Tag: peace

Happy Birthday, M

For M.E.B


We became another death

(the fulfilment of my internship).

Like a false syncope,

my grief would not let me claim you.



You came to me with bleeding gums and a dent in your jaw,

your broken gait like a barber cutting through

walls of plasticine with blunt scissors.

Bruised pride; your face a field of stubble I so loved jiving on my skin.

But first …



you were an uncertain algorithm of desire –

because you were never going to want me the way I wanted you.

Except, on a summer’s day, under umlauts of clouds, close to the border,

we pushed a kiss right through our chests like a bullet.

I was yours and you were mine and before we came up for air,

the earth had spun off its axis.



Purling into webs of light –

the softness of your cupped hands under my sunburned chin as we

tasted each other for the first time.

As salt danced across our skin, I ploughed my fingers through your hair

as clouds climbed behind us, then sunk with the sun like sabbath.



We cut our teeth on summer.

Sticky and wet like puppets of nature.

A curtain of devotion and great folly –

I grew attached to your shadow.

I’d fall off our bed of sin as you made me come to Bach,

and you would tell me stories of how you skulked up and down Cavill mall,

devout in your pilgrimage to find me on that first night at Schoolies.

You told me you would cry as you watched me sleep;

my childishly freckled cheek hemmed in by swathes of blonde hair.

You would wash your hands with such care in the darkness

(I liked to watch your panoptic palms somersault under tendrils of water)



You would drive along the rivers reach looking for me.

Once, I saw you.

I ran as fast as my body could with bleeding lungs,

but you never saw me.

I was jealous of the wind with its fingers in your hair.



Climbing lovingly into winter bones,

we knitted our bodies into an impenetrable pod where no one could touch us.

We shunned the world with aching hips and salty flesh

stuffing our mouths full, speaking a language only we knew –

believing ‘there is nothing else worth living for other than this’. You.



But I heard church bells pealing from promises that would bleed;

fistulas of memory fractured a fall and I began barking time;

howling spoonfuls of dirt into your mouth

your perfect fucking mouth

always open for mine;

a receptacle of love and all that was good in our world.

You tried.

You were unmoving in arresting us in that space as I jettisoned the indifference,

but we rolled away from each other as old mountains do,

and I began to not love us.



I garrotted you,

throwing you from your skin;

bones akimbo to the wind,

leaving a frayed man like a barometer of truth.

Fall in, fall out.

With the biting sick that bored into my body,

you were gone.



You never got to hear my new voice

or sweep the pads of your fingers over my new scars.

I can’t sing anymore, but my hair is long just as it was that first night you saw me

shuffling across blue linoleum in dimmed hospital corridors.

(I go out walking, after midnight, in the moonlight, just like we used to do.

I’m always walking after midnight, searching for you) 



Seeking out the ground with eyes I put to bed so many years ago,

I would give you my grace (or cleave the moon in two)

but you will not let me.

So I press my fingers into the rivulets of my palms

knowing we will meet when the streets glow in their silence.

Throbbing asphalt still hot from the burning day –

just like our first days of warm hands and cold feet.



Like a splintered shard of shrapnel that will always itch under my skin,

I will always be that woman who loves you.


img_6293

‘think of me when you sleep,

warm heart, cold feet.

In your dreams we will meet, 

together soft and deep.

Wish I could be there with you now,

all my love and desire. 

I think of you in despair

oh, when will I meet you there?

Not long, one more sleep,

think of me – warm heart, cold feet.’

– M.E.B 1995

 

Peace first

Whenever I have a strong reaction to an event, I always question myself. Most of my regular readers will know that I don’t delve into current affairs very often, if at all. I stopped watching the news about seven months ago on the advice of one of my best friends and it freed my mind and my time. Instead of a 6pm ritual of turning on the television, I began reading, writing, dancing, listening to music or having a cuppa or a cider on my balcony. You’ll also know that I’m a lover and a fighter in equal parts. A lover of peace, kindness and compassion, but in equal parts a fighter when it comes to my dis-ease and if someone I love is being hurt.

But with the wrecking ball of a situation in Boston after the marathon bombing and the shooting of a police officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I’ve had a rising bubbling in my belly. Then this morning when I was checking in with what was going on in the world, I saw this photo which made me feel uncomfortable.

Image

I can only comprehend the relief people felt when the perpetrators were respectively killed and caught, but to celebrate in this way by high-fiving and fist-pumping just doesn’t bode well with me. Relief and celebration are two very different things, as William Campbell, whose sister Krystle was killed while waiting for a friend to cross to the finish line. He told the Boston Globe: ‘I’m happy that nobody else is going to get hurt by these guys, but it’s not going to bring her back.’

My imagination cannot and does not afford me how the families of the killed and maimed must feel. Their hurt, anger and horror are nearly impossible to reconcile, but celebrating the death of another human being – as inhuman as they may be, and as inhumane as the acts they carried out – a celebration doesn’t gel with me. I understand how the concept works for others, but the byline of ‘We got them’ didn’t have me in a state of rejoice. It was more of an abatement of pressure that no one else was going to be hurt. But it also made me question.

Why did these two brothers do what they did? What drove them to kill and wound as many people as they could with their crudely made bombs? One brother was a medical student, learning how to extend life, not take. Perhaps we will never know, despite the current and future media speculation this case will attract. It is easy to not treat these people as human beings.

Seeing the photo of celebrating crowds, my stomach turned. I called upon my compassion for both the dead and the survivors, including the two brothers who have caused interminable pain and suffering for thousands of people for generations to come. But what of their families? There has to be compassion on both sides if we are to march through the grief and emerge on the other side, stronger and united in our stand and passion for peace. May the river of compassion always run through you. Then again, sometimes compassion is not enough.

In case there is any confusion, in no way, shape or form am I downplaying what dreadful acts were carried out in Boston last week, nor am I saying it’s ‘ok’. It’s not. Innocent people were murdered and seriously wounded.

All I’m trying to do is sit in a state of compassion, which is not always easily done in situations like these. But I am trying, and I believe that counts for something. I’m inviting a ‘call to compassion’ instead of a ‘call to arms’. Your thoughts, please ♥