The Undertone

Mary stood on a stoop alone

Righteous and alone

Flawed and alone

Relying on precepts that wore her out

like stone on the more malleable stone

of her own resolve.

 

Mary stood on a stoop, tall

Soaring and tall

Flailing but tall

Afraid that her perch could not hold her weight

Afraid that she would fall

 

Mary stood on a stoop to shout

To clarify but shout

To defend and shout

No one else knew what Mary was about

Her perch was too tall –

“Why she yellin’ at us, for clout?”

 

Mary stood on a stoop to love

“How can you love from above?”

“How can you love from above?!”

You need to stand on your own two feet

to love.

How’s Mary gonna understand if she’s above?

 

Mary stood on a stoop to be heard

To be seen and heard

To be felt and heard

For years and years, she had cared so much

but couldn’t be heard

She’d whispered for love  but no one had cared

to whisper back

 

So Mary gave up her stoop forlorn

Aching at the scorn

Misunderstood and worn

Wondering why she’d ever been born if

it wasn’t to find a stoop of her own.

 

Prose et Poesie

Marriage I

“Humph! Don’t ‘spect all dat tuh keep up. He ain’t kissin’ yo’ mouf when he carry on over yuh lak dat. He’s kissin’ yo’ foot and ’tain’t in uh man tuh kiss foot long. Mouf kissin’ is on uh equal and dat’s natural but when dey got to bow down tuh love, dey soon straightens up.”

 

-Nanny, “Their Eyes Were Watching God”

Inspiration

Musings on One Really Good Friday

I have returned to France exactly two years to the day that I left it, as if I planned it to be more significant than it was. I didn’t. But it doesn’t diminish the feeling of homecoming that has been blossoming since I got on the plane from Istanbul to Lyon, when I started hearing snatches of conversations in French. It would then seem somewhat ironic that I had been dreading this trip up until that moment, not feeling my regular level of excitement to be on the move. I love to travel and will do it to within a penny of my pocket’s complete emptiness if given the chance. But France is home. It has been ever since the first day I stepped off the plane in Lyon in 2013 and some part of me will always be here. That is the problem with travelling. We take so much of the world we see with us but we also leave immense bits of our selves everywhere making it increasingly difficult to remain whole and marginally reducing the chance of ever sitting still with every new trip we take. Very soon, we stop travelling solely to discover ourselves and new places and people and things; eventually, we begin to do it because we are incomplete and are trying to find enough of ourselves in these new haunts to replace what we have left behind in the places that become forever beloved. It becomes as much of a give as it is a take. And the more we give, the more we need to be on the go so we can take some more. Travelling becomes the mechanism by which we breathe easiest, by which we can sleep the most comfortably. Languages become thinner and thinner barriers that we encounter as we imbibe as much of them on our voyages as we can. So it is that I find myself on a train at 22h 43 on a Good Friday in 2016 from Paris to Besançon with immense happiness in my heart, the likes of which I have not felt for about three months since my last trip.

On est bien là.

Travel

Thursday

She gets off the train and swiftly tucks her gloveless hands in her coat pockets; jamming her right thumb into the clumped up earphone cords connected to her phone that is, also, jammed in her pocket. She walks briskly to the traffic light and waits with head bowed for the light to favour her crossing. Five minutes after she has crossed the slushy mess of a road, she is letting herself into a warm lobby with a fob that is part of the tangled mess of that same right coat pocket. She briefly debates checking her mailbox but doesn’t do it. She, more pressingly, needs to pee. She takes the elevator up to her floor and walks – trots- to her door. She pauses for the briefest of beats outside her door and swings her tote off her shoulder. She lets it hang at her side as she opens the door – it will discourage the cat from dashing outside when she opens the door wide enough to walk in. He is sitting by the door as expected, he is shooed back by the bag he has not yet come to expect after six months of the same… Cats are not known to be exceptionally bright. She closes the door and does a pee-jig by it as she hangs up her coat. It has become more like a pee-shimmy by the time she kicks off her boots and walks sideways to the bathroom. She pees – relief. The cat winds his way around her legs. She wishes that he wouldn’t. He rubs himself on her tights. She tells him to go away. He seems to listen and settles just outside the door. She needs a shower and some dinner – in that order. The shower is warm and necessary. The cat sits just behind the shower curtain and jumps back when she is done and moves the curtains out of the way. She puts some music on and sashays as she lotions. She throws on something comfy then passes through a body spray mist she has created on her way out the bathroom door. She decides a quick stir fry will do and gets out a chopping board. The cat trails her to the kitchen, meowing now in hopes of a cat treat. She picks out a knife to chop some onions, the cat lays it’s upright tail lazily on her legs. She squats, plants her vegetable knife deep in the thorax of the cat in one swift motion, then walks back to the bathroom for another shower. 

Prose et Poesie

Pieces

And as I listened and I read and I thought… I thought

He will break my heart

Beautifully.

And I will let him

To see what he does with the pieces.

Or

If he will find the apex of his artistry in

The breaking.

Prose et Poesie

Ten Things I Know About Rape and/or Sexual Assault that You Should Too

In light of recent events, I’m taking a temporary hiatus from love, from pain, from human feeling, really. Instead I’ll talk about an act so heinous, it doesn’t really rate on the human spectrum – rape/sexual assault. It’s funny because I see animals and their sexual interactions and, even when I was much younger, I had a problem with how I could not tell if the female animals were really showing consent, really enjoying the acts as they stood complacently and were pounded from behind. Docile, pliant, but not quite passionate; just furthering their species. But humans aren’t that way, are we? We hardly engage in sexual acts to “be fruitful and multiply”. We express passion, hate, excitement, happiness, pleasure and love through that medium. 

Now, I spend a lot of time with love. I am trying to make a whole blog about it, for Gods sake. I am not an expert on it but I do know a bit about it. Not so with rape, not at all. I barely know anything about it since it consists of so many different experiences and the hurt and angst of so many different individuals with different reactions that I do not know. But here I am still writing a blog post about it (and here you are still reading). Well we’ve generalized about all I do not know about rape/sexual assault. Below is what I DO know about rape. 

Ten things I know about rape and/or sexual assault that you should too:
– 

– Victim blaming is NOT okay. Blaming is used lightly here to describe victim doubting, victim indifference, victim shunning, victim hostile analysis, victim anything really. You know why? Because the only thing that should be directed towards them is love and support. And some more support.

Oldest trick in the book I just employed, eh? But as with all other cliches, still bloody effective. I could have talked about how rape is a heinous act that gets committed every day (RAINN actually reports one sexual assault in America every 107 seconds. If you don’t know what RAINN is, please educate yourself) yet there is NOT ONE self acknowledging rapist out there (yes,yes, I know about that disturbed psychopath who actually admitted to it). 

I could have talked about how 4/5 rapists are people we know and 47 percent are actual friends or acquaintances (this one needs a bit more spreading around in certain countries. Mine, for instance) and so we shouldn’t be so quick to discount the more “unbelievable” strikes of sexual assault i.e. Fathers, stepfathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, husbands, neighbors, grandfathers etc. 

I could have talked about how empathy and support shouldn’t be given more readily solely to those we know simply because we can speak to their character, but also to those we do not. Because while on the other hand, there are obviously those out there that we do not know that can speak to their characters (weak justification), until the rapist is proven completely innocent (approximately 1 in 400 cases btw), it is NEVER the victim’s character that should be in question.

I could talk about how the justice system does not make it the easiest for victims even in this century to report this revolting act, no matter how advanced the country in which it is committed.

I could talk about how acts of rape and sexual assault require the silence of the victim for the perpetrator to keep on committing these acts and he will go to any lengths to achieve this aim. Is it then a shock that emotional, physical and psychological abuse are usually the weapons of choice employed to attain this objective? How far fetched does it seem now that most victims do not report these crimes? (Yes, there are definitely also cases that aren’t reported for fear of shame, ostracizing, and all things that could be reasons for all situations. But you get what I mean).

I could have talked about how rape/sexual assault has nothing to do with what a woman is wearing, how much she has drunk, the recreational drugs she chooses to take, the jobs she chooses to do, the company she chooses to keep, the words she chooses to use, the people she chooses to love or the way she chooses to act. You know why? Because 10 times out of 10, a woman will never CHOOSE rape. And that is the only choice that matters.

I could have talked about how while rape/sexual assault isn’t exclusive to women, (yes, kids and men also get affected) they are highest sufferers. And while men should also be protected, kids even more vigorously so, this movement has more than enough space for everybody. Much like all the movements out there about social justice with opposers – #alllivesmatter #notallmen – the opposition noise is unnecessary. If we all supported the movement at hand at each moment with the importance it deserved without detraction, the hashtags I just used would not be necessary. It would be clear to all that all lives matter and it wasn’t all men. The point is each movement should get its due as presented – independently and with complete attention. 

I could have talked about how social justice should be championed by all – passively or actively. Because humanity – as social beings- require justice. You cannot hope to be human and not be concerned with the concept of it. It is not a choice we should consider that we have, like our opinions on religion or politics. It is a right we should exercise. If one chooses not to be active in their bid for justice, one can still passively participate by providing support to its victims. This does NOT include keeping silent. To stand silent is to provide consent. (I think I paraphrased two different quotes here but you get my point).

I could have talked about how rape/sexual assault has affected at least one person you know well. No, really it has. 

I could have spoken about how this issue is important to me because I, like the countless others that came before, after, and beside me, have suffered from it myself. I, like countless others, have suffered psychologically and emotionally for years afterwards. It does not make me any less of a human, I do not live any less in my own truth and I certainly did not deserve any of it. But it happened anyway. 

I know I know, I pulled another cliche and gave you 10 reasons anyway. Funny how that still works, huh?

Some of you will, upon reaching the end of this list, scoff at how logical and common place these things were. I’m glad you read it anyway and I hope we are friends in real life. 

Some of you will not agree, think some of these statements are largely assuming on my part or that I have no right to challenge your way of thought. But I would argue that I do. We grow when we are challenged.

Love is still the answer though, it always is.

Journaling

Change II

And so it hit me – full in the face. Bam! A truth I’ve been locking so far away and so deeply that it hit me with the juggernaut momentum of its escape. And all it took was a tweet to know it. I had to see someone say it before it made perfect sense to me.

“Loving someone and watching them move on with no stress is both what you wanted and your worst nightmare”.

Yes. It is what I wanted. It’s what I wanted terribly. But why did I have to read someone else come to the very poignant conclusion to understand this? Because I think I had been living out the nightmare part of it the whole time… But I’m free now, you see. I have to be. You can’t want what’s best for someone with fervour and live in your nightmare. No, you will then live in your release. In your truth and in that love. The object of the affection might be dead and gone, for all intents and purposes, but the love will last. That’s the beauty of it. Once love has been created, it does not go anywhere. It might exist in a vacuum if necessary (in those times, we are deluded that the love is gone because there is no object on which to impress it), but it really is an imperishable thing. Love is an imperishable act and once fostered, you cannot possibly exist in love and in a nightmare. The two are mutually exclusive. Instead, you can be like, “I was, till two moments ago, in a nightmare of my own carelessness THEN in love”.

Journaling