The Cosmology of Madness

August 26, 2015


There are black holes in the cosmos of the psyche
where lonely men in Salvation Army castoffs
stand forever on the corners of unknown cities.
Their feet are frozen but their hands can move
and they count their change eternally and
are always a nickel short of a cup of coffee
and they are always down to their last cigarette
and their stomachs are growling.
And this is the good part.
Because when they close their eyes,
a whole new world of horror opens
and their bodies tremble like piano wires
as their mouths gape and their jaws clench in horror
and they are riveted to this place and
cannot open their eyes to shut it out.
And this is the good part.
Because all through the time when they are
trying to come to grips with the horror of their lives
a cold distant voice is saying, “Pull yourself together.
Concentrate. Stop acting that way. Do something
about yourself. Stop that moaning.”
So they stand there heads bowed while judgment
is passed on them because everyone knows that
this is a Christian nation and it was not Christ’s
intention to have the likes of these in the same
company with decent people. No, these people just
need to stop being so self-indulgent, they still
have a chance to make something of themselves.
And this is the good part because,
underneath this is a bottomless pit where there
is nothing at all and you are falling through that
nothing endlessly and you are crying out but no one
hears your cry because no one is there, Christ has
never entered this place though Mary sometimes
reaches out and you can feel, just for a moment
the touch of her hand, the rustle of her blue gown
against your cheek and then that too is gone
and you are still falling.
There are black holes in the cosmos of the psyche
and few who enter them ever return and the few
who return are changed.
They hide their eyes from men – not from shame but
from compassion because where they have been
is in their eyes and what they have seem is there
and to look deep into their eyes is to go where
they have been, to see what they have seen
and to look too deep too long is to never return.

Albert Huffstickler

(Albert Huffstickler was an American poet who died in 2002. During his lifetime he published hundreds of poems in chap books and small press journals around the world. He also published much of his own poetry under his Press of Circumstance imprint).

Into the dark…

August 26, 2015


“Right now I can’t even control my own imagination as it grips my hair and drags me into the dark”

Tahereh Mafi
Unravel Me

Really hot in summer…

August 26, 2015


Virginity again…

August 26, 2015


Nice idea…

August 26, 2015


The Raven

August 26, 2015

Get that ass up…

August 26, 2015


You can tell a bottom, even without leaving role, that you need more response, that you can’t tell if the scene is working or not.

Dossie remembers:

The first time I topped at a party I was flogging a woman I didn’t know very well, and wasn’t sure if it was okay to hit harder. I didn’t want to interrupt the scene to ask, especially because there were people watching, and then I got a great idea. In my best mean voice I growled, “If you want me to hit you harder you better get that ass up there where I can get at it!” And
she did, and I did, and it was great.

So this bottom knew how to get what she wanted – and, for that matter, that she could reduce the intensity by pulling away. Thus you can instruct your bottom in exactly what kind of body language you want to hear.

Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy
The New Topping Book

I gave in…

August 26, 2015


“Seduced her? Every time I turned round she was up a library ladder. In the end I gave in. That reminds me — I spotted something between her legs that made me think of you.”

Tom Stoppard

Diving into the Wreck

August 26, 2015


First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.

it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

Adrienne Rich

(Adrienne Rich needs no introduction. She was “one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century”. Enough said)

Safe Passage

August 26, 2015


Lie down on the damp earth, here where ferns
arc between trunks of fallen oak.
Open your herring-bone coat, let the red
of your dress sing out above the hum of green.

Breathe deep, press your shoulders back
into the pillow of sticks and broken leaves.
That one patch of sky framed in the canopy
will be your marker. Learn its contours.

The air around you hesitates, draws back,
pulls gravity with it – you are enfolded: falling.
Earth walls rise on every side,
darken through layers of decay.

Your knees buckle, insects drop into your mouth
and as your back meets rock you melt through it;
drift from the gods to the pit of chamber
after chamber; sink into blind water and emerge dry.


Your breath jostles for space in the used up air,
and the cold is at you instantly. Stand up
and look around you. Thrusts of wall and roof
make a passage ahead, just wide enough to slip through.

On the other side you are taller – bend double
to keep the possibility of movement alive.
The noise is louder now,
its pain increasing.
You must steady yourself towards it.


I could tell you that your coat is torn,
your dress stained,
that time is running out.
I could drop pebbles in your path,
or leave a trail
of unwound thread to snag on corners and bring you home.
But that is not your way:
you will go on alone until your eyes,
raw with darkness,
adjust to what little light remains.

(Jessica Penrose’s publications include poems in The Rialto, Staple, Orbis and Mslexia)