What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Thank you to Miguel Cullen: Poet and spoken-word performer, on how jogging without contact lenses in can improve-mindfulness.

I am badly short-sighted, and can get anxiety attacks on a run: What a mess, right?!

So when I jogged in Victoria Park last night I took out my contact lenses.

There was a tree that looked like the Jolly Roger, the ship in Peter Pan;

With its nut masting, emerald sails, sailing on a violet sunset-sky

And I thought about Captain Hook’s crocodile eating the clock, and what it might mean?

Stealing the power of being forever young, from the Lost Boys?

Later as I walked down these east London streets I saw myself as Oliver Twist;

Stealing pocket watches, to take home to the Artful Dodger and his rag-tag of delinquents,

Seeing his mother’s face in the open clockface, like Agnes’s locket, his way out of the sewer.

My mind worried, as it tends to do on jogs;

I worried: if I got hit-and-run on the Park road,

No one would realise that I didn’t have contact lenses in.

My one enemy will walk in out of the blur, give me a hug and say hello;

Daisies looked like spilt flour, the sky felt like cream silk, brushing past my cheek,

As I jogged I became more charismatic, and thought up all the things I’m telling you today,

And thought they were really clever.