Out of the bloom

It’s another hot morning

Sweat sits neatly

On the inside of my wrists

Wets my cuffs

And cools me

I’ve taken some time out

You see

From that town

To this country retreat

Where my body is supposed to breathe

I think it’s working?

Because my mind is in one place

Tapping to the beat

Of breakfast jazz

And it all comes together

For one short weekend

Out of the bloom

People asleep on the tube

Monday

A suited man with wispy hair

Gets on at Bond Street

He collapses next to larger woman who makes him look childlike

Another man, who keeps opening his eyes

To pretend he isn’t tired

Telling me? Or him?

And him too, two seats down

Inspired by the others

Tuesday

Face pressed against glass separator

With those ear buds in

What are they listening to?

Posh boy copies

Or tries to

But gets frightened by his own reflection

Worried I’m watching (I am)

So he readjusts himself

A slight woman

Rests her head against a bigger load

And drifts off

Wednesday

He smiles when he sleeps

I bet someone loves that about him

And then my own

Who met me after work

And now sleeps his way

Into my poem

Thursday

There are too many people

Too close

To s(l)ee(p)

Friday

Today it’s me

Half-drunk and restless

Dreaming of clean cotton sheets

The Fern

Surplus books

Scatter overpriced side tables

Side thoughts

Thought about

Too much

And walking past her

Who begs in a pitied hell

As the pits of olives

Drop from fed mouths

They read (loud)

‘You have too much

Time and money’

And she whispers (quiet)

‘Spare change, sir’

LED walkways

For hot totties

Drinking hot toddies

By the fern

Which slowly dies

But will be replaced tomorrow

By someone who dreamt

Of starting a business

By selling life to offices

But spends each day

Collecting and burying

The dead

How was work

‘How was work’

– It was just a normal day

Sometimes a normal day is a good day

Because it is sat between two bad days

And sometimes a normal day is just that

Completely average

Nothing worthy of note

But sometimes a normal day

Is the last thing you need

Sometimes you are expecting something extraordinary

And have to settle

For ‘normal’

Do you understand how tough that can be?

The Rude South

Commuters are like buses

And I am human

Or bus

Stuck in traffic

And everyone around me is beeping

Their voices

And the buses are ignoring each other

And no one is giving way

Or talking

Because we are all too desperate

To be away from each other

Not because we are the rude South

Or because London is lonely

But because this is life now

Or something like that

What does a Professor do?

We are a mere five steps into the building when we are greeted by admin staff, the woman being friendly with Professor Hazel Hall invites us to visit her new office. After a conversation over our mutual respect and love for stationery, on the hour walk up, we are both delighted to oblige. We open the door to the handing of a letter. It’s a form for Hazel to sign, one of many to come.

The post arrives.

A dissertation to mark, a new journal and a couple of sheets to sign lie in the shadow of our disappointment as Hazel stands to show me the room. A ritual is played before me as she swaps bags, money and purses in preparation for the day and points out various landmarks of the room. I sit at a table amidst pieces of paper as Hazel moves over to the whiteboard and begins to draw up a schedule for the week. During which the kettle boils. Later, with the teapot nicely tucked away in a Harris Tweed tea cosy, we begin to work. A repetitive tapping of keyboards and clicking of mouses  is interrupted by a visitor. We sigh simultaneously as we both notice the form in his hands.

Later, after many emails read and replied to, and many cups of tea drank, we have a visitor. Ph.D student Natalie joins me for my first interview of the week. Hazel sits behind her barrier as I splutter and umm my way through my questions. A couple of comments and giggles from behind the maroon shield and we’re done. We say goodbye, shake hands and return to our seats. Hazel remains consistent with her tapping, clicking and tea drinking, I on the other hand attempt to bring my heart rate back to normal as I sort myself out.

Lunch.

A well-deserved and enlightening break with two of Hazel’s colleagues proves interesting to say the least. One, dressed in a Pink Floyd zip up top and leggings, talks to me about my work experience so far. The other talks to Hazel about various projects and happenings in the university. We eat our sandwiches, marmite and tomato, in the canteen quietly and then return to the office.

At the end of the day we’re both knackered. However this doesn’t stop us from walking the hour long route home, leaving the comfort of the bus behind us… and then in front of us.

On return the the flat Hazel swiftly moves to her laptop, with a mug of tea brewing, where she uploads her ‘blip’ of the day; no surprise I was doing the exact same a few days later. After a fantastic meal, cooked by Hazel’s devoted house-husband, and great company we make our way to our beds,.

The next morning starts with the unfamiliar sound of my alarm, then by a groan as I lift myself out from my duvet. The next few days follow the same format (with the occasional well-appreciated substitute bus journey).

A great experience all-round and a unique insight into the life of an academic.