Running free

What do we need, where do we go
When we get where we don’t know.
Why should we doubt the virgin white of fallen snow,
When faith’s our shelter from the cold.

There was always a bit of him in every bloke I fancied. He set the precedent, created the mould. With his long blonde hair and his keen light eyes.

One day I was a child and the next I wasn’t. Turning the metaphoric (as well as the actual) corner to find him, sitting on the steps outside the off-licence in his ripped jeans and Megadeth jacket. He was new. 3 years older but still new. And from them on, so was I.

Of the gang of boys secreting from the estate, he stood out. Poisonous soulless fuckwits who revelled in hurting and humiliating wherever they could. I suspected a kindness in him that years later I would discover to be real.

So I became a collector of things connected to him. I immersed myself in things he liked, so by default perhaps I would become one of them. And it’s an embarrassing thing to admit that a lot of who I started to become was built around the interests of a bloke.

My crush on him forced me into a world of fiction. With pen kissing paper I crafted everything the way it should be and not the way it actually was. Lined A4 pads filled with romantic scenarios and how the two of us would one day come together. And I cringe now when I read them because it’s hard to take your first crush very seriously when you’ve been around the block so many times. If I was lucky enough for him to look at me or speak to me, I’d squirrel the encounter away ready for my wordy hibernation. Entire books based on scraps of something that could have been. And through him, I honed in on what I really liked and what I really wanted.

In later years I would discover that I could talk to him not just from within my head but in the real world too and finally came the time for me to put down the notepad (for a little while at least) and see how the real world compared. Although he never really had the same affect on me, there was always an appreciation, a softness I suppose you could call it, whenever I saw or heard of him. And those feelings, inexplicable at the time and now so very familiar, are still the basis for whether I really like someone or not.

I can conjure him at any given moment: walking with his hands in his pockets, wearing an oversized lumberjack shirt, flicking his hair out of his eyes. He smirked in a way that immediately made me think of sex, regardless how young I was or how little I knew about it. Him screaming ‘bacon’ at passing police cars, him putting my hat on his head on my 13th birthday and leaving behind the intimate scent of his hair, winking at me unashamedly while he pissed a heart shape on the floor of the underground car park and making my face burn with shyness when he asked why ‘I ♥ CB’ was scrawled all over my rucksack.

Hearing word of his death stunned me. Not high pitched and insane, not shaking and crying but somewhere still and adolescently sheepish within me. Not just because we were close in age but because despite never having been a part of my adult life, he somehow always seemed to feature. Characters fashioned from the essence of him made it into two of my finished novels and it occurs to me now that for him to have never faded in my mind, he must have burned so very brightly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beware of the mad woman.

A matt that once sat on her doorstep, warning crossers of her threshold what to expect. And there’s no disputing it, she was mad. She probably is still bring utterly mental and brilliant somewhere else in the universe. I really believe that.

I still dream of her, in a prophetic way. And it scares me how alive she is. Telling me she’s too busy even in the afterlife. Cooking, making tea, washing, bitching. Forever a fingerprint of the woman I clung to growing up. And in her company, I was never afraid.

Four years later and hers is still the name on everyone’s lips. I could still easily piss myself laughing thinking of the things she said. Phrases so harsh and hilarious, said so vehemently in a flash of passion, then followed softly by a smile, aware of her audience’s reaction. From her I learnt all the harshest phrases; Shisto mavro, morre butana, yamo tin havra sou, yamo tin ratsa sou and pushto betho. And I don’t need to translate these for you because even my English friends know what they mean.

Four years to the day that she left us all to get on with it and man up without her. I’m quite sure she’d have a thing or two to say about everything that’s been going on. Fuck knows she likes to tell me often enough in my dreams. But she always finish off with ‘I love you’ and that funny squawking excited noise she made when she kissed me goodbye, told me to stop eating so much and waved me off at the door. But I’m certain she’s somewhere in the universe still, with Marroulla and my dad, with cousin Sugar and aunty Anastou, with Dylan and with Bapoo:winding eachbother up, cackling and wheezing, playing cards and being brilliant. Even if that place is only in my head.

Delivering Happiness: Amazing People. (And all the other things that make my beard itch.)

Rejection: like the stinging of a cane across your soft bare arse when you really did nothing to deserve it. It hurts and you’ll be sore and angry about it for years to come. Another harsh lesson in impermanence that life dishes out. Another thing to feel cynical about.

Splitting a bond like an atom and there’s bound to be a reaction. I can’t bare to think of my day without them there. The people who watched me get married. The people who know how brave and strong I can be when inside I’m fucked. The people who kept me coming back, day after day, just for the jokes and the piss-taking, if nothing else. The ones who i ‘stick it to the man with’, the ones who I talk food with, the ones who know when my farts smell like peanuts. I can’t face the soul-drudgery of a 9-5 without them and I long to do something drastic. To revolt. Show them all how much I love them and how personally I take injustices against them. But I’ve got bills to pay, I’ve got the sweet-hearted woman who begat me and a grumpy arse cat who depend on me to keep my mouth shut.  And i cant let them down, even though every fibre of my being screams for action: to rage against the dying of an artificial light, to rage against the machine in the way I would have in my teens (or when Dawn and Owen left). Those who know me best know how hard it is for me to ‘keep calm and carry on’ (and all the other pacifying poster boys I can’t be doing with).

And who would have thought that after failing GCSE maths 3 times, I’d spend my days pretending I can add without using my fingers. Pretending I did learn my times tables and all the other useful maths tricks instead of dossing around in car parks looking for good hub caps to steal. 8 years later, I’m unrecognisable to myself. Not just chubbier, but more diluted. And now, this is the only place I write. Because I don’t have time and when I do, my eyeballs reject the screen like the biggest case of rastaburn you ever saw. This is the ‘short term’ job  that came about from a deal I made with Phil whilst laying on a bean bag talking about the universe. He said he would move back in with me if I promised I would stop walking out of jobs and knuckle down for a change. In turn he promised he would take me seriously. Maybe now he’s gone that deal doesn’t stand? Maybe there is some poetry to the fact that everything around me is being snatched away prematurely, like the baby I had and the dad who always made me laugh. Or maybe I over-dramatise (as I always do) for the sake of my prose. 

Where you invest your love: you invest your life. And that wisdom works the other way around to. So you see they aren’t just colleagues. They aren’t just people I stop thinking about after hometime comes. They are people I’ve grown to love, people whose secrets I keep, people who deserve a fuck load better than they have. I can’t just shrug it off that they wont be here anymore. I can’t rest easy when I see their heartbroken furious faces. But there’s fuck all I can do about it but hug them and swear and try to reassure them that this wasn’t what they were destined for anyway. And in a funny way, we are all redundant.  

Delivering happiness: amazing people. This statement is truer than anyone knows.  It’s a shame that the people delivering it don’t have it reciprocated.These people are amazing, and they’ve been the backdrop to all my dramas and daydreams. They’ve made me laugh at times when happiness felt like a fairytale and I wont fucking forget that as long as I live.  And when a decision is made from so high up the management chain that no ones sees the mess it makes when it drops: it’s easy to be callous, to be cost-effective and keep the capitalist dream alive.

There will always be an era that belongs to us. Like the hippies in the sixties and the Wonder Years: we’ll have our own ‘back in the day’ stories of the humiliating hilarity of fights, fancies and fucks we witnessed during our time here. So almost a year after my dad died, his words come back to me now more than ever: the best way to say ‘fuck you’ is to be nice.

Symptom Recital: Dorothy isn’t always right.

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I am not sick, I am not well, my quondam dreams are shot to hell. I shudder at the thought of men, I’m bound to fall in love again.

Loneliness is the sound of traffic in my head. Beeping screeching, shuffling, turning, grinding and it infiltrates my sleep, like the early morning dustbin men. All these years I thought it would be a quiet sound. Loneliness is coming too close to insanity. Creeping nearer and nearer the tighter you pull the knot.

I was lonely when I met him, plenty of people around me: faces, friends, places to go and things to fill the void with. But I was lonely for a kindred. Perpetually leaning against walls, hands deep in pockets, eyes fixed to the top left hand corner of my bored eyelids, searching the ceiling for something to save me. And in he walked with his dancing feet and the comedy Dave air about him, my hero. That’s how it is when you’re 19. Everything loaded with meaning, everything’s cool as fuck and fate isn’t the fickle fucker you later know him to be. I’d found him, my split-apart, the man that told me he was nothing without me, the first man to make me behave like a good girl. And now we’re not together, it’s like he put me back where he found me.

Taking that ring off my finger was hard. Because it meant the world to me. Although I always used to say I was too much woman to be bound by just one ring, finally succumbing to it was still something I took very seriously. One accessory less, like throwing down your cards in a polka match and fuck it full time, what else can you do when you’re no longer married. But if you’re interested I can tell you what’s the real fucker to cope with is, not the ring that’s for sure. The toughest shit to slide out the arse of this break up, is when I stop for a moment and think of him alone and heartbroken, that’s what really makes me hang my head. My share of the guilt for the thing we both abandoned and that’s really the bit I hate. He said I was used to being in a dark place and maybe this is why I can deal with my own hurt way easier than the thought of his. Maybe it’s because as a woman I’m genetically programmed to hold him in higher esteem than myself. Maybe it’s because when you love someone with all your heart, you never stop caring. O maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, that I love London town.

Being without him is easier than I ever thought it would be. And I realise that all those times I said I couldn’t live without him, I was bollox-talking like a bound-up Geisha. What I really meant to say was ‘I’m choosing not to be without you’. I chose to cling to the relationship with all my might, fallen at your feet, clinging to your leg like a brat ‘don’t leave me’, drag me around on your ankle, you’re little ball and chain and in turn I’ll tie you tight to my apron strings and soothe your soul with the seduction that sits in mine. That’s what being in love is. Suck is the nature of a relationship. You fall into it willingly because the trap is the most wonderful place you could ever put yourself. It’s a fact we’re not looking for freedom: we’re all desperately seeking Susan and the S&M style stability of togetherness. It sounds like I’m badly berating all that I’ve broken, but I’m not. The sweetness of belonging is what floats all our boats. I’m never convinced when people say it isn’t. I cut my eye at them and raise my Elvis lip, rude girl stare them up and down, wondering what the fuck happened to them to make them chat such shit. And I wish it wasn’t so but it is.

This tough talking tongue sometimes ties, runs out of lies and when it does I decide to write myself a happy ending to finish with, my very own fiction baby fooling myself asleep with the fantasy that everything will be fine. Just fine. And I hope it is. I really do. Because I want something shiny and new and cocky and happy-worthy. I want a new plan, but not necessarily a new man. I want a fresh song and a wheeze free whistle. I want the sun to rise on the melancholy confusion of night and I want to be standing there bathed in it’s golden glow gasping at it’s beauty. Hair braided, jeans slung low, agile body and mind because I’m ready to bounce right back like the big beautiful bitch I always wanted to be.

The science of walking through windows.

So we gave up ‘forever’ for a principle. And now everything I feel is immediate. In the becoming of this new me, I am moment to moment. Like a wasp constantly beating myself against a window, never understanding the ‘science of walking through windows’. And they lie when they say that the ‘here and now’ is psychologically the best place to be. What do they fucking know? Shrinking everything down to the most fashionable phrase. A psychiatric finger on the pulse that monitors the vibe of the most recent global anxiety. It can be just as disorienting as the others, the here and now, and that’s the real reason new born babies cry: they have no concept of past and present. The now fucks with their little heads. I don’t know what I’m doing from one moment to the next. Because in ‘the moment’ there is no time for thought or planning, so you act on impulse and when your instincts drag you away from the party your brain was planning, it splits you in half. Who’s friend are you really? Where do you really want to be?

Unlike a civil war, my head and heart don’t aim to kill each other. But like a marriage, they nag at each other till neither can know with any certainty whose fault it was to begin with.  Two game-show contestants: slam-pressing that buzzer, sweat under their fringes, dry lips catching against snarled teeth. But the heart directs the body far faster than the brain can. And when the heart gets its way regardless of the rules, the brain feels begrudged and fights back. Restless nights, bad dreams, deep rooted anxiety and the uncomfortable inability to look at your own reflection. So instead you’ll bask in the gaze of others. And the better they see you: the better it suits you. But when you’re alone, that’s when it comes flooding back with full force. ‘you just wait till we get home, then I’ll give you something to cry about’.

The problem of ‘feeling’ is like a mesh of string. It’s hard to find the end…or the start…or how many other threads are tangled in with it. Do I miss him? I do. Do I regret my choices? Hard to say. I regret that the longer you are together the easier it is to stop seeing each other as you need to be seen, the less you can hear each other and the less likely you are to choose each other over everything else. Because when you have something so permanently and confidently, you stop seeing how easy it would be to lose it because you don’t really believe it can be lost. I regret that we couldn’t make it work…and suspect maybe it was just that we chose not to. But guilty is how I feel regardless and that has always been true way before the break up. Mediterranean blood in my veins dictates I’m either hungry, worried or guilty. Guilty your honour, because the smugness of my brain likes to remind the heart how kind and loving he was. Replaying scene by scene everything wonderful that he’d ever done for me. The whispered happiness in the ear of morning before your eyes are properly awake. The comfort and contentment that comes with having a joint plan, having a world and a lifetime together. Having had a history and a romantic photo album of memory to back everything up. Brick by brick, eventually you create a safe place to live together outside of the real world. Somewhere way better.

But romance is like a light turned off. Fades to black and retracts with the slow blink-tut of your eyes. Head turned shoulder-wards, body pointing towards the door: who’d have ever thought we’d both give up so easily? And who’d have thought I could be just as stubborn as him? We always said if we fought it would last a lifetime. And some days I feel I could settle for a foe in place of my Phil. Because it makes it easier to move on, and there is something cool about it to have loved and hated so intensely in the one lifetime. But in my heart I cant hate him. I’m talking bollox when I say I do. I am angry, don’t get me wrong I have the bitterness and anger and fury of a generation of in-held breaths and unspoken thoughts, why wouldn’t I? After all I’m a woman and I didn’t get the romantic ending to the fairy-tale romance that hours of Wimbledon and Love Actually promised me I would have. Of course I’m pissed off, who wouldn’t fucking be? But I have no valid reason to hate him, not in the true sense of the word. No matter how hard I try I just cant, and more succinctly put, I wont. Not just because he made me a mum and not just because he married me, but because we grew up together. Because we got stoned together. We saw corpses together. We dealt with heavy shit while we walked to work together. And eventually, after 16 beautiful brilliant hilarious unusual years together: we created one almighty mother fucker of a stalemate together. But truthfully and painfully and joyfully, I properly enjoyed the game while it lasted.   

The opposite of love’s indifference-and other new found songs.

 

Sentences spill out, somewhere punctuated with the word ‘fuck’. A gasp, a sigh, a constant delicious emotional ache. A psychological DOT DOT DOT, pause for thought. A questioning a wondering…a mosquito…a libido. And I’m the biggest fucking idiot that ever lived. I swear I am. Desperate to find a philosophy decent enought to hang this deviational ‘fuck it’ feeling onto. The closest I come is to think that the universe is indifferent…somewhere across the sea there is a culture of love and emotion without boundaries and rules.

And it’s all too much, precisely how I wanted and needed it to be. Because I AM a filthy tart: those that know the best and worst of me, know how true that is. Slutting all over this madly intense feeling because turbulence feeds the fucking life back into me and sticks a stubborn middle finger up at the shit-storm of bad news and dissapointments i’ve endured.  Like i’m finishing off something I started in puberty. A crush on curves and the undulating rhythms of this womanly world. Those ghosts coming back to haunt, taunt and tempt me. Reminding me there are still battles to be fought, urging me up from the sulky slumber and into the crisp morning’s light. Test my courage and my resolve and splatter it like spunk against the unwilling canvas of this modern world trap. And if only I could get my hands on a cock big enough to do the job properly.

If I could split like a fraction and live this life twice, like a time split, a parrallel universe of who I am and what I have: what else would I do? The answer comes thumping like a heartbeat clear, I’d do it ALL. Fucking absorb it all, experience everything. Have my children young and keep living and laughing till I dropped from the dance completely spent. A wild gypsy at heart, and for the life of me I cant think why that term chanted at me from a young age, offended me so much back then. I embrace her now, with all her stupidness and windsept hair. I fucking love her in all her freakish formidable glory, even if no other fucker does. And I’ll be her friend, tight and close and brain-spaced in all out cut-lucidness, like the hanging out of old friends. Like legs dangling from between banisters: teens finding odd new comfortable places to plonk. I’ll deliver a punch like a swinging steam-train into the faces of haters, i’ll defend her life like I never dared before. She needs no other but me and i’ll commit like a cunt, chasing chickens and chumps from her door: my snarling kiwi no longer the cute cockrest it once was. I’ll take my seat on top: perched comfortably like a proud pecking parrot casting my feathers a-wobble as I bounce to my hearts content. Bounce out a rhythm like the typing of a bestseller novel. Dig those ankle bells back out from the well and step out in a daring dance, barefoot and free as a tree. For this life is transient and you must take it up on all it’s offers while you still can.

Skunk Green Eyes And Fuck It, I Love Him.

us

Choose wisely who you give your heart to. The words sound out in my head but never in my mouth as I watch those closest to me fuck-arse their way through love. But they choose poorly, as they must. because love is unselective like that. And I suppose that’s what’s magical about it. It occurs to me while I sip my tea, that on this subject alone, I have an advantage. Because what I have is worth everything. Happily I’d forgo everything else for just this, if I really had to. And how many people can say that about their husbands?

The fittest man to ever walk the earth, and he’s all mine. My eyes lap him up like a tall glass of coke on a hot day. His hands so careful and precise, he chisels the real me out of the filthy alchemy that I once was. The mess of metal and stone and debris and now what we have here is a ruby. Together we excavated each other, like ruins brought back to life, like fishing nets suddenly mended and full of fish. As though we alone destroyed the falshood of differing genders. Discovered that the dick and the cunt are the same thing, doesn’t matter which witch holds the stick or the bag, the trick is just as good.

I could stretch out the edges of mouth till my face rips apart, scream to the heavens above till sound fills every crevice of this world, beat wildly with my fists against the horrible fate that every living thing must share. Open myself inside out, soul draping along the floor like the spilled yolk of an egg and I love him so violently and delicately and eternally that it’s everything that ever was and is. And there I said it. Call me dramatic, it’s how I feel. And fuck it that my love-lust for him embarrasses some, fuck it that it’s over the top and un-cool, fuck it that it’s not finger-on-the-pulse-londonfields-edgy. Fuck it because it’s real and it’s mine and it’s better than I ever deserved or could ever have hoped for.

So what is he, some sort of fucking god? I know the backlash before the words even leave my mouth and it makes me laugh. Because in this day and age you can’t say you’re gagging for your husband to fuck you without every woman on this earth thinking you’re pathetic. Because at this ripe middle-age housewives are more concerned with the acquisition of things. And penis-man is just the once screwed un-screwing tool that gets them everything they demand. The new daddy to accommodate for the princess brat in a way that a daddy’d never dare. So they con themselves out of genuine romantic proposals by first planting the seed, because we all know he never would have if you didn’t first impregnate his dumb-fuck little head with the idea in the first place. They push and push like all good midwives will tell them, to get the baby up there in the first place. Because those little boy-men would never have been ready otherwise. Let’s face it, if they hadn’t of gone to all those crazy covert secret lengths then they’d be whittling away their womb-fertile-years while some scrotom-scrounger leisurely takes his time, clutching his condoms tightly. I don’t blame or judge them for their manipulative little ways. I admire my sisters because it’s what it takes to get shit done. And woman are the true warriors and I’m not afraid to say those bitches terrify me. Because they could have one over on me as easily and quickly as I conjure fiction-fact anywhere I see it.

I scream-love him tightly like a fucking crazy bitch because I never had to be that way with him. The frankness that we share startles and shocks us and when he got down on one knee, I genuinely had no clue. When he proposed to me, with that in-expensive perfect silver ruby goth ring, I thought myself too much woman to be bound by it. And what a fool I was to not have realised sooner that marriage was more about belonging than possession and that in the space the ring created I’d find the real reason that us human’s have a soul.

I once said that I feared death solely because it was the one place I’d have to go without him. And it’s true. And does that make me less of a feminist. Fuck off does it. It just means that what we have between us is, even after all these years, so precious to me that without it the hands of time aren’t fearful. And I’m terrified of some cruel twist of fate taking him from me. Not because I’m afraid to be alone but because he is the best day of my life, he is the man who made me a mum, he is that guy with the skunk green eyes who I could barely hear on the bus all those years ago.

Be careful who you give your heart to, not because they could crush it, but because they might just not.