Band of Bards

by Kimwei

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1.
This week Kimwei’s Band of Bards, with special guest Jackie Juno, were Billie Bottle, Si Egan, Natalie Harari, Amanda Jones, Sovereign Jones, Kate McCormick and Jen Pill. DEVON-FOLK ORIGINS What do I remember? My childhood? My origins? Let me think… From my thinking I was about three. Tucked away, shy, little thing. Knowing Mum was there, struggling. Her injections - I knew those by the time I was five. I am 5. My favourite shirt is red, with boats on. Blue shorts and bare feet on Lino that doesn’t quite reach the walls. Five brothers in two bedrooms. A tiny garden, a rabbit who escaped, and an outside loo. I am ten, a bootcut child. I ask my mum to take me to the barbers again - hair is not my first love. The porcupine look is what I crave, with a bowtie and joggers - goose pimples as the clippers cut across my skull I am ateenager. I come from a background of roast lamb with mint sauce, sardine sandwiches, lemon meringue pie, of finishing food an hour before communion at eleven o’clock mass. I come from neither poverty or wealth. I love my school uniform and save my other outfit for best. Now that I am older, I carry my origins with me, even in my sleep I catch fragments of my childhood funnelling in and out of me. Our house - where we used to put a mattress on the stairs and slide down it head first, where we could turn the furniture upside down to play whenever we wanted, and in later years it was the place that reset me whenever things went wrong. Maybe it wasn't a house. Maybe it was a mountain. And though it was sold years ago, I can always climb up to it whenever I want. The alarm clock shrills, insistent, and I click it off as tiredness anchors me deep into the pillow, pulling me back into drowsy depths. It is grey, that clock - as grey as I often feel when I’m pulled from dreams that are better than real life. Not necessarily sweeter but somehow more vibrant, and I am free. I turn over and try to return to sleep because I can smell dreams of when I used to play in puddles, looking at the sky reflected. Kicking up piles of leaves, the cold drop of the rain running down my neck, the canopy of lush colour above. How long has it been? - too long, but still I remember twirling a curl of your hair around my finger, then spinning around and around in circles until I felt sick and you caught me like I caught your curl. Soon, do you know what I’m going to do again - I’m going to go back into the woods, find a puddle to look into, and check if the reflection has changed. I wake to a Blackbird singing outside my window. Those notes are dancing in my chest. I take a moment to lie here, arriving into my body, into my day, my life, looking up at the pitched ceiling, and BOOM! I’m in the room, the red red womb room - another day to breathe life in.
2.
TIM: "I haven't seen you in ages" a chance encounter on a walk around the cemetry didn't recognise you without the trademark boots I supposed the reason is it's Summer now flip-flop time as we hurtle headlong towards the great unlocking but I'm wrong "Holes in the soles" you say It's been a while. KIMWEI: “I haven’t seen you in ages, hello!” you shout, from your rolled down car window as you drive right up to the house, your newly bleached blonde hair blowing in the spring breeze. I’m glad you called out to me because although I’m expecting you, I swear I would never have recognised you. As you lift your sunglasses I see you face more angular than before and think how much you’ve changed in one spin around the sun, but surely I haven’t, have I? “Hello stranger!” I call back, beaming a smile that unlocks my heart, “Park on the left.” You park the car and get out. I can’t wait to show you my new place, but first you walk towards me smiling warmly, your outstretched arms... holding out a lateral flow test for me to take. TIM: Familiar face, unfamiliar expression I haven't seen you in ages and yet, looking in your eyes, it feels like yesterday. Overwhelmed by the sense we've passed this time differently; come out of the cocoon on different sides of the world. You in shades, squinting in your synthetic sunshine whilst I shelter from the Devon drizzle, even as the rays beat down. My grief is your torment - your frozen detachment mine. Soon we will clasp hands, laugh and unlock and whatever flows will flow. KIMWEI: “I haven’t seen you in ages,” David says, pouring me fresh mint tea in the back garden. “Yes, it’s been so long”, his wife Tammy goes on “tell us all! What have you been up to?” My mind goes blank. I have literally no idea, my entire memory of the last year has been stolen, as if they existed all this time and I simply ceased to. What IS my news? One day has been the same as the last, for ever so long. I look at my cup of tea for clues to jog my memory and in the end I say, “oh, I’ve started drinking Earl Grey at home, you know…” Thankfully David chimes in with, “Glad to hear it, my favourite! At least until Tammy started growing the fresh mint in the garden.” He holds up his cup as if to say “cheers” and I’m saved, so “It’s lovely,” I reply, and then I say something that is guaranteed to unlock hours of conversation “Tammy, you must tell me more about your garden,” and she does.

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released May 26, 2021

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Kimwei Exeter, UK

One voice, one guitar and a whole new world of sound.

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