Slaughter all

July 9, 2020

There is no ethnic group on the face of this earth that has not been slaughtered; viz Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Britons, and thousands of other tribes worldwide. When, after a conflict, the best balanced leaders who have a stake in the future of all persons, are bypassed, and instead power is seized by the angriest and most grudge-holding, whose greatest stake is in the past…without new consciousness, and without strong reconciling actions…thus erupts a horrible recycling of living out the least of what is human in this world.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Letter To The Prince on the Anniversary of Kristallnacht

Even in Winter, you are not safe. Stay indoors, attend your hearths. Try to keep the night at bay by the telling of your tongue. Remember your kin, honour your ancestors. For at this time the dead begin to stir, riding upon hallowed and familiar roads, galloping through villages and wastes, flying through the forests of the mind. Such raids are reminders that the past is not a dead thing, but may return, like a hunter, to follow us for a time.

Ari Berk and William Spytma
The Wild Hunt

Before Dark

July 8, 2020

They used to mass
in the crowns of oaks
on every street for blocks around
but have gone elsewhere,
the evening no longer
gathered by their feathers
but by the leaves, which blot
whatever light is left to the sky.

Whether we saw the crows
as a barely worth mentioning
image of death for the way
they took over branches
with perfect authority,
whether, where did I hear it, their
numbers were thinned by disease,
nothing avails. They are

missing, the crackle of wings
against the weight of their flight,
beaks that broke open
broadcasting any scrap of news.
Like our children, they carry off
whole years, like the wind-borne thought
of cries never welcome enough
day or night in our ears.

Jennifer Barber

[T]he emphasis on sexuality as the root of all evil served to subordinate all women. The ancient Roman world was rife with flesh-hating spiritualities — Stoicism, Manichaeism, Neoplatonism — and they influenced Christian thinking just as it was gelling into “doctrine.” Thus the need to disempower the figure of Mary Magdalene, so that her succeeding sisters in the church would not compete with men for power, meshed with the impulse to discredit women generally. This was most efficiently done by reducing them to their sexuality, even as sexuality itself was reduced to the realm of temptation, the source of human unworthiness. All of this — from the sexualizing of Mary Magdalene, to the emphatic veneration of the virginity of Mary, the mother of Jesus, to the embrace of celibacy as a clerical ideal, to the marginalizing of female devotion, to the recasting of piety as self-denial, particularly through penitential cults — came to a kind of defining climax at the end of the sixth century. It was then that all the philosophical, theological and ecclesiastical impulses curved back to Scripture, seeking an ultimate imprimatur for what by then was a firm cultural prejudice. It was then that the rails along which the church — and the Western imagination — would run were set.

James Carroll
Who Was Mary Magdalene?

time travelers

July 3, 2020

The problems we’ve experienced this year, 2020, are probably the result of too many time travelers arriving here and trying to fix things – because the future is one god-awful feckin’ mess, boys & girls.

I created Mythago Wood in order to be able to explore the notion of ‘lost legends’ and ‘lost heroes’. It was my idea that for every King Arthur we remember, there are twenty wonderful heroes whose stories were lost. For every tale of a Greek hero, there are twenty tales of that hero that were never written down. Lost. During the writing of the book I decided to imply that our own ‘collective unconscious’ minds still carry memories of those great, forgotten heroes. And indeed, of those great, forgotten events. So I drew on Carl Jung, yes, and I researched the mythological past through the work of Joseph Campbell, and The Golden Bough, the massive work by James Frazier. I also drew heavily on Greek and Norse mythology. But the essential point is that all my work is fiction, and the whole point of my fantasy work is to try to illuminate and create in the readers’ minds the sense of how enormous the past of legend and myth has been; and of how very little remains.

In this way, yes, I am close to Mike Moorcock in that he writes robust tales of imaginary heroes, imaginary mythologies. And Alan Moore, too, draws inspiration from the source. We call it, here: ‘drawing water from the same well’. The late writer Keith Roberts said this to me first, and it is certainly the case that Keith Roberts and I were inspired by the same sense of the obscure and vanished past; heroes in the mist; heroism and the summoning of ancient forces, now forgotten and beyond our powers.

Robert Holdstock
Interviewed by Octavio Aragao. 17th July 2008

“Life is a hard thing for a woman. Your tall supple body will grow bent like mine, and broken with childbearing; your hands will become twisted — and your mind will grow strange and grey — with the toil and the weariness — and the everlasting face of a man you hate … look at me. Would you become as I?”

Robert E. Howard
Sword Woman

after Kush Thompson, after Warsan Shire

When you didn’t open your eyes,
when you kept your fists closed,
when he entered you,
where did you go?

When you parted your lips despite this,
were you surprised when nothing
honest came out?

When the bed, a gentle tomb,
                                      not yours,
but some other girl beneath some other
                    a warm mouth that pressed its blue
downy lips around your limbs, did it make
a sound when it gave way to your body?

Did the canary in your throat come out
screaming or was it drunk on tunnel
dust and loneliness?

Were you just waiting for light
at the mouth of the boulders? Did you hear
anything when you were inside?

When he asked if you were okay four times,
did you say yes because you were still alive
or because you saw the bird bones on the ground
and knew you hadn’t yet become them?

When he stopped because he knew you really weren’t,
was it to talk about the bones or to pour cement
over the opening?

Jacqui Germain

This is for Maricruz Ladino and Olivia Tamayo.
This is for Consuelo and Magui and all those who declined
to give their last names, for those who spoke
and those who remained silent.

This is for Alejandra, who drives through red lights
and needs medication to sleep at night,
whose words at the sentencing trial translated to:

It’s like a wound that’s there
and it’s always becoming sore again
and it’s bleeding.

Her fingers are still stained with raspberry juice
but she ties sweaters around her waist
so when her mayordomo says Que nalgotas tienes
he can’t touch her beneath the layers.
Even when the heat scorches fruit on the vines
and her skin blisters with hives
she blankets her body,
ties a bandana around her head, face, neck like a niqab.
She covers her eyes with dark glasses.

Filling her bucket with fruit she tries to forget
that day in August, when the raspberry plants were so overgrown
that she couldn’t see down the row
and there, in the shady arbor of vines,
her mayordomo stood waiting for her.

When the police found his pants
streaked with her menstrual blood,
he claimed it was berry juice.

Did she know when she fled her mountain village
that she’d have to pay with more
than the bucket-weight of berries?

The grocery bins are filled with organic raspberries
that Alejandra can’t afford to buy.
When she sees them,
she looks away.

Lily Dayton

After the first life, there is no other.
She is not robed in glory.
Death by rat poison is not majestic.
No soul-recycling, barley-haired earth mother
makes her story
ultimately uplifting and poetic.

She was not just someone’s daughter.
She had a name:
Amina Filali. She was more
important than a drop of water
and not the same
as all the rest who came before.

What happened, there is no undoing
and no redeeming.
Her misery wasn’t mystical,
and spring’s continued self-renewing
can’t give it meaning.
Let it be unacceptable.

Rose Kelleher