Thursday, December 29, 2005

in shadows, we see nothing

I relate to the battered and the bleeding, the used, old, worn-out and wretched, skulking along dimly lit passageways, caught in the head-lights on a wet zebra crossing.

I relate to the whites in peoples’ eyes, and the hole inside. Those with burnt fingernails, brown and staining from too much foil and broken bottles.

I relate to the thinned out man who has soiled himself in Canal Street, and his fat wife, screaming at passers by.

I relate to the two soft, pink children, left on a mossy bank of the East London stretch of river, wrapped in plastic Asda bags and newspaper, and dirt and mud and too much poison filling the air.

Now, my face is bright with innocence. My cheeks flush young, my neck graceful. I was made perhaps for harp playing, and clear mornings in April, and romance.

But my world is that of the beggar and the bugger, and my music is down and dirty with the rest of them. I am Welsh, born and bred, my mother from a steelworks town, my father, Llangollen foothills. I never knew honour or chastity or blessing. Love was hollowed out of me from as young as I remember.

Still, I flew round our garden with the small feet of an infant angel, searching out the scent of dewdrops, sniffing the heather and crumbling it between short fingers. I worshipped grass and wetness and the pink falling of Spring time, and the rustling of Autumn, death of Winter.

Summer was hoses, and tennis rackets and me circling the driveway on my boy’s bike, a silver racer. Days were long and sweet, like the soft fluffy sponge that my mother turned out upon the old wire rack on the vinyl kitchen unit, her lip curling inward in anticipation, me hiding behind the white counter, not wanting to distract her from her moment of perfection. We would both cheer as it landed, safe and sound, with a light thud on the metal below.

This is what my eyes still show. Eight years old, eight years old

But between this steps a darker figure. When night came, doors slammed tight, the house creaking, riddled with daggers and fear.

And for this, my face betrays me.

I come from a common breed. I come from what the books and scholars and right on tellers of how it is call ‘dysfunction’.

And life was never a speeding bicycle, and success comes despite, not because of.

I sit with my two sisters, in a triangle. One is beside me on the two-seater, the other, on the purple armchair. We all look at each other, our palms turned upwards to the ceiling, and all we can do is shake.

I’ve always longed for love to be a soaring, beautiful thing. I lose myself in words and notes and singing to find this elegant bird, to fly with it.
But love, it cuts me up, and I am serrated, bleeding nothing.

And so, I will always want the misfit, I was born for treachery and losing and blank evenings and mystical eyes weaving secrets……I was brought up to look reality square in the face…and to run out screaming.

And I write to lose the pain, to find the pain, to roll it into a ball and stick it under my tongue in silence, eyes looking right, eyes looking left, hands clasped behind my back in fake nonchalence. I write because I don’t want to do self-harm, I don’t want to go the way of the beggars and the buggers, the drinkers and the crack-smokers, the saboteurs and the sadists.
Writing is life, and life makes sense in the word.

My father bred us and broke us, one by one.

So I’ll climb atop Snowdon, and I won’t stop my eye from roaming, across the bleating of North Wales’ smoke filled pubs and hedgerows, to the borders, and England, to cities, the sea.

I won’t stop searching and I won’t stop running and I won’t stop the blood from gushing in my veins, because I know that life is almighty. You may crucify yourself again and again and again, and crawl to heaven on dislocated knees, but today, I saw what they might call Divine. It was in my sister’s pale shaking hands, and the frost covered pavement as I walked slowly back home to the tinsel, the tea, and the table where my mother’s arm was resting. It was in the sight of the back of her head, watching television, a fake pink rose holding her hair in place. It was in 5 music boxes, lining the top of the television, shaped like a snowman, a Christmas tree, a cottage, a soldier, and a teddy bear. I opened them up and tiny scarf clad figures were skating around and around on the ice inside to the music from ‘Swan Lake’.

It is in love, despite everything, refusing to be broken.

It has been a bitter Christmas.

We all saw our father for the first time in nearly 8 years, and my whole family stood in the same hallway for the first time in more than twelve. We were all together again, a family, for ten minutes.

My father was tall and his hair was shoulder length and silver. And I tell myself, he is no monster, he is dying. But in the glare of the lunch-time sun, I turn away, and I wonder.

Fear Of drowning

And what if the book and the pen must become my only lover? What if no one else will be able to… love me this way…make love to me this way…with the power of such feeling?
(a thousand valiant horses pounding on my brain, dizzying sex like opium or headlights, flushed breath, insane noises, all flock towards me… eaten by birds)

A deranged spinster in an attic flat filled with birdcages and Venetian death masks, radioactive rocks and black and white Audrey Beardsley pictures on her wall?
Muttering to herself, giving herself completely, surrendering all she is, legs akimbo, a sad hallucination, all adoring to her art?

Is this horrifying beauty?
Is this the only way?
Already, no one sees me for dust these days.
Who can match up, how can I match up any more

when I am an overgrown forest, a babbling brook, an overcast shadow, a yellow crab with pincers, a veritable feast, unknown still, misshapen, god, who will take me with so much emotion?

Too many tectonic plates moving, sliding.
I got Ethiopia in my twisted right foot, full scale blizzards in my cheeks, aurora, red, snowdrops, a wealth of peonies, fickle shadows, black legions of marching men, all tramping through the silent place where pleasure soars and danger beats (it’s here, sniff, the light between my thighs)

My writing voice is that of the wizened and post nubile.
Anonymous, androgynous, without form, shape, breasts.

Take me out of this place and I’m ceasing to know myself again.
Alien to me, with my lustrous hair, fingers soft and simple, and they still call me a beauty.

I shed her in these blank pages, dead as a door nail, voiceless abandon in a ferocious wind, graceless.

Such freedom tears me, all abrupt, seeking triumph, be faceless.

I fear total submersion in my own rivers, death by drowning.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tits, Ass and Cuteness

I ended up lost in blog land today. Frenetically clicking on different sites at high speed. Does anybody else encounter such a strange and addictive phenomenon here? Anyway, I ended up on someone's site where they had all these tests to assess what kind of person you are, mainly, it seemed, in terms of sex. Well I had to have a go.
   I have found out that apparently I am a kinky, confident, submissive lover who prefers to give ('What Kind Of Lover Are You?'), who is not into cute girls but instead attracted to curvy and naughty girls with larger than average breasts, arses and sexier composures ('The Tits, Ass and Cuteness' Test). My favourite kind of gal would be Angelina Jolie and apparently I am 'A Good Fuck'('How Fuckable Are You?'), but most disappointingly, smart but not gifted ('Are You As Smart As You Think?' Test). Well, glad I've sorted that one out. Am wishing now I had not resisted the 'Would You Have Been A Nazi Fascist?' test. Next time.
     I've just arrived home from a Christmas drink at The Neptune with someone from work. I drank whisky and ginger, she drank Guinness and we talked about families, plasterwork and putting on weight in your thirties.
    It is a strange phenomenon being in my early thirties - all the things that older people used to whinge about, is now making sense. I seem to be followed round on a daily basis by an anxious voice hanging on my shoulder cooing "go on, do it, it's now or never", or on a really bad day, "you've blown it, you're too old, you've missed the boat". When I was twenty, the years seemed to stretch out in front of me like something from an American road movie. Now it goes as far as the cornershop, if I'm lucky, and I am beginning to sound dangerously close to some Bridget Jones type caricature.
     Oh, the one thing I felt pleased with, reading the results from my various 'tests' on the internet, is that apparently, in this 'How Much Feminine Or Masculine Are You?' type test, the results showed that I am 'Androgynous', thus showing an equal balance of masculine and feminine qualities. I do feel quite androgynous at the moment, a strange hybrid of voluptuous earth mother energy and the spirit of some 18th century bisexual teenage boy (!). I am enjoying it, and yes, one joy of thirtiesdom is losing that tiresome desire for male approval, to realise there is much more to life than worrying whether males that you aren't often even that interested in feel an irresistable urge to run their hand up your leg.
     Nowadays, I find writing and music the sexiest things I can think of, and real soul, the biggest aphrodisiac.
     So I am off to an unexpected party tonight, with people from my friend's art course. I'm already feeling that warmer than warm glow from the whisky recently drunk, and a kind of sexiness I doubt the writers of those tests really have a clue about. Because yes, as a woman I have many secrets under my skirt, but so many more behind my eyes, like every woman, if you just take the time to look.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

So I shall set the bitter scene. There is one man, one woman: sitting on one uncomfortable couch eating one cheap chocolate cake with one swirl of sauce in the middle. The man says "It's all because women have to twist sex into a problem, they always have to make it about emotions".
     He might as well have said, "Here, take my testicles and put them in a vice until I scream for mercy. Then tighten the screws". Because that was all she could think would relieve her frustration and, if the truth be known, at that point, her pain.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

This Is My Rock And Roll

It's getting late in the evening again, the moon is nearly full and i'm a tired rag of a thing tonight. Nearly Friday, nearly the weekend, nearly Christmas. I'm kind of contented in my exhaustion, a spent battery that's been on full power all week long and can now, well almost now, rest. After I've finished writing this, that is. There's a bath with bubbles nearly up to the ceiling waiting for me, a cup of tea just ready to brew. But something won't let me stop until I have connected, no matter how feebly, with this blog.

On Tuesday night I went out to a gig of some friends of mine. I've been pretty reclusive lately, working in the days, and in various states of writing frenzy by night. And it was only there, out in the relative social whirl, that I realised how much my twilight hours of writing and obsessing over music has affected me. I have changed. All those hours, labouring over books and pages and computers and printers, endless cups of tea, glasses of rum, pieces of toast, so little sleep, so much adrenalin, turmoil, trouble, bitter self - doubt, envy, joy, alleluiahs in the dark...and I stood in the doorway of the club, watching figures on a stage, and all those pockets of fear, all those holes of inadequacy and insecurity built up over a life time had gone. All the avenues I have gone down to look for myself, I never realised I would find myself so completely through the words from my pen. And I feel so much gratitude that I started doing it when I did, that I didn't turn my back on it, I could stand there and fucking weep.

I think I need heroes and religion. I need figures and rituals and a vision to pour my obsession into. I have poured it into lovers and teachers and musicians and buddhas and characters from books. I get obsessed with Rilke, and I see all reality as a terrifying angel, I get into Lorca and I see only blood, sweat and a dying bull in the sand. I watch Pete Doherty on Newsnight and I feel the spirit of Rimbaud back in town. I worship rock and roll as the last rite of Dionysus. But at the end of the day, I've still got to live with me, and after all, all those people and all that energy, it lives in here, in the heart of me, where I tap tap tap with my own fingers. And tonight I feel full up, there is no one else to go to, no other place I would rather be. The need for someone to validate my existence, to say I'm alright or not alright, to hold up a mirror that I can see my own reflection in, has gone. Is she beauty or beast? Ugly or fair? Righteous or slovenly? Young or old? With it or failing?And I think that may be what they call contentment, or perhaps it's a little bit of grace that's touching me on the back of my head, at this cluttered and uncomfortable desk. The only mirror is the page in front of me, the only person who's holding it is me.

I was going to write on all sorts of important matters tonight. I have been thinking about it all day as I wiped woodwork and listened to Radio One. I was going to talk about libertinage and integrity, men and sex and why they are so obsessed with the bumps on our bodies. I was going to issue a call to arms in the name of militant feminism, moralistic hedonism and anti - success. But the bath awaits, we can't have it all, and I am a shameless happy one tonight.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


sick of the sight of all you fuckers with your windows and your bright red shoes. sick of town and sick of the river and sick of bloody poodles with their curly hair. sick of sea fronts, sick of back streets. sick of lovers with their blazers and a school tie humour. sick of charities, sick of fleet street, sick of pay day, sick of lozenges and my sticky throat. sick of weekends, sick of trade. sick of flight sickness, sick of swashbuckling heroics. sick of driving, sick of being a passenger. sick of those who laud the lame, sick of television, sick of bagpipes and the Welsh flag. sick of babies, sick of the grit in my teeth. sick of shaving, sick of fireworks. sick of the end of the day. sick of waiting for morning. sick of sick bays and false teeth and words about being sick. sick of alone. sick of crowds. sick in spirit. sick in long pauses. sick of trying
so sick of trying.
     whip up my feet on the mattress, write a song to take me home...back to where the gypsies and the trees are together, where i am a green one, fresh out of the ground. and Grandma, she bakes sweet smells in her oven and foxes hide in small holes where no people go. in this time, i did not know enough to feel sick of anything, and everything was a new seed, we all sat by the fire and whispered, treasure was in the stump of an earth, and daylight was a running girl, chasing through hedgerows.