Spring 2015. There is a book of poetry called ‘How to Build a City’ by Tom Chivers.
I came across it in by chance in a bookshop and bought it on impulse. Like all good poetry, it changed my perspective on London, on cities, about how we interact.
I only mention it because, at 45, I was relatively new to Twitter and had based the small number of people I’d chosen to follow on Tom Chiver’s followers.
One of which was an online writing magazine called LossLit. Where people write about loss in all its forms. Arsenal. Wallets. One night stands. The failure to connect.
From LossLit to @x, who became my 15th or so person of interest on Twitter.
@x because of an ovine profile pic and @x’s photos of a single section of railway track.
Over and over, but always in a different light until they became a prism, a single presence refracting multiple versions of itself out into the light.
I dreamt about the railway line.
There are no ideas but in things and no meaning but in instants of time.
3 June 2015. @x is travelling back, by train, from Wales or “another country” as @x tweets it.
I am unaware of this, because, I’m at a play “No Feedback” which has finished early due to audience disruption. I’m retracing my steps from the theatre to the tube station at Farringdon, where I have to decide how get home, overland or underground (underground) and then which way round the circle line to travel, clock-wise or anti-clockwise (clockwise).
On the platform I reach for my iPhone and Twitter. A tweet by @x is at the top of the stack, “the dream life of William Carlos Williams” and a link to a photo of a spare industrial landscape half reflected through a train window.
I like William Carlos Williams. I google some of his poetry on the platform, then sit on a bench and reflect for a time on what connection @x was making between the photo and the poet. I let two trains go by before deciding to head home on the third.
The carriage is half full, but as I sit down I catch @x’s eye in confused recognition and hold eye contact for longer than is polite. @x is short, wears a plain blazer, a flat cap, with a small overnight case between dark brown desert boots.
Watery, clear blue eyes.
Your thoughts in my hand.
Your thoughts in my mind.
One of us got off at Liverpool Street.
I was the man in the green tie.