Thursday, 4 December 2014

Not a peaceful thing.

Truth is not a peaceful thing.
Truth can be unkind.
I wish it was a made-up thing
I made up in my mind.

But truth is laws that can't be broke
and truth is oh, so not a joke.
Truth like love goes deep inside
and changes you forever.

It's worth, they say, a love that's lost,
but knowing comes at such a cost.
It breaks your heart and frees your mind.
It's easier to stay blind.

Truth is not a peaceful thing.
It tears apart my myths.
But I choose freedom over peace,
reality over bliss.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Trust in the universe.



                                                            Trust in the universe,
                                                               she bleated at me.

This universe,
                                                                   in which you are a speck
                                                      on a planet,
                                                                        which is a speck
                                                                                                    in a galaxy,
           which is a speck
       in a universe
                                   which is one of many,
                                                                all of which
                                                   could be swallowed
                                                                                                                 by a black hole,
                                                                                       
                                                                        this universe
                                                                                       will take time out
                                                                                       from its concerns
                                                    with expansion
                                       and orbits
                                                                             and gravity
                                         and other laws of physics,  

                                                                             and somehow arrange
                                                          to right your wrongs,
                                                  or grant your wishes,
                    or turn red lights to green,
                                or treat you like the queen
                                                                             you are.

                                  Or not.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Somehow


I will sing while you dream your plausible dreams

I will dance with my life while you lay the plans for yours

While you are safe and secure in your womb

I will wander on and on

never finding

but somehow more content.



Wrote this some years ago, '96 or '97 I think.

Monday, 1 December 2014

The joke's on us.

Three men walk into a bar. Well, they don’t so much walk in as magically poof! onto the bar stools. Let’s start again.

Three men poof! onto the bar stools in a bar - a Christian, a Muslim, and an atheist.

“What am I doing here?” gasps the Muslim in horror.
“What are you doing here?” mutters the Christian in disapproval.
“What are we doing here?” wonders the atheist.

After a few initial moments of confusion, they discover that the last thing they each remember before getting here, is that they were in life-threatening situations in their cars.

“I hit an icy patch,” says the Christian sadly.
“I hit a huge pot hole,” says the Muslim sheepishly.
“I hit Speed Dial,” says the atheist regretfully.

Just then, a fourth figure poofs! behind the bar. “Hello there,” the figure says. “My card,” and it hands an ivory white business card to each of the men.

“Peter:  Rock of Church and Pearly Gatekeeper” reads the Christian’s card.
“Israil:  Angel of Death and Lead Trumpeteer”  reads the Muslim’s card.
“Charles:  Species Allocator and Fitness Expert” reads the atheist’s card.

“In case you haven’t realised,” the fourth figure says, “You are all recently deceased and are now on your way to meet your Maker."

“Praise the Lord,” says the Christian.
“Alhamdulillah,” says the Muslim.
“Oops,” says the atheist.

“I have good news and bad news and good news and bad news," said the figure. "The bad news is that we're already over-booked, so everyone's stuck in these way-stations until we can figure out where to place you. The good news is that God's finalising approval on a lovely new wing of Heaven. The bad news is it won't be ready for another week. But the good news is that I can take one of you with me right now! He that is most noble among you, shall come with me! If he doesn’t mind sleeping on my couch for a few days."
 
The Christian, the Muslim and the atheist are speechless.

“Just a few quick questions to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were, and we can move on,” continues the fourth figure. “Well, two of us can move on. The other two will wait here. Now, let’s see.”

He shuffles through a pile of flash cards, and picks one.

“Here we go. Feeding the hungry. Did any of that?”

“I helped at soup kitchens, and roasted turkeys for the homeless,” said the Christian.
“I sacrificed goats, and distributed the meat among the poor,” said the Muslim.
“I bought the Band Aid record, and all the later versions, too,” said the atheist.

“Good stuff, good stuff. Okay, next question. Caring for orphans. Did any of that?”

“I donated my children’s old toys to the orphanage, and sang carols with them at Christmas, and paid for the education of a hundred poor Christian children,” said the Christian.
“I donated my children’s old toys to the orphanage, and served biryani to them at Eid, and paid for the education of a hundred poor Muslim children,” said the Muslim.
“I don’t have any children, but I did sponsor two little girls who go to school in India,” said the atheist.

“Excellent, excellent. Last question. Why did you do all these things?”

“Well, I tried to do what Jesus would do, so that He would want me to dwell with Him for eternity,” said the Christian.
“Well, I obeyed all God’s laws, so that my reward would be great,” said the Muslim.
“Well, it just seemed like the right thing to do,” said the atheist.

And poof! Two of the four disappeared just like that and went straight up to Heaven. But don’t worry. The Christian and the Muslim got there too the following week, once the new wing was ready. And they all lived (in a dead sort of way) happily ever after.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Open wide and say aah.

Beauty is all over the place, if you keep your eyes, and your mind, open to it.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Still single? No parroblaame.

Besides, it turns out that sex is a disease. Well, a diseases, to be precise. In fact, it appears that suffering from one of these diseases could very well lead you down a dark and very diseased road.

I am fortunate indeed to have escaped at least some of these diseases - I think. I may have bleahed foully a few times, but I'm pretty sure I've never had Pilsh, at least not with patches.

At my current age, though, I'm concerned I am now a high-risk candidate for Late Marraige. I wonder if oll this is a result of my many years of Improper Menstruction.

Thankfully, I have at least a few hundred rupees stashed away for just such medical emergencies, and as long as that van stays parked where it is, I have nothing to worry about.


P.S. If anybody knows what the symptoms of Paesent Nabje Chaek are, please let me know.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Still here.

I suppose his bones are dust by now. Why can't my grief be like that? It should have crumbled apart and settled into the dark earth that is my past. Why is it still here? How do I bury my grief? I carry it around with me everywhere, and it just won't die.

People die so easily. No matter how, that final moment, that very last moment when they pass from life to death, is so simple and straightforward:  they're here, they're gone.

Why can't grief die, too? I want to sentence my grief to death. I want to murder it savagely or mercifully, but quickly, but I don't. I carry it around with me everywhere, like a corpse that will not rot.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Banging doors is better.

Words are wonderful weapons
and words my special skill
so when I'm passive-aggressive
be glad my tongue stays still

A door slammed twice
A teaspoon flung
into a kitchen sink
a cigarette
some Valium
a syringe
another drink

These are the ways
people try to tell
express the pain
of their personal hell
I know these ways
I knew them well
so I'll say it just once more

Words are wonderful weapons
and words my special skill
so when I'm passive-aggressive
be glad my tongue stays still
my actions will only piss you off
but my words
would shoot to kill.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Mockery in pink (and red, yellow and white).

It's not that they are mocking me. They can't help themselves. They are beautiful, and blooming. That's all they know.

I chose them for their colours:  red, yellow, pink and white; when I went to change the water this afternoon, I found them still vibrant, still alive. It hurt.

Three things, I found, are excruciating to encounter when grieving.

One is laughter from a group of people at the next table in a cafe. It burbles out of their throats so easily, while I struggle to swallow just one sip of a comforting coffee.

One is the sound of a child's voice, the opposite of death. It rings with her hope, but echoes my despair, magnifying my awareness of time running out. Of loss, and losses to come.

And one is the beauty of nature that shines out as a moon or a star or a flower, completely without empathy it would seem, just being what it is:  an amazing, eternally renewing mystery.

Unlike me.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Book windows.

My favourite books were always the ones with windows. Windows through which to escape. I climbed out, or climbed down. Down a ladder, or maybe a string of bedsheets knotted together. Sometimes I sailed out. Sometimes I flew.

Some book windows opened onto gardens, at least two of which were secret ones. Into battles, into dormitories, into other worlds. Some led me into the past, or the future, anywhere but here and now.

Book windows didn't have jailers or monsters or snarling dogs or snapping crocodiles waiting for me outside. Or, if they did, I knew it was just part of the story, and I'd get past them eventually. I'd turn the page.

I didn't need pictures. I could have them, of course, some pictures are special. But they weren't absolutely necessary. I didn't need pictures or SFX or animation because the book windows always led to the most amazing place of all:  my mind.


Sunday, 9 November 2014

Getting along with grief.


My grief and I go walking 
together everywhere.
It’s curled up like a foetus 
somewhere behind my breasts.
It’s not human. 
It’s not animal, or plant.
It just is. 

It’s a something I can’t describe, 
because I can’t see it. 
But I can feel it.
I feel it there almost always.
The moment I take my mind off 
mundane matters like being alive,
and staying alive,
there it is. 

Sometimes it sleeps 
but when it is awake 
it is a palpable ache I can do nothing about.

A name, a song, a conversation, a smell.

Gothic words from Books I once loved.
An I Love You whispered in the margin of a dead boy's letter.
Or just numbers added up on a scrap of notepaper,
in the quavering script of an old man’s hand.

A feather.
A regret.
A memory.

All these things waken it.

Some tears, some sighs, some pain,
And then I am ready to soothe it to sleep and try to ignore it again.

(6 Nov 2014)

Thursday, 6 November 2014

No difference.

The world was supposed to feel safer.
The air was supposed to smell clean.
But this death of a monster didn't change
a thing.

For this ending that came without justice
without confrontation
without resolution
I cried.
I cry.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

What did you do with yours today?

There's this thing about us humans.
No other species has it. Not like us.
This wonderful, awesome thing.

We don't use it very often
and we don't get to see it very often
but when we do...

When we do, and we recognise it,
we give each other goosebumps
and bring tears to each other's eyes.

When we do see it, we know it in every cell,
that this is what makes everything worthwhile,
this rare, precious, and yet so easily available thing.

If only we could remember to ask ourselves,
What did I do with my humanity today?
Anything? Nothing? And ask again tomorrow.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Building a bridge.

I am building a bridge. It might be a bridge across hell. But there is also a kind of hell behind me, and when I finish this bridge and find myself on the other side, there may be a hell waiting for me just because I built it.

I am building a bridge because it feels Asked of me, because it needs to be built, and it must be crossed, if only by me.

I do not know how to build a bridge.
I do not know the physics. I am bad at math and uncomfortable with engineering, and the earth is round enough that if I build a bridge long enough, I may just find myself back where I started.

But I will build it anyway. And I am told that it will not be a smooth and easy shortcut but will still be a glorious drive with a wonderful view and the air will be lovely to breathe.

And this bridge that I build shall have no toll. No burning of holes nor playing with souls. The blueprint has never been in my hand yet here, from the tips of my fingers, it will start to stand.

It will stand true, and it will be free, this bridge, and you, and me.

Oo-er. Bad omen?

Found this on Facebook just now, and simply HAD to share it! I hope I'm not breaking any copyright laws by doing this - so all credit to Ms Sue Fitzmaurice whose delightful blog informs me that she has been "trying God's patience since 1962"!


Saturday, 12 July 2014

A new pen.



In the dream, she is sure it is Him, for the awe and terror and joy that overwhelm her are like nothing she has known before. She falls to her knees and dares not seek His face out in the brightness.

There is a thud, and another, and another, and with a start she raises her eyes to see around the flare of light at His feet, books, fallen and falling.

These were My books, she hears Him say. These are what they have made of my books. Now, these are their books.

His voice sounds angry, yet also sad. Perhaps this is what betrayed sounds like. Perhaps it is the sound of heartbreak.

She can do nothing but watch as the pages separate and lift from their bindings. They flutter and swirl in a gentle tornado that her eyes see but her skin cannot sense. She glimpses lettering and language, ancient and modern. Some she understands. Some she can only recognise. Some she has never seen before.

They are all around her, these bits of paper with their words in all the voices of her world. They whizz past and she thinks, it is just like magic! But this is just a dream, she is reminding herself, when He cries,

Truth!

The papers stop where they are, in mid-air. Letters and words slide off easily, they float lightly off the pages, and they are transforming into a trellis of wings, delicate long-necked birds that circle and lift Him. She feels Him rise like a deep breath inhaled, He is lifting, and lifted by these birds of Truth.

But then He sighs and exhales another word.

Lies…

And she continues to watch, as on the hovering pages, the remaining letters and words congeal and clump together. They drop to the ground in clots, as quick and easy as mercury, but thick and dark like tar, and they ooze over to His feet and they hold Him, and they weigh Him down.

And though there is more Truth, it is the Lies that have more weight, and He is being pulled down. Like quicksand, she thinks, but pulled down into what? There is nothing beneath Him. And how can this be? Who can defeat Him? Of all that she has been taught, she has known one thing to be true:  He is undefeatable. And yet He sinks before her. 

She looks around frantically for something to save Him, but there is only page after page, every one empty, still fluttering. Hovering. Waiting? They are white and blank, and that is when she feels the pen between her fingers, and she can sense the smile in His voice as He whispers a word again, and she understands.

Truth.

She puts her pen to His paper. She closes her eyes. She opens her mind. She begins to write. She feels Him return to her. And then she wakes up.

Just a dream, she tells herself, that’s all it was. It means nothing. It is memories and wishes skipping their way into a little bedtime fairy tale. It is neurons playing in her brain:  painting pictures and faking feelings. This is all. She is sure.

She lays there in her bed and finds herself recalling a war that ended with oil spills. She thinks about the tar patches that clotted beach sand. The sand washed off easily. The tar stained and scarred her feet for days. She remembers white cormorants swooping down from a dusty grey sky only to suffocate in wet blackness. And she remembers the instructions, of how they needed to be held gently but firmly, held and cleansed and set free, pure once more, in safer waters if they were to be saved from man’s pollution and self interest.

She is no poet. She is no prophet. She is just a dreamer, awoken, with a new pen. She feels rising in her again terror, wonder and joy, but now she is awake, and and logic tells her she is alone. The terror takes over:  she places a pill under her tongue and closes her eyes.

But even as she melts away, she knows.

Tomorrow, she will write.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Midrash #1.



I love tramping and skipping through Google. It always leads to such interesting things. One such thing was the midrash, a term I had never heard of before. I shan't go into a long explanation (for you can Google it yourselves!) but simply say that seems to use inspired storytelling to interpret older stories. I could be wrong. 

Anyhoo, I found this one site that showed how to write a midrash yourself, and decided to give it a go. My piece is based on the following exercise I found at http://www.reformjudaismmag.net/1199ao.html

"Imagine that you are Eve. You have just had an interesting conversation with a talking serpent who insists that God doesn't want you to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because doing so would make you godlike. Observing the tree, you decide that the attractive fruit must be good to eat and capable of making a person wise. You reach forth your hand, take the fruit, and eat. What do you feel at that moment? What are you thinking?"

*

I have bitten into the apple, and the first thing I notice is how juicy it is. How intoxicatingly sweet. I have eaten many fruit in this garden, but none like this. This beautiful, irresistible fruit. Then I wonder:  is it really more delicious, more succulent? Or am I just attributing superior qualities to this fruit in particular, simply because it was more beautiful? Or was I merely influenced by the serpent’s opinion and so inclined to think that this fruit was somehow better than all the others. Or does the thrill of doing something forbidden add flavour to the experience?

Suddenly my head seems full and throbbing with all these thoughts.  Through their clutter, the simplicity and clarity and sheer joy that once filled my mind can no longer be found.
I drop the fruit with a sickening realisation. It was not the tree that was special. There was no magic in its fruit.  It was I. My act, my choice to reach out my hand, pluck the fruit and bite into it. It was just another tree until I did that.  

“What is this?” asks Adam, coming up behind me.

“It is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil,” I answer, without turning around. I do not tell him that it was a tree like any other, until a few moments ago. My new knowledge weighs very heavily in my heart, and I suddenly know that I do not want to be alone in this.  I pick up the fallen fruit and brush the earth off it, against my bare belly.  The tingling, not-unpleasant sensation of wet, cool fruit against my skin makes me uncomfortable.   I turn around, feeling shame for the second time in my life, and hold the fruit out to him.

“Here,” I say. “Have a bite.”