These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Own Your Mess: Trust and Mistakes

Can you ever have trust in someone who you believe has let you down?

I think you can, because I’ve done it before. I did it with my parents. I love them, but I knew from an early age that I felt that they failed me. Both in their separate ways. Both for their own reasons – many that I will never know. But my short, young experience was one of disappointment. That doesn’t mean that I never loved them or that they never loved me. I did love them. I still do. However, it does mean – for me – that I lost trust in them for a time. A long time.

It is a fact of life that in order for you to trust someone who has previously hurt you it takes real courage. I always believed courage was for  ... well, others. Not for me. But I have unwittingly been living a life of courageous steps. I needed to do it. I’m glad I did.

The questions I asked myself before I acted were something like this: ‘Why would you choose to step out in an act of faith? What can you possibly gain? What can you possibly lose by not doing it?’ Then I took the risk and stepped out - taking more realistic expectations with me.

I’ve discovered that when a person makes a mistake, they have to pay for it. It’s only right. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve paid. In some cases, I’m still paying. That’s the nature of consequences I guess.

There are times when a momentary bad decision runs away with you and before you know it you’re tangled up in an intricate spider’s web of a different situation. Because you’re now so entangled, it is often difficult to know how to stop what you’ve already started. You see, I have found that mistakes can be like rolling stones ... they just keep on going down the precipice. Occasionally you need someone with a different kind of strength to reach out and help you: to steer you away from your descent into the depths of despair and eternal loss. Someone to stop you from plummeting out of control. Then, when you are out of the free-falling experience you can look back and see what you did to start that ball rolling. Then you can acknowledge your active role in the situation ... and start to change. It’s a transformative process.

When you create a mess in life (or contribute to the creation of it) it’s good to acknowledge your error and apologise for your part in the situation. Not every mistake is fatal; most of them have a chance of redemption built in.

I think it’s important to own your own mess.

How? Firstly, trust yourself and you’ll be surprised at the results. I am.

I’ve tried it, and I know others have tried it with me, too. It’s worth it.


“If you can really step up and say, ‘This is my part and I fully own it,’ everything flows from there.” Sheri Salata

Maybe ...

Maybe we are more alike than we want to believe.

Maybe we are all yearning to unravel that overwhelming mystery that we mostly keep hidden inside of us. You know, that desire - that need, to be close to someone else. To be at ‘home’ with someone, to be family; to remove all barriers and to love with all our hearts.

Maybe all our feeble acts of expression are attempts to show that no matter how ‘grown’ we are, we still need understanding, love and the occasional sign of approval.

Maybe we instinctively and spontaneously yearn to create a connective bond with other beautiful humans; people who are naturally reaching out - just like ourselves.


Maybe. Just maybe ...

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Individuality


We know that we’re all different, but the joy of knowing that doesn’t make us want to be too different from the rest of the crowd so that we never fit in ... anywhere. Our uniqueness is important to our identity. It doesn’t matter that we buy the same clothes, listen to the same records, or eat the same food as anyone else. Because when we do it, when I do it, it’s still a different experience for me, as it is for you: an individual experience.



Being individual is a wonderful thing. As is being part of a group, part of a community. We can do both together – they are not mutually exclusive. Our chosen community is also part of our identity.

Willie Nelson said there was a time when he was trying to look and sound like a predefined idea of a type of country musician and he realised that it was a problem, because he was trying to be somebody else. So, instead of doing that he decided to look and sound like himself – and it felt right to him.

So it’s hard enough figuring out who you are – why mess that up trying to be someone else? Who you are is both unique and new, and it may be just what the world needs right now.” Willie Nelson.

‘Be yourself, and find a way.’ Those are probably the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life.” Missy Elliot.

Whilst reflecting on her early life, Missy Elliot recalls seeing how her mother started a whole new life for them and Missy Elliot said, “You can’t sit around making excuses for why you can’t do this or that, you have to dig deep into yourself and find a way – or create one!” She says that you have to remember to find out what works for you, not what other people are doing or what works for them.

More advice: do your own thing – as long as it’s legal! J

Being different gets you attention. It’s not always easy but when you don’t compromise yourself to achieve your dream: there are always many ways to get something done, all you have to do is to find your way – and do it.

The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard, One Thousand and One Epigrams, 1911

It is often the failure who is the pioneer in new lands, new undertakings, and new forms of expression.” Eric Hoffer

The great majority of men are not original, for they are not primary, have not assumed their own vows, but are secondaries – grow up and grow old in seeming and following: and when they die they occupy themselves to the last with what others will think, and whether Mr. A and Mr. B will go to their funeral.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

There come a moment when we all have to face ourselves, when the value of who we are is invested in who we are not. How we are not. Not like the other. The courage of this moment may be tiny. It may come at the supermarket when you realise you just don’t need that thing anymore. It may be gentle and bold when you stand up for another and say, ‘No.’ I love myself, my dignity, and theirs, and you may not take another step against either. Or it may be brewing inside you that the world has come to a moment when we must all join, not as one but as individuals who know in their hearts that now is the end of unkindness, and your voice, your special, unique voice was always learning for today.” Sharon Stone

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Re-inventing yourself


How often do we re-invent ourselves? On a daily basis perhaps.

If the re-invention process is successful I wonder what I should do with the old ‘self’, the old Marjorie. Then I realised that it’s not really possible – for me, at least – to separate myself into ‘old’ and ‘new’ versions of me. My life is a tad more complicated than that. I think that I manage multiple parts of my personality at the same time. Let me explain. With different relationships I have a different part of me to share with each person: that’s almost like wearing a different mask, or showing a different face. It’s all me, but different. Like the sun, it’s all sun but it looks different at different times of the day and from various locations of the earth.

I remember when a cousin first travelled to the UK from Jamaica, I saw him standing at the window on his first morning in the shires, he was just looking at the sky. Then he spoke, slowly, and a touch sadly, “The sun is a lie.” I was puzzled, but he continued, his head turned slightly to one side with the heavy disappointment of losing a familiar friend, “It looks like the sun, but it doesn’t feel like the sun.” His conclusion made sense. His relationship to the sun had altered with the miles of travel, but the sun was still the same, just showing a different side of itself in a different situation. Here it was necessarily lightly masked by clouds and driven by wind.

What works in one place doesn’t necessarily work in another. The same can be said for relationships and the parts of our personality that we share.

In a way we can be like the sun and become so good at masking the various parts of our character that we build up a hard exterior and hide under layers of self-deception.  The main concern that I have is that one day it may become too hard to take off any of the masks. The more I think about it, the chief problem that I see with having this interchangeable mask-like life is that one mask may be so effective that it becomes the only one we wear, and then we lose the other, valuable, parts of ourselves.

If we re-invent to prevent others from seeing us, then we have to tread cautiously in case – in the process – we change a single temporary mask into a permanent suit of full-body armour.

The last thing we should do is to be a lie.

I know it’s not comfortable to continue life as an invention, a fiction, a life behind a mask.


Saturday, 11 May 2013

Time and distance


I’ve been thinking about how time and distance are twinned with each other. They both seem to have the same relationship with feelings.

When I am feeling ‘positive’ both of them seem to pass really quickly; it’s as if they are both flying. However, I have noticed that when I am not quite so upbeat they both seem to get heavy feet and drag their way, like spoilt children, through wet sand. This is when their presence is so evident, and at times tiring.

The reason I’ve been thinking about this is multi-faceted: a series of abstract thoughts have been battling against a real situation.

The distance in this scenario has remained the same, the time it takes to travel that distance hasn’t altered. It’s just that my feelings regarding the journey have. This same time and distance - that a month ago would have seemed like way too much to contemplate - is now a joy to think about.

How is that possible?

Feelings alter the perception of both time and distance. I wonder why that is? Maybe it's got something to do with the speed and direction of my thoughts. I also wonder if principles can override feelings. I doubt it. I had hoped they could.

But I don’t feel it’s possible.



Thursday, 2 May 2013

I was a magician


Have you ever considered what skill sets you have?

Do you think about your talent as a magician?

Don’t shake your head and dismiss that idea until you reflect on the number of times you have made your feelings disappear.

Now do you see what I mean?

There are an abundance of courses about how to be authentic but, if the foundation course in self-deception was taken early in life, these may have to be repeated, frequently.

I wonder why being authentic is frowned upon so much in society. Why are we taught, at an early age it seems, to button up, close down, or hem ourselves in? Isn’t it more challenging and more draining to be somebody you’re not rather than who you are?

I know my answer to that question. It’s ‘yes’.

I’m trying not to be a ‘feelings magician’ anymore. I won’t make them disappear because I am trying to fit in ... to anything.

I’m going to continue being me.

And ... as a bonus to living authentically you get to feel free and you gradually drop the anxiety, anger, confusion and helplessness that were part of the magician’s spell.

Living authentically is not the easiest thing I have ever done, but it’s one of the best: my gift of love to myself.

I deserve it.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Silence - poetry by Marjorie H Morgan


Silence

In the day,
And in the night
Twinned thoughts and
Feelings are exposed -
Raw like a fresh wound
They are tangled
Through my heart
They affect my breathing.
I see them everywhere I look.
Sleep can be quiet and
Sometimes silence is the only solace.

© Marjorie H Morgan 2013 

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sleep massage


When things threaten to overwhelm you do you ever get the urge to retreat away from everybody and everything? I do. That’s when I like to go to sleep.

Finding my most comfortable position to lie in I’ll pull my duvet closely around me, try to clear my mind and then, hopefully, sink into slumber.

Like a reflexology session for the feet,  a good sleep is a massage that affects the whole body.

Sleep can sometimes remove all those rushing thoughts from my head. Like using a pencil eraser they are removed from my conscious mind as sleep floats me gently away from my waking cares. If I do manage to be cradled by a deep sleep I invariably wake up feeling differently about the situation I was retreating from.

My mind is clearer. I can think again.

Sleep can straighten things up - from the inside out.

Zzzzzzzz


Friday, 12 April 2013

Success at failing


Today I had cause to think about disappointments and failings and immediately someone came to mind who has been a success at failing.

You see, this person has wonderfully and consistently failed  ... to disappoint me. They have been successful at failing. To me that counts as a sign of a successful friendship.

I just hope that others see me in the same way at some time: a victorious failure.


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

I am not my hair

I am not my hair ...

My hair – 9th April 2013 
... but what will it be like tomorrow? 
© Marjorie H Morgan (2013) 


“You have good hair”
“Is it real?”
“Can I touch it?”
“Have you got any weed?”
“Ha! Jackson 5 hair.”
“Is it all yours?”
“It feels like a carpet.”
“Can I use it for a weave?”
“How do you do it like that?”
“Do you have bad hair?”
“I like it when you wear your hair down.”
“I like it when you wear your hair up.”
“Can I play with it?”
“Is it hard?”
“Is it soft?”
“Does it hurt?”
“It suits you.”
“I don’t like your hair like that.”
“How often do you wash it?”
“Can you comb it?”
“Does it feel like a Brillo pad? It looks like one.”
“Your hair is so soft.”
“You have tough hair.”
“Have you ever cut it?”
“Don’t cut it.”
“Cut it, it’s too long.”

I am not my hair. My hair is part of my identity. Or so it seems. People always have a lot to say about other people’s hair. I have been no exception. I have shared a few of the comments I have heard over the years. These are all fresh in my mind now because I am thinking about cutting my hair – much shorter.

I have no idea why this thought process has taken so long to come to any sort of firm conclusion so I’m releasing them here to find some clarity.

For years as a child I was told that I had “good hair”. What is that exactly? What makes hair good or bad? It’s ability to grow faster than other hair? I guess so because mine did (and still does) just that.

I am on my second lot of locs. The first set I cut off completely about 9 years ago. Back then I grew them down my back, pretty much the same as I have now; this lot is longer – I can almost sit on them now. My history of locs seem to be a cycle of letting them grow and then cutting them off, but the cutting time also appears to have been delayed by me right now. I’ve been musing on a quick trim, a medium cut, or a totally new start for a while but still I hesitate and the scissors stay sheathed. Why is it such a big issue to cut my hair right now – I think it’s starting to become a big thing so I’ve been reflecting on the history of my hair and hair as part of identity.

I’ve looked back at my photographs and remembered what I was doing when I had different hair styles. My hair really does tell a journey of my growth and change in different circumstances. But surely that was my hair changing and not me? Different hair styles show a difference but they don’t show all of me. I am not my hair.

However, I do like having some hair. You see, I’ve been thinking about the loss of hair – through accident, illness, age, or choice. Each situation has a different affect on the person involved. Hair is more important that I first gave it credit for. It’s part of a uniform, a means of entry or exclusion from different groups; it is a badge of identity. Hair has a character all of its own. Hair is both political and social. How your hair is worn has links to gender divisions, theories about sexuality, images of beauty and power and concepts of ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ hair.

Hair speaks volumes whether a skinhead or locs-head. Hair, like eyes or clothes, is a window into a person’s identity.

This has led me back to thinking.

I am not my hair ... or am I?

To snip or not to snip? That is the question ...

India.Arie - I Am Not My Hair ft. Akon















Thursday, 4 April 2013

Good Friday?


Hot cross buns and Easter eggs were in abundance all around town. We didn’t have any in our house. Not because I’m mean, but because they don’t really have anything to do with my interpretation of the death and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I may be wrong. I often am.


Good Friday (as recorded in the Bible) seemed to be a record of suffering. But also about hope. That’s what I seem to recall.

My recent Friday before Easter reminded me of sad times and how people suffer. It was a freezing cold day – the temperature here in the Shires was just nudging above zero for the first time since dawn, and I was sat in my warm car just after noon with the fan heater on high.

I was waiting for someone to return from the shop around the corner and they were taking ages. I called them on the phone but it went straight to voice mail. Ten or more minutes passed and I was getting agitated with the delay. Then it all changed. Thoughts of my discomfort were gone.

A car that had been parked opposite me moved off. The occupants had just left the supermarket and loaded up their car with bags of goodies – I’d guess chocolate eggs and hot cross buns could have been amongst their purchases. As they drove off I saw a man sat on the ground in a crossed-legged pose. His head was bowed and he was almost motionless. I watched. He sat. More minutes passed.

People on his side of the road passed him by. He didn’t move to look at them. They in turn didn’t look at him. He seemed invisible to them. My heart broke as I saw more flurries of snow start to fall. I tried the phone again. Still no reply and no sight of the person either.

Like a stalemate chess game I sat and looked at the man on the ground. He sat and kept his head towards the ground. Suddenly the car door opened and a blast of cold air entered the car with the two bags of steaming freshly cooked chips.

I sadly pointed to the man on the ground.

“I was calling you,” I said, “I wanted you to get another bag of chips for him.”

I took a bag and started to eat the delicious hot food.

It was quiet. I felt a stare.

And a question. “You were going to get one? What? Aren’t you still going to do it?”

I had hesitated. I think maybe I didn’t want to get out straightaway because it was cold and I was hungry. Those facts hit me in the warm silence of the car.

I was wrong. I knew I would never rest if I drove off without doing something. I handed my chips back and, somewhat shamefacedly I got out of the car.

“Tell him about the Hope Centre,” I was told as I closed the door and hurried across the road.

“Excuse me,” I said to him as I reached his side.

He looked up at me and my heart broke again.

“Would you like some food? Maybe some hot chips or something?”

His eyes smiled and there was more warmth in that connection that in the whole of the county.

“Thank you, Ma’am,” he responded, “Yes, please. Thank you.”

“I won’t be a moment,” I assured him and rushed back to the shop that seemed to take forever to serve people. However, I was in and out within two minutes and back at his side with the food. He gratefully took the bag and thanking me again he bent his head and started to hungrily devour the contents.

“Thank you, Ma’am,” he repeated as I walked away. I should have thanked him really.

By the time I had crossed the street to my car several other people seemed to notice him there and stopped to speak with him. He raised his head between mouthfuls and nodded to them as they asked him if he wanted anything.

I nearly neglected that opportunity to help someone suffering on that Good Friday, because I felt cold. But if I did stay in the warmth and comfort of my surroundings I would not have seen the ripple effect that kindness has on people all around.

It helps to step out of our comfort zone. I know this. It makes a little difference that may turn into a big difference as the motion of change continues.



Sunday, 24 March 2013

Running on empty


Times can be hard. Nevertheless I always strive to do my best. Don’t you?

And I am happy with my efforts (most of the time).

I can’t remember ever running out of petrol and having to push the car to the petrol station or to go and buy some emergency supplies, but there was a time when I thought it was a close call.

That day I ran the car on faith and prayers.

I walk a lot and use the car rarely. I knew it didn’t have much petrol in it, but on this particular morning I had to use it. I drove in that economical fashion that is becoming popular with so many motorists these days. No fast acceleration or braking, driving like a learner driver – almost: just a lot smoother through the gears this time.

Anyway, I was on my way to the train station with someone – I was the only one who knew how little fuel was in the car. That information was on a need-to-know only basis. I was getting petrol the next day; the plan was already in my head. This one short journey wouldn’t make that much difference, would it? I hoped not. I pulled off slowly and we carefully made our way to the station.

It was all good. When I started the car the trip meter still registered I had 5 miles left in it. “More than enough,” I thought to myself, thinking about the week ahead.

That’s when faith had to kick in.

The person I was seeing off had forgotten something essential at home. “I’ll go and get it,” I smiled and said it without hesitation. We knew that the train was scheduled to leave in 10 minutes. The question in my mind was would I make it? I knew I’d do my best to do it. Of course, love does that in you – for you and for them.

Despite knowing that I’d make every possible effort to do it, there was a slight sense of simmering panic inside me. I wondered if I would really make it. Would the car do the round trip home and back to the station again or would I be walking to the nearest petrol forecourt when it shuddered to a halt at the side of the road?

As I ran back to the car I prayed. “Please God, let me make it home and back in time and without running out of petrol.” I repeated this as I started the car and then my heart sank as the car’s trip meter flashed up “0 miles” in front of me. “Uh-oh!” I thought as I pulled off, but I still believed.

Every inch of the way home I expected the car to stop, but it didn’t. Neither did my prayers. The same happened on the return journey to the train station. Smooth as running on velvet. But I knew I was running on empty.


I rushed back into the station and handed over the item with a minute or two to spare.

“You’re my hero!” I was told. I smiled and quietly thanked God again – for everything.

With the last minute request safely completed the train departed and I knew that I had done my best, again.

Taking a deep breath I knew it was my turn to leave. I returned to the car not knowing if I would be walking or driving home. With faith I turn on the ignition and ... this time the car’s trip meter flashed up ‘5 miles’ in front of me! I laughed out loud and thanked God again. What a great sense of humour He has.

I still drove home in the same careful manner I had started off with that morning and the computer on the dashboard read the same ‘5 miles’ when I switched the engine off outside the house.

I had so many extra reasons to be happy that day because I knew in my heart that I had done my best again. And God came through in so many ways.

I still ask ... in any situation, ‘Why do anything except your best?’ 


Friday, 8 March 2013

The wonderful women in my world - IWD 08/03/13


The wonderful women in my world - IWD 08/03/13

Today we celebrate women. Every day we should celebrate women ... and men.

This day - 8th March - is recognized as International Women’s Day and on this occasion I am blessed to have a long list of wonderful women in my life that I can mention. I will share but a few ...

My mother: without her I wouldn’t be.

My sisters: a constant presence since I could think.

My children: both near and far - who touch my heart in a myriad of ways.

My friends: who are rainbows and sunshine in my life, especially on cloudy days.

My love: who I will always love.


I hold each and every one of you in my heart, today and always.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Reflections of Goa - Holiday Memories


I couldn’t decide whether to go on an elephant ride, visit some more spectacular churches, go to the local spice farm or spend time on the beach, so I chose them all. We were in India for ten days and after our body clocks had finally adjusted we had started to get accustomed to the energy sapping heat that coated us every day and night. Instinctively I wanted to relax and keep very still, however, I also wanted to see everything and go everywhere: it was a hard choice. Nevertheless, I reasoned that it made sense to do as much as possible with the remainder of the week that we had left. Thoughts of home in the shires of England with short dark days, coats and rain made me decide quickly.

It was the layers of heat delicately surfing on the air waves all around me that confirmed it.

The beach was my first choice. We all agreed. It doesn’t matter how many times you visit the beach it’s always different. We went at sunset, in the afternoon and occasionally just before lunch. Whenever we visited it was not unusual to see people walking with cows on leads as they approached the skirt hem of the sea that teasingly flicked across the warm sand.  

This day, in the midday glare of the sun, it was obvious that we were visitors to the area as we lay on an open stretch of clear sand with closed eyes feeling the delicious heat soak into our bodies. While we unashamedly offered ourselves to the sun some local fishermen sat with concentrated minds and bowed backs in the shade of the hull of their boats as they mended nets. They never once glanced away from their work towards us.

Suddenly it started to rain. The clouds had moved stealthily behind our closed eyelids. The initial heavy raindrops rapidly became sheets of water falling from the sky. Startled, we jumped up and ran back to the apartment. To the children, this was just another adventure – just like when we’d discovered a discarded snake skin half in, half out of a hole in the sand near where we lay.


Shrieks of excitement were knitted together as we dashed across the sand which eagerly swallowed the warm rain as soon as it made contact.
We were happily soaked, however, it was dry and hot again by the time we had all changed our clothes. Nothing stays the same for long there, not even the ancient temples surrounded by constantly changing arrays of discarded visitors’ shoes.

We saw it all that week: a kaleidoscope of life.

Depending on which bedroom window of the apartment I first looked out of  in the morning I could see either wild water buffalo grazing in open fields or manicured lawns, filtered azure swimming pools and tall leafy coconut trees placed perfectly for shaded playing pleasure next to giant chess sets on the terraces.

Goa is like a secret Santa: an unexpected gift.
















Monday, 4 February 2013

Hips don’t lie


Have you ever been in a situation when you speak quickly without thinking about what you are saying? It’s a natural reaction to respond. You are immediately like the gun-slinging cowboys of the Wild West: shooting from the hip. Most of these adventurous folk had lots of practice before they could perform this feat. They knew what they were doing, they understood themselves, their weapon and what they were aiming at.

So it is with words and sharp responses. They may be deemed to come from the hip, but I believe they also come from the heart. They are an instinctive reaction to the situation you are facing. They are your uncensored truth, they are your hail of bullets to protect yourself. You don’t have time to think and assess, you just react – instinctively, truthfully.

Shooting from the hips is a true indication of what is in your heart and mind.

As Shakia would say “read the signs of my body”  ... neither my hips nor my lips lie.

Hips don’t lie ...do they?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

What are your colours?

What are your colours?

Would anybody know just by looking at you? Would they know by hearing you speak for a short while?

If you don’t show any colours do you automatically become a victim of circumstances?

You do not necessarily have to belong to a street gang to have a colour affiliation, but your actions and your words are your uniform of life – they show your humanity.

What are your colours?


Friday, 25 January 2013

Untitled 7 - poetry by Marjorie H Morgan


Your arms, to me,
are the safety of a walled city,
your fingers,
are the keys to unlock the warmth
and joy
of the sun.


© Marjorie H Morgan (2013)

The Window Opens - Poetry by Marjorie H Morgan


The Window Opens

You can never truly comprehend
the pain that person is feeling
until you’ve walked in their boots
and find, you too, are kneeling.

You saw them walking miles and miles
and all the time you thought you knew,
but you never took each step with them
and felt the torture they went through.

You thought you’d put their world to rights
and so your words were spoken,
then you put your feet in their shoes
... and found the window opened.

(1995)
© Marjorie H Morgan (2013)

Untitled 6 - poetry by Marjorie H Morgan


To you
my eyes
smile with warm gold
the answer
to your unspoken question
is
of course
yes

To them
my eyes
shone  like stainless steel
the answer
to spoken requests
was
unfailingly
no.

They wanted
more
than I could give

I’ll give as much
as you ever want.


© Marjorie H Morgan (2013)

The Bridge Poem - poetry by Donna Kate Ruskin



The Bridge Poem
  by Donna Kate Ruskin



I've had enough
I'm sick of seeing and touching
Both sides of things
Sick of being the damn bridge for everybody

Nobody
Can talk to anybody
Without me

Right?

I explain my mother to my father my father to my little sister
My little sister to my brother my brother to the white feminists
The white feminists to the Black church folks the Black church folks
To the ex-hippies the ex-hippies to the Black separatists the
Black separatists to the artists the artists to my friends' parents.

Then I've got to explain myself

To everybody
I do more translating
Than the Gawdamn U.N.

Forget it
I'm sick of it

I'm sick of filling in your gaps

Sick of being your insurance against
The isolation of your self-imposed limitations
Sick of being the crazy at your holiday dinners
Sick of being the odd one at your Sunday Brunches
Sick of being the sole Black friend to 34 individual white people

Find another connection to the rest of the world
Find something else to make you legitimate
Find some other way to be political and hip
I will not be the bridge to your womanhood
Your manhood
Your human-ness

I'm sick of reminding you not to
Close off too tight for too long

I'm sick of mediating with your worst self
On behalf of your better selves

I am sick
Of having to remind you to breath
Before you suffocate
Your own fool self.
Forget it
Stretch or drown
Evolve or die

The bridge I must be
Is the Bridge to my own power
I must translate
My own fears
Mediate
My own weaknesses
I must be the bridge to nowhere
But my true self
And then
I will be useful.


Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Arena - Fiction by Marjorie H Morgan



Arena


The prologue


Grass is persistent and always finds a way to grow through concrete, as does love; it will find the soul no matter how deep it has been hidden by anger and loss. Weeds often shadow the grass and differentiation is needed.

The stadium of life can catch you in the spotlight when you least expect it. Then individuals become transfixed by a persistent beam like rabbits on a country road.


Act 1


What is born each night and dies each dawn?

I am here.
This is who I am. Here in this world. I have chosen to use my real name. Then, why would I do otherwise? This is virtually all I know.

I did not ask questions until it was too late. Like Lego we clicked together without any real effort or struggle. Close fitting. Comfortable.

I entered this virtual world as my self. My history has taught me to be honest. I told all within a moment. I felt no shame and the mute self that usually shadows me had fled in the glare of the neon flat-screen. As I experienced this new birth I shook my cocoon loose. I realised that I could never go back. I shrugged in my chair; I planned to stay here as long as you could bear. I need you more than I need to sleep.

Tomorrow always takes care of itself. It releases its anchor and slips into today, yet it still exists as tomorrow.

When I did not know you, when you lived in my concealed thoughts of the future, then I was not enslaved. I was free to roam and be just a part of me. Now I have to be more of me since what is born can never return to the ovule state. There is no reversal of my growth. Going back never works … only death will stop my dreams, but it will never stop my heart and the love that lives there.

I did not know your history or who you had decided to reveal to me when we met and joined together in that aligned world.

For months, or maybe it was mere shards of moments joined together, we rearranged the other worlds so that in effect we could meet. The real consequence was the withdrawal of emotions from the flesh and blood that surrounded me. Knowledge was ignored in place of emotions and desires. I believed the façade and I took time to enhance it.

The keyboard tapped out my dreams and you interweaved yours with mine, as if you knew me. I was never hidden, at first; I tried to hide when it was too late. I had revealed too much of my heart and nothing could heal it. Like Juliet, I did not want it to be healed. I wanted to suffer in the Buddhist way, to feel the pain, because without it I would forget. I have no desire to forget or to move beyond the knowledge of the love that has captured me.

I willingly neglect my duty to develop the cessation of the painful feelings that are my new world. Why stop now? I never stopped to reflect before I embarked on this act of revelation. Did you?

I grew to know you. My life was reversed as I moulded it to fit in with yours. Whatever gaps I placed in my story you filled them and fitted into them like decorator’s caulk. Not once did you disappoint me.

Silence.
Feeling full is a satisfying state. The thousands of hungry people that roam the earth looking for nourishment first have to satisfy the base craving for food before the desire for love can be approached. In the position of comfort I found you and mirrored your contentment.

I didn’t care about love until I was loved and loved you back. But even then I didn’t really care. It was still part of the game that I have played all my life. I dig for the elusive value that flirts with my sleeping mind, and then when I touch something of a unique and different form I am frightened so I quickly give up the search as unfulfilled. Fear of success makes me run.
If I find this prize too soon what else will I have to do for the rest of my time here? Knowing that you hold my matching part I run.

You see, you surprised me by your affection. It was unexpected. You got under my skin when I had sewn myself up tightly years ago. No room to breathe, or so I thought, no room for any kind of emotional manoeuvre but you parallel parked your heart with mine. Matched.

It was not love that caused the other millions to perish. Not many people have ever died of love. Absence of love caused the murders. Somebody should have said so before.

The day I entered this world, the one you entered simultaneously, that was the day when we became gods and began to create our universe. In the beginning there was void and our lives were without shape and darkness covered the face of our non-existence. The loss that had accompanied my body since birth was arrested for a wonderful week as we discovered our prosperity in each other. The shadow of decay was eclipsed as you covered me and we became one.

I have a new identity.
Your words formed me and I am marked for life. Like the Jews with the numbers imprinted on their flesh I remain captive to you. Even when you are not here, with me in the now. I am linked to you through these markings. Where you have touched me, outside and in. I have the trace of you forever as part of my flesh.

I have been rescued from my history. The love that is here, now, has stripped me of the mask that I lived behind in safety from you and myself. I am afraid that I will not be able to exist without my disguise. Exposure is a risk that I take alone only once every century.

‘I am giving you myself,’ you said.
‘I want to belong to you, to be yours.’
I hesitate to believe your words. I have heard these lies before. I wait for the punch line. It never comes. Are you true?
I was silent as I heard your heart beating in time with mine. Was it just the one heart that we have started to share? The one dream? A dream is always a risk. Ask Schlinder. His way of making dreams come true was to save a life or a hundred. His risk was to give time and effort to fulfil his vision. He had his list. To be named is to be saved.

I am new yet worn out from being here before. Please do not make me tired with promises that are empty. I still cling to hope.

But you still went away.
‘Loose ends to be tied.’ You said with too much sadness I think.

Your absence is staggering. It touches everywhere I am.

I constantly form you when you are not in my eye line. The memory of your recent presence becomes real in my mind. You rest in my imagination.

‘Is this the last goodbye?’ you asked in a low voice.
‘Let’s not talk of being final.’
‘I need total honesty.’
‘You know that I cannot leave you now, now that I have found you. Is that what you want to hear? That is my truth. I love you.’
‘I just wonder how long these special moments will last…’
‘As long as you value and remember them.’ I said.
‘Do you?’
‘Do I what?’ seeking clarity I persisted in repetition.
‘Value and remember them as I do.’
‘I will never be the same because of them. I am better because of this sliver of existence that we have shared. Because of you… I will.’
‘There is a rightness in this… do you know what I mean?’
‘Yes. I do.’ I nodded to affirm the fact to both you and myself.

Hope. Alive for the night.



Act two


What flickers red and warm like a flame, yet is not fire?

When I first saw you in Piazza Bra the ancient met the modern as the voices from the arena swooped through my thoughts. You found my soul!
The thoughts of acquiring anything but you fled from my mind. Prada and Gucci departed with Versace, Valentino, and Ferrè as I followed you through the gates into the arena.  I wanted you to notice me, but not immediately. I needed to savour you first.
Solemnly you paraded through the columns and arches. A lone horn player caused the crowds to hush for a moment. Combined applause greeted the effort. When all the visitors revert to anonymity you have moved upwards, nearer to me.

Scholars have spent their lives searching for the soul but it is discovered only by feeling. To know of the soul is to attempt to coax a beautiful sound from an instrument on the first encounter. To know the soul is to be joined as one with the source of the joy. This awakened spirit reigns the body. All decrees must be followed without question.

I climbed the steep steps and gazed at your glory below me. To the top of three tiers of marble arches I spring. Northwest of this structure is now the centre of my world. I sit above you, becoming your crown.
The arena was the perfect backdrop to your beauty. Arena di Verona has become my Garden of Eden. My heart is made of sand and trickles in your wake.

You are the protagonist that my life story has been missing: welcome to my plot.

Maria Callas has sung about us in this place before this intersection materialised in our lives. I have been wandering and everyone looked the same; until I saw you.

I wonder what language you use to express your love. I wonder what blessing brought me from London last week when I wanted to curl up alone in my flat instead. Songs of praise are on my lips just for the pleasure of viewing you. Michelangelo knew the joy when he saw David after years of imagining him. Are you a mirage?

You excite me like a snowstorm and the sun is flooding the stones as I breathe you in trying to calm my pulse. You leave me no choice but to know you. This pure belief propels me onwards. I cannot waste any time, I have to reach through this interval that you have expanded and spread around me.

The cobblestone streets fell behind me. I pursued you from one private garden to another, through the streets bustling with tourists and slower walking natives. The vibrancy eased me along. I remain locked within the defence system of the Castelvecchio.
Within the walls I hunted you. Through the forests of stone.
Panic struck me when your glorious dark hair was obscured by a fervent shopper. I rushed past: too eager. Then, before I could adjust my steps, I saw that you had paused at a gift shop and I charged into you.
I am bare in front of you. I know you read my soul in an instant. Happiness is not accidental.

Embarrassment sits on my face.
‘Sorry…’ I offer while my mind suggest ‘stay.’
I do not move away after offering myself to you. I cannot go now. Never.
‘No problem,’ and you are also planted in the earth.
‘Would you like to join me for a coffee,’ I propose astonished at my strength and willingness to take a chance.
‘That would be lovely.’
‘Do you know anywhere close by?’
‘Via Mazzini. Just through here.’
The brightness inside me starts to transform me; it is forcing the blackness away.
My breath travels rapidly around my head as I look sideways at you. We walk together, like it had always been so. My steps are delighted for this moment. The fractured moments and places are ancient.

‘I felt the mark of your look,’ you said, ‘I wanted you to find me.’

Our last evening together in the Arena was much like our first: the atmosphere was taut. Just two nights and I have learned to talk of trust. Anxiety has not completely vanished but my enthusiasm for you has starved it.  As the sun slithered below the sky and behind the horizon we lit the mocoleto in symphony with countless others. The flickering beams glowed around the stones and smiles. A pale silver light rose in the sky. We wrap around each other while we are illuminated by untold happiness.


‘Beautiful,’ you whispered.

We knew that separation was imminent, but planned against its permanence. You have captured and controlled time. We combine our past and future to make our lives now.

Turandot was fascinating and unforgettable. But I am only entranced by you. I am alive.

Blood. Red and warm, flickering like a flame.




Act three

What is like ice but burns?


You tore away my ruthless rigidity. I am ashamed of my rapid surrender to your approach.
I became undone by a look. I was called without words.


‘Don’t leave me…’ I whisper. Regret strikes me as I speak. I am forever exposed by my plea. I am afraid of separation now.
I closed my eyes while I waited for you to make a sign.
‘You don’t understand how much this means to me,’ I think while my blood attacks my ears with loud drumming.

The silence is long.

You kiss me and I melt like ice cream left in the sun too long. I turn into a humble and suppliant worshiper before you.

Your cigarette drops un-smoked as you reach for my hand.

Desire never had a place expressed outside of my body. It inhabited my mind before your touch.
Now I am no longer underground. You have excavated me. I let you into my hiding place. And I was afraid.

‘I want to tell you,’ I think.
‘What is it?’
‘What?’
‘That you want to say. What do you want to say?’
‘Umm…’
‘Just say it, don’t think and sanction it, just say it.’
‘Well…’
‘You can trust me now you know.’
Locking eyes, I do know. Thank you.
I speak.

Now you really know.

Being fearless and leaving the land of regret I come to you. I learn to walk in pace with you and slow down as I am no longer in a hurry to escape those shadows that surround me like pack dogs. I am looking at the same world in a different way, through our eyes. I want to belong here with you.

I am excited to know what you are thinking about, the way you search the answers out of me makes me yearn to share, sometimes, when I don’t think first. With supreme sensitivity we enter a territory of limitless realities.

Devotion.

You worship me, here and now. I slip between the cracks in my memory.

Then devotion was frightening.
I refused my father. This was my moment in history when my time ran out.

My agony was explicit as the memories repeated.

‘This too shall pass.’ I chant, about everything except us in the now.
Former things have passed away.
Hesitantly I take you through the border of my mind and into my childhood remembrance.

Dedication.

I lay down my gladius. I will not fight off love again.

This world I need to preserve. Reality is no longer harsh. The broken days that hold no being and leave no evidence have gone since your arrival.

‘Since the first moment…’
‘Yes?’
‘Since that first moment, well, I have both loved and feared you.’
‘Why both? Why both?’
‘Because…’
‘I will never harm you, you know? Never. You are dearer to me than … anything. I cannot name one thing because it will diminish your worth to me. I name everything as worthless in place of you. Do you understand me now?’
‘I feared that I would love myself by loving you. I do. But it is past. The fear has passed. I have spoken from inside and now, now, I put my life in your hands. I hope you will treasure it as I do you.’
‘Don’t cry, my sweet, don’t cry.’
I have allowed you to take me prisoner because I am free.
‘I cry through the release of joy, not through any sadness. The sadness has disappeared. Thank you.
‘You do care, don’t you?’
I hurtle on, afraid again for a moment. Afraid to let a breath or a word slip in before I have laid my soul on the block. There is no retreat. I have no repeal anyway.
‘Indifference would crucify me. You know that don’t you?’
‘If I could be any more devoted … it would kill me. I am yours. You must feel that?

I do.

‘I am your exception because I kiss you without betrayal.’ Those were your ten words of revelation.
I disbelieve my life theory of emptiness. You are my other thought. The darkness is repaired by the person that is you. Things fade in worth.

Your smile wipes away my angry fear and replaces it with love. I have found what I had lost before I knew its name. My thirst is quenched by your presence and desire to make me a part of you.

A love hymn plays between our bodies as you plunge into me as a seal fixed in wax. You cement our foundations and we exist on a plateau. Encased in pure enjoyment. I make no attempts to conceal the pain, for it has died. With joint shadows we can go into the future.

This is the future. I am here.

Your true identity is … love.

Hatred and Fear. Both burn like ice.


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