Tuesday, 26 April 2011


Last night I played along with Poejazzi's twitter instructions to write a poem. It was a lot of fun and inspired me to be more creative that I usually would be on a Monday night. Instuctions for each verse were tweeted at five minute intervals with time at the end for editing before submitting it to them. I'm not completely happy with the poem-partly because the instructions given meant I ended up repeating things and taking it in directions I wouldn't have otherwise and partly because I never am- but I'm happy I did it.

Also I've tried and tried to find an image of the statue I'm talking about in the poem. We have it by the fireplace at my Dad's house and it's the second one we've had. I assumed they were reasonably common but Google disagrees. So you'll just have to imagine.


As the sun loses it's force and the colours dim
I sit adjusting.
You watch me
and glint.
My knight.
The gold takes on a deeper hue
emanates rather than reflects.
You guard the fire place
keep my memories safe
remind me of the years I've cycled through while you've stayed
thirty centimetres high
sometimes dull, sometimes gleaming, always there.

I fell once
landed on the corner of the fire place
the brick gouging my forehead
opening my eye
blood crying down my cheek.
You were taller then
and you watched
and reflected back the red
trickling down your armour.
But today only I bear the scar.

Outside the gravel crunches.
The cat returning home,
or foxes investigating the bins
(no hot ashes but there is a chicken carcass)

Or maybe it's him, returning home.
Shame faced?
Glaring or in glory?
We don't investigate.
I sit.
You stand.
Statue still.

But what if he's not alone?
What if he's brought company?
How many feet is that crunching?
And what would I do? How can I have this conversation with someone else there?
(Except you
You are always there
cold and reflecting
and scarless.)

She can see me
see in through the window
although it is dusk and I haven't turned on the light.
And I am there
just sitting
just still
just waiting.
And she wonders if I know,
and if she should feel guilty.

She shouldn't.
I don't care.
Or I do
but I can't show it now.
Everyone just acts the best way they know how
in their own circle
and sometimes that fits together like cogs linking hands
and sometimes there are better wheels to turn
And sometimes the wheel stops and it's beyond your control.
So we sit
You and I
Statue still.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Another blanket

Holiday Traditions.

So I wrote this, got depressed and decided to go and visit my sister this weekend. But as I've not posted for a while I thought I'd put it up anyway. Apologies- it really is ramblings...

So Sunday is Easter.
And I have no idea how I'm supposed to be celebrating.
I honestly can't remember what we did as a family when I was younger.
Essentially not that much. Growing up with two parents who had long since rejected the religion they had been indoctrinated into as children, it was never a cause for celebration.
I do remember one year searching in vain for Easter eggs in the back garden after my friend had told me the Easter bunny left her chocolate in hers. My parents unfortunately had no forewarning- just a crying eight year old who had found nothing but molehills.

When I was in America the church I attended with my host family was swamped on Easter Sunday. And the week following Pastor launched a scathing attack on those who saw religion as a twice a year thing. Easter in America was a hot, stuffy church service and a meal for 40 family members involving large amounts of mashed potato and several screaming children.

This year I'm conflicted. The casual blasphemy that I hear all around niggles. Although I don't and can't believe in the God I was pressured into loving in America I can't reject it all entirely. But it's not something I want to celebrate. I don't want to be a part time Christian that Pastor George so resented. I don't want to just accept the nice bits and ignore the rest of it (even if years of study/deprogramming has taught me that is an unavoidable part of interpreting a book that has two mutually exclusive creation stories in the first three chapters).

Christmas brings out the crazy in me a little less. I'm comfortable with the fact that Jesus existed and I'm happy to acknowledge the birth of one of the most influential men in history. And the original pagan routes of the celebration appeal much more strongly. Also Christmas to me is all about family, it's about giving and love. Easter on the other hand was only ever about chocolate. And normally disappointment. That I didn't have enough, or I was too greedy to make it last. And later, after the brainwashing, it was about a man who died for my sins who I totally rejected. It was about the last bit of Christianity that I couldn't accept.

As it's not a family celebration I'm not seeing anyone. In fact I expect to spend the day pretty much alone, probably moving some stuff across to my new flat and cleaning where I'm currently staying and eating myself into a chocolate and wheat coma. Lent is one bit of Christianity I get. And one of the only ways I have any will power. Although since giving up chocolate and all things wheat I have essentially just replaced my 4p.m. sugar-crash chocolate/cake/biscuit with toffee popcorn, so it possibly hasn't been a complete success.

I think next year though I'm going to plan it a bit better, think of a better way to celebrate, or maybe try to find something I'm comfortable with celebrating.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A poem for Hannah, now we are grown ups

When we met we were starting out on our own
We were showmen
We were shamans
We'd leap out of bed, transform from pyjamas to party clothes
We'd spend hours drinking tea and learning lines and dancing

I've known you from root to tip
Through the different lengths of your hair
You remember parts of me I've forgotten
We colour in each others back-stories

In Barcelona sunshine
In Norwich clubs with our feet stuck to the floor
In London Fields and London's Parks
In love, in a way, I suppose

And now we are grown ups
I suppose, almost,
With real jobs
And boyfriends
And flats of our own

And I am so happy for you
And so sad for me


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Sunday, 10 April 2011

Wrong Skulls

Sometimes it just doesn't turn out right. You don't follow the pattern exactly, the tension's all wrong. These don't look how they should. But it's all good practice I guess.

Friday, 8 April 2011


Apparently this month is Blog Every Day in April. Or so a beautiful girl I half know on the internet has told me. It seems like the ideal project for me as I'm trying to ramp up my creativity and write more. Unfortunately I've missed the first week and don't at the present time quite have the will-power to commit. But I like their list of suggested topics and am planning to include several in my ramblings this month.

One of those topics is the subject of crushes. Currently I am worryingly obsessed with this man: Chase Whiteside.

He's intelligent, articulate, politically aware, switched on, creative, talented, interesting and really quite pretty. Sadly he is also 3000 miles away, unaware of my existence and gay. (Although not sadly for all those lucky gay guys in Ohio (and to go on a tangent, that “oh it's such a shame he's gay, what a waste” rubbish is fantastically put down here (01.06))).

Chase is, with Erick Stoll, one half of film-making duo New Left Media, best known for their (often terrifying) films where they point a camera at Tea Party supporters and let them explain their views.

This style of documentary appeals because while it's not directly aggressive and attacking, it is exposing the level of ignorance that people with very strongly-felt views often have about their subjects. And crucially it's not a one sided thing; the films they made at the Rally for Sanity and/or Fear showed that many on the left had similarly shallow understanding of of the politics they were willing to go out on the street and espouse.

It's film-making that makes you think, and question your own understanding of your views, opinions and beliefs. It makes me want to read more, learn more, understand more.

It also, to an extent, cripples me with the knowledge of my own ignorance. There is so much I disagree with but how can I be sure I'm right? The current government is, to the best of my understanding, attempting to dismantle years of progress and roll back the state to a level that would be deeply damaging to so many people that rely on it's services. And it would also, through widening inequality, be damaging to all citizens in the UK, including the 18 millionaires in the cabinet that never have and never will need public services. Two weeks ago, along with an estimated half a million people I marched through the streets of London to ask them to stop. There is a lot more I feel I should be doing: occupying tax-dodging shops with UKUncut, making a fuss about NHS reforms, waging war on an unrepentant banking system. But with so many issues around (the range of causes and banners at the march was heartbreaking) how can I possibly be knowledgeable enough to respond sensibly to all that I need to? I don't think handing over spending decisions to GPs and opening up the door to more private companies is a good idea but I've never dealt with unwieldy Primary Care Trusts and I don't work in the NHS so how can I possibly know? But I feel what's at stake is too important to not act at all. Ultimately I suppose I just have to accept my ignorance, do my best to remedy it and form my opinions based on what I can see of the world around me and my belief that people, not money are more important. And at the same time to try to listen to and not automatically not dismiss people with opposing views. While I am of course disappointed that the Lib Dem's role in the coalition seems to be to prop up rather than tone down Tory policies I refuse to give up on the idea that political compromise can work. I want to live in a society where people and politicians can work together and I need to make sure I'm trying to create that world.

I think empathy is absolutely key to the kind of world I want to live in. What's obvious from watching the New Left Media Tea Party videos, or reading BNP literature or listening to Cameron talk on multiculturalism is that a lot of the views I see as so distasteful come from people who haven't had the ability, opportunity or need to see life from other people's perspective, to be able to see past their own world and appreciate that immigrants or gay people or women have valid and full lives that should be equally valued. Meeting people from different backgrounds, reading about people who are different to you, television, film can all play a part in this. Another documentary from NLM and the one that first brought them to my attention was focused on the fight for marriage equality in Maine. It's a different style of documentary and it's all about the people. It is political but in a different way. It's about people and it's about the most universal of human experiences: love. My English teacher from when I studied in Maine features in this video. When he says “It hurts” how can you not feel his pain?

So thank you Chase Whiteside (and Erick) for what you do. Now if only I was a gay man in the Midwest...