You say to the boy open your eyes

You make him cry out. Saying:

O BLUE come forth

O BLUE arise

O BLUE ascend

O BLUE come in

I am sitting with some friends in this cafe drinking coffee served by young refugees from Bosnia. The war rages across the newspapers and through the ruined streets of Sarajevo.

Tania said 'Your clothes are on back to front and inside out". Since there were only two of us there I took them off and put them right then and there. I am always here before the doors open.

What need of so much news from abroad while all that concerns either life or death is all transacting and at work within me.

I step off the curb and a cyclist nearly knocks me down. Flying in from the dark he nearly parted my hair.

I step into a BLUE funk.

The doctor in St. Bartholomew's Hospital thought he could detect lesions in my retina - the pupils dilated with belladonna - the torch shone into them with a terrible blinding light.

Look left

Look down

Look up

Look right

BLUE flashes in my eyes.

BLUE Bottle buzzing

Lazy days

The sky BLUE butterfly

Sways on the cornflower

Lost in the warmth

Of the BLUE heat haze

Singing the BLUEs

Quiet and slowly

BLUE of my heart

BLUE of my dreams

Slow BLUE love

Of delphinium days

BLUE is the universal love in which man bathes - it is the terrestrial paradise.

I'm walking along the beach in a howling gale -

Another year is passing

In the roaring waters

I hear the voices of dead friends

Love is life that lasts forever.

My hearts memory turns to you

David. Howard. Graham. Terry. Paul....

But what if this present

Were the world's last night

In the setting sun your love fades

Dies in the moonlight

Fails to rise

Thrice denied by cock crow

In the dawn's first light

Look left

Look down

Look up

Look right

The camera flash

Atomic bright


The CMV - a green moon then the world turns magenta

My retina

Is a distant planet

A red Mars

From a Boy's Own comic

With yellow infection

Bubbling at the corner

I said this looks like a planet

The doctor says - "Oh, I think

It looks like a pizza"

The worst of the illness is uncertainty. I've played this scenario back and forth each hour of the day for the last six years.

BLUE transcends the solemn geography of human limits.

I am home with the blinds drawn

H.B. is back from Newcastle

But gone out - the washing

Machine is roaring away

And the fridge is defrosting

These are his favourite sounds

I've been given the option of being an in-patient at the hospital or to coming in twice a day to be hooked to a drip. My vision will never come back.

The retina is destroyed, though when the bleeding stops what is left of my sight might improve. I have to come to terms with sightlessness.

If I loose my sight will my vision be halved?

The virus rages fierce. I have no friends now who are not dead or dying. Like a BLUE frost it caught them. At work, at the cinema, on marches and beaches. In churches on their knees, running, flying, silent or shouting protest.

It started with sweats in the night and swollen glands. Then the black cancer spread across their faces - as they fought for breath TB and pneumonia hammered their lungs, and Toxo at the brain. Reflexes scrambled - sweat poured through hair matter like lianas in the tropical forest. Voices slurred - and then were lost forever. My pen chased this story across the page tossed this way and that in the storm.

The blood of sensibility is BLUE

I consecrate myself

To find its most perfect expression

My sight failed a little more in the night

H.B. offers me his blood

It will kill everything he says

The drip of DHPG

Trills like a canary

I am accompanied by a shadow into which H.B. appears and disappears. I have lost the sight on the periphery of my right eye.

I hold out my hands before me and slowly part them. At a certain moment they disappear out of the corner of my eyes. This is how I used to see. Now if I repeat the motion this is all I see.

I shall not win the battle against the virus - in spite of the slogans like "Living with AIDS". The virus was appropriated by the well - so we have to live with AIDS while they spread the quilt for the moths of Ithaca across the wine dark sea.

Awareness is heightened by this, but something else is lost. A sense of reality drowned in theatre.

Thinking blind, becoming blind.

An excerpt from Derek Jarman's Blue
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