Goodbye to my friend

Hey friend. There isn’t much to say I guess. I guess everything was already said between us. Everything we possibly could have had we did have. It was perfect. Every laugh and moment of joy, every experience and adventure we lived through together, every long afternoon over the years spent just talking and cooking and singing and teasing and being stupid. So much fun and freeness and recklessness; behaving like kids and being stupid. Also the moments when we weren’t stupid, where we were honest and intimate and serious. Where we worried about each other. All the evenings sat in twilight by the water with a barbecue or takeaway or beer amongst friends. The past is in stone and I don’t believe we could have or would have wanted to change anything. So we had everything. It wasn’t the biggest, or the closest, or the longest, but it was as much as we could have possibly had, so it was the most and it was flawless. And I think you already know, but I’m so grateful to you. For your disarmingly boundless love and warmth, for your stunning optimism and good nature, for shaping the way I grew up, for supporting and encouraging me to pursue my dream which became my reality which became my whole life, for your big beautiful grin and the laughs we never stopped having until we stopped.

I’m grateful for your life, that you existed to brighten the day of every person you encountered ever since I knew you. And that’s not an exaggeration or one of those whimsical compliments that people like to give in hindsight – this is fact, this is something every person who knew you agreed went without saying. This is why everybody loved you – how you spread happiness like pollen blooms in the wind. How you spread laughter and joy with all your crap jokes and that big grin – your unbridled affection and affability, making smiles everywhere like wind makes waves… Why there were hundreds of people of all kinds and ages and backgrounds at your funeral. Why I am unable to think of one negative memory we have – a bad exchange, an awkwardness, a moment of irritability or intolerance, a disagreement, an accidental insult, a moody impatience. Nothing. That isn’t normal. You weren’t normal. Not that ‘normal’ means anything… but from the only perspective I can give being my own, normal in my life wasn’t a solid idea, but it was definitely far from everything you were. Definitely I never met somebody with so much goodness and warmth and love, not even close. Never have I known a person like you (including the ones I love the most) that I could rely on so surely to make me feel nothing but safety and happiness in every scenario. Consistently. I am sure I am privileged beyond my own understanding to have known you, and been close to you. Your stupid antics, your life full of fun and adventure and boats and dogs and motorbikes and water and good food and most of all, friends, will remain a precious relic to everyone who was touched by it.

Sure no one knows what happens after life – through all the ideas and theories and the big thrilling or terrifying or ambivalent chasm of unknown waiting for us – I don’t believe it’s anything we can imagine. Neither of us knew what we thought about it that’s for sure. I think that’s the best thing to think – to accept an inevitable ignorance when it comes to something so big and beyond comprehension. We don’t understand much about our existence, about what consciousness or life or matter or an individual actually is. About the universe and energies (dark (unexplained) energy & matter making up 70% of matter & energy), about reality which is only a concept presented to us by our senses, one which doesn’t really exist, not to us at least… The purpose and functioning of things are so far outside of our ability to begin to comprehend them I think it’s better to surrender in awe to just not knowing. I don’t care that I don’t know, and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t either. But I care that I do know that I knew you. That we had many years being in each others’ lives. That I have countless memories and experiences. And it doesn’t feel real that you’re gone (whatever ‘real’ means). Your place in my heart and mind is just as strong, and you’re just as often in my thoughts as before. When I visit, I keep expecting to see you appear around the corner, or emerge from the kitchen. I almost think it wouldn’t surprise me. We’d hug and I’d ask ‘where have you been?’. We’d all feel weak with relief and we’d finally stop missing you. But it’s ok. I don’t like to feel too much sadness or any regret. Death is so natural and normal, it feels sad to us still around, but it’s a part of life and everything that happens is more or less inevitable. Thinking about how if your life had been different this may not have happened is just futile, because if your life had been different you would not have been you. We wouldn’t have been us. Everything happened just right, and I feel I have been blessed to have been a part of it.

I’m never going to stop thinking of you, holding you in my heart. Feeling like your big ginger grin is passing comment on everything. But I know that’s just me. You’re out of our lives. We were all the most fortunate of people, and we hold your memory within as a brilliant iridescent warmth filling us with sadness and joy. We’ll follow you one day.

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A letter to my boss.

Boss,

I know you disguise all your inappropriate comments, graphic remarks and sexual jokes under a thick comfortable cloak of humour. You probably also fool yourself – it’s all harmless comedy therefore it’s totally acceptable. I’m sure you even think you’re complimenting the girls working for you; boosting morale and confidence with all these jokes and intimate humour, bringing us all together in a relaxed feel-good environment. I imagine you think that we could feel nothing but deeply flattered by your flirtatious teasing and touching, otherwise why would you take such glee and relish in making advances? I’m sure it never even floated through your head that your behaviour may be remotely upsetting or offensive. Or if it did the idea was promptly dismissed as an “overly sensitive”, “deliberately touchy” or even “hard to get” reaction to what you are comfortable is innocent ‘banterous’ behaviour.

Let my try and help you understand something: you are wrong. No, more than this: you are disgusting. It’s a concept I doubt you’re used to. Maybe that’s why you’ve been so reluctant to consider it. Or, even worse, you may already know it on some level, but because you find the sexually threatening behaviour gratifying and it gives a boost to your ‘masculinity’ and ego, you keep it up. I don’t know what feelings of insecurity/ inadequacy/ emasculation/ erectile dysfunction shit you’re dealing with, but frankly I don’t care – because there is no justification for this. Being in a position of authority over your employees, especially when they’re young girls (who are clearly naive, vulnerable and without the backbone to actually stand up to you – because obviously as we all know females, especially young ones – are inherently ‘weak’ ‘passive’ and ‘submissive’), must give you the confidence to behave in this way. The rights you have as an employer to dictate salary, structure our days, hire and fire are ones which you just extend to encompass the right to speak sexually and graphically, to give unwanted sexual contact…

Have you ever considered that some of the many girls and women you treat like this may have been sexually abused in the past? It’s very likely seeing as 1 in 4 women have experienced sexual assault. What kind of pain and trauma do you think you might cause them behaving in this threatening way? How devastating and upsetting to be reminded of and made to relive that experience, or even feel threatened once again. For every girl experiencing sexism, feeling unsafe, sexualised and vulnerable on a daily basis, are you actively trying to contribute to that experience? For any girl, do you care about making her feel awkward, deeply uncomfortable, humiliated, severely verbally violated, physically violated by your tongue-in-cheek sexual groping? What about the women of colour you speak to who live through discrimination squared – do you think they need another white man sexualising and demeaning them? Is your wife comfortable with all the suggestive imagined scenarios where she is conveniently away, or genuinely away, or in an imagined threesome? How about your little son, is this the example you’re trying to set..?

I WONDER IF YOU REALISE SOMETHING – you are part of a patriarchal world which is consistently, relentlessly, globally, daily oppressing women and drastically affecting not only their daily lives, but their entire existence. You are part of a culture where the sexual objectification of women has become so extreme, mainstream and normalised that women are taught to locate the entirety of their self-worth in their appearance and sexuality. A culture which dismisses rape, which victim blames, which makes jokes of sexual assault, which ignores the epidemic levels of sexual violence, and the lives which are destroyed as a result. Where rapists are rarely convicted, where the government, laws, the judiciary, business, the media are all explicitly advocating sexism. A culture where the accepted oppression of women is ingrained not only in a long history, but in an inescapable present – in language, in education, in the home and the family, on the television, the internet, in music – it is ‘normal life’ for people. So normal it goes unnoticed… the continuous bombardment and conditioning of profoundly damaging sexist ideas. Widespread ideas which become beliefs which become ‘facts’ the more they are reinforced and accepted. Ideas which, when you deconstruct them, disintegrate from their foundation of empty prejudice and misogyny. Ideas which lead to untold suffering, to mental illness, to unhappiness, to lack of confidence and self-worth, to fear, to danger, to abuse. Ideas which are so strong that, in order to be maintained, they force women to buckle beneath them, to shrink into a shape that fits into their small dark boxes.

Do you know, boss, that you are and active shiny spinning cog in this machine of globally institutionalised oppression of women? That every time you make a sexual comment or a gesture towards one of the young girls working for you, or towards any woman for that matter, you are telling her that she is a sexual object – that her sexuality is where her worth lies AND should stay, and that she should be happy about that. You are telling her that you are superior and she is inferior, since you have the right to be intimate and threatening towards her where it is unwanted, whereas that could never be and never is reversed. You are telling her that because of her gender she is a lesser person, since she should depend on men for deriving her happiness and sense of value from male approval – from being a sexually desirable object to men such as yourself. You are encouraging the objectification (and therefore dehumanisation) of women, reducing them to an object which exists for the purpose of male sexual gratification. This is the attitude which leads men to feel they have a right to sexually assert themselves over women (as you do) – causing an perpetual epidemic of sexual and non-sexual violence.

You are part of this. You encourage and build this. Did you know that?

Now you do. Fucking STOP.

Respectfully,

Employee Z

 

P.S. I think you’ll enjoy this >>

P.P.S. You’ll like this one EVEN MORE >>

YOU ARE WELCOME.

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How language is messing us up.

Words are a real problem. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of alternatives. Our obligation to use them, however, doesn’t mean we should not be criticising, analysing and pulling them apart. Sure, this is done to death in literature classrooms around the world, but it’s rarely applied to our everyday lives and the language we are habitually throwing around.

Words become boxes, and people, people need to reduce themselves and shrink themselves down to fit into these boxes. Words such as ‘masculine’, ‘feminine’, ‘straight’, ‘gay’ (just ANY related to gender and sexuality), ‘normal’, ‘pretty’, ‘clever’ and about a million others, are all imbued with countless arbitrary connotations, preconceived societal ideas, of what it means to be a person who fulfils the requirements to be labeled with one of these words. To match the description of any of these words we are expected to have a variety of conventional characteristics. I hope it’s self evident how harmful such labels can be, but if not here’s a FANTASTIC example I strongly recommend watching:

Now prejudice is part of being a person – it’s impossible to not have some bias – it is literally physically wired into our brain neurone connections from years of association and learning… >>>

So just like hard core study/ physical skill learning (e.g. a sport/ instrument) will reshape your brain, so will a lifetime of conditioning to associate the word ‘pretty’ with a certain kind of aesthetic, or ‘fat’ with a certain kind of personality etc. etc. etc. Now this is actually how language works – the prejudices being very really wired into our head via neurone connections throughout our life are just our understanding of the meaning of a word. I’m sure you like to think it’s your personal opinion/ individual decision to judge which adjectives you would apply to somebody, to judge who you find attractive and are drawn to, but nope! It’s a result of an already built inner chain of associations. But this chain can be challenged, caught out, redirected and eventually reconstructed entirely. It does not mean our prejudices aren’t our responsibility – NO – we are all 100% accountable. We need to accept accountability and work towards changing some of our fixed ideas which words help to create. Every word carries preconceptions and connotations with it which make up its meaning – this is how language works. But meaning is something complex and fluid. The generally accepted theory is that a word has three components:

  1. Signifier: the physical words itself – the way it sounds and letters it’s made up of.
  2. Referent: the real world thing or object to which the word refers.
  3. Signified: the mental concept that appears in our minds when we hear/ read the word.

There is a gap between each of these components which allows for unreliability, total fluidity and change in language. Words are changing meaning all the time – slowly but surely. Language evolves. This is demonstrated by how the English language which is used nowadays is very different, or completely unrecognisable from the English used 300, 600, 900 years ago. Take a look at this great page about language evolution on the TED website. Here’s some examples taken from that article:

  • Nice: This word used to mean “silly, foolish, simple.” Far from the compliment it is today!
  • Silly: Meanwhile, silly went in the opposite direction: in its earliest uses, it referred to things worthy or blessed; from there it came to refer to the weak and vulnerable, and more recently to those who are foolish.
  • Awful: Awful things used to be “worthy of awe” for a variety of reasons, which is how we get expressions like “the awful majesty of God.”
  • Naughty: Long ago, if you were naughty, you had naught or nothing. Then it came to mean evil or immoral, and now you are just badly behaved.

It is this ability of language to change subtly, as well as represent meaning, which allows it to insidiously influence or even dictate our understandings and opinions. The word ‘black’ describing a person, when used by white and many non-white people has become widely loaded with catastrophically destructive negative baggage: poverty, sportiness, laziness, aggression, criminality, uneducated, different, exotic, foreign, inferior and much more. The idea that these associations are the meaning of the word – the word which represents a truth – this is an idea which is incredibly frightening. An idea which, in this example, leads to the terrible and systematic oppression of people of colour. It is the assurance in the knowledge that the word ‘black’ has factual meanings like ‘inferior’ and ‘criminal’ which gives false “justification” to this oppression – which in the past supported horrors such as slavery and lynching, and which CONTINUES to supports the systematic imprisonment, abuse and murder of people of colour by whites. Language is one of the many components which allows racists to think their actions are based on some kind of justified truths – ‘truths’ which are nothing but internalised learnt prejudices built up over year of using language in a certain way. Same goes for violence against the LGBTQ community, classism, sexism and countless other examples. Think of words like ‘slut’, ‘player’, ‘girly’, ‘manly’ etc.

We are OBLIGED do our utmost to fight our prejudices and preconceptions which spawn all kinds of horror and devastation, contributing to vehement and widespread institutional oppression, let alone just harming people on a day-to-day basis. These prejudices arise from a complex variety of factors, one of which is words. Words are extremely powerful: they dictate meaning. Meaning ends up coming from the words themselves, rather than anything substantial like fact or experience, and we have seen how fluid and unreliable words can be as a medium of expressing meaning – how open to manipulation, change and inconsistency. Language is an inherently ambiguous and restrictive tool. We need to start questioning the comfortable and sure way in which we use words to describe, label and understand the world around us – because although the sound of the word seems solid and consistent, the meaning beneath it is anything but. The thing is – WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR LANGUAGE. It only carries the ‘meanings’ it does because of the way we use it and the meanings we impose on it. We can decide exactly what words mean to us and how we use them, and thus have an impact on the ‘truths’ of the world around us.

Be aware of what words – aka what assumptions and ideas – are being put on you, because although a comment seems harmless it’s often indicative of a much wider social pressure. Similarly, be aware of what words and labels you’re using about other people. When you tell a little girl she looks ‘pretty’, are you just being friendly and nice, or, by congratulating her for her looks are you encouraging a value system based on looks above other skills, virtues or achievements? Encouraging girls to locate their self worth and value in their appearance, and to strive towards an impossible objectifying societal ideal, paving the way for future insecurities, low self-esteem and confidence, and even eating and mental health disorders. What does ‘pretty’ even mean? Surely it’s an entirely subjective idea that doesn’t actually exist in the real world? We say it like it’s factual, but what we’re doing is just agreeing with society’s ‘signified’ idea of what pretty means, and worse, pushing that idea onto somebody else. What about Tony Porter’s example – when you tell a boy to ‘stop being a girl’? What are you teaching him about the meaning of the word ‘girl’, and consequently, real world girls?

Both language and the meanings it denotes are fluid. Each word will mean something different and somewhat unique to each individual, because everybody has their own range of associations and experiences which comprise their understanding of that word. ‘Cow’ to an agnostic well-off town dweller who’s spent their life in England will probably mean something like – farm animal, milk producer, living in fields, black and white, something trivial. ‘Cow’ to a Hindu low-income country dweller who’s spent their life living in India will probably mean something more like – sacred, source of prosperity and livelihood, brown and white, part of daily life. Our idea of what words mean are powerfully affected by our real world experiences of them, AND – importantly – our mental concepts –  the ‘signifier’ that we have built up from these experiences. The words ‘girl’ ‘man’ ‘black’ ‘pretty’ ‘gay’ ‘disabled’ ‘transgender’ etc. etc. all have certain meanings for each of us – meanings which are normally comprised of numerous associations and experiences created from social conditioning above real fact or experience. This means most of what we believe about these words and therefore the things they represent, are merely mental constructs formed from living in a racist, patriarchal oppressive hierarchical society. This is prejudice. The good news is meaning and word associations obviously can and must be relearnt and reshaped – it takes mental effort to catch your prejudices, assumptions and judgements when hearing/ seeing certain things, but it is an effort that must be made. Once you’re doing this – aware of and fighting your own & others’ prejudices – you are making autonomous analyses and judgements rather than never questioning your beliefs and the meanings you derive from the world around you, but blindly accepting contrived meanings and ideas, and basing the way you behave and live your life on these empty prejudices. If you’re not actively considering it, you will let the language you use damage those around you and detract from your autonomous and independent self.

Privilege is the privilege to be unaware of your own privilege.

So unless we start to not only consistently challenge the meanings, assumptions and prejudices in our own heads and the world around us, but act against them, we will float through life blissfully ignorant of the fact we are forever pouring fuel into the machine of institutionalised oppression. Fuelling a machine which is is perpetually wreaking suffering, destruction, pain, poverty and unhappiness on a global scale.

Don’t just think about it. Act on it.

 

 

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The Wanderer’s Lament

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

Read the anonymous Anglo-Saxon poem ‘The Wanderer’: this is a translated excerpt.

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The Grove

Stay with me. Plant our soles anywhere, anywhere,
And you are the one who is raising me, keeping me.
Stay with me through dark fiendish foliage blocked roads
Running on, and through wickedly biting winds blowing strongly
For you are the one I am counting on, waiting for. Yes,
You are the one who is part of me. Quietly, let us go on.

Speaking with looks and unspoken knowingness though
I cannot see you or where you are standing, and yes,
The whole globe is turning its folded face openly, teasing me,
With the moon knowingly onlooking, facing us on.
We both have resolve in this, but I want you here to see
The sun-bathed far flung groves that belong to me,
Where we belong.

Like whispers of nymphs on the wind your voice speaks
With me every day; I listen delirious, joyful, your words
Echoing brilliantly. You see me and say ‘I am coming my love,
If you wait for me, watch for me. I will be there, yes, I vow to you,
Promise you I am on my way.’ And the long day wanes so peacefully,
Speak to me of valleys we’ve passed, and vast skies who await.

Resolve and endure like me my love, patiently, scoping the globe
Isn’t easy but patiently, and certainly you will come to find me,
Stay with me, live out our days. Don’t let the frustration eat you so
Angrily, insidious and stagnant it keeps you in place – make
These last few steps through the wet heavy fog and you’ll see me,
Be with me finally, indefinitely, close to me, keeping me, safe.

And I, standing here will remain through the seasons and eons stationary,
Faithfully, after my bones’ dust has sunk through the mud, long ago my blood
Drained down into the earth, there’ll grow groves from my hot beating ashes,
My love: tall trees, forests and flowers as part of me, waiting you, ready to
Welcome you to happiness. Finally, darling, now stay with me, be with me, and
I feel your low words as you speak to me, lovingly, slow: ‘I am here with you sweet,
Touch my heart, take my hand, step up with me now. We are ready to go.’

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The Cricket Song

We walked along rims of long and dissipating fields,

Wide bleary eyes straining for something to emerge,

Something else to loom from the dim groggy mist

And imagining shapes as we sat on the verge, 

And in silence as wild speculations stirred in our

Frail ghosts of minds and silent mouthing lips. 



Fields without fences, voices without song,
Long roads evanesce into the void, stuttering on

On and on to arrive at the wavering brink
Of Revelation: the second coming, the missing link,
The ultimate explanation which, suspended, shimmers and sinks
Like a raindrop into oceans pooled between the senses,
Between the fabrics, the quarks – drenching everything – lying beyond the fences,
We await the light bellowing from the void of silence, its luminous rays…
Straightening his tie he continues to say
“further conflict in the Arab Spring ensues” reading the 10 O’Clock news

To sets of blank staring eyes; bored, unamused, wanting something 

Less monotonous, less dull. This novelty has long faded away.

“That’s the same shooting they showed the other day.” 

Something a bit more interesting (to fill their evenings) or new, or,

What are they paying their license fee for? But,
At the same time, clashing through the daze is a desire for more:
A deep-rooted longing for The Essence to exist,
To lift its hallowed head, pass the infinite precipice
And, awakening, to manifest its presence with a thundering roar. 



There is no relief. Looking at the sky in its fierce dry heat,

Stranded under the sun’s searing glare

Where the unseen crickets’ relentless whine

Grates on your ears, and in the open ‘out there’

Resonates searingly inside your mind.

And you can’t help but keep walking, though your feet

Become raw blistered stumps, your sight hazy and blind,

Your mouth rasping and dry as your heavy steps beat

Across the sharp ground shimmering shingles of time.



But Tiresias: don’t you think there’s something close to being beautiful in the mystery of life? 

In the zephyr’s eddy, washing through swaying seas of blue-belles

It swells, rises, travels on far; dragging up swathes 

Of high waves from the wide water’s face, 

Then rises, dizzying, lifts imperial soaring eagles in its train 

Whose wild undead shrieks fade and are carried away as it

Billows up above the birds, past where air thins to space, and is

Rumbling over continents like the fist of God;

Pushing clouds across skies and fires across plains, 

Seeds swarm on his breath over mountains and lakes and

Seasons and sands come over earth, come over the ages,
Buffeting everything, spinning away into silence, covering the pages.



But to be you Tiresias. For my heart, eyes and mind are
All open at once. And, blind, can imagine it all at once, 

With such painful but maniacally hopeful disparity that
I see all horror, knowledge, beauty, and questions at once,

And it is so awfully maddeningly brilliantly inexplicable that 



I don’t know what to think.


And I need to sit on the verge amongst the song of the crickets, 

And feel very faintly cool impending breath across my face,

Closing these bleached sunken eyes for a very long time,

After seeing the sun in one last slow blink,

While I open my mind and try to take it in.

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Gravity

“Fat people,
Are all near the
Equator.” you say.
“It’s a scientific
Fact”, you say.
“Consequentially:
My new,
Evidentially
Supported diet.
I will only eat
three times every week,
And I will live in Antarctica.”

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Wind Fences

Days moved on in muggy swathes,
Cool grey they draped the morning’s shoulders
And hung in reminiscent skeins;
Their sharp cold damp felt on your face
Which can’t see past or much ahead
The dusty grass and crooked fence.

Do you remember Susan at the cafe?
Last time we went I said to her step out.
She said, I can’t, the clock’s still going, leave.
We laughed and bought some coffee which we
Drank by oily windows looking out into the street.
Queues, commuters, buggies, feet move onto destinations:
Vehicles hum and rattle, clouds hang low, their flanks
Together, overcrowded, sank onto the roofs of buildings with impatience.

The winds progress wearily, sullen, trudging through the road;
Still whistling, tumbling on around, baffling buildings,
Stretching out through lands of infinitely piled hills and waves and sands.
Like Daphne trapped in growing he flies through her, always
Blowing climbing falling – strokes your face and
Hair, ripping through the land and air and inexhausted days.

I, Narcissus, saw the aqua pools in kitchen basins;
Didn’t notice as you wept and furrowed souls for comfort. I let
Wind and day storm past me all encompassing and oblivious,
Drowning happily with a bitter bliss. Facing
These sharp cold encountered pools. I Narcissus
Saw all my beauty shining back in cool
Reflections like a mighty golden tide of sea, sung out its love to me
And all others went ignored in their existence.

We don’t look back. The rubble, the debris of the wind
Is left behind. He moves on by, scattered remnants strewn across
Cities, friends and lives but keep on walking, laughing
With our shadow, pointing out that idiot driver’s foolishness
From behind. Keep on
Plod plod plod step step.
All you leave, all I, Narcissus, leave
Step step
Is Echo singing lamentations from behind, her echoes who
Resound in ghoulish song within the recess of your mind.
Like the dreadful whistling shrieks that bounce from high cliff walls,
(Tiresias stands, earth’s timeless pillar, all observing, withered, blind)
The jagged black of rocks sees sea: a worn dark teal, then soft brown of its shores.

Who has interrupted our time upon this beach?
I cannot see, see only rock and sea, I cannot hear, hear
Only wailing air, but feel another’s hand
Pull mine away, am dragged through sharp ground shingle.
I said Stop This. I was playing with my brother in the sand.
But I have to leave you; cannot bear it. Who is here
That rips me bodily away from you, your dying shouts
Of Wait! And Stay! And But don’t leave, I’m only small without
Another sitting down beside me.
I will never know. But I sometimes think I see her,
Hooded, scarlet faced and snarling. Wide-eyed, feel her
Fingers burrowing under my neck. But when I look
There’s simply nothing, simply emptiness. Nothing took
Or stayed to cause this curious vacancy
Which is not filled, but drained as warm sunlight absorbs me.

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Daffodils

In the mornings she woke us, determined and bright
With a purpose, a meaning, conviction, her life
Shone from behind her: a dim winding path that diminished like
The trail of an aeroplane, light puffs of hope dragged out across skies.
Glistening from there: vast landscapes of memories, loves and experiences
Which while on on forever, no horizons, no fences.

Lost behind cold heaving iron reflections
Shoulders of sea who sway, rock with grief,
Awash with tears swirling like mercury broils.
Dark and white crests ride on ripples, their peaks
Surge forward, sheets swallowing miles, stark
Contours of globe with no corners for comfort.
Swathes’ infinite landscape of tumult cascades on by.
Nonetheless, daffodils still grow from the soil.

Youth’s flash of a smile and wisdom’s repose
As the drop of mortality leaves nothing, imposes
Nothing. A vacancy who is not empty nor tangible nor blank but
Lost in whispers of air, and receding tides’ sands as they sank
Back to where dark velvet skies stretch out under moons
And stars – drops of light twinkle on silent lagoons whose soft sands are sprinkled
With timelessness. Just perceptible tunes of all of existence – the sound as it moves
On past here, on past heaven’s sweet shores. Lying distant, removed
Is the soul that was yours but was no one’s.
There she resides by the water.
Beautifully present, beside it she wept.
With love, loss, relief, gazing into the depths.
Looking back, reaching out is her husband, her daughter.

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Ode to Wikipedia

My dearest Wikipedia,
Sure: it’s safe enough to say
You give us intellectual bulimia
In your own well meaning way.
And all the meanings are indeed most well;
One likes to see the blue encompassed text
Which reassuringly denotes, foretells,
Effortless accomplishment escaping learning being annexed,
As the useful storage unit for my (potential) knowledge swells.

All this I did a-muse the other day, oh Wikipedia,
As I a-strolled o’er e’erglades, past tumbling bougainvillea,
And having recently observed (not understood) cell basophilia,
An epiphany evinced – you’re like a flat encyclopaedia!

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