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Random thoughts from the art gallery and museum:
Who would have thought Kylie was so tiny? Her costumes would fit a child in size, though not in shape; I could span that waist easily with my hands.
Kwannon in the art gallery is a relaxed bodhisattva, one leg crossed over the other casually like a chatty teenager. Kwannon in the museum is more stiff and formal. I do not talk to her.
Where did the chameleon go? Was he so well camouflaged that I missed him? The reptiles seem to be disappearing one by one. The axolotls are still there.
The journey of water:
From the sea, through clouds, through rain; through thirsty bodies; by river to the sea again.
The journey of air:
From breeze to lungs to cleansing leaf of tree; from whispered kiss to distant lover's cheek.
The journey of fire:
From blaze of sun to ripened grain; from spark to flame to ember and to ash.
The journey of earth:
From autumn's perished leaves to rich loam at trees' roots; slowest of journeys, drift of continents.
The journey of spirit:
From water gasping into air; reaching next for fire's brightness; returning at weary last to earth.
In the dark.
Pupils accustomed to darkness
Grow large, greedy for the faintest glimmer,
The slightest glow.
Midnight creatures have eyes as big as saucers,
All the better to see you with, my dear.
All other senses heighten - the faintest rustle
Startles like thunder; the light scent
Of summer flowers is strong perfume;
Feet can detect
Each twig, each blade of grass, almost.
We too, kept in the dark by lovers, friends,
Seek out the clues, almost invisible -
This word instead of that, a casual gesture.
Used, now, to indirection, would we flinch
If suddenly we found ourselves in daylight?
Things that make me feel alive:
Birdsong on spring mornings, while the dew still on the leaves is reflecting tiny rainbows in the sunlight.
Soap that smells of peppermint and cloves.
Watching kittens play.
The green scent of tomatoes on the vine.
Mail from a friend, no matter how (or rather, especially if) silly.
Trees - huge, gnarled trees in whose twists and turnings I can almost make out the hiding shapes of dryads.
Letting myself be a child again at the funfair.
The sea, at sunset or early in the morning.
A line from a poem that makes me shiver.
Things I should have said but didn't:
Don't be afraid.
Is there anything you want to tell me? Anything at all?
I really don't want this job any longer.
Yes, I'd like you to help me. Thank you.
I'd rather not speak to him.
You matter to me. It will break my heart to lose you.
You are beautiful; your scars do not make you any less beautiful.
I'd rather not speak about him.
Hello, you have a lovely smile.
I'm not your mother or your servant.
It hurts me when you talk about him.
I love you.
The alarm clock has gone off, but I don't really need to get up yet. I had plans for the day, but it's cosy here.
I am going to snuggle back down for a while, in this tangled duvet nest so nicely warm with my own body heat.
Not quite asleep, but dreaming all the same - dreams I can almost guide, till they slip away. If I try a little harder, can I catch them? Maybe.
Or maybe I will wake fully, and then, alas, I'll feel obliged to get up and face the day. No, not worth the risk.
Drinking from cracked cups
He is drinking from a cracked cup
And he resents it -
A reminder of his poverty,
How he has fallen.
Once there were cups of finest bone china.
The water he drinks is bitter.
She is drinking from a cracked cup
And she is grateful -
There is a cup,
And it is not empty.
Once there was only constant thirst.
The water she drinks is sweet.
You hold your cracked cup to the light,
Tracing its flaws,
Treasuring its broken wholeness.
You drink deep
Without resentment or gratitude.
The water you drink
'Oh I do love to be beside the seaside...' And I am - here in Blackpool, watching the gulls wheeling against an improbably blue sky.
The place is comic postcard gaudiness and tackiness, but it is also the little girl in the ageless pink dress industriously building a mysterious sand construction which the next tide will wash away.
The weather is the perfect balance point which the British summer sometimes, gloriously, achieves - sunshine with enough cloud for moments of cooling, warm enough for bare arms but not so hot as to make walking a sweaty, uncomfortable business. Happy days!
Scary things and adrenalin rushes.
Today is my day for visiting the Pleasure Beach - don't get the wrong idea, it's a funfair! This morning I've been fairly gentle with myself, riding the horses on the carousel and walking through the spooky hotel, though I did have one ride on the classic roller coaster. This afternoon I intend to be bolder. I am disappointed to find that the little collection of old arcade games is no longer there, and it looks as if the dodgems are gone too. A pity - I was looking forward to a good dodgem duel.
I miss the sea already. Half a day ago I was on the beach, and already I'm forgetting the sound of waves.
I go away, and when I return I slip back into the same routines. I can hold on for a little while to that feeling of freedom from the tyranny of the clock, but it fades so fast.
What would it be like just to smash them all, the clocks and watches? To live by the sun's time, the body's time; to eat only when I am hungry, to sleep whenever I am drowsy or need to dream?
Am I becoming less tolerant of noise as I get older, or is the world becoming a noisier place?
Perhaps a little of each.
Certainly I find myself being annoyed by uninvited sounds far too often.
'Uninvited' - that's the key word: it is the feeling of intrusion which irks.
I like loud music on my headphones, when I am in the mood, though I can't read comfortably while listening, but the blast of noise from a passing car's stereo, or the bass thump from the flat downstairs, can make every muscle in my body tense with anger.
Sleepy head, full of cotton wool.
Where did the last two weeks go?
I had so many plans for the things I would do. By now I was supposed to have my room organised, all my art materials sorted and boxed, a stack of books registered and released.
Eyes drooping, hard to keep them open.
I meant to write, to create some art. I was going to learn how to use my good camera properly. Oh yes, and I was going to check out that bike riding course.
When do I get some more holiday?
Got to hand it to her.
Hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face.
All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.
It's in your hands.
Hand it over.
Hand to hand combat, or hand in hand along the sand?
Which hand is the coin in? Hey presto, it's gone.
On the one hand, I could stay, on the other hand I could leave.
It's all in hand.
Hand me down my golden crown and let me ride.
I read my fate in the lines of your hand, as I cradle it in my hand.
Things for which I am thankful:
I have somewhere to live which is warm in winter, and not unbearably hot in summer, where I am surrounded by my books and the little things I treasure.
I have food for my belly - not just the basics to sustain life, but food which tastes good (sometimes too good!)
I have friends who care about me and for some unaccountable reason think I'm a nice person. This puzzles me but it makes me feel happy.
I have a brain which is still active, a body which is still (more or less) functioning.
Marking my territory - things in the office which mark out my space:
Purple office equipment. The stapler, calculator, pencil sharpener and tape dispenser are my own, but the wrist rest and mouse mat were bought by work, with a little wheedling.
Postcards on the wall. Quotes from Goethe and Wilde, sunflowers, "Good girls go to heaven...", "When I give food to the poor...", "Relax".
My mother's embroidery - brightly coloured balloons flying over a flower garden.
A coaster with my name and its meaning.
Glass paperweights - "Born to Play" and "Made to Work".
A smiling purple rhino.
It is raining, a determined, solid rain, washing down the window.
It feels like autumn already, the air more chilly after the fleeting summer of the last two weeks.
Will the leaves start turning colour soon, as confused by these fluctuations in the seasons as my body and moods?
I like autumn, the red-golds of the trees and the rich brown shine of freshly fallen conkers.
It is a time for eating apples and writing poems: a time to wrap up a little in fleeces and jumpers of snuggly fabrics, but not yet time for the swaddled layers of winter.
I am scared of heights, but I went up on the big wheel, I rode the roller coaster.
I am scared of being laughed at, but I take a deep breath and blow rainbow bubbles in the street.
I am scared of growing old, but I am glad to remember the things which I have done and the years that I have been alive.
I am scared of dying, but I know that beyond death is love, is renewal and reunion.
I am scared of rejection, but I will never let that stop me offering my whole heart in friendship.
The little things in life please me inordinately.
I picked up a couple of free packs of vitamin supplements for children, because they came in a goody bag which claimed to have a toy inside. When I got them home, I found
- only a little pack, but it put a smile on my face - and fish stickers.
A good shopping day: I also found some shiny things for the decorated matchboxes I am making, though I still need to get the matchboxes, and a knitting set designed for young children, which should be about my level!
Today in town two young women walked past me, smiling, their arms around each other. It made me smile too.
And next weekend the city will be full of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and simply enchanted folk celebrating who they are and who they love.
I adore Pride. It feels like home, to be surrounded by drag queens in butterfly wings and hunky men with oiled torsos, by strong, free women walking hand in hand, by mothers whose pride in their gay children shines in their eyes, by children raised to accept that love is love regardless of gender.
Why do they give hurricanes such cosy names?
'Hurricane Dean' doesn't sound frightening at all - it conjures up a casual sort of hurricane,
a bit of a lad, might cause a little damage but he really doesn't mean it your Honour, it's only a bit of fun while he's waiting to go down the precinct and hang out with all the other hurricanes...
Listen, hurricanes are scary.
They're Mother Nature in wild and reckless mood, and there's nothing cosy about that.
Beautiful, yes, even at her most lethal she is beautiful. But nothing you can tame, for all your labels.
I was listening to Dr Hook (a guilty pleasure) earlier today, and it started me thinking. Reminiscing, really.
A couple of the songs took me back to the seventies, to the days when I was young and a little wild, and could tumble into bed with someone for friendship or for fun, without strings or regrets.
Even then, I was a romantic. I was enchanted by the idea of the amorous encounter with a tender stranger, the parting at dawn with a sweet and sated kiss.
Ah, those innocent (yes, innocent, the word fits) days. I'm glad I had them.
I was going to write a long poem for today's entry, but when it came to it this refused to be extended.
Like a hand unfolding, the clenched white knuckles flushing with pink;
Like a tight bud bursting in sunlight;
Like a mouth, hungry for sweetness;
Like a heart yielding to love. Like a heart.
I did have more lines I could have added, and there were different directions it could have taken, but it felt dishonest to put more into the poem than was meant to be there just to fill my quota.
- let it stand.
An absurdist nightmare from my childhood: my home was covered in jellyfish, which I knew (as we know these things in dream) had grown from the spidery tops of tomatoes. I woke terrified, and fell asleep again only to fall back into the dream.
A later dream: wandering around a building which is somehow familiar, but with oddly placed stairs and confusing corridors.
Frustrated flying: I am trying to escape pursuit of some kind or I suddenly realise that it is foolish to walk when I can fly. As soon as I get above head level, I become dangerously unstable.
I bought my wristband for Pride today - it is a touch tighter than I would like, and so is constantly reminding me of its presence.
Usually I can slip wristbands off if I squeeze my hand together until it is nearly as narrow as my wrist, but I'm stuck with this one until Monday. I'd forgotten how much I dislike not being able to remove binding objects (rings, watches, belts...)
On the other hand, I do like being visibly part of the GLBT community, and seeing other people wandering around the city with their wristbands sparkling in the sunlight.
Random thoughts for the day:
Why is it that when I have plenty of pens at home, and I don't like writing in ballpoint, I still take the free pens from every stall at an exhibition? I take the keyrings too sometimes, and that's even more pointless.
I take technology too much for granted. I get quite impatient and frustrated when there is any sort of problem connecting to the internet, or when the computer is running too slowly. Yet I can remember a time when access to all that information, however slow, would have seemed miraculous.
My feet hurt.
The news of the fires in Greece has upset me much more than it would have done a couple of years ago, now that I have friends in Greece who are affected by them.
Even though none of the Greek people I know has been physically injured, I know that the whole of Greece is in shock, including my friends.
I cannot imagine what goes on in the minds of people who can cause something like this. I can only pray that the fires can be brought under control as soon as possible, and that no more lives are lost.
I noticed today how I was picking up words and phrases from online friends.
It is not a deliberate thing, and if I catch myself doing it I begin to stumble over my words.
The same thing happens with accents. If I am speaking for any length of time with someone who has a strong accent, I will begin to edge towards that accent in my own speech.
Does this stem from an insecurity in me, which makes me want to conform to the other person's norms? Or is this mirroring my attempt to make the other person feel comfortable?
Everything is slow and frustrating tonight - my computer, my body, my brain.
I am feeding myself jelly beans in the hope that the sugar will boost my energy levels, but even if it does I'll pay for it later as my blood sugar levels plummet. (We won't even think about what it is doing to my teeth and my waist line.)
What I should be doing, of course, is sleeping. But early nights cut into my computer time, and late mornings, alas, are too infrequent.
The sugar is starting to kick in. I'd better make the most of it.
As I was walking home today, I was struck by the incongruity between my surroundings and the music on my mp3 player.
Around me, the late summer sun shining on inner-city redbrick housing, on the bins out for collection and the scruffy pigeons foraging for scraps; in my ears and inside my head, Patti Smith singing "Seven Ways of Going" in a voice that hints at candle-lit rooms and incense and silken decadence.
Music insulates me.
While that's not always a good thing (sometimes I need to be
, in the moment) that distance from reality can be a blessing.
Today's music as I was walking home included Eva Cassidy's joyful rendition of
How Can I Keep From Singing?
which is still going round my head now.
Although I am a pagan, and have been for many years, I often find Christian music and poetry uplifting and inspirational. I guess you can take the girl out of the chapel, but you can't take the chapel out of the girl.
Seriously, I hope that I can take what is good, what is beautiful, in all faiths and draw inspiration from it, since even pagans don't have the monopoly on the truth!
And the month is over.
Summer is over, too, it seems. The reflective autumnal time is beginning.
This year, I will no longer be able to spend my lunchtimes in the park, walking in the autumn leaves, and that saddens me. In past years it has been a place where I could think slow thoughts and be peaceful for a little while; it was a comfort to spend time among the trees when I was anxious or distressed.
Maybe I should make time to visit anyway. The walk would do me good, as would time spent away from the office.
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