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

higgedly piggedly but alive

“I understood how stingy and cheap and arrogant and ungracious I had been. Because it easy to love and sing one’s love. That is something I am extremely good at doing. Indeed, that is my art. But to be loved, that is true greatness. Being loved, letting oneself be loved, entering the magic and dreadful circle of generosity, receiving gifts, finding the right thank-yous, that is love’s real work.”- Helene Cixous, The Book of Promethea

I apologise for my lack of writing on here recently; it isn’t a lack of passion or lostness that’s the cause of no keyboard clicks, just higgedly pigggedly feelings that make me choose wine in the late afternoon over routine. I don’t drink because I hate my life- I drink to unlock an oozy lump at the core, like a communion with this unknown animal with claws and feathers which governs the human.

I was walking my dogs today and concluded it is no whimsy or flaw that ‘God’ shown in a mirror is ‘Dog’. In fact, I would be so heretical as to add that sometimes Dogs are much much better than bookish Gods- Dogs lick you and jump at your knees when you tell them your’e sad; God sometimes just sits there, and the point they’re trying to make is that only through suffering can you learn. But dogs just don’t see suffering like that. They see it and act because it is kind to help when you can.

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I looked at the sky and it was a comfort. I wish I could describe it as I know Virginia Woolf could, but I’ll just use my own words now. I used to think that Jacob Ladders smouldering water in air as cotton-gold warmths was heaven claiming us; that the light was the congregation of wing and the push-up from soil thrown on coffins reverberating upwards.

I think I’m wrong. That light was power because it is giving, bathing us constantly but we only care when it’s beautiful and we see it. I don’t believe in the finality of give and take anymore- we give and get then give away what we got again. Nothing stays but nothing ends either.

 

 

This entry is a bit directionless (not pointless, mind). But we must go with the flow. I managed to work the till by myself at the charity shop. I no longer wring my hands in worry or pluck my hair from the scalp when boys I talk to don’t reply; no longer do I contemplate all the reasons I am wrong and not worth a 30 second reply. I sit. I read my books and dream of “A Life! A Lover!” not A Life! A Husband!”  (ily so much Virginia)

Today’s poem isn’t my own, but by Caroline Bird. It made me smile today and that sometimes is enough (thank goodness)

Megan Married Herself

She arrived at the country mansion in a silver limousine.
She’d sent out invitations and everything:
her name written twice with “&” in the middle,
the calligraphy of coupling.
She strode down the aisle to “At Last” by Etta James,
faced the celebrant like a keen soldier reporting for duty,
her voice shaky yet sure. I do. I do.
“You may now kiss the mirror.” Applause. Confetti.
Every single one of the hundred and forty guests
deemed the service “unimprovable.”
Especially the vows. So “from the heart.”
Her wedding gown was ivory; pointedly off-white,
“After all, we’ve shared a bed for thirty-two years,”
she quipped in her first speech,
“I’m hardly virginal if you know what I mean.”
(No one knew exactly what she meant.)
Not a soul questioned their devotion.
You only had to look at them. Hand cupped in hand.
Smiling out of the same eyes. You could sense
their secret language, bone-deep, blended blood.
Toasts were frequent, tearful. One guest
eyed his wife — hovering harmlessly at the bar — and
imagined what his life might’ve been if
he’d responded, years ago, to that offer in his head:
“I’m the only one who will ever truly understand you.
Marry me, Derek. I love you. Marry me.”
At the time, he hadn’t taken his proposal seriously.
He recharged his champagne flute, watched
the newlywed cut her five-tiered cake, both hands
on the knife. “Is it too late for us to try?” Derek whispered
to no one, as the bride glided herself onto the dance floor,
taking turns first to lead then follow.
-By Caroline Bird

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.

Perils of hope

“I’ve been a romantic for so long
All I’ve ever heard are love songs
Singing oh-oh-oh, go on, I dare you…”    – The XX, I Dare You (from ‘I See You’)

I’ve fucked to this song, it seemed romantic at the time, but now the thought of being in such close proximities is frightening- a fluttering kind of fear. In fact, when I was in that ill-timed romance, I would listen to this whole album on repeat. Now all I can stomach is ‘Lips’, with its echoes and cloistered hopes. It makes me feel beautiful in my hurt at what’s past and my hope of repetition: that I am not a mayfly. I still haven’t brought myself to play ‘Say Something Loving’- the melody is too cruel for now. All I remember is what I thought young love was meant to be and then how disparaging realities cut our short known thread: first slow dancing to Eric Clapton and kissing his eyelashes when dawn scattered filigree patterns across our bodies in bed, then stood alone on the pavement- denied one final hug.

I keep thinking what I did wrong, because it seems ridiculous but so predictable to me that despite all the love songs I listen to, and all the sonnets and ballads I memorise the first boy to buy me pink roses should end it all with “fuck you”. I feel like a scribble of rose. I feel so sad and confused that it passes for my feeling alive.

I am being dramatic I guess. Too open and slutty with my foul desires- but I miss hugging; I miss feeling secure not with words but with touch. It was beautiful and primal, and absurd and pathetic. But it’s better than this, not that I didn’t partake in such sordid pastimes when we were together- I think that’s why he dumped me. I get sad and then I get drunk and then I get sad again; the cycle of life.

I know I have to be hopeful; but it’s the beautiful things that are hardest to hold. Loneliness has put up a barrier between the world and my heart. I wan’t to love it, like I wanted to grow to love him- but my lungs are filled with pesticide and the body is already compost. All I wanted was inflorescence, to see spectrum in bus windows and each millions of pores in my wrists dancing. The world as it is but seen; seen and felt to the ledge of infinity.

I don’t know what to think, relying so much on the whimsies of strangers; I am floating with motes and negative space and it must mould my home. To observe and take nothing.

Today’s poem I wrote when I still had florets of spring under my fingernails and pulsing flush through heartlines. I value my life to the stretch of my limbs, but it is so hard with this green light of Gatsby’s- the belief I can craft dreamings flesh.

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Morning poem

I did not see the iris move,
I did not feel the unfurling of my love…” –Anne Ridler, A Matter of Life and Death

Eyelids petalvein a light crafted birdsong in this morning unhampered by curtains-
His arms drawing closer, new details culling sleep.
I nudge old night sand into focus; no
dreams to report;
he kisses my angelsprout
bones.

That’s what lovers do-
fuck before breakfast, outwake the alarm and
be late for responsibilities.

I don’t care about grades.

Two mugs;
sunder statuesque sun in their infancy; unhunkering
corporeal heat, held in by shut windows
towards pale blonde slightness.
We both fold awake before the buses
will come-
we render primal intimacy;
he blows raspberries all over me.
I notice light motes small as
our toast crumbs painting his room
this day’s air daffodil.

I am learning softness-
“Farfalle”.
If dawn could undulate down in the body-
where would I feel it first?

Instincts recalibrate, reconcile those
hours spent dumb to news reels. He put
peanut butter first; then
strawberry jam like our duvet covers
on top- he is growing into
my small mercies.

Two mugs,
not one to wash up,
later on- we
tasted the same
sugar dropped,
silverspooned tea.

I’ll clean them whilst he coos
in protest.

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.

Perambulating minds

I’ve traveled down to Surrey again to stay with my grandmother for a few days. Our closeness really does make me believe that time as some linear chronology is a bit twisted- I’m not as old as her in body, no- but we get along so well and talk for ages, understanding things and feeling in similar ways that when I’m here, I don’t worry about clocks. The hours to be lived have already been spent; I feel unafraid of my smallness.

We walked through the woods near her house, and saw silver birches with branches gnarled the same twist as lightning bolts jagger. Grasses swaying golden, tapering off the same formation as paint brush bristles do. My imagination was expanding like hot air trapped in soil, emanating out that fragrance you can smell in evenings sometimes when the plants’ lungs are singing their silent language. I thought the horizon of thin trunks all sacred in their mundane leaved green clouds looked taught as violin strings reaching harmony, climax-pulling tightly up against gravity to tug their blue. Or as tendons, the xylem flexing inflorescence in their synchrony of muscled bark.  I pictured body- my body in this world, enveloped by galaxy of twig and mulch above; then beneath. Like veins of gold through rock do these roots dance and twine darkness. The bluebells were dead and hollowed of fat petals oozing cloche shaped nymph colours. They were skeletal and serene, like they could be used as fairy wands- they just looked alien, like they belonged on another planet where spirits wove sunlight and shadow in filigree movements, similar to how the wind was running above our heads in the canopies.

Today’s poem is not my own, I actually don’t know who wrote it- so if any one does please say! I just think it fits quite snug with my feelings of elevation right now in being able to feel so sure with my grandma in her pink T-shirt whilst we perambulated in the blossomed bossom of Mother Nature xoxoxoxoxo

Women, You Must Learn to Be Warriors

Women, you must learn to be warriors
Now when times are dark and our men
Are afraid to tell us what is in their hearts.
There is so much trouble in our land
That it is up to you to decide
Which direction the wind must blow.

Women, you are our tree of life
Just as you were a long time ago
When a man said: Carry my seed.
If you go forth from this darkness,
Telling our story of courage and survival,
Then our tree will grow strong with your words.

Women, do not worry about tomorrow
Even when daylight is long in coming.
The sun remembers its place in the sky.
Take this blue shawl of knowledge and
Wrap it around your daughters, telling them
That women must not be afraid to be warriors.

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