Rupert Loydell

(John Berger, From A to X)

He never managed to watch the films he had borrowed, there simply wasn’t a place in his routine, or the desire to do so. He lay in the bath reading a book of letters to a convicted terrorist in prison, messages of desire, of love, of everyday life when not confined to a cell.

A book about time passing and the possibilities of marriage, children, even a visit, fading away; the revolution failing and rebellion becoming history. There is quiet despair within the longing and mundane reportage, constructed happiness and frivolity notwithstanding.

It all shakes down to a one-sided conversation, missives mailed into absence, possibly arriving several months late, if at all, to slowly fill up improvised shelves in the small dark cell they are eventually delivered to.


Bones of the dead, biscuit dough sculpted into shape then left to harden. Who shall we mourn or choose to let go with a shrug as acknowledgement that they've died? Sometimes the news does not hurt, other times we are reduced to tears and our world is changed, the future misty, our loss impossible to grasp.

I am used to making myself write, then shaping and editing later. Ideas and words bang into each other, but edges can be smoothed. It's good to make the reader jump about the page. I remember reading Dean Young's poems for the first time, wondering how on earth he'd got from over there to here.

If you let ideas come, it's easy to move on and ignore those no longer here. Crumble biscuits for the birds, honour the dead with life: the future is always there.


I am trying to escape, see it as a new future, full of possibilities. She says I am running away, I know it is time to move on. We've outstayed our welcome, there is little left for us here.

I am worn out with it all, we can only measure the strata and think about the past. How strange history is, buried in the ground. How did we end up with these friends and lose so many others on the way?

Pass me the measuring rod, put your hammer away now; fossils are for the future, a faded photograph will have to do.

Rupert Loydell is Senior Lecturer in the School of Wriitng and Journalism at Falmouth University, a writer, editor and abstract artist. He has many books of poetry in print, including Dear Mary, The Return of the Man Who Has Everything, Wildlife and Ballads of the Alone, all published by Shearsman, and Talking Shadows from Red Ceilings. Shearsman also published Encouraging Signs, a book of essays, articles and interviews. He has also authored many collaborative works, several with Daniel Y. Harris; and edited Smartarse and co-edited Yesterday’s Music Today for Knives Forks & Spoons Press, From Hepworth’s Garden Out: poems about painters and St. Ives for Shearsman, and Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh: manifestos and unmanifestos for Salt. His critical writing has appeared in Punk & Post-Punk, Journal of Writing and Creative Practice, New Writing, English, Text, Axon, Musicology Research, Revenant and Journal of Visual Art Practice, and he also co-authored a chapter in Brian Eno. Oblique Music (Bloomsbury, 2016) and Critical Essays on Twin Peaks: The Return (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019).