An Ode to the Arbitrary Deadline

You are my favourite whim; my grounding line; my comfort and my direction.

May my ship always sail boldly towards you, with hand-written notes-to-self flickering skull-flags at the front.

You have guided me through deep waters and beamed over rocks in the night.

May your power never be mistaken for limp liminality; may your presence always be fondly felt.

May your laugh never falter; may logic dictate you and heart revel in you, but may you raise your eyebrow, gameful, in the face of calendrical chronology. May you tilt your head sympathetically at the periods during which I stare at my diary, wishing for more; may you understand the unconscious tic of my repeated calculations (the division of labour into days, the division of days into word-count). May you always apportion yourself – with your mini-selves – among linear time so artfully, so pleasingly to the gods, so in tune with the every turn of the moon. Even the moon itself cannot phase you. Everything is your ally.

Your approach is nothing less than a planet’s gentle turning.

May we have mutual compassion. May I feed you always with the best, most potent blend of experimentation, wisdom and panic; may fear never slow you; may I write you down in capital letters and underline you twice. May I feel joy – the slight, turned-up mouth of it – when I mention you in passing conversation.

May reality never deplete you. May your simple fact of presence slay heady nay-saying; may even optimism not tempt you; may you stand in red stilettos on some lively street not as a herring but as the glorious guide-post of a vibrant day; may you transfix even yourself, strong as a mountain, light as a finger-click; may nothing deter you; may all lights switch on in your vicinity; may you wrap yourself around me and hold out delay; may time itself transpire to be generous around you; may you truly find your own true truth; may I reach you.

May I exalt you when I cross over, not glancing back; may I grab the quick gift of your baton as I sprint past in relay, thanking you silently though the back of my head. May I remember to marvel at the sweet juicy green of the grass I am running on.

May you never imagine you are anything less than a sumptuous, rippling mermaid, or a most-perfect clanging bell, or a new day threshold-ing, streaming gorgeous light through an opening attic window. May you one day know the ecstasy of passing through your own perimeter; may you one day set yourself… yourself… in your own ticking imagination.

May you never apologise or doubt your purpose but instead feel safe in my sense of you, knowing:

I owe you
most things.




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