A human being is above all things, a fragile being. Easily shattered, and not easily mended.
Summer Hannah: Yeah Independence! I don’t need anyone! Look at all the articles I’ve written and look-at-me-im-so-self-relient and fuck yeah!
Winter Hannah: I want a cuddle and a dog.
A drunken response to a drunken insult.
I may not be your idea of beauty, but I am my own,
and it’s news to me that I’m no teenage prom queen.
I could tear myself off the sheet, paint my skin
and erase every semblance of womanhood
I could be your canvas, and you could dream me caravaggio
or dream me mother/madonna/whore
bend me and break me until I fit into the mould
Or I can be harridan, screaming banshee woman
who’s lip drip blood instead of
but then who would I be?
Under my skin my flesh forms rings like oak
and I am well aware of how to exist without the need to be desired.
I’m going home soon! It will be glorious to see Becky and Dar and my wee Mammy and Papa. It’s been a long time since I saw my brothers, my nephew, and my doggies. A lot has changed, it’s very odd to leave somewhere and somehow you feel like nothing big should happen when you are gone, nothing should change. But of course it does, that’s not how time works, and sometimes you have to come home to people who have changed, some people who aren’t there anymore to welcome you back. It’s still hard, and going home is always as emotional as it is wonderful now. But right now, in this moment- I’m just excited to step off the boat. To see my Dad pull up in the car, my big bear Papa- hug me; gruffly say ‘good to have you home’ and lift my huge suitcase into the boot like its nothing in a way that says ‘I’m always your daddy’. To hug my wee Ma, lie with my head on her lap in front of the tv, jump into bed beside her when she’s reading. Take Belle for a swim, Snuggle my wee Fyfe, play at silly monsters with him. Hug my Dar- I’ve fucking missed you more than you know, get sushi with Becksters, the beautiful becky, and maybe some beautiful buckfast. Laverys! prowling round Belfast. seeing becky’s kitty cat meow meow! Yeah. Home. It’s always that. It’s home, and I’ve missed it.
When I meet someone, and they tell me they write, paint, or make music, we always have general polite conversation about our respective creative field, and I say I’d love to see their work and they say they’d love to see mine and then, perhaps we head to a bar or part ways. But what I’m thinking, what I’m wishing I could say, is ‘I do too. I write or I paint or I make music because the world terrifies me too and it doesn’t make sense, any of it- does it? don’t worry. I’m as fucking confused as you are but the art helps- doesn’t it? some day maybe you will figure it out, or maybe I will- let’s write and paint and create until something we make becomes the spot on the picture of the world that makes everything somehow fit together. Then we will somehow feel bigger than the world inside our heads and we will know. We will understand the world and we won’t be scared anymore. We won’t need to create anymore and when we meet people at parties and they ask, ‘what do you do?’ we won’t call ourselves writers, artists, musicians. We can say ‘nothing. I do nothing. I figured it out, I’m not scared anymore.’
Not much time for writing these days, although painting has been filling the artsy void. Today, I’m sharing one of my favourite poems. It’s simple, concise, and I find the images of stillness very peaceful. I hope you like it.
No smoke without you, my fire.
After you left,
your cigarette glowed on in my ashtray
and sent up a long thread of such quiet grey
I smiled to wonder who would believe its signal
of so much love. One cigarette
in the non-smoker’s tray.
As the last spire
trembles up, a sudden draught
blows it winding into my face.
Is it smell, is it taste?
You are here again, and I am drunk on your tobacco lips.
Out with the light.
Let the smoke lie back in the dark.
Till I hear the very ash
sigh down among the flowers of brass
I’ll breathe, and long past midnight, your last kiss.
On the good days, sometimes I leave the house just to go smile at strangers and pet dogs.
My mum just told me how brave she thinks I am. And I thought to myself, the reason she believes I’m brave are all for things I had no choice in. Be it moving out here, ending relationships, getting different jobs, my hand was forced by the cards life gave me. I’m far from brave. And I got to thinking of how brave I believe she is, for walking again, working, raising all of us, not being afraid to say what she believes in and call bullshit on prejudice and misogyny and letting us all grow up to be our own different people, being able to let us go. And I thought, she was just being true to herself, making the best she could with what life gave her, and passing that on to us. Her hand was forced just as mine is, but maybe that doesn’t make you any less brave.
One of the greatest joys of growing up has been seeing my mum as my best friend, my comrade. A fucking kickass mother/wife/feminist/woman who gave her children everything, taught them to run, paint, write, learn. Helped us find our passions and nurtured every single one of them. She is the master of multiple identities and the bravest, most intelligent, funniest and strongest person I’ve ever known. And I start thinking, maybe I am a little brave, I must be, I did learn from the best.
Library Bar in the Edinburgh Teviot Student Union
my spiritual home. with nachos
It’s an odd thing, leaving home. Before I left, I negated my doubts by promising myself they would never happen.
1. ‘I will stay in contact with ALL my friends from home.’ In reality, there’s two, maybe three, and those are the best friends I hope to have for all my life.
2. ‘I will come home all the time.’ It’s looking like every six months now.
3. ‘I won’t miss my nephew growing up.’ I haven’t seen him since Christmas, he’s taking in full sentences now. He’s a little boy- last thing I knew he was a baby.
4. ‘This won’t be forever.’ I think it will be. A place changes you, I’m hungry now, I want London and Paris and New York and Berlin- I want to live everywhere, except home.
5. ‘I won’t let the distance ruin my perfect relationship.’ Of course there were other factors, and we made it a year and a half, but it did.
I obviously don’t regret moving away, despite all that- It’s been wonderful in so many ways, it must have been, as I’d gladly make this city my home even once my university days are over, But it seems so silly now, the promises we make ourselves. I guess if we knew how much would change, we’d never have the balls to go anywhere, do anything.
Sydney Tremayne - A Burial.
I have been searching for a long time now, for the words to remember you by. Every poem I’ve have written for you, who was much to me- seems false. I recently came across this poem by Sydney Tremayne, a little known Scots poet and in it in his words, not mine; that I remember you. For always words be false.
Of one who was much to me,
nothing to anyone else,
I shall have least to say
for silence is not false.
Once when I walked in iron
through dead formalities,
I wished that I need not summon
the barbarous preaching voice.
So simple an act as death
needs to pomp or excuse,
nor any expense of breath
to magnify what is.
The sun shot the red apples,
flies swung on summer air,
the world swam in green ripples
as a slow sea might stir,
There is no more to do
but to turn and go away,
turn and finally go
from one who was much to me,
nothing to anyone else.
Often it must be so
and always words be false.
strange how it is in my nose, rather than in my heart, that I hold you now you are gone. The sense easiest to fool, the weakest, fragilest. silent and blind, as you are now. but somehow strongest, to take me unaware and summon tears from eyes that see nothing and a mind that barely understands. the thin smoke of your life intertwined with mine. this is not a song of loss that I have ever heard, nor one that anyone will understand. But I miss you, my first best friend, the only soul I knew who never hurt me and only loved. Perhaps a life so filled with love is meant only to be brief. Perhaps it was enough for you. I could never write what you meant to me, had I all the talent in the world, your beauty, your life, your death- are thin coils of smoke now, lingering in my nose, but intertwined and intangible. You never were one for words.
I guess I just wish I could hold you. In the good days, before you were weak, thin. before you faded into smoke.
I love you.
Some of my favourite pictures of miscellaneous short poems.
Returning after a long exile,
I see half haunted, gaunt souls-
more suited to the history of my new soil
lined up, shaking, speaking tongues
to the God of fine pharmaceuticals.
I place them in closes, paint their cheeks
but round here nothing changes.
The image crumbles.
Pale as before, they sink into the walls of this town.
By noon the tithe is paid,
the feast is laid.
Cutlery will clink
but here, no white linen tablecloths-
only the slow smash, sweetness, of breaking our own windows.