Bump In The Night

            We’ve bought a new bed frame. The one we had only lasted three years. It broke one Saturday night. It’s not what you’re thinking. We were drifting off to sleep when we heard creaking.
            At first we thought that the cat had crept into the bedroom. Ever since the flea epidemic, which mercifully seems to have passed, we’ve kept her out of there. We can’t shut our bedroom door properly, so we have to drag a bag full of water bottles, tins of Pepsi, etc; in front of it, to stop her barging her way in.
            We got out, put the lights on and looked around, but couldn’t see her, or anything else which might have caused the noise. So we got back under the covers again. And once again, we heard the creaking. Our hearts were thumping.
            The noise seemed to be coming from underneath us. We lifted up the mattress. The frame is wooden, with slats across as supports, which always made me apprehensive. Actually, the slats were fine, but the central beam to which they connected was breaking in the middle.
            That was Halloween, and things definitely did go bump in the night. Since then, we’ve been sleeping on a bed which dips in the middle like a hammock.
            The shop where we bought the bed has now closed up (perhaps for a reason), so we had no choice but to go out and buy a brand new frame, which should arrive this coming week.
            I’m still not writing, at least not anything which I want to show anybody. I’ve kept up Morning Pages and Writing Practice. I’m feeling better, less anxious. Ideas are swirling around. I’m reading again- Nick Hornby’s hilarious FeverPitch (again), and an intriguing biography of Oliver Cromwell, God’s Englishman, written by the Marxist Christopher Hill.
            I’ve also been dipping into poetry anthologies and writing out, in longhand into my notebook, some of the shorter poems. I’m not sure why I’m doing this. To help me absorb the poem better, perhaps. To look at the way the poet punctuates. I read that Natalie Goldberg does this, anyway, and thought that I ought to try it.
            I haven’t mentioned the atrocities carried out in Paris last Friday. Probably, like you, I don’t know what to say about it. I’m still reeling, and still bewildered. I hope that the dead rest in peace, and that their grieving loved ones find peace.
            Maybe I should have been more shocked than I was; but it feels like we’ve seen it all before, and not all that long ago, either. Planes blowing up, innocent sunbathers being machine-gunned. You know what’s coming next: speeches from politicians. Vox pop interviews. Clips of films of shrines, with flowers, candles, soft toys. Shaking footage filmed on mobile phones.

            I’ve tried to be a pacifist, but I don’t know what the solution is to the war on terror. Isil isn’t campaigning for anything, it only seems to want to turn everybody into Muslims, or to kill anybody who doesn’t convert. It’s the legacy of the west’s interference in the Middle East. Iraq, Syria, Egypt have all been turned into hellholes. I don’t think that air strikes work, because they obliterate the innocent as well as the guilty (and, incidentally, the Kurdish forces who have been fighting Isil on the ground). More troops? They might remove Isil operatives, but will they tackle the bitterness, the prejudice, the hatred which created Isil in the first place? Because unless we can tackle that, Isil or its replacement will simply spring up again somewhere else.


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