In July 2013 I spent five days with a friend of mine in Brighton for a music course called Rockshop.
I genuinely don’t think there’s a way to explain how beautiful and freeing those days were, nor the experiences I had or the friends and acquaintances I met, but by the end of it I was a changed person, and in love with the place.
What comes next is a poem, which works better as spoken word, that I wrote after my experience.
I can’t walk into Maccy D’s without expecting to be
dragging a suitcase behind, rolling wheels wet from
Brighton’s summer rains.
And curse the seat I fill alone, when once upon a time, we three stood
filling the highest surface with bags for a five-day-stay.
What I ordered, what I ate, I don’t remember,
but it couldn’t have sated me as much as simply being
in that moment did-
Being in that corner -that patch- of coloured earth.
Expressive in population as the walls were.
As generous with love as they were with ears enthusiastic for a musical euphoria, only available to such a degree
in Brighton City.
Muttering up painful hills and singing down the while- I miss the way we’d all improvise, and the ease of the smiles-
I wish again to be wrapped inside, unconsciously allowing shackles to slide off.
Unconsciously and painlessly opening and entering, and holding as a comfort.
Finding man and all he’s worth. Finding he, and she, and holding fast to the enlightenment they bring, being free.
So late at night, but the dark can’t threaten these growing bonds, like roots, to ground us all, and make us one-
That view of the stars.
The stones ‘neath our backs that cooled any fires brewing into attacks. The calm before the welcome rain storm.
I want some more.
Another heart, much bigger, to store the love that grew.
The me I found that I never knew.
The us that I’d never seen before. I wanted more.
And, of course, sweet music opened doors. Money didn’t often fall, but we weren’t whores, and it wasn’t a chore. We loved, and played, and, like this, blazed days and nights away.
Like this, it flew too fast. And I would live for another chance.
Give anything to dance on the pebbles, which I couldn’t before. Buy another DVD which won’t work at another store. Visit the Italian ice cream parlour, and enter a pub restricted for those above the age of 18-
Entertain the notion that the city fell in love with me as much as I did the city.
I miss the freedom those wall-less streets gave me.
I miss the arms that shook all I knew by simply holding.
I miss the voices that cried out and sang in a unison I had never felt nor known before.
Singing at the Brighton Dome, Summer 2013