‘for women who are ‘difficult’ to love’ by warsan shire

you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
prettier
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.

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2012 and My Quarter-Life Crisis

So there’s only a few hours left to go til the new year and I have to admit, I’m sitting around like a misery guts embroiled in what can only be described as a quarter (or perhaps a third?) life crisis. Like many of us, the end of each year forces me to review my achievements and failings and put together a half-arsed plan, usually in the form of new year’s resolutions, about how I would like life to be from now on. And how would I like it to be, I hear you ask? Well firstly, I would like to have a creative job for which I am respected, and which pays better than the pitiful minimum wage on which I’m currently surviving. Secondly, I would like more adventures – which sadly refers back to the first as the lack of money in my life tends to curtail the number of adventures I’m able to have. Thirdly, I would like to feel as though I’m not just another clone on the treadmill grinding slowly towards retirement, I would like to actually do something which I loved so much I never felt like I was working at all. The catalyst for this maelstrom of questions and indecision was the announcement a few weeks ago that the day centre in which I work was going to be cutting its staff. This sent a shockwave of gloom through all of us and caused me to recognise that this has been a common pattern in almost every job I’ve had in the care sector over the past 5 years. At some point or other, everyone’s hours get cut, because the sector relies hugely on public money and apparently in this current economic climate the bankers need it more than the vulnerable people.

So the long term plan is: get out of care work and start working for myself. But how? What can I do? What can I offer that people will pay me enough for to cover my rent, phone bill, my decadent tea habit, and etc? For the past few days this question has been bouncing around my brain and as a result I feel well and truly exhausted and lost. The biggest problem for me is that I can do a lot of things adequately, but I’m a specialist at nothing. That’s the old Gemini brain for you; spread incredibly thinly over such a variety of subjects that choosing one to focus on is a major decision.

Anyway, I was going to tell you all about some good things I’ve done this year and some things I want to do next year, but I’ve made myself too moody to write anymore so I think I’m going to drink some more tea and watch something funny til I cheer up.

Happy new year you lovely people 🙂

xXx

21/12/2012- My Thoughts

I found Friday to be a very annoying, trying day in some respects. Sadly, the media had swallowed up a combination of ancient prophecies surrounding this date and regurgitated them in their own self-serving, sensationalist fashion. And hey, I’m not in the slightest bit surprised, but because this date had mattered so much to me for such a long time I found I took the dumbing down and sexing up approach very personally, not least because my work colleagues were vaguely aware that the Mayan prophecies meant something to me and so kept questioning me on the mechanics of how the world might end. I explained many times to many different people that yes, it would be an apocalypse, and no, apocalypse doesn’t mean what you think it means (it actually means ‘a lifting of the veil’ or ‘revelation’), and yes, this date is significant, and no, we’re not all going to die.

Now, that is not to say I was 100% confident of everything running as normal on 21st December! My partner and I had a ‘grab bag’ organised just in case, containing essentials like a compass, rope, water purification tablets and maps, as well as personal effects such as warm and waterproof clothes, my contact lenses and etc. We’ve always had this sitting under our bed but on Friday it came out and sat by the door, just in case. I suppose you could call us Doomsday Preppers of a sort, although we do it with a smile and a shrug, knowing we might sound crazy to you, but IF it happens, we’ll be prepared, as the boy scouts say.

Obviously it all passed without anything dramatic, momentus or eventful going off, and once again the skeptics laugh and tell those who were maybe slightly on edge about the whole thing that they’re actually just a bit mad and need to stop being so gullible and join them on the cynical side of the tracks. But to be honest, my beliefs haven’t been phased by the lack of an HBO-style end of season finale for civilisation. Its been a good 6 years since I was first made aware of the Mayan prophecies and calendars, and one thing that always struck me as interesting was the fact that, if the end of this 5000 years calendar cycle means for humanity a dramatic shift in consciousness (which is what us New Age-y folk believe), they got the ball park right! If you expected a big cataclysmic event to occur and to alter the principles and characteristics of human beings and the course of civilisation; well then, you’ve clearly never met a human! But consider the technological and sociological advances which have taken place over the past 100 years: the explosion of the human population due to better understanding of the body and disease; the internet giving us the ability to communicate with anyone else in the world, to share information and ideas and to broadcast our own versions of world events rather than relying on the bourgeois media to give us their capitalism agenda-ridden critique; the establishment of human rights legislation to protect people from their governments – think about what we have now, compared to what we had 100 years ago. In this last century we’ve seen the first legislative moves towards giving equality to women, the working class, minorities, and in some countries, non-indigenous people. We fight for the better treatment of the environment and non-human species, and many people inconvenience themselves entirely by eating only organic or cutting animal products from their diet and lifestyle completely. In this century thousands from all over Europe volunteered to fight Franco in the Spanish civil war. The availability of the television and radio to working class people meant that the reality of war was shown in the living rooms of the world and in the 60 and 70s Americans and people across the new world took to the streets to protest against the Vietnam war, and its through these actions that many claim the war was eventually lost. Similarly, two million people marched on London in protest against the Iraq war in 2003. These events did not directly affect those who protested, but they fought anyway, because they believed in helping their fellow human. Technology has immeasurably improved our communications, and that in itself has illuminated the highly compassionate, empathetic and loving side of human nature. Of course there is still work to be done, of course there are still atrocities in the world. But I believe the last century is unique in its spate of movements of mass philanthropy and that, to me, suggests we’re on the right track.

The universe doesn’t work like it does in Hollywood films. One grand dramatic gesture won’t ever sweep in and change the course of history in an instant. The universe has been around for 13 billion years and will be here for many trillion yet, and it works a lot slower than we humans with our puny 80-year lifespans! We are constantly growing and changing and transforming. Have faith and simply be love. The shift is happening.

A Real Live Girl

Today I tried to be a real live girl.
I got up early,
Did my hair,
Makeup-ed my face,
Dowsed myself in perfume,
And headed out early for the bus.
And on my way I noticed;
The mud on my shoes,
The dog hairs on my trousers,
And that the coat I was wearing was that one I had found abandoned in the park;
And as I wiped my nose with a hankie I found on the floor, I realised
I’m just not cut out to be a real live girl.

I want…

…to write a story about faeries. And vampires. And kelpies, and all those folks. I want to write about the magical place the world will be revealed to be after the apocalypse (or ‘lifting of of the veil’), after civilisation has crumbled and the survivors are reduced to scavengers and primitives. When skyscrapers are covered in vines, the zoos have been emptied and the only cars used are pulled by horses because electricity and petrol are a distant memory.

I want to write about all this, but sadly, all I have is a series of images, and I can’t think of a beginning, middle and end. Poo 😦

Scary honesty moment

i am someone who is in a lot of pain and i don’t know how to fight it. it’s caught up with me every time i’ve run away. it’s beaten down my immune system every time i think i’ve found a cure. it’s barged its way in to make itself a part of every new thing i try. it makes itself a third wheel in every new relationship i forge. i don’t know where it came from. i’m getting exhausted from fighting its constant attempts to steal my identity and wear my face as its mask. i just want to be a normal person.

By mermaidinafishbowl Posted in Words

Where did all the gnomes, elves, fauns, faeries, goblins, ogres, trolls, nymphs, sprites and dryads go?

I came across this story through the forum psymusic.co.uk about 6 years ago. To this day it always helps me whenever I’m feeling lost, alienated and sad.

An Historical Overview of the Whereabounts of Gnomes and Elves, Fauns and Faeries, Goblins, Ogres, Trolls and Bogies, Nymphs, Sprites and Dryads, Past and Present

by Buck Young

A long, long time ago, the Earth belonged to the creatures of the wood. By creatures of the wood I mean gnomes, elves, faeries, etc. They tended it and took care of it, played in it, danced and sang in it, cared for wounded animals, worked out disputes between species, sat on mushrooms discussing matters of importance and drinking Labrador tea, rode down streams on leaves and bark, parachuted from trees on dandelion seeds. This was the world into which mankind was born. These early days, when man was but a newly arrived dinner guest who hadn’t yet taken over the house, are fairly well documented in the literature and folklore of the world, so there’s no need to go into it here. What I am interested in, and what I am asking you to be interested in, is the question, “Where did all the gnomes, elves, faeries, etc. go?”The friction between man and the wood creatures began with the discovery of agriculture. With this discovery civilization arose and spread. The forests were cleared to provide wood for shelters and fields for pastures and crops. Mankind had set up camp. No longer just a visitor in someone else’s world, he pushed the wild back from his newly built doorstep. At first, this wasn’t a problem. There weren’t that many people and everyone else felt that it was only fair to allot them their own half-acre to do with as they wished. Some of them even decided to help out. Gnomes moved into the barn houses and helped with the gardening chores. The devic spirits of the vegetables helped humans better organize their crops and plan rotation; taught them the correlation between planetary and lunar cycles and the agricultural year. They taught them to plant radishes when the moon is in Cancer, harvest when the moon is in Taurus. Many trolls felt that the heaping piles of manure were a change for the better, and decided to stick around too.

The rest of the wood creatures just backed off into the wood, occasionally playing tricks on the new settlers, like turning the milk sour, rearranging furniture, tipping cows, tickling people’s faces in their sleep and once in a while stealing babies and leaving bundles of wood in their place.

But man’s dominion spread (and spread and spread and spread) and the forests got smaller and smaller and smaller. Things got real crowded in the woods, and things were getting worse in civilization. Most farmers weren’t listening to the devic spirits anymore. People found they could increase their output by disregarding the needs of the earth. They were raising productivity and killing the soil. Petrochemicals were just a step away. Most of the devic spirits and gnomes fled. The trolls stayed. Today, they live mostly under bridges and in the shallow mucky ditches beneath the metal grating on farm roads that cows are afraid to cross. Be sure to honk your horn before driving over one of these. A troll may be hanging from the grate, swinging over its living room, as they are apt to do after rolling in muck and manure. If you don’t give a warning honk, you may run over its fingers, and it’s not a great idea to get either your name or your license plate number on a troll’s shite list.

Now, there is little wild land left at all, and even that is shrinking at an unprecedented rate. There is simply not enough wild space for all the gnomes and elves, fauns and faeries, goblins, ogres, trolls and bogies, nymphs, sprites, and dryads.

So where are they?

Are they dead?

No.

So, where did they go?The answer is a bit surprising. They didn’t go anywhere. We did. Early humans had an intuitive knowledge of their role in nature, just as bears and raccoons and mice and every other critter does. They understood, from the ways of the wild around them, that nothing ever comes from nowhere and nothing ever just disappears. Things change form. Death is necessary for life to continue. They offered up their kills as sacrifices to the gods of nature. They offered praise, prayer, sacrifice and song to the spirits of the wild, to brother buffalo, brother deer, and brother tree.

Now we know that everything that ever existed continues to exist, in one form or another, and as far as we can tell, they were more aware of that back then than we are now. So, the sacrifice, song and prayer did not ensure the immortality of the slaughtered, either in body or spirit. That was already taken care of. What it did ensure was the continuance of the connection between the spirit of the slaughterer and the spirit of the slaughtered. Killing is risky business. The membrane separating the internal from the external is not necessarily as thick or as clearly defined as we have come to believe. Every time we kill, we risk killing the reality of that thing inside ourselves as well as outside. We risk breaking the connections that lead in and out of the membrane. Taking a life to feed life requires a keen understanding of the natural law of give and take. When we lost that understanding, gave up the songs, the sacrifice, the prayers, we lost the connection. Saying grace is not enough.

When we lose those connections, everything becomes dead – fish, rivers, frogs, mice, even each other. There is no way they can reach inside us any more. The five senses we are left with are not enough. We have given up those connections in exchange for the freedom to clear-cut forests with skidders, turn cows into milk machines and chickens into egg factories. We can experiment with animals, club seals, wear fur, and exterminate entire species. Not a twinge of guilt. The lines have been severed.

And we are all under the impression that it is the forests, the creatures, the spirits and the wild lands that are disappearing from the universe and not us. This is not so. Thinking like that is like thinking that if you stand on the end of a limb and saw that limb from the tree, that the tree will fall and you will remain standing. Bugs Bunny might be able to get away with that, but we can’t.

It is we who have fallen away from the real world into a world where we may carry out our twisted sterile dreams without threatening the earth and its inhabitants. Ever wonder why the trees, stones, rivers and streams, birds, bears, frogs and snakes no longer talk to us as they did in the early tales of Native America, the Hindu, the Africans, the bible? It’s because we’re not around to talk to anymore. Every clear-cut, every vivisection, every mechanized slaughter of cow, pig or chicken moves our dream world further and further from the tree, making a reunification, which is still possible, more and more difficult.

Somewhere not so far from here, in the real world, the ancient forests are still standing, the buffalo roams the prairies, the sky is full of condors, the deer and the antelope play, and dodo birds still wander the sandy beaches, bumping into things.

Where there are still wild lands in our dream world, strong connections still exist. Bridges, tunnels, portals. Occasionally a traveler will get lost in the wilderness and find himself in the real world, returning the next day to find that a hundred years have passed, or never returning at all.

There are more ephemeral connections as well – brooks and waterfalls where you can still here voices from the other side, if you listen carefully enough… When they sit by these waters, they hear loud clanking and screams. When they eat magic mushrooms, everything STOPS glowing and condos rise where forests stand. Our children can see their world in their dreams. Their children see our world in the nightmares.

And there is another connection. Sometimes agents from the other side infiltrate our world in an attempt to expedite reunification. Believe it or not, they miss us over there. Sometimes – more often than you might think – they send souls over to our world to be born as human babies. There are quite a lot of them actually – gnomes, elves, faeries, sprites, etc. running around in human bodies, doing crazy things like writing on walls, working in co-ops, running inns in the mountains, talking to themselves in the streets, making pottery, practicing witchcraft. They are planting biodynamic gardens, sitting in the back yard naked, arguing with satan. They are in asylums pumped full of Thorazine, in a classroom on Ritalin and lithium. They live with Indians. They run recycling centers. They are starting revolutions, corrupting the young, inventing paranoid conspiracy theories, making up religions. They’re directing movies, gobbling acid, drinking heavily and writing poetry.

The transition from their world to ours is not an easy one. It’s not easy on the soul and much is lost. They may have no idea who or what they are at first. They may or may not find out. They WILL know they are not like other people. They will know that this world is not theirs. They will faintly remember something better, where things made sense and worked like they ought to, where love and magic had the power to heal.

They will know what makes other people happy does not make them happy, and that what makes them happy makes them happier than anyone else alive.

They will see things others cannot see, hear things others cannot hear, feel things others cannot feel, and know things others do not know.

They will laugh a great deal or cry a great deal or both.

They will love humans individually, but have a hard time with humanity as whole, and that will occasionally approach loathing.

They will have a handful of very close friends, and often be very lonely.

They will be unhappiest when forced to act like a human and do things that humans do, want what humans want, or when they are convinced that they actually are one.

Things will not be easy for them. Because of their memories of the other side, the world will seem to them a wondrous calliope with just a few teeth missing on one of the cogs. Because of this tiny deficiency, the music is off key, the horses are crashing into each other and the children are frightened, bruised and crying.

The solutions will seem obvious, but no one will listen.

They will repeatedly be punished for shouting FIRE! in a crowded theatre, when the buildings really are in flames but no one else can see….They will get slapped on the wrist for pointing to the EXIT signs when everyone else is running around screaming and trampling one another.

They will be zealous, fanatical and didactic in their beliefs. They will feel utterly confused.

They will have ecstatic visions and babble incoherently. They will be extremely articulate.

They are prone to long periods of silence. They have no idea how to say what they really mean.

They spend a lot of time with children and animals.

They will become drunkards and dope fiends, organic gardeners, soap makers, carpenters, madmen, magicians, jugglers and clowns, lunatic physicists, painter and scribblers, travelers and wanderers…

They will dress in bright colors, frumpy sweaters or all black.

They will smoke too much and drink too much. They will eat only macrobiotic foods. They will develop addictions to Mountain Dew.

They will often be accused of living in their own fantasy world.

They will make great lovers. Yeah, even the trolls.

They will spend too much time either making love or thinking about it.

They will speak to inanimate objects. They will have much brighter eyes than everyone else. They will expect their magic to work in this world and their love to heal, and will be crushed by this world, and often won’t expect it.

It will come close to killing them.

They will visit the places where the connections still exist: the waterfalls, the mountains, the oceans, and the forests. They will draw on all the power they have, and sometimes, sometimes, the magic will work. And everything will be wondrously easy. The teeth will grow back on the cog on the calliope, the tune will right itself, the horses will bob gracefully up and down, around and around, and the children will giggle and sing with cotton candy stuck to their cheeks and noses.

They will spend their days trying to reconnect a branch that millions are busy sawing away at. Often it will be more than they can bear.

While the rest of humanity is busy working on new and more efficient ways to lay waste to the Earth with the push of a button, they are saving it. A handful at a time.

They will share a common conviction that they are the only sane individuals in a world gone mad.

They are right.

BUCK YOUNG aka Mat Jacobsen wrote this article and it was originally published in Fireheart 6.