Pages

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Angels of the Universe

Once we set off for Saudarkrokur and were halfway there when Peter suddenly stopped, scratched his dark grey stubble, adjusted his glasses on his nose and said, 'I've got to turn back. The shed's locked. The ghosts can't get in or out.

We sat by the side of the road and waited a long while for Peter. When he came back, he said: 'They were really relieved,' and judging from his expression he was telling the truth.

....

The madman says he's dead and been buried. Every Sunday he goes up to the cemetery and puts flowers on his grave.

...

This caused considerable concern to Brynjolf. One day he called me into his office, wanting to probe my sense of morality.

At least, he asked, 'What do you think about Southern Sausages?'
'SS,' I said. 'Do you mean the hot dogs or...'
'Precisely what you said, SS. Don't you think it's outrageous, Paul, for the largest food producer in Iceland to put up with having the same abbreviation as Hitlers's stormtroopers?'

I didn't know exactly what I should say. I had never considered the matter from that angle, but it certainly invited the misconception that Souther Sausages of Iceland Ltd had been behind all manner of dirty deeds in the Third Reich.

After a moment's thought I said to Brynjolf, 'If you go on like that I've got a nasty feeling you and I ought to swap seats.'

....


Monday, 16 March 2015

Life was bitter and I was not

"I turned early to humour as my branch of writing ... [because] life was bitter and I was not." - Max Schulman

Saturday, 14 March 2015

because no one else...

would have thought to say the things you said, or said them the way you did. if you were no more, nothing else would be quite like you. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

But to have dreamed the dream


But to have dreamed the dream is to have flown above the mountains so high in all but deed.
- Peter F. Hamilton, Judas Unchained (in the novel attributed to author named Manby)

    Tuesday, 17 February 2015

    ...it’s love that does us in. Over and over again...

    February

    BY MARGARET ATWOOD
    Winter. Time to eat fat
    and watch hockey. In the pewter mornings, the cat,   
    a black fur sausage with yellow
    Houdini eyes, jumps up on the bed and tries   
    to get onto my head. It’s his
    way of telling whether or not I’m dead.
    If I’m not, he wants to be scratched; if I am   
    He’ll think of something. He settles
    on my chest, breathing his breath
    of burped-up meat and musty sofas,
    purring like a washboard. Some other tomcat,   
    not yet a capon, has been spraying our front door,   
    declaring war. It’s all about sex and territory,   
    which are what will finish us off
    in the long run. Some cat owners around here   
    should snip a few testicles. If we wise   
    hominids were sensible, we’d do that too,   
    or eat our young, like sharks.
    But it’s love that does us in. Over and over   
    again, He shoots, he scores! and famine
    crouches in the bedsheets, ambushing the pulsing   
    eiderdown, and the windchill factor hits   
    thirty below, and pollution pours
    out of our chimneys to keep us warm.
    February, month of despair,
    with a skewered heart in the centre.
    I think dire thoughts, and lust for French fries   
    with a splash of vinegar.
    Cat, enough of your greedy whining
    and your small pink bumhole.
    Off my face! You’re the life principle,
    more or less, so get going
    on a little optimism around here.
    Get rid of death. Celebrate increase. Make it be spring.

    Sunday, 15 February 2015

    goggles

    I went to McDonald's to eat dinner by myself (a bit of getting away, peace and quiet, headspace. no room and no desire and no need for thinking). As I finished and got up and put on my jacket to go, I saw a little girl run into the bathroom. She might have been at a costume party because she was dressed in a normal jacket with a pair of trousers that looked straight out of Aladdin. In a horrible moment my vision transformed and I saw her retreating form from the perspective of a pedophile, probing and I think understanding what it would be like, to find her small body desirable. That's what it does to you (or is it just... to me?). It transformed the way I look at the world, giving me a double vision, a constant awareness that this is how it is for some, that this world of the unspeakable exists in parallel to us, quietly.

    I know you would want me to not think these thoughts but there is no unknowing this knowledge. I know you'd rather I were happy and carefree but you are delusional. I don't understand what kind of luck it would take to grow up with no significant trauma, and when I meet people who appear that way I wonder if they really have been so lucky, or if I just don't know them well enough to know what's festering inside them, eating a hole inside out the way it does me.

    The only thing I know that brings me peace of mind is not having to pretend. If I know and think these thoughts, I do. If it weighs heavily on me, it does. If I want to cry, I cry (while a sliver of myself is happy and grateful to be able to feel, at all). I've made my peace with that and I hope that you will too. If it is true, I can live with it. It's all I ask.

    This morning lying in bed I asked you to ask me about me. I spoke of how every man is a safe harbour. I form these intense bonds, looking for safety, making sure that you can't hurt me because once you love me, to hurt me would be to hurt you. I drop these little anchors to secure myself in uncertain storms, knowing where I could run to for protection. Protecting from what? I am healthy, sane. I have financial means, higher education. I live in a society ruled by law. To feel the need to be protected is like feeling pain in a fantom limb. Some part of me that doesn't exist hurts in an incoherent way in a past life somewhere that isn't a place, and sometimes there seems to be no way to reach across to it.

    If I had infinite time and infinite resources, I would probably spend even more of it forming these pacts with almost all the men I meet. Carefully excavating who they are and exchanging my vulnerabilities as an offering to fulfill a contract. If it should all go very badly, hide me. Wrap your arms around me as I vanish into nothing.

    But that is not how I want to live. I wish I had a well of strength in me so deep that there would never be any more thoughts of hiding. I wish I could look on those who hurt me with equanimity, and not feel a trace of bitterness at their lives carrying on just as before. 

    Friday, 13 February 2015

    Between wakefulness and sleep

    I had a fantasy of being back in that car again driving up that road with him. When he reached over and touched me I transformed into a wolf-headed creature, licked his face with eager anticipation. He shivers in pleasure, and then I eat him, tearing him into chunks starting from his cheek.

    I wish I had gotten old enough, right before his eyes, until I could threaten him (if only I had gotten old enough and wise enough to gather evidence). We would sit closely together one day, at a family dinner in some restaurant. I'd put my hand on his thigh under the table, lean in close to him and whisper, I could destroy you and everyone you love.

    Wednesday, 11 February 2015

    Someplace

    ... Right now the sun is shining someplace, where our desks are lined up side by side. I'm walking over to sit down at mine, and wait for you to arrive at yours. When you get there, we'll make coffee and sharpen some pencils. Nothing bad will happen at all that day.

    Please don't.

    I had an argument with my mother on the phone. 

    She called to ask about the dog. But we got on to talking about what to do when I go home to Taipei. My grandmother is going to be staying with my parents, and I said I'd go stay with Ben. My mother wanted me to stay at home, but I really dislike my grandmother and I said I didn't want to see her. 

    The reason I really dislike my grandmother is because she's very close to my aunt Judy (the one whose husband abused me). When I was in Toronto, just after I'd pressed charges against my uncle, I saw my grandmother. I took her downtown to do some government paperwork, and on the train she told me how she wanted me to forgive my aunt and forgive my uncle. 

    I hate it when anyone tells me to forgive. I don't know if they realize that it's not something you can just do. I don't know why they think they have the right to advise such a thing. However well meaning, it just makes me want to stab myself to prevent myself from stabbing whoever it is said it.

    In contrast to my grandmother, my grandfather never mentioned my uncle's name in front of me again. I respect that more. It bothers me when people used to talk about him normally in front of me, like I wasn't there, or like I MUST be ok by now, since it was SUCH a long time ago. 

    If nothing is done, do injustices cease to be unjust because time passes? Not to me. It's not a matter of how much I hurt, and still hurt - though of course that is also important - it's a matter of what the fuck have you done to redress the situation since it happened.

    And for as far as I can see no one knows what they can do. So I feel like not much has changed except we are getting older all the time. 

    I'm sick of being asked to forgive. I'm sick of being told that I should get over it. I'm sick of being the bigger person. 

    But of course that's exactly what my mother asked me to do. She said that my grandmother won't ever stop being my grandmother and I should stop tormenting myself. I told her that I'm not tormenting myself. I've just decided to cut myself some slack and not try to forgive everyone or pretend like I forgive everyone because I can't. 

    She tells me that I'm hurting her by not getting over it. I told her that if we can change places so that she goes through what I went through, then maybe she'd do better than I did, and then she could give me some advice. I probably shouldn't have said that, but I really just wanted to tell her to shut up telling me what to do when she has no clue what we're dealing with. 

    And it kind of broke down from there. We argued and cried and then my dad intervened and they hung up rather abruptly. 

    If my pain is so unbearable to them, what should I do? Hide it? I did that for so, so long. Should I continue to try to shield them? Initially I didn't want to expose my uncle because I wanted to protect his children. I didn't want to reveal the extent of my trauma because I wanted to protect my family. 

    Is that my responsibility? I don't know. 

    Monday, 9 February 2015

    You will...

    not change for anyone but yourself. I hope you find that you are worth the effort. 

    Wednesday, 4 February 2015

    Before I forget

    One of the most confusing and terrifying things is: you know it's wrong but you can't stop your body reacting the way it does. That pretty much fucks you up for a good long while, associating all the worst of everything with what should feel good.

    One of the saddest things is that I'll never know what it's like to be kissed for the first time by a boy I like. That gets me every time. 

    I'm sorry.

    I was so caught up with my own vulnerabilities that I forgot you might have those too. 

    Saturday, 31 January 2015

    Ulysses

    Bloom was talking and talking with John Wyse and he quite excited with his dunducketymudcoloured mug on him and his old plumeyes rolling about.
    —Persecution, says he, all the history of the world is full of it. Perpetuating national hatred among nations.
    —But do you know what a nation means? says John Wyse.
    —Yes, says Bloom.
    —What is it? says John Wyse.
    —A nation? says Bloom. A nation is the same people living in the same place.
    —By God, then, says Ned, laughing, if that's so I'm a nation for I'm living in the same place for the past five years.
    So of course everyone had the laugh at Bloom and says he, trying to muck out of it:
    —Or also living in different places.
    —That covers my case, says Joe.
    —What is your nation if I may ask? says the citizen.
    —Ireland, says Bloom. I was born here. Ireland.
    The citizen said nothing only cleared the spit out of his gullet and, gob, he spat a Red bank oyster out of him right in the corner.

    Thursday, 29 January 2015

    I don't owe you a good time

    When I first started dancing I somehow got the impression that it's impolite to refuse when someone invites me to dance. After some experiences with creepy men though I decided that I don't owe anyone a good time. Now I say no if I don't want to dance with someone. I don't make excuses, and I don't feel like I have to explain why (though if asked very politely and non-passive-aggressively I will often give the most honest answer that I can manage). I think real meaningful consent is very important and if at any point the lead or the follow (regardless of gender) feels uncomfortable, we should feel empowered to openly address that. How about we make this part of the new attitude in the lindy community?

    Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    At last, at last...

    At Last the Secret Is Out

    At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end,
    The delicious story is ripe to tell to the intimate friend;
    Over the tea-cups and in the square the tongue has its desire;
    Still waters run deep, my dear, there’s never smoke without fire.
    Behind the corpse in the reservoir, behind the ghost on the links,
    Behind the lady who dances and the man who madly drinks,
    Under the look of fatigue, the attack of migraine and the sigh
    There is always another story, there is more than meets the eye.
    For the clear voice suddenly singing, high up in the convent wall,
    The scent of the elder bushes, the sporting prints in the hall,
    The croquet matches in summer, the handshake, the cough, the kiss,
    There is always a wicked secret, a private reason for this.
    W H Auden