The Art of Breaking the Fall by Tristan Coleshaw

Dedicated to Tracey Acres

Catching the flight, launching into the golden glory of that Diwali-laden sunset for you—I’ve never felt so… victorious. Glorious; as if conquering the Moon or taking a match to the walls of Jericho. Audacious; Andromeda colliding with our milky way, a new-world-forming kind of audacious, drunk on my own bravery. Gigantic, yes. Victorious. Yes.

With Iceblink Luck chiming rainbows from my headphones I watch my old country: a smoke-coloured, silken slip of earth speckled with opals where the lights of the living lie, smudging westwards and reaching for the shrinking day. I watch it slowly drift with the last dawdling swallows, flags of Atlantic cloud waving us off while our jet trails flip them the bird.

And perhaps it’s the tussle with gravity or a bomb ripping through the plane, but as terra firma shifts and fades I bristle with a fearsome new bliss, a bloated struggle of forces my skin can barely withstand. Like sand beneath a breaking wave I tremble, memories sloughing off in a tide of sun-gold behind us, shining through the shadows like a lighthouse to the past.

Then like a small hometown firework, its life the smouldering sprint towards a pale explosion of dust, with the thrust of four full engines I feel my own life race to an unstoppable halt. Yesterdays dissolve into the sky’s passing colours and taint me with this grey delight: in you, the world and me stalling, stooping and bowing down, now diving into the oncoming night…

Tristan Coleshaw is a British writer, performer and Spoken Word artist whose poems have appeared in Lunar Poetry, The Lake and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. When he’s not extolling the creative virtuosity of the latest generation of female country singers, he can be found doing rain dances and trying to learn French. You can read more and tweet to him at @TristanColeshaw.