Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wars, Bras, Because...

War, Bras, Because...

I whine
because my mother's mother's mother
was a woman scorned
and her furious hell burns
through my bones.
powerless flesh.
Sometimes the worst days come
when you're having the time of your life.
Today, I told
and ran away.
She glanced, silent.
If wars could talk.
If walls could hug.
I'd never be misunderstood.


2017 FREE: a blank cheque for All...

In a time of bargain hunting, discount vouchers, telecommunication budget packages of FREE talk - Are we really claiming, exercising and expressing our essential human freedoms?

FREE – a blank cheque for all.

“FREE” can only be written about freely.

Planting its word seed to gestate in my mind and heart I jot:

“FREE”  Only indentured labourers and African slaves? Serfs surf; rebellious teenage; carefree versus careless; natural hair; body water flowing into plumbing, earth's crevices; sun kissed SPF-free skin; go barefoot; go naked; chores undone; succumbing to afternoon siestas; breast milk,

“FREE”  Exists to lend its fruitfulness to Free-dom.  Something only men have? What-dom? King-dom.  Queen-dom? Dumb dumb. Because I never knew I was free; worry-free, money-free, sexually free. 

Carnival my inheritance of  FREE, yet it seems to me this kind of free is a high price to pay.

Sacred, spilled about.

“FREE” Land of the free and brave; places we call “Away”; their borders closed to me while here we open here freely. 

I am missing “FREE” -  Free to feel safe that my locked door will stay shut until I alone turn the key.

“FREE” Uninterrupted; the opposite of marriage; jail break from promises; liberation from the  sunny seductions to trade the sky for a sparkly ceiling of domesticated baubles like a tiger trading the wild for a daily bowl of milk. Free. The opposite of lonely; lonely in relationship, free in celibate singledom.  

Free to have and to hold a listener as long, slow and as deep as...I am.

For “FREE” to exist at all, freedom must be exercised. 
How can you know freedom of speech if you never speak your truth?

Mandela was free, even in a cell.

“FREE”  Being happy when there is no external evidence that you could or should be.
Heaven. Bliss. A moment of  acceptance that neither adds nor subtracts a thing. 
Free to laugh like a wajang, dance like a nerd, mismatch patterns and colours out of style.

“FREE” Is it always immersed  ‘against’? conditionally opposed to something or someone? 
Free from rebellion and status quo? 

If so, from the duality of justice and injustice too.

Then, what is the opposite of conformity? Is it liberation, or something else altogether?

“FREE” Not enslaved. Not enslaved by perfectionism. Never exhausted by the chase of pursuit for more. 

Can I experience any sense of Self so freely, so as to qualify to say something useful about our deepest human longing? 

Free to answer, Yes.
And, No.

Freedom is deeper, more expansive and dutiful than love because true Love must find her foundation in being free. 

Make do then, with snippets and glimpses in this breath.
that thought. 
a word here.
a moment there.

“FREE” My child, until I shroud him with fearful opposites. 

“Look Justice, my son! It is raining. See! Heaven and hell pour out freely on all creatures great and small, all people fat and tall?” 

He looks out the window, thoughts wandering freely, deeply. 

To find free.
Go deep.

I see how we grow tall, grow beards and breasts but shrink inwardly under inherited parental mores, ancestral laws. 

Free to grow until, choosing freely, we  steep  in enough earth-shit to grow a decent lifetime of psychological stuff to work through. 

Life’s messiness is priceless, fertile manure - a pure, free must.

“FREE” Will. 

I relish exercising mine robustly. 

Who will escape the consequence of Love that loves so freely?

Mother trusts her Creation so deeply, she can and does let it go, into the absolute care of free will. Her offspring has no choice in this freedom bound to another. 

Another, bounding towards freedom.

We essentially and eventually return, inevitably. Can I go freely?

“FREE” Eternally. 

We are never extinguished, though ever clouded here,  transitory.

And so I come to it - free and not free are not at all interdependent, such is the noose.


The nib seeds typed here, blossom fully.

Life authors me only to stumble upon someone else’s perfect sentence: 

“______” is claimed, not assigned.

You are FREE to fill in the blank.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012


The Angel in the House

Virginia Woolf famously said, "Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer." But this has, I think, often been misunderstood. I have often seen the phrase "The Angel in the House" interpreted to mean something about submission, but this is not a plausible gloss. For one thing, in the original poem by Coventry Patmore, whose title Woolf is adapting, submission plays virtually no role: the word and its cognates only arises twice in the poem, and in both cases is used merely as a secondary image for the headlong character of being in love, and Patmore also makes use of the common lover's trope that the beloved woman is to be served, so the image moves both ways. For another, this is not at all the point Woolf actually draws out:

You who come of a younger and happier generation may not have heard of her—you may not know what I mean by the Angel in the House. I will describe her as shortly as I can. She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draught she sat in it—in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all—I need not say it—–she was pure. Her purity was supposed to be her chief beauty—her blushes, her great grace. In those days—the last of Queen Victoria—every house had its Angel.

Woolf goes on to describe the experience of a woman writing a review of a book by a man. She takes up the pen to be critical, and the Angel slips in behind her and whispers, "As a woman you should be sympathetic, tender, tactful, gentle, etc.; you should be pure, not saying what you think but always saying what you ought." It's not submission but this ethereal, unreal purity that is the reason the Angel in the House must be killed by the woman writer; it is an image of woman that is inhuman and threatens to rip out the heart from any woman's writing. It's an image of woman so unreal that, if taken as a standard, it is dishonest:

For, as I found, directly I put pen to paper, you cannot review even a novel without having a mind of your own, without expressing what you think to be the truth about human relations, morality, sex. And all these questions, according to the Angel of the House, cannot be dealt with freely and openly by women; they must charm, they must conciliate, they must—to put it bluntly—tell lies if they are to succeed. Thus, whenever I felt the shadow of her wing or the radiance of her halo upon my page, I took up the inkpot and flung it at her. She died hard. Her fictitious nature was of great assistance to her. It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality.

And this is why 'Angel in the House' is a good label for what Woolf is trying to describe. There really isn't anything dishonest about Patmore's poetry, but the image of woman presented in The Angel in the House is simultaneously real and mythological. It is Patmore's wife, but it is Patmore's wife pitched to cosmic significance, used as a model for a goddess:

But when I look on her and hope
To tell with joy what I admire,
My thoughts lie cramp'd in narrow scope,
Or in the feeble birth expire;
No mystery of well-woven speech,
No simplest phrase of tenderest fall,
No liken'd excellence can reach
Her, thee most excellent of all,
The best half of creation's best,
Its heart to feel, its eye to see,
The crown and complex of the rest,
Its aim and its epitome.
Nay, might I utter my conceit,
'Twere after all a vulgar song,
For she's so simply, subtly sweet,
My deepest rapture does her wrong.
Yet is it now my chosen task
To sing her worth as Maid and Wife;
Nor happier post than this I ask,
To live her laureate all my life.

There is in a sense nothing wrong with this in itself, or, at least, nothing that Woolf herself would have thought wrong with this: this is literary depiction and trope. The problem arises not with the image, but with an image like this becoming a standard to which women are expected to hold themselves to (and, more than this, a standard to which they hold themselves). For it is a lover's fantasy, a romantic myth, a pretty painting by a man who wants to laud the excellences of his wife; it is not a woman, and it is something no woman can actually be. It's all the difference between serving as a model for a painting of Aphrodite and expecting yourself to be Aphrodite. But Woolf notes that something like this image, not perhaps Patmore's own but something closely analogous, is taken not merely as a picture for which a woman can be a model, but as the standard for what a woman should be. It becomes not merely art that they can inspire but the state to which they are expected to aspire. And no one can hold themselves to such a standard without dissimulation. You should be pure -- more pure by far than any woman can be; and if that's the standard of what a woman is to be, well, what option is there but lies and deceit? It will tear the honest heart out of what you do.

So the woman writer must kill the Angel in the House, this standard of purity whispering in her ear, and be -- what? Woolf doesn't think the answer is easy at all. We'd naturally say that she should just be a human woman. But Woolf thinks this a superficial answer:

I mean, what is a woman? I assure you, I do not know. I do not believe that you know. I do not believe that anybody can know until she has expressed herself in all the arts and professions open to human skill.

After all, we are talking about a standard for what a woman should be. The Angel in the House can't be that standard. But merely take that away and you don't have a woman who is as she should be. You either have a woman who doesn't know what it is to which she can aspire, or who finds herself faced with yet another unreal phantom standard which must yet again be slain:

These were two of the adventures of my professional life. The first—killing the Angel in the House—I think I solved. She died. But the second, telling the truth about my own experiences as a body, I do not think I solved. I doubt that any woman has solved it yet. The obstacles against her are still immensely powerful—and yet they are very difficult to define. Outwardly, what is simpler than to write books? Outwardly, what obstacles are there for a woman rather than for a man? Inwardly, I think, the case is very different; she has still many ghosts to fight, many prejudices to overcome. Indeed it will be a long time still, I think, before a woman can sit down to write a book without finding a phantom to be slain, a rock to be dashed against.

Posted by Brandon at 12:43 PM

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

SUN TV's SUN ZEN and a Trini Pothound

Excerpt from Meaningful Books post:
...I believe there is a palpable shortsighted and greedy resource possession in our market that perpetuates much dysfunction in our nation.
Far better to consciously sow seeds of genuine Creativity. 
But Creativity must first be understood and healed of the wounds inflicted by this thriving ignorance...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Have you played today?

From the mouth's of babes:

While chatting with my nine year old today, the context seemed appropriate for me to ask, "Am I boring, or what?"

Pausing to consider, he was expertly kind and gentle in his response.

Photo of Winston the British Bulldog under cover: by "Mr. Poppy" Justin
"No, you are not boring at just need to play more."

Laughter erupted from me spontaneously.

Who could argue with that?

"I agree, but how can I learn to do that? Maybe I'm too old now?"

"Not at all," he quipped confidently,"the only way to learn  is - you just need to play and each time  it's like you're unlocking deeper levels of play inside you."

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Love After Love Derek Walcott

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott (1930-)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Day Our Flower Pot Fell...

That Day Our Flower Pot Fell, You Broke (Open) my Heart.

I was angry you took the phone off the hook.

I didn’t realise you were just putting the receiver  on the lower shelf,

because it was easier for you to reach, so you could practice saying "hello".

I was angry you left the cover off your brand new markers,

and they dried up.

Such waste! I fretted.

Later, I noticed how difficult they were for even Know-It-All fingers.

I was angry when I slipped in the water you spilled all over the floor.

I never thanked you for watering the plants.

You were not here, but I was angry,

the day I  found  the  hanging clay pot broken -

our sunny bougainvillea on the floor.

When I brought you home from Granny's you said, “Broke!” with all the sadness in the world.

Did I make a toddler  care so much, for nothing much ?

And, as though you had broken it,

As though you were responsible

for gravity itself,

all soldier-like,

you marched in with that little toy broom,

which had swept our yellow lily pad,

and the little plastic bucket,

that toted our Maracas sand

you toddled and took charge,

would not allow me to  bend.

You picked it all up

from start to finish,

resisting Mummy's involvement

except as Witness, and Company Keeper.

We were  sad when the flower pot broke my son,

 heavy from the weight of the  great growth it contained.

Now I am  happy, the old clay cracked,

For the Son's shine.

A note:
Living Metaphors are lived. It feels to me like a divinely authored moment bridging my outer life to a profound inner reality and vice versa.  In this way, what is unseen  manifests meaning into the world of senses that we call reality; more  consciously known and  directly experienced.  Witnessing these seemingly infinite and always meaningful connections through the senses, awakens an awareness in me revealing that  life itself is  Guru,  every situation Holy Ground, and each person without exception, an instrument of the Beloved.