call it sunbathing.

I think there’s water in the (hydraulic) brake lines though. Brakes are definitely not as responsive as they were, or should be.

Deeply aggravating as those brakes are less than a month old. After being stolen straight off the bike. As aforementioned. Maybe Czechs just hate brakes.

ARRRRGGGH. Time for a full service. The chain is also rusted but it was time to replace it anyway, more or less.

On the plus-side, I find I know more Czech than I thought! Klíč, vchod, Pani Poledne, Šmeralova devět, děkuji vám 😀

Becoming the Other


A pair of Czech men handled my dreads on the tram today.

This has never happened to me before.

Well, I’ve never had something like a black person’s hair before.

Thumbs-up and smiles made it confusing. Nobody ever told me about that aspect of it. (So… you’re handling my person… but I feel I conflicted about my right to anger, because you’re being so friendly…)

And then there’s the seemingly constant microaggressions from Czechs for being an immigrant.

Like the woman in the post office on Thursday who refused to give me my parcel. She just yelled at me in Czech for ages, refused to get her manager who I could see and have spoken to previously, and then just kept saying ‘no’ and waved her hands to shoo me away like a dog. And then, eventually, of course, she went and got my parcel.

It was behind her.

And the shop assistants who all seem to want to spit in my face. I didn’t know buying something in a shop was such a crime.

And whoever it was in my building who locked the door to the back yard, where I put my special mountain bike with the brand new brakes, which I have never left outside, where it has now stayed uncovered for the last two weeks of rain and hailstorms.

And the management company of my building who, when I called to try to get the key to the back yard, and asked politely, in Czech, if they spoke English, just put the phone down.

And whoever necessitated the new brakes by stealing the old ones.

And the university admin who on my very first day announced to a hall full of Czechs that I was only there “to get out of paying fees in my own country”.

No, it’s #notallczechs. It’s about me as a foreigner, not about you as a Czech. Wait, what?

Everyone is native somewhere.

Maybe the reason the British are so fucking down on immigrants at the moment is because the British hardly ever leave Britain. Shoe’s on the other foot now isn’t it, fuckers? Unfortunately I am one of the ones who believe free international migration is unequivocally socially and culturally beneficial. Ain’t that always the way.

In contrast the Vietnamese diaspora here has been very kind. Hmm, I wonder why (!)

The flipside to this is that the Czechs who do speak English have an interesting tendency to be defensive. Not when asking directions or anything, but in conversations particularly about language, words, literature, nationhood, or similar issues, they seem to be expecting me to look down on them so they treat me defensively. It’s incredibly stressful and upsetting. I could resolve to talk only about music or the weather, or something, but I’m fucking studying English Literature.

I have two things to say:

1: my anxiety levels are currently barely controllable, most days. I feel like my soul is pacing behind a mosquito screen. I hardly leave the house. I don’t ask for directions anymore; I don’t want to risk being sent in the opposite direction.

People I meet personally tend to be very nice. But many of the people who I come into contact with on a daily basis, as I do the things I need to do – well, they all seem to hate me.

I have never experienced this before and it takes a much bigger toll on one’s sense of self than I could have predicted.

2: I guess this could be my real education. I came to learn for a masters; I’m not terribly into the masters. I didn’t come to learn what it’s like to be relentlessly othered; I’m definitely not into being relentlessly othered.

If it doesn’t result in a nervous breakdown I fail to recover from, I’ll chalk it up as a learning experience. Despite mixed attitudes, this is a wonderful, beautiful country. Why spoil it, guys? Really?

Sorry to everyone who has to deal with this shit permanently. Sorry to all immigrants to the UK, and sorry to all the people of colour.