It’s blowing a hoolie

February 15, 2020

The storm’s coming in off the coast. It’s been christened Dennis by the Met Office. Wind howling round the standing stones, abundant rain across the moor and cold as the Ice-queen’s heart. There’ll be more trees down before this day is out –

Poem About My Rights

February 15, 2020

Even tonight and I need to take a walk and clear
my head about this poem about why I can’t
go out without changing my clothes my shoes
my body posture my gender identity my age
my status as a woman alone in the evening/
alone on the streets/alone not being the point/
the point being that I can’t do what I want
to do with my own body because I am the wrong
sex the wrong age the wrong skin and
suppose it was not here in the city but down on the beach/
or far into the woods and I wanted to go
there by myself thinking about God/or thinking
about children or thinking about the world/all of it
disclosed by the stars and the silence:
I could not go and I could not think and I could not
stay there
alone
as I need to be
alone because I can’t do what I want to do with my own
body and
who in the hell set things up
like this
and in France they say if the guy penetrates
but does not ejaculate then he did not rape me
and if after stabbing him if after screams if
after begging the bastard and if even after smashing
a hammer to his head if even after that if he
and his buddies fuck me after that
then I consented and there was
no rape because finally you understand finally
they fucked me over because I was wrong I was
wrong again to be me being me where I was/wrong
to be who I am
which is exactly like South Africa
penetrating into Namibia penetrating into
Angola and does that mean I mean how do you know if
Pretoria ejaculates what will the evidence look like the
proof of the monster jackboot ejaculation on Blackland
and if
after Namibia and if after Angola and if after Zimbabwe
and if after all of my kinsmen and women resist even to
self-immolation of the villages and if after that
we lose nevertheless what will the big boys say will they
claim my consent:
Do You Follow Me: We are the wrong people of
the wrong skin on the wrong continent and what
in the hell is everybody being reasonable about
and according to the Times this week
back in 1966 the C.I.A. decided that they had this problem
and the problem was a man named Nkrumah so they
killed him and before that it was Patrice Lumumba
and before that it was my father on the campus
of my Ivy League school and my father afraid
to walk into the cafeteria because he said he
was wrong the wrong age the wrong skin the wrong
gender identity and he was paying my tuition and
before that
it was my father saying I was wrong saying that
I should have been a boy because he wanted one/a
boy and that I should have been lighter skinned and
that I should have had straighter hair and that
I should not be so boy crazy but instead I should
just be one/a boy and before that
it was my mother pleading plastic surgery for
my nose and braces for my teeth and telling me
to let the books loose to let them loose in other
words
I am very familiar with the problems of the C.I.A.
and the problems of South Africa and the problems
of Exxon Corporation and the problems of white
America in general and the problems of the teachers
and the preachers and the F.B.I. and the social
workers and my particular Mom and Dad/I am very
familiar with the problems because the problems
turn out to be
me
I am the history of rape
I am the history of the rejection of who I am
I am the history of the terrorized incarceration of
myself
I am the history of battery assault and limitless
armies against whatever I want to do with my mind
and my body and my soul and
whether it’s about walking out at night
or whether it’s about the love that I feel or
whether it’s about the sanctity of my vagina or
the sanctity of my national boundaries
or the sanctity of my leaders or the sanctity
of each and every desire
that I know from my personal and idiosyncratic
and indisputably single and singular heart
I have been raped
be-
cause I have been wrong the wrong sex the wrong age
the wrong skin the wrong nose the wrong hair the
wrong need the wrong dream the wrong geographic
the wrong sartorial I
I have been the meaning of rape
I have been the problem everyone seeks to
eliminate by forced
penetration with or without the evidence of slime and/
but let this be unmistakable this poem
is not consent I do not consent
to my mother to my father to the teachers to
the F.B.I. to South Africa to Bedford-Stuy
to Park Avenue to American Airlines to the hardon
idlers on the corners to the sneaky creeps in
cars
I am not wrong: Wrong is not my name
My name is my own my own my own
and I can’t tell you who the hell set things up like this
but I can tell you that from now on my resistance
my simple and daily and nightly self-determination
may very well cost you your life

June Jordan

Writing

February 15, 2020

I only want to write. And there’s no college for that except life.

Dodie Smith
I Capture the Castle

When Sex goes wrong

February 15, 2020

“I was making this spicy stew recipe online that called for a bunch of habañeros. I washed my hands pretty well, but I guess they still had pepper on them, because later that night when I was giving a guy a hand job, he started making funny noises and started yelling, ‘Oww, owww.’ Apparently, his dick was burning. Sorry to this man.” —Ilena B., 26

Alexis Jones
Hilarious Sex Stories From Real Women

spirits of chaos

February 15, 2020

I have a suitcase – one of those soft cloth ones, ethnic, stripy – which I take on some of my school visits. I stand up at the front of the classroom and I lay this suitcase gently on the desk, and I say to the kids, “I have, in this suitcase, 12 ferrets. Hands up anyone who would like them to be LIVE ferrets?” Without fail, everyone who is 4 foot and under sticks their hands in the air. I stick MY hand in the air. The teachers make little moue faces and do not join in.

Because they know what kind of commotion would ensue if I really did have a busyness of live ferrets with me. I know too. And that is why I choose the ferret to be my muse. (Though a better word might be “acknowledge”).

Ferrets are spirits of chaos. They are the gods of wild enthusiasm and ridiculous persistence (not to mention the joy of squiggling through small spaces for no other reason than just to see if you can.) They bite and they smell and they are impossible to control. They race when they want and they sleep when they will, deep, deep – they go all floppy, as if they were dead – and there is nothing you can do but wait until they decide to wake up again. They are unpredictable, delightful, and only the certifiably daft would choose to share their lives with them.

And writing’s just like that too. Just like a ferret in the brain. Chaotic, unpredictable, delightful, smelly, bitey…Okay, work with me here. When the writing’s going well, full tilt, ideas leaping about and wrestling with one other, it’s wonderful, right? But when the muse is not in the mood, is there anything more recalcitrant? More dead? And all we can do is wait for the words to come to life again.

The Ferret
Ferrets may be smelly
But there’s more to them than farts
They are bouncier than jelly
And contribute to the arts …

Joan Lennon
The Ferret

pick the first word

February 15, 2020

They say a person my age knows maybe thirty thousand words, so picking the first word out of thirty thousand is the hardest part. After you pick the first word, it weirdly picks the next one, and that one picks the one after that, and next thing you know you’re not in control at all — the pen is as big as a telephone pole and you’re just hanging on for dear life…

Martine Leavitt
Calvin

lavish descriptions of food

February 15, 2020

As a pre-teen, I devoured fantasy book after fantasy book. One day, I was stopped short by a food description. In Diana Wynne Jones’s A Tale of Time City, the era-hopping protagonists eat a treat called butter-pie. It’s yellow ice cream on a stick, ice-cold on the outside and molten on the inside, and described as “buttery and creamy … with just a hint of toffee, and twenty other even better tastes.” Butter-pie has never existed, except in the pages of Jones’s book and in the imaginations of readers. But it sounded delicious.

In those days, the internet was fairly new, so I couldn’t dig up the dozens of recipes that fans of Jones’s work have developed. But even as I moved from children’s fantasy novels to those meant for adults, I noticed that authors consistently incorporated lavish descriptions of food. It piqued both my appetite and my interest: Why do fantasy writers write so much about food?

As I doggedly read through the fantasy canon, I realized that the marvellous butter-pie was an outlier. Instead, heroes and heroines often ate familiar fare, even as they cast spells and rode dragons. For pages and pages, lucky characters feast on cakes and ale. Other characters only get stew, which is oddly omnipresent. In her satirical travel guide to fantasy literature, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, Jones jokes that stew “is the staple food in Fantasyland, so be warned. You may shortly be longing for omelette, steak, or baked beans, but none of these will be forthcoming.

Anne Ewbank
Why Do Fantasy Novels Have So Much Food?
Atlas Obscura

start out writing crap

February 15, 2020

You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence. It’s just so easy to give up!

Octavia Butler
Locus Magazine, June 2000