Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
2004.01.11 : One Louis MacNeice Poem, Two Passages from Jeanette Winterson, and Eleven Melancholy Pictures

plus One Clunky Parable

The Sunlight on the Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold,
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon

Our freedom as free lances
Advances toward its end;
The earth compels, upon it
the sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

        - Louis MacNeice

"She held out her hand. What a strange world it is where you can have as much sex as you like but love is taboo. I'm talking about the real thing, the grand passion, which may not allow affection or convenience or happiness. The truth is that love smashes into your life like an ice floe, and even if your heart is built like the Titanic you go down. That's the size of it, the immensity of it. It's not proper, it's not clean, it's not containable."
        - Jeanette Winterson, The PowerBook

"There is no penance that can calm love and no regret that can make it bitter."
        - ibid

  • I went to work, seemingly all alone in London, on Boxing Day.
  • I walked home that night, three hours on foot, city alight.
  • My route took my through toney South Kensington, home of Harrods.
  • At the Victoria and Albert Museum, they have this amazing "Fakes and Forgeries" sections, including a cast of Trajan's Column (sawn in half);
  • and another David cast (I've seen three now, without ever seeing the original. It doesn't matter; it's stunning even in forgery.)
  • We got a free Pole Dance, coming home on the Tube on New Years. (*)
  • I walked alone through Hyde Park, for the first time at a normal pace in non-sweaty clothes. First chance to photograph the really stunning Prince Albert Memorial, which I'm always sprinting past.
  • It fronts Royal Albert Hall.
  • The statues at the four corners represent, I think, realms of the Empire: America
  • Asia
  • Going back to work in earnest, so sad in my heart and missing her so much, eyeing a verily gibbous moon hanging over London, over the new year, over the rest of our lives . . . And yet, and yet. My heart was so full from the blessing of her, such a glory in this life, so much better than I deserve. The Godhead is still there and its name is still Love.

Finally, A Clunky (Probably Because Absolutely True) Parable

I opened my eyes this morning upon a sun-splashed window pane, and looked forward to a run in the bright air in the Park. (When the weather is fine, I stretch my legs and go far – into and around the Park, so full of life and the living. When the weather is mean, I stay in the back yard, running through the dark Cemetery so close to my little room, beautiful in its lonely silence, but with so little care for the living.)

After I had stretched and dressed, and by the time I had got out, the weather (it seemed) had turned. Dark clouds had rolled in, and threatening. The sun struggled to peek through. The wind blew. I put my finger out to it. I hoped the wind might blow the clouds away, and I could run in the green fields in the sun. I turned in that direction – to the North East. But as I set out, I saw the clouds were thickest and darkest in that direction. A few drops fell from the sky. I fretted. I turned around and jogged a few jogs back. I stopped and jogged in place. I tried to decide whether to risk it. If I went to the Park and the skies opened, I would be far from home – and I would be drenched to the skin. (My MP3 player would be drenched beyond the skin.) And the Park was far; running there was always a stretch anyway. And I was not feeling what I would call strong. Should I risk it? I looked back to the South West. The sun seemed to shine there, albeit weakly. I decided not to take the risk. I decided to go back, to stay close to home, albeit in the gloomy Cemetery, and take advantage of the clearing I seemed to see in that quarter of the sky.

As I ran back, the skies opened – in full sunshine. It rained in earnest, as the sun blazed down through a hole in the South West sky. I ran through the cold rain, and the bright light, and I thought: What an emblem for all this.

I managed one lap around the Cemetary. Throughout it, the rain came down, the winds blew, the water soaked through my clothes, and my skin grew chill. "The hell with this noise," I said, and veered off, and headed back into my street to go home. And when I stepped out of the Cemetary, what did I see? The sky had completely cleared in the North East. The sun fell without reservation upon the Park. I had read the winds precisely wrong. Hoping for safety, I had run directly into the storm. And . . .

I had missed my chance for the Park. I had already run, and stopped, and gotten soaked, and gotten tired. The Park was too far now. I could not make it there, not today. And by the time I had dried myself, and dressed, and gone out again . . . the day was so brilliant, so beautiful.

Last night, I dreamt she and I were in a play together. It was a long series of very short one acts. I had not learnt my lines; and I struggled to memorize them as the drama ran by.

  poetry     exercise     london     photography     quotes  
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

You can reach him on .

THE MANUSCRIPT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
PANDORA'S SISTERS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
D-BOYS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
COUNTER-ASSAULT by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book One - Fortress Britain, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Two - Mogadishu of the Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Genesis, by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Three - Three Parts Dead, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Four - Maximum Violence, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Five - EXODUS, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN Book Six - The Horizon, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Seven - Death of Empires, by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eight - Empire of the Dead by Glynn James & Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : NEMESIS by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Nine - Cataclysm by Michael Stephen Fuchs

ARISEN, Book Ten - The Flood by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Eleven - Deathmatch by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Twelve - Carnage by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Thirteen - The Siege by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN, Book Fourteen - Endgame by Michael Stephen Fuchs
ARISEN : Fickisms
ARISEN : Odyssey
ARISEN : Last Stand
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 1 - The Collapse
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 2 - Tribes
Black Squadron
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 3 - Dead Men Walking
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 4 - Duty
ARISEN : Raiders, Volume 5 - The Last Raid
ARISEN : Fickisms ][ – This Time, It's Personal
ARISEN : Operators, Volume I - The Fall of the Third Temple
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