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?

IMG_6036.JPG

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

A day, a holy nothingness

Today has been of no significance. No one else will remember it the same as me, perhaps no one will even read this blog apart from me- but writing should not be committed to merely seeking the result of an audience. It is a patchwork of the brain and heart- it is life’s shadow; I aim to live manifold breaths in the explosion of growing sentences, the tracks of letters scribbled on paper and screen.

Today I sang; “Why do you have to go and make things so complicated?.. give me love like never before… because I’m empty inside, I don’t wanna live but I’m too scared to die… all my hot girls with me, we dance around and bounce them titties!!!” I ate tuna salad and drank Ovaltine.

Once work was done earning money (I shall be discreet, and mention only that I work from home) I read more Virginia, ‘Flush’ in particular- the life of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s red pedigree cocker spaniel. I was with him learning how to navigate intimacy when you’re the one left stuttering as third wheel when your beloved drinks romance instead of air. He gave up the fields and sunlight for her, but Barrett still fell for Browning’s lemon yellow hand gloves. This dog’s lesson of life resonated still, still with me, a dumb human. “Hatred is not hatred; hatred is also love.” Anger means you care, and the fact I un-followed my ex’s instagram account (FINALLY) must mean that some archaic form of love is waning. I danced in the fields wearing pyjamas walking with Nelson and Pogo, rapping terribly and not caring. Love does not die, for it is an energy formed of stardust and energy does not cease. It just returns; creates a sort of equilibrium. He took it all and now it seems to be coming home, like how birds migrate across oceans. I no longer have to take anti-depressants. I hope hope can tattoo itself on my child core.

IMG_5542

Today’s poem is not my own, but one by 19th C. Turkish poet Leyla Hanim ( I found this poem in an old anthology of women poets I brought with my grandma for £2) – she ended her marriage before a week’s end and outraged the moralists of her day; my kind of woman xoxoxoxo

Let’s get going,
Start the festivities, 
Never mind what they say.

Drink wine 
With your loved one, 
Never mind what they say.

What do I care
If people approve or disapprove?
God bless my friends, 
Never mind what they say.

Leyla, indulge in pleasure
With your lovely friend:
Enjoy yourself in this world,
Never mind what they say. 

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.

IMG_9660

 

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

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMG_8382

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

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

Make me a big tall tree

Today has been a day of mixed emotions for sure, like what Anais Nin said about the stars tugging at her hair- my blood has been casting a spell where memories spin with eye of newt and spiced shadows. When my body conjures these mists my mind knows not how to stir in its heavy skull cauldron, there are two decisions to make. Either burn with my lost sisters, those who crumbled and burnt under the bullshit gravity of those around them- toppling like Salem; or I live my life alive. I hop on my broomstick and fucking ride bitches- naked and singing and covered in mud and smiling so big the people below think the ‘O’ of my mouth is the moon.

In other words I go and walk with my blessed best friend Nelson in our heartline fields.

 

IMG_1119Here is the beautiful boy himself. You can’t see in this sleepy picture, but Nelson is missing one eye. We rescued him a few years a go after he was hit by a car and abandoned- we have both been hurt (though in extremely different ways) by those who were supposed to care.

BUT THERE IS MORE TO LIFE THAN SADNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FOR EXAMPLE- We both love to dance, have bootys that wobble, love long walks and cuddles with each other.

Today I walked with Nelson and we ran together as I was singing so lung-ingly that my mother would make me a big tall tree (I love you Florence)… we are at home where the wild things are, which is where the witches live (my heart is burnt but not buried this time…)

This posts poem is dedicated to my rescuer- Nelson, thank you for keeping my energies pure xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Nelson

A chocolate cherry nose;
river wetness shimmering weed-green
catches like apple thuds.
Your chest like the underside of a
small boat in the playing of hugs,
little prayers of my insides.
Your whole weight hurled excited to my feet,
gasping with smiles big as cows
skimming clouds into letters of your
silent words. Yet,
barks don’t translate as desired-
nightmares glean in metal monsters
who just can’t speak dog.
Take my words instead. Chew down to marrow.
A bowl full of mud-kissing boot sounds and purple clover heart beats.
You woof human best- the lifted paw of consolation
in my lap, soft head nudged between knees
shining small spaces alive.
Sunsets call in uncharted fields, throwing
that huge glowing apricot or tennis ball
out amongst sky billows ready to chase after.