Equal parts strangers and faceless friends
Whenever folks would ask me about this project while I was working on it, I would always get a little excited, and say, “Well it’s a bit different from my usually creative work – but it all interlinks!” I’d explain that we were artists interested in community and connection, and that in many ways our artforms were not really the most important part of why we were there. Tuesdays were my day to wander around my garden or lie down on my bedroom floor, and chat on the phone to a group of strangers whose paths I may not have crossed otherwise. I often thought how unusual and lovely it was, that I could build a relationship with people whose faces I had never seen, and who had never seen mine. Dial gave me the opportunity to listen and to share aspects of my life with new people; something that I’ve really missed during lockdown.
Poems in response to Dial by Ella Otomewo
I like to think of an old telephone switchboard
when I dial up; an electrical cord connecting us both
at the terminal jacks. Maybe even a woman
in a headset listening in …
There are parallels between us –
equal parts strangers and faceless friends
who sit on another side of the city
with the phone resting against their ear.
Whatever ancient thing that is still inside of us,
it wants us to relate to each other, and to feel that tug
(like a cord on a switchboard) as
just as it is, or just as it was.
One of my favourite things
is to imagine what the room is like –
the one you’re sitting in right now.
You told me about the apples
you’ve so recently picked, and
the smell that wraps its way round the kitchen
as we speak, and as they bubble
on the stove, and the fresh peels
coiling on the tabletop.
What’s the Craic?
We: a motley pair,
on either end of the line,
despair at how much
we miss the craic .
How music makes us
both want to move,
and how you’ve
been feeling as restless
as I have. And though
we have (on the surface)
very little in common,
we both know
that nothing beats
the shake of a limb
to a song that moves
you like a hymn for the soul!