Women fly when men aren’t looking

I still feel a bit tired and for no fathomable reason unnervingly wierded out since coming back from my birthday weekend: this makes me feel guilty, seeing as I have nothing to complain about yet still want to stab my self with a million forks (wierd image, I know- but it’s what hit my mind first)

I saw some artworks at the Tate Modern; Carrie Mae Weem’s red sadness and protest of the enslavement of black African people into black slaves of America- ‘I saw and I wept…”; Red photographs cased by poetries etched onto glass frames. After the Tate Modern, I met up with Daisy and we went to Oxford Street to look at pink feathered jackets and blue sequined denim jeans that looked like they belonged to a mermaid with legs. We met up with Flo and walked down to Foyles, scanning shelves of books, but of course focusing on the beloved aisles of poetry- I was so flamboyant. I brought books brand new.

In the evening Zab came- we got ready in make-up and fancy clothes; I feel in all my pettiness, this is where some seed of current confusion of stabbing forks was sown. In the weeks leading up to this celebration, I had been so excited to make myself look and FEEL hot/sexy/ powerful bla bla bla in this little red dress. The reality is I felt bloated and ugly and pure second rate compared to my HEAVEN SENT GORGEOUS friends, and got changed immediatley into a less than glamourous outfitt (think Paris Hilton’s ugly sister who was locked up in the highest hotel room, forced to live only on Twinkies). I am not saying this in order to try and obtain any sympathies, on the contrary I am saying it because it is the truth of incomphrensible emotion. It is white first world problems, and it makes me feel even sillier for knowing what I should finally (at nearly 21) know is bullshit, my brain still pushes onto the child within me and makes the child inside cry and want to hide.

This small, miniscule discomfort of not wearing the dress I’d imagined us partying in should (and truly, thank god, DOES NOT) overshadow all the fun we had travelling round London; talking of poetry in Foyles and the feminist library, being intellectual and going to see the beautiful Queer exhibition at the Tate gallery; laughing in parks so hard I could pee and dancing to trap music on the stairs of St. Pauls, then collapsing into our hotel room with plush double beds and a boquet of flowers (we’d eaten all the cupcakes by this point).

I hate this ungratitude of the disobedient side of my brain focusing more on how my stomach and hips looked in a dress rather than on the smile of our faces in the strobe flash of photos we took. I may not be, nor ever shall attain supermodel status or looks- but that in no way inhibits capacities for love, for loving my friends and the time we had- all the times more awaiting.

I realise now how easy it is to focus on one tiny negative thought instead of cherishing the memories of how lucky I am on this planet- a father who organised it all, the train drivers who got me there, and my friends who took the time out their jobs to come see me.

DSC02248
SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIENDS FOR PUTTING UP WITH MY EXTRA BULLSHIT AND SELF-LOATHING ALL THE TIME!!!!! XOXOX

Today’s post is already verging on being lenghty, but thats okay because it’s for a special lesson and occassion. Without further adiue, here is today’s post- it is from a book I bought in Foyles by Jeanette Winterson, one of my favourite authors. The small book is simply called ‘Love’ (the quote I use is orginally from “Why be Happy when you could be Normal?“). xooxooxoxoxx

“Love is vivid. I never wanted the pale version. Love is full strength. I never wanted the diluted version. I never shied away from love’s  hugeness but I had no idea that love could be as reliable as the sun. The daily rising of love.” 

 

To walk no longer invisible

Today I fulfilled a long hoped for pilgrimage with my family and drove up north through winding streets of small pubs and purple heather, finally reaching the Brontë parsonage at Haworth. I was supporting my fellow female writers, who wrote and wrote with hopes and hopes, not of celebrity as we consider it- but merely a future, a life where they could provide for their loved ones with a pen and sentences breathing.

The amazement of how small Charlotte’s feet were, the inked notebooks of poetry by Emily or Branwell’s smoked out figure amongst his sisters’ portrait, which he painted himself; Anne’s Scarborough pebble collection. These humdrum relics of their lives were so interesting and humbling to see, what with what knowledge we have realised now, that Branwell is more than a drunk and his sisters more than mere governesses; secret writers. They are no longer invisible, they are legendary.

I kept thinking of the contextual cruelty in which those animated and powerful women lived- a world of strict boundaries of who could and could not have money, when women were angels or whores- neither of whom deemed wise enough to yield a pen so mightily as a man. I am born in a world where, yes- many structures are still so fucked up and writhing with hatred and willed ignorance that it’s hard to fathom any progress sometimes; yet, here have I set gauntlet. Writing alone. My own pen. My own name.

I do not want to let go for granted what these intelligent, wholehearted women strove so hard to obtain. I am a savage, as Emily wrote- I am still half wild and free to play on the moors of my mind as I will. Thank God for books.

Today’s poem is by Emily, ‘No Coward Soul is Mine’ (A personal favourite along with ‘Remembrance‘). I presume the power she refers to here is the Christian “God”, but I like to interpret it as our own god; happiness seeded inside ourselves which twines and kindles with others who will it so, our determination to “choose not to suffer uselessly” (as Adrienne Rich wrote it). No coward souls were theirs, and neither is mine.

No Coward Soul is Mine

No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world’s storm-troubled sphere
I see Heaven’s glories shine
And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear
O God within my breast
Almighty ever-present Deity
Life, that in me hast rest,
As I Undying Life, have power in Thee
Vain are the thousand creeds
That move men’s hearts, unutterably vain,
Worthless as withered weeds
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main
To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by thy infinity,
So surely anchored on
The steadfast rock of Immortality.
With wide-embracing love
Thy spirit animates eternal years
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates and rears
Though earth and moon were gone
And suns and universes ceased to be
And Thou wert left alone
Every Existence would exist in thee
There is not room for Death
Nor atom that his might could render void
Since thou art Being and Breath
And what thou art may never be destroyed.

‘The stars do not care’

My absence from running this blog; trying to keep good habits (for writing or otherwise), ticking alongside attempts to live life in as happy and meaningful way possible have been rocky of late, all I can do is say ‘sorry’ and keep on going. True- I have been busy, but almost a 20 day long silence is not really justifiable as an excuse; when you love something, you defy excuses.

But I shall fill in the gaps.
My pink rose is no longer dead. I read Slaughterhouse- 5 in one night. My family threw me a birthday meal at our favourite Chinese restaurant, then the next day I went to the Transatlantic slavery memorial performances in Trafalgar Square with my cousin, Oscar; we went to the National Gallery and saw Van Gogh’s sunflowers, we sang Whitney Houston with a homeless artist from Sri Lanka who told us to look for Mother Mary. I drank Westons in a field with my best friend, then went to a poetry reading with another of my best friends and blew bubbles over our pints. I walked with Nelson and Pogo.

These details have no bearing whatsoever on anyone else’s life, so I question the feeling of needing to write them down, or anything, for that matter which isn’t purposeful and powerful and intelligent. I guess it boils down to a second voice; words create a world parallel yet intricately webbed in the physical senses, which in themselves warble and wane depending on one’s temperament- language causes a trembling which is and is not real, which uncoils translated through eyelashes as chrysalis births wings which flutter, to die within days.

This post basically just confirms I am not giving up on this quiet endeavour, hopefully it shall amount to something- but I guess one consolation is that at least it keeps one person out of too much trouble.

IMG_7627
These flowers have nothing to do with my writing, but fuck it life is random so here’s a little beauty to brighten things up :)))))

Today’s poem is by the legendary Audre Lorde, a beautiful soul who wouldn’t want me to stop doing this just because it seems the rest of the world seems more engrossed with big plastic tits and guns and sports cars.

Stations 

Some women love
to wait
for life    for a ring
in the June light    for a touch
of the sun to heal them    for another
woman’s voice    to make them whole
to untie their hands
put words in their mouths
form to their passages    sound
to their screams    for some other sleeper
to remember    their future    their past.

Some women wait for their right
train    in the wrong station
in the alleys of morning
for the noon to holler
the night come down.

Some women wait for love
to rise up
the child of their promise
to gather from earth
what they do not plant
to claim pain for labor
to become
the tip of an arrow    to aim
at the heart of now
but it never stays.

Some women wait for visions
That do not return
Where they were not welcome
Naked
For invitations to places
They always wanted
To visit
To be repeated.

Some women wait for themselves
Around the next corner
And call the empty spot peace
But the opposite of living
Is only not living
And the stars do not care.

Some women wait for something
To change    and nothing
Does change
So they change
Themselves.

 

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 Life!’ ‘A Lover!’ not ‘A Life!’ ‘A Husband!’

I haven’t written for a while here, mainly because I’ve been busy with grandma again; differentiating Acers from Oaks, peering closely at Hydrangeas the colour of your tonsils and patting St. Bernards called Marley on Headley Heath. Of all grandma has treated me to recently, the apex of our country forays has culminated in my dream for a while now- visiting the homes of my homegirl inspirations. Charleston and Monk’s House, the homes of Vanessa and Virginia Stephen.

Walking the rooms Vanessa painted by hand, seeing the round wood dining table, like that of King Arthur and imagining what wine they had; the fuchsias scrambling up Charleston’s stone face for sunlight above glitterings on the green lily pond and all the sunlight drenching time’s past canvases in her studio made my heart beat in a welcomed irregular rhythm. It felt familiar yet screened, like spying through a kaleidoscope of history warped and retold through the footsteps and talk of others. I think my favourite part of Charleston were the pink guest rooms Vanessa and her daughter Angelica painted. Pale candyfloss walls and miniature seats, paintings of wild women on the wardrobe formed of harsh, sporadic black outlines for contour, with a pale peach wash for flesh. I could imagine my sister, Daisy and me sleeping there- peering at ourselves in the large looking glass wearing summer dresses and flowers in our hair. So romanticised and impossible I KNOW, but still tangible there- in her house of art, ideas and beautiful defiance.

Monk’s House was particularly resonant with me, I saw hopes in reality.  A humble cottage with a garden, a bedroom opening out into dawn- a writing lodge of wood planks where ideas flourished from Virginia’s mind, butterflies born of ink; their wings assonance and metaphor, a lilting flight. Her home was not so washed in pattern and paint as her older sister’s, but still there was intent- her mind was the cement which composed brick into animation. The living room was mint green, flowers in jam jars occupied alcoves and a special design Vanessa dreamt up for her sister adorned the chairs there. My favourite part was her bedroom though, modest but perfectly formed- like a snail shell home. Books whispered plot, unwinding breath on their shelves; a tiled sink sealed the deal of magnificence for me. The walls were pale blue, I know she loved Leonard, but her pain meant she needed space; I understand that pale blue. The only difference I’d make though, would be to swap the single bed for a double. I’m no good by myself- I’d want to feel the security that if there was anyone else who wanted to be with me that there’d be enough duvet to share. We could wake up to watch dawn over apple trees together, read my poetry books and drink tea on the same pillows then go sit in the garden. Either lover or friends, it is besides the point- this is not my story or house, both are Virginia’s.

I have no poem to post today, but I didn’t want that to stop me from trying to write. Instead I’ll share a quote from Virginia that I love, from her longest love letter ‘Orlando’ dedicated to her lover and close friend, Vita. I know to understand her life fully, to encapsulate it is impossible- but what I write is done with love. Love and hope and admiration, and I can only will that that is enough. oxoxoxoxox

” Was it then to be admitted that Orlando was one of those monsters of iniquity who does not love? She was kind to dogs, faithful to friends, generosity itself to a dozen starving poets, had a passion for poetry. But love- as the male novelists define it- and who, after all, speak with greater authority?- has nothing whatever to do with kindness, fidelity, generosity or poetry. Love is slipping off one’s petticoat and- but we all know what love it…” 

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

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.

DSC01353.JPG

 

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.