Poem written by Luke Downing
Spoken by Katie Greenbrown

Shot by Luke Downing today, and his ancestors 60 years ago.

Dust from Luke Downing on Vimeo.

From Somewhere, in Limbo

We’ve all been finding new ways to fill our time, or at least finding ourselves filling time with tasks that never really needed doing. High on the agenda for me this week was sorting through the piles of old notebooks and half-filled journals that previous versions of me once thought they’d fill.

Most of these books are filled with something between inane drivel and angst – the sort of thing that curls your toes when you wonder what on earth may have inspired the past you to put pen to coffee-stained page in that moment. But one particular book did stand out: a journal I’d started a decade ago, almost to the day, of a trip to Thailand that a 20-year-old me had taken.

It wasn’t the total juxtaposition of now and then that grabbed me though: the freedom of somebody on the cusp of adulthood truly experiencing the world for themselves for the first time, compared to a 30-year-old that had been locked inside the same four walls for five weeks. It was the exact similarity of where I am right now, to where I was right then, in my first entry of the journal:

“April 2nd, 2010 – On a plane somewhere above Iraq.

…I think we’ve been in the air for nearly five hours, but it doesn’t feel
like it at all. I’ve had an endless supply of movies and free drinks to keep
me going. It’s weird to think that directly below us is a country in
turmoil, and here we all are, happily filling our faces and numbing our

Ten years later, and I could be on that plane again, locked in time as the realities of the world pass by below me, existing only as abstract concepts brought to life by the news and new signage in supermarkets. The truth is, I’ve always enjoyed plane journeys, in spite of their obvious discomfort. There’s always been a strange sense of peace in the idea of quite literally being suspended above the world, somewhere in limbo.

See, on a plane, you exist in an almost quantum state of potential. Whilst you’re up there, there really isn’t a lot that you can do. During those rare hours, the outside world is no longer any of your business, and you are no business of it. As you’re passing helplessly through time-zones, time itself ceases to really matter. As you’re passing from one place to another, you can only ever be somewhere. When your only real responsibilities are to not kick the chair in front or cause chaos by attempting to leap out of the cabin door; you can, at last, breathe. In your new-found quantum state, you can take comfort in the fact that the world really does not revolve around you. You can do nothing but wait, and fill that time as best you know how.

Limbo is a place of waiting. A place of nowhere. A place to consider the above and the below; what was and what might be. And that’s where the attraction has always been for me. Perhaps I should feel guilty for wanting this lockdown to go on just a little longer while the real world outside struggles, just like that subtle pang of guilt I felt up there in the clouds a decade ago.

Lost toys and broken wings

They placed them there.
Where they should never
have been.
Blind broken toys,

Crows can become doves,
under the right light.
Where moths swoop,
and swoon:
The summer’s death-kiss.
Where hate replaces

And the body
Impossible projections.
Where imagined potential
The truth,
of broken toys.

One fixed,
one forgotten:
Left dancing.
Alone with autumn’s butterflies.

Wicked Inventions | Discovery Science

Scriptwriter for Wicked Inventions, season’s 1, 2, 3 and 4.

This was a great series to write for, which involved researching the history of inventions including everything from jet engines to margarine! I’ve always loved projects such as these, which come with the added bonus of learning something new as I write.



Your Decay

Your walls stand weak against shadows that spread,
Warping your contents beyond all meaning;
The flakes of your past feeble from leaning.
I see it amongst you; within the dead,
It makes and becomes you like pure black dread.
Your floor starts to creak like heavy lungs heaving;
The wild echoes seamlessly convening,
Till darkness fills all of where you may tread.
But I will be there and forever stay,
Fighting your shadows with all of my light;
I came for a reason to gently lay,
Rest your fear and ease your darkest of blight.
Shadows become lucent; your night to day,
I’ll give you that hope, that passion, that fight.

The Frame

Resting against this pure white, sturdy wall,
Is a frame of glass, cheap plastic and grime;
Clinging to images of a lost time.
An inscription engraved in listless scrawl,
Of illegible letters used to haul
Back to moments that reek of the sublime,
When stood against walls that flattered its’ prime,
Unburdened by conscience, never to fall.
It frames white thoughts that may never have been,
A raging spirit that was never seen.
Dreams so often promised; never fulfilled.
Something to reach to; heavily instilled.
But amongst it all is a tiny clue,
An image within, of someone: it’s you.