or “None of The Above.”
My Dream Ballot Box options.
It’s Thanksgiving today in the States. Funny how oblivious we all are here in London. It was only when a couple of my friends in New York were taking a bit longer than usual to reply that it hit me. It always amazed me during my decade in the US how thoroughly and comprehensively American this holiday truly is. Across all spiritual/religious preferences, everyone sitting and celebrating and giving thanks in one way or another and the country truly grinds to a halt. A perfect pause amidst all the usual bustle and busy-ness.
Practising Gratitude and saying thank you for the blessings in my life is something I have made a bedrock aspect of my spiritual practise. A daily affirmation of all the ways I can be grateful. My children always top the list with my sobriety and recovery from drug and sugar addiction a close second; relationship to a Higher Power of my understanding; Mother Gaia and all she provides in the abundance of nature and all her resources; a cancer and pain free, functioning and able body…. It is a long list usually.
I make these all real and potent for myself by imagining a life robbed of them. I am guilty of taking so much for granted as are most of us and so I engage the dualistic, binary nature of the intellect and picture the opposite/lack/void of that which I want to deeply appreciate. “What if I lost my eyesight? My legs? Access to fresh water?”
Addicts are often fairly either/or, black/white kind of thinkers and I am no exception.
It works for me. Although the militant ‘Law of Attraction-ists’ will surely consider this a tarnishing of what should be a purer vibration of appreciation!
But it has slipped lately, in the way that all disciplines often do (for me anyway.) The resistance towards doing the things that are profoundly beneficial to me is another aspect of my personality that baffles me. I feel so much better after meditating, vigorous exercise, a good teeth flossing, hydrating properly, WRITING. And yet some latent, insidiously rooted attachment to self hatred and suffering keeps me in a Sisyphean rota of resistance and procrastination of all the above.
I have been writing.
If there was a font style that could denote a hushed, scared whisper, I would use it for those words I have just written. Every Day.
I can barely believe it and, in a sudden rush of gypsy blood superstition, imagine that even stating it here will utterly jinx it.
The puncturing of that iron hard balloon of fear and resistance, my own ‘Berlin Wall’ bouncy castle scrawled with inner critic graffiti, has come suddenly, it feels, and yet the deflation is slow. Maybe better an incremental opening than an almighty dismantling; like the self worth that has been painted in layers of gold leaf inside of the ‘god shaped hole’ during my decades of sobriety. If Medici-esque quantities of 24 carat self esteem and confidence had been delivered to my inner self at the moment I arrived in the 12 step rooms I consider home, I would definitely have found a way to reject it, sabotage and convince the divine source of it that I really wasn’t worthy of its receipt. So, in the infinite wisdom of my soul and higher power, I have never been given too much too quickly. I am on a journey. And a WORK IN PROGRESS.
What has all this got to do with my title?
“GET ON WITH IT!!!” the whip-cracker commands.
Well, it is because I have found a sudden liberation from the cruel highwaymen who barred the path to my writer’s dreams with crippling perfectionism; a bankruptcy of confidence in my talent; paralysing fear of criticism and, thus, here I sit. Practicing my craft. A ‘spiritual practise’ not a ‘spiritual perfection’. It is a journey with no final destination as such except for a diving into the surrender required to reveal myself through my words. There are lots of reasons for how I have been liberated from my former sloth but to detail now them will derail me in my purpose for this piece and end up in a wormhole to elsewhere…
The point is I have been angry at home. More irritable and fractious than usual for a perimenopausal mum of three and a person “unrecognisable” to my kids and partner of 18 years. They have never seen me ‘at work’ as I chose to devote myself to motherhood and gave up both income and any inchoate career to do so. So with my newfound dedication to the writing of my books, I am putting in full (as yet unpaid) days in my favourite cafe Gail’s in Dulwich Village, from the time I finish my school drop until the afternoon when I go pick them all up. With no commensurate reassignment of all the duties my ‘job’ as stay-at-home mum involves, I am stretched and tired and it shows.
I now know exactly what all my working (earning) mum friends mean when they express their feelings that they are falling short in both arenas. Work/career suffers when children’s issues/illnesses unquestionably take priority and home life is compromised when work and career require absences of mind or body or both. (well illustrated here, by the weekend of duties that overtook my finishing of this blog before today – 5 days after I started it)
Perhaps it is a function of my formerly mentioned black and white, dualistic mindset that I have never wanted to blend these two roles. Factor in my partner who is my senior by 17 years and a product of a far more antiquated generation with regards to where a woman’s duty lies and the picture defines itself further…
“Where are the Mothers? Where are the Mothers?” This was the question that started to reverberate inside me a couple of years ago at around the time that Trump and his Korean counterpart (can’t even bring myself to write the name) began their puerile, ego driven dance on the world stage. The preposterous, badly coiffed and caricatured posturing would have bordered on the comical if it hadn’t all been so deeply offensive and fucking TERRIFYING. Were these two clowns REALLY at the helms of countries whose collective lunacy might ACTUALLY bring us to the brink of another war?
I found myself scanning the world’s political landscape and the question went from a mantra to a deafening banshee inner scream.
“WHERE ARE THE MOTHERS?”
Scarcely any in major positions of political power and I was again aghast and stricken at the lack of women generally in positions of power. If there were, would we have the same ego driven, power hungry penile comparisons being played out with missile size? Of course we wouldn’t because women equipped with wombs, whether they have birthed life or not, don’t need to constantly reaffirm our own power in ways that increasingly threaten our very existence on this planet.
We have the implicit power to birth life. The lioness doesn’t need to roar.
And so it was that a boiling, raging, anthemic mass of a poem started to percolate up and through me. It felt like a channeling of Mother Earth herself such was the incinerating lava flow of the words. It created new hissing fizzing landscapes in me for sure, as it entered the cooling border of ocean in my mind. A new, as yet black and barren sense that I might have powerful things to be a mouthpiece for, beyond the crafting solely of novels. I wondered if it was possible to change the world with one question, or one poem…
“Where are the Mothers?”
Now here in the UK, still gripped by the collective lunacy of Brexit (as delivered by a corrupt and coerced referendum) and on the cusp of another election, I scan the options available, and all the ballot box choices fail to rouse anything in me other than a profound depression.
“None of the Above.” and “Mothers not motherfuckers.” are the only statements that could adequately capture my vote.
I have said, floridly, to my closest friends who know (and tolerate if not celebrate) my vulgarity well, that the vulnerability I feel in sharing my poetry is akin to walking down a busy high street with my splayed labia pasted onto my forehead. It is not easy. It took decades to voice the sentence “I am a writer.” comfortably, but a POET???? Fuck right off.
But, as my diverse spiritual teachers all uniformly agree, facing one’s terror and moving ahead regardless is the ‘True North’ of any self-mastery path, as is the seeking of soft, open vulnerability and revelation of one’s true self.
So here I go.
Consider this a dip into my unedited poetry notebook, scant sketches and glimpses of something I don’t feel originated with me, but came through me in glimpses and from a force I hope to re-connect to, to hone and finesse into a more cohesive piece in time.
This is a practice in vulnerability for me: unfinished, unpolished in the order in which the strands came to me and far from complete. Some bits stand for themselves for sure, but I feel it will coalesce more.
A fleeting moment of ejaculatory,
Of semen’s story,
does not a father make.
When you have gestated, created,
Laboured – be-weighted – long past
That salty wake;
When you have TORN, BLED, SWORN
Bent bones to birth the BORN;
Called, screeched, wailed, deep into
the oft-curtailed CORE,
The boiling, raging ORE of our
One True Mother’s store
Of planetary gold,
“Rape THIS Motherfucker,”
You suck at my breast,
With Cunt as your quest,
Impale and dispose,
Detonate, ravage and rape.
Stunted by Ego,
You call yourselves my sons?
No iota of pause, awareness of cause,
From my wrath there will be no escape.
When my tether erupts,
Stained reigns de-construct,
Into ashes of your former ‘glory.’
Heart weary as a hung jury’s.
You call yourselves my sons?
Faced with glorious core,
True presence forsworn,
All towering limp,
Trump hardness turned wimp,
“I don’t know what’s happened,
this is not my true pattern.”
With impotent lies to regale..
Part Goddess, part beast,
Your weakness my feast,
With a flick of my tail,
Your masculine fails.
Volcanoes and tempests my thrust.
Where are the Mothers?
Where are YOUR Mothers?
Do they beam?
Brim with pride?
Her Honour you deride.
Or does shame taint their faces,
spilling tears that they hide.
Sons become Suns,
Transform stunted runts,
Not too late.
The Mother awaits………