Mabon

The moon-rise is bright on this night of all nights,

this August the twenty-first.

When fall’s in the air, magic be there,

on August the twenty-first.

The critters of dusk all do as they must,

this August the twenty-first.

 

On the equinox of Mabon, there is something very glowing,

yet is not intent on showing itself in the dimly night.

It is stirring and procuring for the moon to reach its peak,

it is silent, never violent, as it lingers evermore.

 

There is something which excites us on this,

August the twenty-first.

The people who sense their excitement dispense,

this August the twenty-first.

The twilight air present, its coming deemed pleasant,

on August the twenty-first.

 

On the equinox of Mabon, there is something very glowing,

yet is not intent on showing itself in the dimly night.

It is stirring and procuring for the moon to reach its peak,

it is silent, never violent, as it lingers evermore.

I Used to be a Shark

I stole wine from the white cabinet, but red wine, even though the back of the cabinet is red. Sometimes I paced back and forth, resenting myself in front of Bahá’u’lláh. But that never stopped me from turning to the cabinet and taking only a small sip, plugging the narrow opening of the bottle with the back of my tongue.

Many times are there that I find myself looking down into the garden— if it could be called that. I look on to the trees early morning and realise for them, with their blood-red leaves, that it is more accurate to be mourning time. If someone took to clipping every tree, there would not be spindles growing where the rich and matted grass once grew, being groomed daily in some distant nostalgia of past summers turned to autumn. There was once another tree that grew alongside the others, and now it’s sad reminder is not itself, but its own cubicle at the far side, where, at one time, the stairs led to a mystical place on the horizon, a place where gazes of mine often found themselves directed to day-dream. No longer may I sit beneath the slim trunk, among the leaves it shed that had been crisped in the sunlight and thus had not rotted nor drawn insects to disturb me. But never did I sit there anyways, because always had I been busy doing something like day-dreaming.

Every time that I sip the wine, I think that, if inverted, the bottle might resemble its naked trunk, the skeleton of that particular tree. The glass has a narrow base that is moist with cold precipitation offered from the wine, much as the snow might make in regards to a barren tree in the winter. In view of the peculiar drinking circumstances, it could be pathetic to compare trees and wine bottles to one another— but the reality that they are not all that similar could make me rethink the ways in which I once did find them similar. I have never poured a bottle of wine vertically upside down, nor of course taken a drink, even if my tongue might plug the entire opening. If I were to drop it, the residue of my crimes would be clear. I never could fully take advantage of the wine, just as with the tree. And once the tree had indeed given its all into life (however long that might have been is anyone’s guess) it was chopped down, and even in hindsight I never have taken advantage of trees that thrive still on the yard.

In fact, I have neglected every branch that used to serve as a seat, a means of fantasy times and now quite realistic ones, a place of hallowed solitude and creativity. I bit the night-time air with everything I had. Reckoning the woes that might have befallen me, and quite had in my mind, I glowered at my past self as I laid indoors. Even still, I am not the attacker. I never was. But the trees were my sea, a sea as close as anything to the clouds that I could never be among. Now I’m not hunting or fishing for anything— not my own ideas; I’ve gotten three-fold what I will ever need. Suppose it’s become a place to call upon for simplicity.

I am an absent in many rights; nothing ever came of what I did. Definitely no evil, but not good, either. I wish the small fish in my sea— but small in the sense that one doesn’t notice them building up, as with snow— would be eaten by the jaws of my mind.

My fins (not wings, fins are for swimming to not drown; and I never reached the front edge of the water to climb out and distance myself from it by means of the air) have fallen, so I don’t swim.

I used to be a shark.

I will be made soon into soup.

Crucified

Crucified

Look at my palms- the insides of my hands where I hold things that I love.

what if I told you that the calluses covered everything, a mirror of my humour.

what if I told you that my nails are bitten down

not because of habit but because of necessity,

the work that I do that makes them useless as defenders.

what if I told you that the swollen patches are not from heavy labour but from heavy passion,

like the swelling that can deflate easily in my thoughts

when I put bandages over it.

what if I told you that the blisters and pink shiny patches still healing

from stress mark where I have made marks in my life

like the stories etched in my palm lines,

unlike the etchings that make me sore; these are proud.

 

tell me where my hands have been.

look at the white tapes:

they crucified me,

or perhaps

I crucified myself.

Delicious Literature

Recently I read a novel called Little Bee, (published as The Other Hand in the UK) written by British author Chris Cleave. In essence, it is a story about a personal connection forged between  a British woman and a teenage Nigerian refugee.

A quick plot review: Sarah and her husband, Andrew went on holiday to a Nigerian beach the summer the country was in an oil war. They are having marital problems and are trying to work out how to stay together due to Sarah’s infidelity and Andrew’s lack of attention. While they are walking, they see Little Bee and her sister Nkiruka; the girls ask them for shelter, and the O’Rourkes turn them away. A few minutes later, some soldiers come. Things get heated and eventually the soldiers make the O’Rourkes a horrible deal to save Little Bee’s and Nkiruka’s lives. That decision leads Andrew to later commit suicide.

Fast forward through some heavy material…

Little Bee comes to the UK as a refugee. Not knowing where else to go, she seeks out Sarah, and the two have a lot of healing, understanding, and growing to do.

 

This novel was an absolutely delicious read. I loved the concept of the story, that it didn’t have such a direct “plot” for lack of a better word. Basically, an end goal for either character. But it still moved, dripping with details. It was the kind of story that immerses one into itself so well that when it’s over, it’s necessary to take a few hours to kind of get over it. Only certain books can make me feel that way after reading. Yes, it has upsetting material, but the reason for reflection was because of hope I thought, rather than sadness.

Cleave uses Little Bee and Sarah as two narrators. I’m coming around to the idea of liking multiple voices, and in this instance was probably necessary to tell the story. It also was helpful to work out characterisation and character biases. There were times when I wanted to hate Sarah, or Andrew, or Lawrence (Sarah’s lover). And I viewed Little Bee as someone who deserved every pardon because she had been through so much. But then on, reading, I came to give Sarah a lot of grace (and Andrew, and Lawrence). Because honestly, in her narrative she doesn’t explain away or rationalise her behaviour. She admits it honestly, and she is very selfless in other ways. And Little Bee is not perfect, but she is still in my opinion a very good person.

 

To wrap this up, I’ve chosen a few juicy examples of Chris Cleave’s writing. (To my friends I described it as eating chocolate).

“So, I am a refugee, and I get very lonely. Is it my fault if I do not look like and English girl and I do not talk like a Nigerian? Well, who says an English girl must have skin as pale as the clouds that float cross her summer? Who says a Nigerian girl must speak in fallen English, as if English has collided with Ibo, high in the upper atmosphere, and rained down into her mouth in a shower that half-drowns her and leaves her choking up sweet tales about the bright African colours and the taste of fried plantain? Not like a storyteller, but like a victim rescued from the flood, coughing up the colonial water from her lungs?” 8

“If the men come suddenly, I will be ready to kill myself. Do you feel sorry for me, for thinking always in this way? If the men come suddenly and they find you not ready, then it will be me who is feeling sorry for you.” 47

“It was a bright morning, I told you that already. It was the month of May and there was warm sunshine dripping through the holes between the clouds, like the sky was a broken blue bowl and a child was trying to keep honey in it.” 52

“Truly, there is no flag for us floating people.” 80

“We don’t have a grown-up language for grief… If I couldn’t show the world grief, at least I would show the world what it did to your eyes.” 87-91

“I am telling you, trouble is like the ocean. It covers two-thirds of the world.” 138

“I was very young then, and I did not miss having a future because I did not know I was entitled to one.” 182

“The dreams of my country are no different than yours– they are as big as the human heart.” 258

“‘Peace is a time when people can tell each other their real names.'” 265

 

 

Saw I A Bird

Saw I A Bird

Saw I a bird on Isle of Mann.

I left a little paper slip

and made she little nest of it

to protect her kin from Boreas.

 

And mousey climbed up in the tree,

a little beastie from the field

she left her den and baby squealed;

she heads back toward the gelid land.

 

Comes fox with fluffy blanket tail

and tries finds she the paper trail

to nest in snow here, Isle of Mann,

before the cold wind comes.

 

Saw I a bird on Isle of Mann,

awaiting for the moony tan

that comes when little feathers swoon,

for she will find the springtime soon.

Sonnet on January

Sonnet on January

Bejeweled with snowflakes fresh as heaven’s eye

to herald in the coming of the earth

comes candidly the month ever so shy

to offer neoteric swells of mirth.

Pulchritudinous with frosted firs

and saturnine with ice and bitter rain,

the perihelion does much to stir

a sleeping, frigid earth from chilled disdain.

Bright flurries blanket cobblestone and roof,

whilst open hearths soothe tender, algid hands;

slim icicles cling everywhere, aloof:

how wondrous is the new, enchanted land!

Delight says I to winter’s whitened whims

as January jubilates herein!

Wine

Wine

When I am dead, it will not matter, please;

so make a smorgasbord of wine and cheese.

Don’t forget the sourdough and rye

for when they say their final, slow goodbye.

Although whilst I’m alive hear me to say

that good I find it putting wine away.

But keep the smorgasbord of cheese and bread,

for that I’ll gladly eat before I’m dead.