Canines and Hijabs

I keep thinking how remarkable it is that a being with no audible voice in my life, with no tangible dexterity of any human language is capable of teaching me so much of Love. I am referring to Flush, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s pet spaniel who Virginia Woolf wrote a book about after reading the Browning’s love letters.

I watched many interesting talks today about Muslim women; whether the hijab is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ (Personally, I no longer believe in ‘right’ or ‘wrong’- just kind and unkind, happy and unhappy- these things warp and change day to day, but they do not pretend to be as monolithic and grand as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ try to be), about the visibility of Muslim women and what it even means to be Muslim anymore in all the lies and stereotypes we are fed every day for the ends of perpetuating profit, blood money.

Just in case anyone’s interested, here are the talks I listened to-

  • What does the Quran really say about a Muslim woman’s hijab? | Samina Ali | TEDxUniversityofNevada

  • What We Don’t Know About Europe’s Muslim Kids and Why We Should Care | Deeyah Khan | TEDxExeter

  • The Muslims You Cannot See | Sahar Habib Ghazi | TEDxStanford

 

  • The Muslim on the airplane | Amal Kassir | TEDxMileHighWomen

I think we should all try to be a bit more like Flush in these times when myth pervades over smiling at strangers in the street. When I watch my dogs on our walks, they never slow down to a pace of shyness when a new puppy lollops out on our horizon- my dogs sniff, they they circle and play; I like to imagine in human terms they would be saying “Hello fellow Soul, how do you do?

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The only reason monsters exist is because we make them. Which means we can also un-make them, and I guess that must start with ending fear. Understanding that each human, regardless and yet resulting from colour creed gender age etc ect, is a plethora of nerves and arbitrary intellects. No one is a closed book ending, we must stop conducting this society as if we are robots; we must think like dogs. I treasure what Virginia says: “Flush knew what man can never know- love pure; love simple, love entire; love that brings no train of care in its wake; that has no shame; no remorse; that is here, that is gone, as the bee on the flower is here and gone.” 

Today’s poem is by a Farsi poetess, Forough Farrokhzad- an Iranian modernist thinker whose poem ‘Born Again‘ is so beautiful and strong she gave me shivers, my arm hairs stood up on the tube. ‘Born Again‘ is rather long, so I didn’t want to include it here; instead here is ‘Gift‘… xoxoxoxoxoxooxox

Gift

I speak out of the deep of night
out of the deep of darkness
and out of the deep of night I speak.

If you come to my house, friend
bring me a lamp and a window I can look through
at the crowd in the happy alley. 

Forough Farrokhzad

Spectrum Hearts

Today is when love was first legalised in glorious Britannia. By love I mean freedom- I mean not being afraid if you wanna kiss your neighbour’s lips- the boy who likes cricket and has freckles like strawberry seeds. Or your girl next door; her hair crimson at dusk and webbed topaz at dawn lolling shoulder blades. Love means bodies without fear: it means we see ourselves truly, without pretence or glamour.

It makes me feel such shame that we locked this away and threw away the key in ‘honour’s’ name for too fucking long. The glitter was dulling behind bars, and feet that should have been slow-dancing on wedding floors were stagnating in cells instead.

I am of the opinion that we are all a little bit gay on the inside: that people who deny themselves a little taste of colour are so mopey and angry at others because they’re jealous. So the old saying goes- happiness is the best revenge. What happier revenge than love; what do people try to stifle more in this world than compassion? I am only young, but I have my opinions. Thus says my brain: Love, desire; they’re persecuted because they are needed more than wanted, they are powerful beyond definition of language.

I am so proud with of the punk/prog/ gay pride progressions my country has made since it’s (fluctuating and never truly ending) dark ages. But other countries still deny their citizens the right to hold hands with beloveds in summer bloomed parks. To kiss in front of cinema screens; or to wed, that gold ring and memory forever. My love and thoughts go out all the way to those still trapped and afraid- I use my freedom of expression to hope, to will for yours. LGBTQ+ community: you are loved, please don’t feel ashamed or wrong or deadly. You are beautiful like festival colours and flower smells. You are beloved unto this soil, and please don’t let yourselves go down due to ignorance. You are seeded strong- will last out all winters.

Today’s poem was written when I was 16 and at a Pride March with all my friends. I remember feeling so alive, so liberated and joyful to be in the sun without fear on that pavement, holding up banners and shouting aloud into the sky and shop window faces. Happy LOVE. That’s all there is to it; LOVE, LOVE, LOVE xoxoxoxoxox

 

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PRIDE

I belonged there, dancing.
I belonged there- in the sherbet
fizzing July sun; laughter
and drums spectrumreaching
ears as second nature.  Pavements
baked in this crowd, excitement.

A carnival of colours marrying hope
with young fuckery on London’s
summer seasoned walkways.

Gimps and holy men and
inflorescence of old dykes holding
hands- our people glittering.
Mirages of possibility finally conjured
into warm heavythumped blood.
Souls sing “FUCK YOU”
and peace- no longer a classroom fantasy
but flesh, a commitment or kiss.

Dancing did so I whole
belong. Sweaty palms agripped
placard as grail- awakening,
awakening childlike loving
glee and must never be lost.
We shuffle with crowds, not noticing
how every step, each movement
is only a dust-breadth;
resembling twigs floating down
greenweeded river in this concrete
jumble- we pay no mind to swans staring
out shop windows or the dwindling
of scaffoled hours. The present was a
Present- and that’s where I
belonged.

The repetitions of her in my life-
collapsing yet again into crossed legs
on park floor fuzz in old trainers,
smiling as she starts off the roll-up,
sunning ourselves as strawberries
would. (If we had time to contemplate
such metaphors.)

We are enraptured in NOW,
this gay teenage fantasy-
warm wine swigged straight from the bottle
and we not yet 18, sparkling giggles down
our throats; rucksacks
smuggled on rails.
Face-paint smudged by
caresses- smiles and shouts;
this delicate stasis.

No worries of beating red
sticking to teeth like glue-
No terrified of myself dissolving,
dissolving…

It was my pride-
our pride of all hopes,
We belonged there
all the heart long.

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time there was a girl with four eyes and a button nose. She was brittle like the dried grasses she’d press between thumb and forefinger when wading through sunset lit fields; her skin glowing a soft pink mirroring the peach clouds and Jacob’s ladders. She was loud at home and shy at school, two halves of the same penny. When young she loved flowers and fairies, playing princess with her dolls and writing in her diaries. She loved her siblings and friends. But underneath all this familiar happiness, there lurked her fear. She did not want to let go.

As her legs sprouted upwards towards the sun and her fingers laced longer on wrists, the glasses she wore remained but something else drooped. Her wings that started with butterfly colours and sheen were withering in the cruel ceiling electrics of secondary school. Hiding face constellations with thick orange in attempts to please princes who really were hiding something too. She read in the library, and somehow the echo of childhood she so longed to keep frittered away into the holes of her blazer and silent bus stops.

This girl is older now, and she wants her wings back. She knows she drinks too much and gets distracted by fuckboys- but she is beautifully human. A choice is all we need, a choice for love and not sucking our stomachs so hard into rib-cages you gasp instead of laughing. It is not being worried that you haven’t completed x, y and z that you said you would today but smiling at what you have done. It is letting the dogs lick your skin without fussing about germs or anything else.

We all heal from the hurts we have done to ourselves, inspired by the ignorant cruelty of others in a myriadical and blooming ocean of rituals- I read books and write poetry where my brother draws superheroes. My mother rescues hens from factory deaths. We each are small, but so powerful in the realms we can control.

Today’s poem is from one of my diaries being 16- this is a message to the past versions of ourselves that we all lumber. M.G.B- you will be alright, there is nothing to fear xoxoxox

If Honey never goes off, then why do I feel so wrong?

Atonement- a way to
make everything okay again.
Nothing more-
okay?
Strawberry seeds of quiet
displacement. Inertly
pressing somethings,
small and sad
into flushed skin of this body.
Fluidity of hurt,
never ceasing to grow broken smiles
and awkward hands from
frail white blossom
every spring. Nectar drizzled
forgiveness is what I crave.
Who do I ask?
Bee keeper pain-
please make my mistakes
somehow right-
undone as the poppy
lolloped rain.

Friends and funerals


Come on with me and we’ll have a little fun,
It’s not too dangerous, yeah, and we won’t hurt anyone.
Yeah, we’ll cause some havoc between the birds and the bees,
We’ll paint the town red and we’ll shake the trees.
Oh, come on with me and I’ll show you a good time,

-Kate Nash, Little Red

Sometimes things get so polluted and overcrowded in my head all I can fathom is the inevitable pointlessness of us all and the millions of problems and suffering each person alive is in touch with. Acid attacks in London, ice glaciers melting and refugees sleeping on Paris’ pavements. This world stresses the fuck out of me, but I am not without joy or hope. Happiness always returns, in fact it never really leaves- just comes out of hiding, peeps it’s bedmessy hair from under the covers and smiles it’s morning breath cheeky and alive.

One of my closest friends, Daisy (aka-Tough Sirloin) just came to visit me and I feel so grateful to know people like her exist to help people like me. Daisy and me got wine-drunk then wore summer hats to go on the park swings in the cool night. We went to the museum- trying on Roman soldier hats and marvelling at Dinosaur bones. She brought candles of Orchid and purple; I got the drinks at the pub.

But of all the things we did together, I value us in my room; her elbows propped up on my bed pillows whilst I sit surrounded by a halo of photographs and old diaries on the carpet. I talked for a whole hour, and not once did she tell me to shut up. I read her snippets of my 5 year old numbers written back to front and at 17 thinking I’m falling in love. Daisy’s name truly suits her- she is the tenderest flower for putting up with my haphazard ways.

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DAISY AND ME DA BOOKIE GRRRLS XOXO

Today’s poem was read at my pets’ funeral, Tilly and Gravy this Saturday just gone. Daisy had never been to a funeral before, but I’m glad she was there to help us say goodbye. The poem here is about my cat, Matilda xoxoxoxox

A Cat’s Life

Elusive to the last-
when first we took Tilly home, she and Mog hid themselves
under the wardrobe;
Daisy and me cried. We thought they didn’t love us,
we were half right. She slept with her guts wherever
able, and ate and ate and ate. Matilda knew what to do-
keep calm and carry on. I named her for intelligence,
after the well-thumbed favourite Dahl book.
We all three share birthdays. Named after
cleverness, wit-
power. Tilly all these things, even if
we didn’t see it. Chasing mice in moonlight,
or sunning herself on our roof. Pleasure simply.
That is life’s call. Meow and mew,
we really love you.

Just because …

I’m not really sure what to write about, but I want to write anyways. I want to try to continue with this even when I feel bland and content with the facts my eyes process each second- because you have to. That’s it really- some things you keep going with even if seems like a scream in the dark.

Screaming in the dark can be fun I guess- like a game to see who will actually hear, or actually care once they’ve even heard you. It sounds depressing, and it can be; but that’s why you’ve gotta sit tight and wait for the silver linings to illuminate what you forgot again. We always forget, but the blessing is to always remember again and again and again.

Just because I don’t know what to write about, Here’s simply a little list of why I am so glad to be alive and exuberant and eternally budding and dying on this confusing and dirty gem of a planet:

1.) The look on my dog’s face and how their tails wag like protest flags when they see me put on my trainers and pluck on their leads ready for a walk.
2.) Those moments you don’t plan and will never be able to for how they linger on for no particular reason- making mugs of tea in filthy uni kitchens when the sun hits air motes in a 4pm golden wash, humming privately in odd socks.
3.) Dew drops on my grandmothers rose which she says opens out most beautifully; the way she calls me her “giddy kipper” and lets me get pints with lunch at the pub despite the fact it’s “un-ladylike”
4.) My loves, my romances minus the kisses. Flo being the human manifestation of how honeysuckle grows; makes my smiles twitch up at the corners by just only seeing. Zab and her boss ass bitch tenderest acts of riot along with Literati antics and sprees. Tough Sirloin and me, dancing whenever during the day, wearing our favorite hats in the bookie wing for absolutley no other reason than we are silly babygirls! My sister, with her outrageous banter and fondness for marmite and disciplined bitchiness.
5.) The fact I am free to read what I want. Dress how I want. Write how I want and fuck who I like (with consent DUH). I am free when others are not, and I have a chance to help others and help myself.

Today’s poem is about a simple and fundamentally important emotion/ action in life, I hope you enjoy it xoxoxoxoxo

Laughter

Sherbet tastes and
raspberry colours.
Exposing truth in the face
of grey Friday afternoons-
Exposing teeth. Side-effects include
aching stomachs, crying and
breathlessness;
the holiest malady.
A worldwide miracle-
bus stations, airports, supermarkets and
streets are all
drenched in this alibi of life.
We are all of us tyrants,
all hurting-
But listen, listen…
The people love each other.
The world is not desolate.

Home Alone

My parents have gone away for a party down in Kent, which leaves me and my siblings, lil Neddy and Day-Z to look after our home. I have done the dishes, the washing, walked the dogs and need to make supper soon- I was afraid being in our house so quiet would freak me out, as I’m not altogether that great being left to look after myself with my own devices. I have this tendency to either fall apart into sobs over nothing/ contemplate the unstoppable and seemingly imminent collapse of our world/ get fucking drunk of my nut and wake up tipsy still the next morning.

BUT- I have been different today. I have managed to be responsible and not stress about that, which for me is truly something. I watched documentaries about Romanian witches who curse politicians and make love potions on the Pentecost. I found new music I LOVE by Princess Nokia and Lady Lykez- two amazing angels preaching to love yourself and not let life tear you up. I have been doing poetry things not abusing my body with all the alcohol freely standing in this house, waiting their bottle-caps out for someone to take the first sip and unwind. BE PROUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Here’s a lil’ pic of me being all cute and shit in this confusion of life and everything to celebrate small achievements like being able to transform into a deer on my phone!!!

Today’s poem is about self-love centering on body image, but self love is so various and necessary to practise  for people like me whose brains feel wasp nests a lot of the time. It is important for everyone to have a heart that breeds only love in whatever ways you can xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

My Body

Do you want to be loved?
Beloved from split ends to toes?
Honesty is the noisiest revelation,
so simple once eyes open-
Life should not taste of fucking rice cakes.
Remember? Bathroom mirrors are not morgues.
Pronounced blind, they thought we’d
flat-packed into ourselves with no query. Millions
of girls crushing their own spaced o u t hearts
between lungs static, holding breath in
rosary ribcages. Life is the last slice of toast:
smiles brewed from kaleidoscope mouth.
The game is rigged. Toast is the greatest treasure.
Golden, dazzling with warm butter,
slap and tickled pink jellied raspberries-
or smattered thick apricot. To feel is
the body’s demand- notice a lemon
sun’s peek-a-boo in the theatre curtains of eyes.
Blemishes swell like blossom-bud constellations.
Unlearn this abuse. I saw a stomach fatted up
on all the different ways there are to hate.
Light infests the flesh. I see undulations and pulse-
Green trees could sap on the lush curving domes of
my body

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.