Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

“Ya know sometimes baby I’m so carefree
With a joy that’s hard to hide
And then sometimes again it seems that all I have is worry
And then you’re bound to see my other side…”

– Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood, Nina Simone

My determination to lead a life of happiness without shame or worry does not mean I expect to float around in some vacuum of fact. I am no wimp, and it’s so important to learn about the world around you and the lives of others so you can feel- Treat thy neighbour as thyself, whether they’re your actual neighbour or some faceless statistic in another continent.

I don’t believe one small group of humans should be free to live life unfettered from any suffering- we should care more about each other. Instead of frantically attempting to greed away pennies in order to buy robotic security, why don’t we be honest and responsible? Truth is love and love is not always beautiful. SO cornyyy but I will not take it back.

Yes we should all feel- understand suffering away from cropped tulips on Hospital bed side tables. (not that tulips on tables are evil, but let me explain myself)
Hardship is necessary because it is not the destiny of some fated people to feel so much in order for money goblins to keep with their plunder and hide-aways.

“I am Jane Doe” is a difficult documentary to watch- but you must do. It tells the story of mothers fighting on behalf of their daughters who were sold as children into sex slavery within the glorious free lands of the USA. Sometimes humanity makes no sense. None at all. But there are mothers fighting million dollar corporations who don’t give a shit about young girls and their families being forced into hell. I don’t believe in hell, but sadly that is the only image I can conjure.

Freedom of speech is this blog. It is not advertising children for sale. The documentary ends with a powerful message- “The only way to make change is to make your voice known”. Even little old me has a voice here, and yes you internet oligarch motherfuckers WE CAN ALL SEE YOU.

But those sodding idiot rich white men millionaires made one mistake- you do not fuck with a mothers child. You do not fuck with innocent children. I am not a mother, but that does not impede my abilities to empathise. I can imagine and THIS SHIT HAS GOT TO STOP. 

I wrote this poem about one of my best friends Flo. I have known her since we didn’t care about combing our hair and we ate Honeysuckle nectar together. She helps me keep myself alive, the real me that’s always a child. Don’t let the bitterness steal your sweetness, let the bitterness make you BETTER. (again so cheesy but not sorry bout it) xoxoxoxooxoxoxxoxoxoxoxox

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On “making it”

You are bloomed. The taste of wild cherries on a Sunday afternoon,
when suns ripen to dust cool orchards alive. I want to dance
in supermarkets with you, giddy-waltz in
art galleries or spin marble fountain tangos. Robot in church.
You make me not mind the churches could be lying.
When secret doors open honest, still will I know you in
the foxglove softness we drew as children.
You and always our foxgloves- the lessons of how
golden syrup tastes harvested
from white wings of honeysuckle. Gardens are
enchanted and we are both heroes-
that’s why we should dance. A flourish of
shadow at the ankles. In our coats, let’s
face arctic winds. Freeze fingers pink so oranges sting.
We buy fruit at the market-
eat raspberries tender and deep flushed like the insides of lungs.
I want to sit, hidden, of course with you amongst
flowerboxes and punts.
Light kissing your hair in one more last goodbye.

 

Reclaimed vintage and peace of mind

I have been feeling quite ‘odd‘ recently; thus creativity shrinks its wings and plops down as lead, leaving me stuck in this body like the robot farrago I both love and loathe sat next to me on the bus. I have to try so hard to remember the kindness of opticians who recommend apps so I can practise meditation and taxi drivers who quit their old jobs to be happy, who read Paradise Lost in Pakistan when he was just 18.

To try to explain what my bouts of ‘oddness’ feel like, to try to untangle the sloppy spaghetti knots that are my trains of thought, here is a little quote from my diary when I got really drunk instead of trying to face the miasma of conundrum that is myself.

“AT LEAST I’M KIND OF HOT WHILST I’M BEING DISAPPOINTING. WHEN I DREAM OF ME AND YOU AGAIN YOUR FACE MERGES WITH PEOPLE WHO FUCKED ME BEFORE YOU DID- I WANT TO BE CLOSE TO HUMANITY DOES THAT MAKE ME BAD OR NAIVE OR BOTH?????”

None of the bad things I think, or call myself, or want to be when I’m sad feel true- they just feel more solid, heavier than my hopes do-  and gravity lasts forever. When I’m happy, singing with my feral wail and dressed up slippery in coconut oil with no bra on, daydreaming about reading my future book in another city with this same sun- I look insane but I FEEL so real. Like this planet actually DOES belong to me and I do have a right to be here. Reality rears up its bedmessy head from the pillow greeting me with a morning breath and dreamstinking smile.

Today was my first shift helping out at my favourite charity shop here in Peterborough. For some reason (perhaps the knowledge that each electric pulse of movement sorting hangers into arrangements of spectrum weavements on rail was going to help make people who the Sue Ryder Care Trust look after a little happier) even though the tasks were mundane and I haven’t changed really- it was simply so lovely to be a puzzle piece that fit in its own fucked up way.

The poem I’ve chosen for today is only a small haiku I conjured up on the bus one day at Uni- analysing into inimitable static electricity on my arms some spring pinked blossoms cheering out their inflorescences into a nothingness of hot blue sky. I must get better at learning that you do not have to be important in order to be special xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

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Spring

A flower blooms each
time we remember ourselves-
grow into “I love you”.

PS- If you live near Peterborough in the UK, you should give the Sue Ryder Vintage shop a visit- not only are the clothes and treasures all so loved and cared for there, but the people are angels on earth and all your money goes towards magic making!!!!!

In memory of Shakespeare’s sister

Today has been a good day. I have managed to appreciate the sacred shimmering underworld that is happiness, hidden beneath eye-surfaces. The green warble of leaves radiating in air currents filled with my voice, singing of old fashioned waltzes as my dogs dig for buried treasure in riverbed waters. The feeling of my body, hot and heavy and alive under blind Cathedral tracery of mother’s branch and seed. I feel so many worlds all at once.

I know it is impossible for this to all stay fresh like this, but I’ll remember it.

I think this satisfaction came because Virginia has been speaking out to me from between two purple covers more flimsy with age than myself. Explaining why it is so important to enjoy the world in order to have knowledge. Shakespeare’s sister breathed a sonnet she wasn’t allowed to sow whilst her brother’s mind took centre stage (quite literally). I am so thankful for all the work and blood and tears and fucking sweat my sisters (and some pretty rad men) have done so I have the chance to dance in language; so I can choose between Villanelle or Sestina.

This world is still so fucked up and we have so much still to do for each other, but I enjoy the hope I’ve had the freedom to let spawn inside me like butterflies hive in pale sunned grasses. Delicate hefts. “Who shall measure the heat and violence of the poet’s heart when caught and tangled in a woman’s body?” I’m gonna live with a soul of compassionate defiance towards those who want to tear life asunder.

Today’s poem was an ekphrasis piece I wrote responding to a Monet painting (the name of the poem). The painting isn’t of the same fields where I tread, but they both make me feel sparkly and whole xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Les Coquelicots

Late June is her haven.
Lone and satisfied, un and
enfolding silence.
Moth flight on bare skin as colour
billows treacle down spine.
Distant stars lilt and hum, undulating
swathes of earth’s hot soil
musk. Ballet of touch-poetry.
Petal myriads flute and warble
unknown blue of sky, perhaps God’s
eyes? A Hushed fluttering bonnet.
She dreams of hands in hers amongst
red-mirrors of poppy faces.
Stems and pollen flow
nectar-strokes onto long skirts.
My trees, dark green in their brink
ache to break convention. Please, stop
dragging shadows like a child’s blanket
whilst cow parsley mews.

What’s that got to do with you and me?

“Maybe love is just an economy based on resource scarcity, what I fail to see is what that’s gotta do with you and me…”- Father John Misty, Holy Shit 

I saw a desert sun over poppy fields. My two silly pups mazing through soft grasses and invisible shanty camps like those burnt in Calais. I saw burning in green water and denim pockets weren’t just weighed down by my own hands, but with the knuckles of millions who aren’t allowed to walk and talk how I can.

The world is connected, and the more I think about this fact and the surmounting pressures for a compassion overhaul EVERYWHERE, the more I realise the importance of EACH person knowing how wonderful they are. The world is mine and it is yours and we must be honest with each other if we are going to do anything to spark one floribunda of joy in a strangers smile.

I’m not saying we all turn into that boring cliche of a hippie who just whispers FREE LOVE through a haze of weed smoke (real hippies are punk, all hippies and punks know this). Just care. Smile at yourself in the mirror instead of raging at each pore- don’t deny yourself yourself. we’re all fucked up but that just means always learning. Be patient when your dog won’t stop biting your toes and know the world is bigger than personal tragedies- problems big and small, are cored of tragedy, but clouded- blissfully weighted by the comedy’s ticktock. We’re not floating, we’re here. You matter and so does this fucking planet. I guess this post is just a question really- do you feel scared of the world around you and worry you could do more? Because if you do feel these emotions, then you can do something!!!! “…To get out of the morass of ambivalence, to live according to endless contingencies and potential mishaps, potential unhappiness — is just huge for me.” and me Father John, me too.

Today’s poem is about those souls who need our help, need us to use our computers not just to write poems and websites- but to speak up with them and end all the fucking bullshit.

Al-Rahma[1]

Dead people are better neighbours,
they never do harm
or fight back.  So,
we bury children in corners;
we make parents dead in the street.
Families become time capsules-
some with coffins
smaller.    Some with none at all.

I did not see that myself.
In the corners, on the sides,
between other graves-
wherever there is space.
All children and nearly all Syrian.

“In the past,
Arab cemeteries often
included a section labeled
‘madafen al-ghoraba’, or
‘graveyards of the strangers’, for visitors
who passed away –
a now defunct practice.”

Graves dug
with bare hands,
cardboard boxes hold
milk teeth.

Loved ones squeezed along-
We forget children
have bodies.
We remember and children are
gone.    Just
little bumps in the ground;
hide and seek molehills. Names
overgrown- rough
etchings of hurried despair.
Marble too important
for so many
hopes.
Those skyflying angels.
Our Gods choirs sing
metal wings;
engines whisper
Amen
after storytime.
Some prayer in the
press of a button,
then
dropped.

What we throw out every day.
First kisses, first cigarettes, first time learning
ABC. 1,2,3 –
no mercy.

(Jesus made white and now president too)

Illegible names wherever there’s space,
tucked back where
its easiest.

Sparrowboned frames
of nofuture
don’t have shrouds,
or their mother’s hugs,
or their father’s tears.

“Even human emotions, when you’ve
lost somebody close to you,
that basic right of mourning and
saying goodbye-

           Syrians don’t have that anymore.”

 

[1] ‘Tiny graves: Syrian refugees in Lebanon struggle for space to bury children’, The Guardian- https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/30/lebanon-no-space-syrian-refugees-graves-bury-dead

“Le temps viendra…”

The time will come… Anne Boleyn wrote these words in her prayer book of Hours. I imagine her, like a raven turned woman full of hope and her hand gripping the quill like the edge of a cliff. What did she desire? Happiness? Power? Love… I don’t know, but it broke my heart to read her last letter before she was killed by the man who challenged God- first by wanting to marry her and saying FUCK YOU to the Pope; then for wanting to, and taking Anne’s life with a sword.

In her letter she doesn’t beg forgiveness on her knees, she is brave and tender. She does not take back her love, merely exposes his own vanities…

“If you have already determined of me, and that not only my death, but an infamous slander must bring you the enjoying of your desired happiness; then I desire of God, that he will pardon your great sin thereof… Your most loyal and ever faithful wife…”

It makes me sad that fucking mugs have Henry’s ugly grimace on them- we call a murderer a king and put his face on mugs at the house of the woman he loved and murdered. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS WORLD I DON’T UNDERSTAND IT.

But I was with my grandma, and not with any King. We talked about how Swan’s fly and walked under Wisteria vines. Today’s poem is for Anne- I do remember you, and if I could have, I would have held your hands in the tower and we would have plotted your escape xoxoxoxoxoxox

Outrageous

I think silly things with him in my head.
Suspending glitter like the disco ball I always
wanted but never got.
Outrageous stuff like “the world is wasted
without him here.”
Or, “the light climbing up through those clouds
over there is nothing against
the look on his face when I make him laugh”

Reading is sexy

“It was the time between the lights when colours undergo their intensification and purples and golds burn in window panes like the beat of an excitable heart… the beauty of this world which is so soon to perish, has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder…”  

I’ve just been reading Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of Ones Own’, and my thoughts and body feel like they’re merging together. Thoughts cram up inside my head like ribbons stuffed in a box which when you open jump out like snakes. Thoughts are hard to translate without marring the beauty you felt them with, but Virginia’s poetic revolution in her sentences make me feel so horney and smart in how she does not lose but just blooms and blooms.

The mind is such a multiple and moving and hilariously tragic thing which craves eternal love and less adverts. I really don’t understand why being nerdy and flexing those brain cells is seen as hassle/un-sexy/ too provocative LET YOUR IMAGINATIONS FLOURISH THERE ARE SO MANY REALITIES WE CAN TAP INTO!!!!!!!

so long as your thoughts aren’t bigot-ishly gross and vomit inducing mind farts, the world needs more rooms for one to have for one’s self !!!!!!

Today’s poem show’s my depressed emotional state when this creative side fueling each moment I live is hidden behind fear and self-loathing tunnel vision- let the light in galdem and mandem, and everyone in between- don’t forget what gives you wings xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Breathe Easy 

There may come a day when cooking comes easy,
when sinking into the driver’s seat does not inspire crash fear.
My skull will rise from the washing up
and weep, crumble bitterly into pale-blonde ashes for
the people who might have mattered.
Already I feel cataracts of violet smother evening playgrounds.
Already my old diaries seem like graffitied toilet walls,
scrawled with names I am beginning to forget the sounds of.
These turtle-dove hands are comfortable in silence,
with the trailed cemetery of mugs steaming the path to my extinction.
After all, I have never liked oysters. I can’t enjoy the
lustre like others can. The taste jars in my throat.
After all, I have been playing hard to get for 19 years-
who cares if I keep my bottle-cap moon for another, 1, 2, 10?
They already told me Father Christmas isn’t real.
This heart of mice bones may never stop searching the Sahara
for something worth drinking champagne for.
Teeth still can’t speak my name: Perhaps we want too much.
God is a person hiding
in the thick-libraries of planets just like us.

“so sharp, such fun, so naughty…”

Today was a beautiful day of pink roses and sunshine and small importances. My grandma and I visited Polesden Lacey today, and with the air heavy with bee wings and dusted with pollen- sticky children smiles made of ice cream, we talked about how much she hates Michael Gove and why love does not lead to tragedy. She told me about her gone bunch of 12 red roses; how they grew to 24, replicated on his coffin this month past. She quotes Elizabeth Barrett Browning to me in her familiar brummie accent- “what words can ever speak affection so thrilling and sincere as thine?”; and I can see the streets she played on when her father was in the factories, feel her feet, young again through mine running hard on the pavements.

My grandma teaches me the importance of care- her insistence on my eating lemon cake. I understand the importance of fighting for what we aren’t born with but deserve. We aren’t born knowing how to read, or how to make strawberry jelly or how to grow parsley- but we teach each other, over and over how to spit in the eyes of hate and survive without tearing our hair out. Caring doesn’t have to manifest in big, powerful “STRONG AND STABLE” ways. Caring is talking to strangers about Women’s Institute raffle tickets. It is seeing those around you and wanting to feel with them, regardless of whether they were a Maharajah or not.

Today’s poem is about my granddad, as this poem is my grandma’s favorite that I have written. Long live love xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxo

Grandad

It was New Year’s Eve- red dragons fringed jade,
gold. The whole Beale clan Dim Sum stuffed
with Ned’s favourite kind of rice. Pandemonium
formed of us scuffedkneed, bath scrubbed Masters and Mistresses:
chasing each other through Pokémon slot machines
and freaky apothecary shops. Mr Po and
old patriarch in cahoots over duck pancakes and wine.
He bade me not taste the pink rice paper petals, for once to be a
good girl. Smirking I gulped lotus shapes whole. One memory
of many relating how grandad tried to be
our kind of king of kings; what men or gods are these?

This must sound barmy from me-
Chumbler, his bolshy arch nemesis Malone.
Grumbling low over his glasses that there’s no need to be obstinate
Those gutwrenching dinnertime fables
of convent girl kisses making me want to puke up grandma’s jelly.
I refuse to recall before or after her, our banana split lady-
us Beale’s are not raised for such lifeless things.

I can conjure a Liverpool street now-
Feeling dandy as you Beatle pleasepleasing your Birmingham Brightstar;
A blonde haired stunner shining strawberriy fields from
your CNA shop window displays. Still steadfast,
still unchangeable after Belgium, now Banstead. Sat
together each morning, night-
spilling cornflakes perusing the Guardian;
competing who can mumblemoan about some sport show the longest,
then snoring asleep
to the Archers.

20 Ashley Drive and its crazy
stoned streetgarden hosted so many childhoods- blue smurf armies and Obelix comics.
Muppets or sooty upstairs and our pillowfight midnight feasts;
those giddykippers, silly boys and girls.
Pog, Ozymandias, Big Al, young Masters Tommy and Ned-
Perhaps it was us who drove you to this-
or our fathers before- butterball, stretch and Nicky-  who knows?

Another New Year’s, another showcase of my stubbornness,
inherited I wonder from where…
Refusing to dance and Old langsyne with you all,
downing champagne with regal indignation,
only 13 year olds and you in your armchair know;
I never understood why you huffed and puffed for my singing,
now, I’ll not have any chance to vex-
or take your hand, the heart that fed or see a face
smiling red- your safe for a while at least. Perhaps
I should have sung that bloody song, held bloomin’ hands;
but all the harm that e’er I’ve done,
Alas, it was to none but me….

Us remaining Beale’s lift up this parting glass-
oh, a beaker full, warm from your wine sauna-cellar;
full of the true, the blushful grapes of claret memory-
your blue bound book of Keats, Peanuts love tokens and your own lost flying father-
Love is letting him win- even though you know you could destroy him;
is having a special song, oh please stay Chrissy’s Teddybear, cause tigers play too rough-
Love is hating to say goodbye.

We lift up the parting glass,
you do not leave this world unseen; we drink with thee, you cannot fade away
into forests dim; Now stretch that low chuckle and kick about where you’re happiest-
the pub, cricket pitch, Sri Lankan trips or your three boy’s company;
Stillness. Pillowed next to grandma each morning…

Grandad, why is your sandwich shaking?