Emptying Town

February 29, 2016


I want to erase your footprints
from my walls. Each pillow
is thick with your reasons. Omens

fill the sidewalk below my window: a woman
in a party hat, clinging
to a tin-foil balloon. Shadows

creep slowly across the tar, someone yells, “Stop!”
and I close my eyes. I can’t watch

as this town slowly empties, leaving me
strung between bon-voyages, like so many clothes
on a line, the white handkerchief

stuck in my throat. You know the way Jesus

rips open his shirt
to show us his heart, all flaming and thorny,
the way he points to it. I’m afraid

the way I’ll miss you will be this obvious.

I have a friend who everyone warns me
is dangerous, he hides
bloody images of Jesus
around my house, for me to find

when I come home; Jesus
behind the cupboard door, Jesus tucked

into the mirror. He wants to save me
but we disagree from what. My version of hell
is someone ripping open his shirt

and saying, Look what I did for you…

Nick Flynn

Please Take Back The Sparrows

February 29, 2016


Please take back the sparrows. They are bothersome and cute. They are brown and daily all year long. They make a plaything of the wind and the spruce. They come too close. They look right at me with their tiny black eyes. They dart through spaces. They pick up the pieces and the pace. From rooftop to eavetrough to wire to branch — they spring spring spring spring spring spring spring. They are not sorry. They are not singing. Many they are one they are never not somewhere. They are not not singing. They are not slack. They fear the bluejay and the airedale. They drink from the pond! They scatter thinking. They are not asking or telling they are scattering thinking they are shivering. They are awake or they are shivering. Please, take back the sparrows. They bathe in dust.

Suzanne Buffam

the release of endorphins…

February 29, 2016


In 2005, a team of Russian scientists led by Sergei Speransky found “whipping therapy” to be an effective prophylaxis against alcohol and drug abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts and psychosomatic diseases, due to the release of endorphins during and after spanking. Dr. Speransky recommends 30 sessions of 60 whip lashes on the buttocks in every session for maximum therapeutic effect. This “prescription” might sound rather sinister to spanking-sensitive ears, but if the patient agrees, enjoys and benefits, why not?

Dr. Susan Block
The Politics of Spanking


February 29, 2016


A woman is only vulnerable when her nail polish is drying, and even then she can still pull a trigger.

A little Tarantino

February 29, 2016


Diary 29th February

I feel sorry for Jeremy Corbyn. Collectively we love to criticise our politicians. It’s become something of a national sport. We complain about their lack of honesty, their “troughing”, their disengagement with reality. Yet when Corbyn shows himself to be a man of conviction, he’s attacked by all, pilloried for acting in a way he has always acted. The man, if nothing else, is consistent.

He snubbed his party’s pro EU campaign to attended an anti Trident rally.

MP John Woodcock suggested: “His choice is symbolic of his obsession with changing our policy on Trident over our ability to make a coherent case on the most important issue facing the country for a generation.

“It will make many in the party worried that he has not been entirely straight with Labour members that he has dropped his long-standing opposition to the EU.”

Michael Dugher, sacked from the shadow cabinet last month, reportedly claimed: “for Jeremy to share a platform with many of Labour’s political opponents and denounce what is still Labour Party policy is quite frankly barmy.”

But throughout his long Parliamentary history JC has rarely toed the party line; why would he start now?
The EU has become this moribund, growth-sapping monolith. Our government’s attempts to force reforms touching on the UK’s relationship with the EU, met implacable opposition in Berlin, Paris and elsewhere. Hardly surprising when out “chief negotiator”, David Cameron had made clear from the outset he’d support staying in no matter what the outcome of negotiations; a situation exacerbated by the PM’s desire “not to ruffle any feathers” and consequently making few demands of the EU, and certainly none that could be described as “fundamental reforms” to get the EU back on track.

You only need to see how collectively the EU has failed to deal with or, at least agree on, a coherent strategy to handle a migration crisis of near-biblical proportions! No common ground, and self-interest rules, okay!

Had Cameron made tough demands, and stuck to his guns under an explicit and credible threat to leave, the UK could have spear-headed major reforms that the EU so desperately needs – instead he went down the path of least resistance, leaving the EU to continue on its anti-democratic integrationist path.

More smoke and mirrors.
Very cold this morning. The cars on the drive are frosted white, windshields iced-up. I’ve been reading through Terry Pratchett’s “Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook. Hilarious. And containing some “interesting” recipes, too:

‘They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, which just goes to show they’re as confused about anatomy as they generally are about everything else, unless they’re talking about instructions to stab him, in which case a better way is up and under the ribcage. Anyway, we do not live in a perfect world and it is foresighted and useful for a young woman to become proficient in those arts which will keep a weak-willed man from straying. Learning to cook is useful.’

And herein we find recipes for: ‘Mrs Whitlow’s Artery-Hardening Hogswatch Pie’, ‘Nobby’s Mum’s Distressed Pudding’ and so many, many more. Highly recommended, boys and girls!

Perhaps the Prime Minister should take up cooking instead…?

Roominghouse, Winter

February 28, 2016


Catprints, dogprints, marks
of ancient children
have made the paths we follow

to the vestibule, piled
with overshoes, ownerless letters
a wooden sled.

The threadbare treads
on the stairs. The trails
worn by alien feet

in time through the forest snowdrifts
of the corridor to this remnant, this
discarded door

What disturbs me in the bathroom
is the unclaimed toothbrush.

In the room itself, none
of the furniture is mine.

The plates are on the table
to weigh it down.

I call you sometimes
To make sure you are still there.

Tomorrow, when you come to dinner
They will tell you I never lived here.

My window is a funnel
for the shapes of chaos

In the backyard, frozen bones, the children’s
voices, derelict

Inside, the wall
bickles; the pressure

balanced by this clear
small silence.

We must resist. We must refuse
to disappear

I said, in exile
is the first necessity.

After that (I say this
we might begin

Survive what? you said.

In the weak light you looked
over your shoulder.
You said

Nobody ever survives.

Margaret Atwood

A Writer and Words

February 28, 2016


A man who writes a story is forced to put into it the best of his knowledge and the best of his feeling. The discipline of the written word punishes both stupidity and dishonesty. A writer lives in awe of words for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavours and odours like butter in a refrigerator. Of course, there are dishonest writers who go on for a little while, but not for long—not for long.

A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending signals. He isn’t telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals. We spend all life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say — and to feel —

“Yes, that’s the way it is, or at least that’s the way I feel it. You’re not as alone as you thought.”

Of course a writer rearranges life, shortens time intervals, sharpens events, and devises beginnings, middles and ends. We do have curtains — in a day, morning, noon and night, in a man, birth, growth and death. These are curtain rises and curtain falls, but the story goes on and nothing finishes.

To finish is sadness to a writer—a little death. He puts the last word down and it is done. But it isn’t really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer behind, for no story is ever done.

John Ernst Steinbeck
In Awe of Words

live through a moment

February 28, 2016


It is not hard to live through a day, if you can live through a moment. What creates despair is the imagination, which pretends there is a future, and insists upon predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains you that you cannot live the moment at hand.

Andre Dubus
A Father’s Story

start the day with a very good breakfast