poetry, Prose

Instead of killing yourself

 

By Louise Anne Buchler

http://www.starfish-woman.blogspot.com/

 


 

Instead of killing yourself
You could make a cup of coffee, peel an orange, play a song you loved when you were thirteen, gangly, and coming undone.

You could paint your nails turquoise, lie in the sun, master Russian, watch Hitchcock films, read a classic novel, meditate on Kafka, and re-think existentialism, your life, your hair.
Watch trains, wave as they pass, stand on the bridge, feel small, feel big, take up space, walk, count every step, run, run faster, catch your breath, hold it, breathe out, let go, the universe as small as the palm of your hand, dispersed dandelion wishes, let go, let go and in letting go hold on
Say I love you, say I hate you, write a letter to your teenage bully, write a letter to someone you once loved, write a letter with all you wish to say and do not send it.

Lie on the grass, lie on the sand, plant something, keep it alive, feel the mulch under your nails, smell the wet breath of soil, pull out the weeds that choke and mar, make space for spring in your heart.

Tell a secret. Keep one. Fold an origami crane, unfold, fold an origami you, unfold. Listen to an aria, listen to Bach, listen to the symphony of voices in small spaces, pick out words, write them down. Observe everything.

Instead of killing yourself
Get a cat. Get 12 cats. Get one more. Feed yourself small spoons of kindness. Swallow. Repeat. Laugh at one thing, let the laughter engage your whole body; laugh at the madness, stupidity and beauty around you – your inner cynic may vomit (that’s ok). Remember your first race, remember the finish line. Remember yourself at 5,6,7 – remember yourself with love, the pictures you drew, the smell of sugar paper and oil crayons, Defend the scabby kneed, jewel of you, cast a line all the way back, champion that heart through the decades, wrap it in tissue paper, keep it safe in a cardboard box, champion all the incarnations of you. Remember how it felt when you understood that we will all die.

Try not to worry. Try to stay. Focus on sitting still. Focus on moving forward. Focus on the scudding clouds, the clarity of blue, September. Do not let the whim of others alter who you are. People come. They also go, they drown in puddles, they sail us over oceans of self-doubt. Sometimes they love us. Sometimes they understand. Sometimes they release us with a hook-wound back into the sea. Bid them well. Tread water, float, swim. Don’t stop swimming.

Brave explorer, I know you have climbed a hundred metaphorical mountains before breakfast – every damn one an Everest expedition, I know something of world weariness, the longing to be still and Novocain numb, here, where everything ceases to matter, that unbearable anaesthesia; it’s a quiet death and there is never a guarantee on the prescription pamphlet that you will thaw from this freeze – like a celebration roast on your birthday, or that change will come, running down the street with the laboured tinkling of a nostalgic ice cream truck or that you will wake a different person, who sucks positivity like a boiled sweet, a mantra of live! Live! LIVE, in your ears. I hear you, I see you, I send my love to you in droves of doves, a deep pelican beak abundant with fish, a handmade kite on a windy day, “a bright red sloop in the harbour” the suicide poets dancing mid air, their words like seagulls declaring their truth – statements are enough in broken climates. We are adorned in these miseries, the heart’s last vestige, it is a poor fit, we are all runway models with broken limbs, birds who forget their wings, we are stuttering like vintage cars, we are negotiating with our ancestors. We are not broken in need of repair, we never ignore the elephant in the room – instead we festoon it with marigolds, offer up a cup of tea. We know the impermanence of life; we consult with graves every day, toes dipping the surface, surveying the depth. We write our eulogies on the body, the staccato tattoo throbs the ending, we are anxious all the time.

I find a forced conclusion – writing it down I imagine we meet on an autumn day, the first leaves scatter like old news – our hands are cold. We sit in silence, the air perfumed with chimney smoke and the taste of green. We are held in the moment, a devastating despair, we face it together, we sound out sadness, mouthfuls of vowels swelling in gutfuls , escaping the gape, they flap and glide – our glossy winged birds, squawking and calling, diving like bombers, circling like vultures, spinning with sorrow. Perhaps we cry, perhaps we feed them bread crumbs and worms, perhaps we load slingshots with tiny stones and shoot into the void, perhaps we build an ornate birdcage, perhaps we become scarecrows, perhaps we release them, perhaps they return. “I am not ok” we say, “I don’t know if I ever will be” – for a moment the sky clears, we are a strange tragic chorus, we are a sad repetition. The birds abandon their squawking. We nod in recognition.

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Documentaries, Film

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Here’s a brilliant film on the life of Aaron Schwartz. This film reminds me it’s never too late to try and make a difference.

Click on the video below.

 

PhilosopherPoet

 

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Articles, Prose

Monologue from Crave (written by Sarah Kane)

The following is a monologue I came across from (what is quickly becoming) my favorite playwright, Sarah Kane. How did I find her? Well, I was browsing a this link about the top playwrights.

It was about the top 10 famous – or terrifying, to be article specific – playwrights. Many of them were the ‘classics’ like Arthur Miller and Samuel Beckett, Jean Paul Sartre. Something that would cause (anyone with an iota of culture in them) to raise an eyebrow, or at the very least leave a footnote in the conversation.

Yes, conversations have footnotes. It’s those fragments that leave with you into the night when you’re having that last cigarette before bed, or you’re lying comatose steadily watching the spiral of the ceiling fan. So good these bits are, you hesitate when reaching for the toilet roll, after you’ve taken a meaningful shit.

This is what Sarah Kane leaves buried in the best (and sometimes the more troubled) of us.

PhilosopherPoet

“And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes and tell you I like your shoes and sit on the steps while you take a bath and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food and meet you at Rudy’s and talk about the day and type your letters and carry your boxes and laugh at your paranoia and give you tapes you don’t listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio and take pictures of you when you’re sleeping and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florent and drink coffee at midnight and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match and tell you about the the programme I saw the night before and take you to the eye hospital and not laugh at your jokes and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while and kiss your back and stroke your skin and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your
and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home and sit on the steps smoking till you come home and worry when you’re late and be amazed when you’re early and give you sunflowers and go to your party and dance till I’m black and be sorry when I’m wrong and happy when you forgive me and look at your photos and wish I’d known you forever and hear your voice in my ear and feel your skin on my skin and get scared when you’re angry and your eye has gone red and the other eye blue and your hair to the left and your face oriental and tell you you’re gorgeous and hug you when you’re anxious and hold you when you hurt and want you when I smell you and offend you when I touch you and whimper when I’m next to you and whimper when I’m not and dribble on your breast and smother you in the night and get cold when you take the blanket and hot when you don’t and melt when you smile and dissolve when you laugh and not understand why you think I’m rejecting you when I’m not rejecting you and wonder how you could think I’d ever reject you and wonder who you are but accept you anyway and tell you about the tree angel enchanted forest boy who flew across the ocean because he loved you and write poems for you and wonder why you don’t believe me and have a feeling so deep I can’t find words for it and want to buy you a kitten I’d get jealous of because it would get more attention than me and keep you in bed when you have to go and cry like a baby when you finally do and get rid of the roaches and buy you presents you don’t want and take them away again and ask you to marry me and you say no again but keep on asking because though you think I don’t mean it I do always have from the first time I asked you and wander the city thinking it’s empty without you and want want you want and think I’m losing myself but know I’m safe with you and tell you the worst of me and try to give you the best of me because you don’t deserve any less and answer your questions when I’d rather not and tell you the truth when I really don’t want to and try to be honest because I know you prefer it and think it’s all over but hang on in for just ten more minutes before you throw me out of your life and forget who I am and try to get closer to you because it’s a beautiful learning to know you and well worth the effort and speak German to you badly and Hebrew to you worse and make love with you at three in the morning and somehow somehow somehow communicate some of the overwhelming undying overpowering unconditional all-encompassing heart-enriching mind-expanding on-going never-ending love I have for you.”

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poetry, Reviews

The world you recognize

Often you want to read something that feels natural. Like it was meant to be. For that reason I struggle to read magazines thoroughly, unless I’m taking a meaningful tour of the toilet in the early hours of the morning. In my area there’s a small second hand book shop that’s run by two elderly ladies. It’s one of those places where you find the most beautiful books, for a reasonable price. A few weeks back I found one of those gems.

This time a book of poetry. A painted field by Robin Robertson. All I can say is…wow. All my life I’m certain that my literary mind grew up elsewhere. I appreciate local and contemporary literature. However, the minute you bury me in anything of English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh decent, you have me intellectually weak at the knees. You remember the first time you met that girl you like, and you felt your legs swimming through a bowl of pudding…that’s me.

By Robin Robertson.
For a more detailed review, click here.

Robertson is Scottish. Well, that’s where he grew up and most of the book I’ve read is based there. The words are crisp and tight. From reading this book I know every word was firmly placed. Parts of it are a bit depressing, where he mentions dealing with suicide, and walking in on a friend of his who had an overdose. Other parts are damn intriguing, and rich. I get the feeling this poet is rooted. He has a firmness inside himself and is prepared to show us some of that. This is the world I recognize, the place I feel most alive in.

For those wondering what the hype is all about, I’ve typed out two of his poems. If you enjoy wrestling with words, this might excite you. 😛

 

 

Visiting my Grandfather

In a room as dark as his
you remembered color, in amongst
brown bakelite, teak,
and felt for furnishing,
the black-out curtains from the war.
I saw the blue cuneiform of the crossword
looming under the magnifier
for my father to finish;
the slow valves of the radio
warming like coals
into English voices;
the rainbow spills, for his pipe,
in a beaker by the hearth.
And the fire, of course, when lit,
full of all the usual pleasures:
caves, dragons, life.
But being children
we were out too far to feel the heat,
kicking our legs on the high chairs,
nursing our flat lemonade
and trying not to see our blurred ghosts
in the dresser’s unsilvering glass.

Once a year, though, it was summer,
and in the great window
were the white yachts of Stonehaven,
the yellow yachts in the bay.
As if colour TV
had come to Scotland, all afternoon
we watched a testcard
of acid primaries
on wavelengths of green
and a lemony blue.

It was a chill parlour, despite the fire,
but leaving was like opening
the door of a fridge: cold
dumping on your sandaled feet,
your bare legs.
Finding my way back from the kitchen,
arms out in the dark
for the connecting door.
I came against
a womanly thing,
some kind of shawl
or handbag dressed in feathers,
which I felt all over,
putting my hands down now –
till I touched the wetness,
neck and sudden beak,
left it swinging as I ran,
leaving half my life behind
with the hung pheasant
and half in my hands with blood:
cinnabar, carnelian,
rose madder, rust.

New Gravity

Treading through the half-light of ivy
and headstone, I see you in the distance
as I’m telling our daughter
about this place, this whole business:
a sister about to be born,
how a life’s new gravity suspends in water.
Under the oak, the fallen leaves
are pieces of the tree’s jigsaw;
by your father’s grave you are pressing acorns
into the shadows to seed.

PhilosopherPoet

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poetry

the one he buried

there was a small soul
who buried a hole
right underneath his
own carpet today

he thought that if he
could take enough
hysteria and squash it
into his jamjar with a
few simple fingers
people would come to watch

some healer had said
that putting your problems
in a jar overnight would
help you sink into the
swaddling momentum of peace

this morning he sat on his
bed and watched
the blister events
whirl wrapple quiver and
cry behind the tears of
peanut butter

watching it made him
late for work when a small
trickle of pathos rippled
down into the ground and
just above the lid

a few flies began
to sit there and watch
him hatch more
stone solid emotions

he cut his nails though
his grandmother
said a clean griever was
a righteous believer in
the book

she absorbed at night
today he only had a jar
to use and process the
heavy twinges for now.

that was ample enough
for his stamp of serenity
other folks grilled their
voices in waves of coffee
and headlines which
then made them scatter off
to imminent events

he finished his toast
wiped his hands
scrubbed his mouth
and got up feeling lighter

he pulled out the virile
tongue of his shoes and
tied the arms of laces
together to keep his
feet inside of the
brown arms that collected
at a heavy knot and

looked like a noose

PhilosopherPoet

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