TOMBOY BOOKCLUB- The Beekeeper of Sinjar

I am writing this in honour of the International Day of Peace, and I know that can seem cheesy or hollow considering the state of affairs of our planet are far from peaceful, but one must try to do what they think is right. To all the people who don’t care and think todays meaning is a hollow gesture I will quote Nadia, one of the women who tells her story to Dunya Mikhail in The Beekeeper: “The problem isn’t that the world is going to end, but that it continues without any change…”

This book is not for the faint-hearted. Page after page becomes blurred with splodges of tears filling up the space where language should be, page after page of Terrosism and the people who will never be the same because of it. Wives seeing their sons and husbands killed, daughters sold as slaves and their relatives who escaped, feeling guilt and fear every day they are without knowing what has happened to those they love most. I can’t say this is an amazing read, or that it is a page turner; many times I wanted to close its covers and for the paper to vaporise, for time to undo itself and the stories to unravel back to a nothingness we can all build upon. But it is necessary. It is imperative that we listen to those whose voices have been trodden down so low not even death is relief, but a mere solution to an end. We must listen so that if we can help, we do with all of the strength we can muster.

The Beekeeper of Sinjar is a memoir/report of ISIS’s invasion into the Sinjar reigion of northern Iraq by the exiled Iraqi poet, Dunya Mikhail. Through her mobile phone, she listens to stories told by Abdullah, a man who kept bees before no amount of honey could make his world sweet anymore. An innocent villager turned anti-terrorist freedom fighter, smuggling humans out of hell on earth. He didn’t just use his knowledge of the local area to help as many family members as he could to escape; his mobile phone number was passed through unknown hands and inpenetrable memories like a prayer, and he answered the calls one by one. He could have ignored them, have ran away like so others had to in order to survive. But some people are so good it makes you believe that there could be a God after all- a god with pistachio tea and resolve harder than the Sinjar mountain stones.

I don’t want to write the sufferings of the Yazidi captives here, I have no words that can express them- you have to hear their voices, recorded in Mikhail’s writing to even begin to understand one grain of the cruelty flesh and blood is capable of. Even then, I don’t  think anyone will ever be able to fully understand. You just feel, and feelings like that can’t just leave. They remain until some one replies, like ghosts haunting the living for closure. I dont think anyone can read this book without being affected somehow, and I know I’m not being very eloquent right now, but trust me- if you want to learn what humanity is, what love at its strongest is, you have to know Abdullah, and all the un-named people who helped him, who didn’t turn a blind eye.

So, today regognising international peace, I want to dedicate this paltry but well intentioned post to all those who never make it: who vanish in the confusions of hatred without a trace save for the memories their loved ones can never put down to rest. The the emptinesses hollowing out the lives of those they leave behind. I don’t know the names of the people’s lives recorded in this book, but that doesn’t matter- you dont need a name to be real. I never knew as an adult how hard love would be to come by, how many people just want safety for themselves and lock the door. I want us to do better. If I could, I’d use superman powers to go and rescue every refugee/ person in fear on the planet and give them the happiness we all feel and want to keep. But I can’t. Hope isn’t a one time event and it is never completed by one person- we are all superheroes, we just forget it sometimes. I hope after today, each and every day we keep the un-named dead and living who suffer under terror and hatred in our hearts, and use that feeling without words to push us to do better for one another. Go to protests. Educate yourself. Give money to the right places when you can. But even if you dont have the time or the money to learn, it is still simple. You just have to love strangers like you should love the mirror.

I know this post is a bit of a ramble (forgive me, it’s been a long day at work)- but I hope my message meets willing ears and eyes. Because I love dogs, I’m going to finish my proclamation for the endurance of peace with a section where Dunya is in exile talking about the western love of animals… As always, please do try to read this book, IT WILL CHANGE HOW YOU TREAT HOPE!!! But more importantly, please try to bring peace and never forget… ALL REFUGEES WELCOME AND DOWN WITH BORDERS!!!!

“… People here have such beautiful dreams. To annoy Americans with our nightmares simply means inviting them into our underworld… I’ve heard from my relatives that Americans care more about their dogs than about other people. Maybe because human love is incomplete. As Iraqis, we don’t have the habit of caring for dogs. Perhaps dogs are what we really need, to know the meaning of unconditional love. A dog doesn’t care where your from, it doesn’t care about your race or religion or colour. All the dog wants from you is to throw something toward the horizon, like a worry you finally brought out of your chest, so that it can run after that thing and grip it tightly between its teeth, panting and excited, as if the whole world has just been caught between its jaws…”

mind fart

I promised I would start making writing on here more structured. Being an anxious drama queen who soothes fears of inadequacy and failure by completely ignoring or avoiding the offending threat, often means this blog is neglected whilst I swerve my attention to less sustainable lifestyle choices… I shall not digress further. But, despite just claiming that I want to make this space more structured and reliable for posting content which actually has a clear intention; today’s post shall be a ramble. A mind shamble like a beach walk through London gutters filled with alligators and pink rivers. A big old bramble of ideas or something like that which I thought of when I was probably a bit high, and probably just a littleee bit sad or worried. But always hopeful- and today’s post is about hope and how I thought maybe we could not let it crush us with its brightness and potential big and heavy as whale smiles. A thought about hope that is catered to the inevitable failures of this capitalist, racist, misogynistic, anthropocentric world (so many words- not enough people to hear me…)

Basically, my brain thought thus: Just because your dream worlds cannot be replicated in the materiality/ reality around you, does not make them any less valuable or less real- they still are a part of you and the life/ lives your body encounters living each day. Don’t expect your dreams to be a plot for the success of your life, let them already be your life- let imagination and surreality all slither and intoxicate and wedge themselves into the drudge-space of other eyes deciding who you are- let your goals and thoughts and ideas (even worries, that you can constructively and conceivably change) that make you feel  sincerely content bathe you in obscurity. Be obscure and so wrapped up in your hopes that it doesn’t matter if the rest of the world doesn’t notice/ care/ is insane/cruel/ unfathomable. ask yourself what your REAL dreams are and why (world peace or slimming down to a size 8) – if they even are your dreams originally in the first place and who you would be with no one to see/ experience your being…

Don’t expect the material conditions and circumstances of your present life be the end product of what your mind is capable of. The mind is more hopeful with its energies and movements and imaginations than the actual weight of the world with its limited resources and space and time can achieve.

Basically (I hope I don’t sound preachy, if so- my sincerest apologies): Let your mind colour your life and live submerged in that colour simultaneously. be your own rose tinted glasses and know the world is only as beautiful as you can conceive it to be. BE A WIERDO DREAMING NERD FOREVER!!!!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxxoxoxoxoxxoxox

Pocket Revolutionaries

Survival is difficult. I don’t mean Bear Gyrlls macho survival skills eating maggots or sleeping in a goat carcas. I mean the endurance of being able to wake up every day without instantly loosing hope in the world we inhabit as soon as your eyes scan the news. As soon as all the misogynistic/ racist/ classist/ general unwarranted cruelties all come to light, and you’re told “That’s just the way things are“.

I know that worrying about abuse and violence doesn’t prevent people suffering, but thinking is a start and the more you imagine the lives of others, the more unfathomable it seems to be able to ignore all the pain. Not imagining in some wierd voyeuristic, self-righteous way; I just mean, the more you think of others, the more potential for inciting a change of attitudes- which then hopefully leads to a decrease in the shittery that is ‘human nature’. 

This morning I woke up and did the mundane task of reading the newspaper with my orange juice ( I sound so bougie lol- its just my grandma likes to get the good old broadsheets still in their big flapping wings of paper). There was Windrush. There was the murder of Kim Wall (may you forever rest in peace xoxo). There were ambulance staff being sexually assulted and people in Nicaragua killed. The world is so beautiful because of it’s diversity; but this diversity and the incessantly shifting natures behind the diversity also means a huge pick’n’mix of the absolute worst parts of what we are capable of too. Reading all the stories didn’t armour me a thicker skin of acceptance, I didn’t try to make it make sense: I cried.

Crying is seen as something wimpy and that you should only do if absolutley nobody can see. Nope. Not for me. There’s nothing strong in denying, of repressing terror and fear in the name of blind comfort. Crying just means you care, a lot- and caring a lot is definatley something this world needs more of. But to return to my previous point: worrying incessantly does nothing to help those people whose lives you are invested in wanting to help. Putting obvious activism aside (‘obvious’= joining political parties, starting your own grass roots groups, protesting, donating to causes and signing petitions/ nagging politicans), I would like to propose another kind of activism that helps one cope with the world’s miseries without becoming an angry, detached, disillusioned shell: pocket revolution. The small, yet so so so necessary acts of kindness and understanding  that make the world- well, at least your patch of it- better.

POCKET REVOLUTION- my grandma hugging, not telling me off for being ‘too involved‘ with what I see in the world when I cry to the morning paper. The kind man who gave me a pink geranium after grandma and I admired his Tulips. It is smiling when the dogs cover me in dirty river water, not shouting at them. The mother whose pram I helped carry down the tube steps despite rushing crowds and the little girl who I made smile when I was feeding pidgins. Basically: not being afraid of strangers. Not being afraid to be childish and silly, or afriad to be the first one to say sorry. It is complimenting strangers and smiling because if Donald Trump/ Amber Rudd/ Theresa May/ Kim Jong Twat can hate people for no reason, then I am going to fucking try my very hardest to love people for no reason other than the fact you breathe and feel and eat and shit pretty much the same as me; but with a lot of interesting details I have no idea about (and that I would love to get to know over a cup of tea sometime).

I know I probably sound very righteous and I haven’t come up with any break through political rhetoric to destroy the montser of patriachal imperial capitalism… But I tried. And that is the point. We should at least try to try.

I was at the train station reading some poems after the newspaper, and the one I want to share is another example of what I would call pocket revolution by a Ghanaian poet, Joe De Graft called ‘An Un-African Breakfast’. His positivity made me feel stronger, and so I would love to spread the loveeee further. (it also kinda reminded me of my boyfriend in how happy Joe sounded despite all the world’s various brands of cruelty- both he and my luv are definatley pocket revolutionaries) xxoxoxoxoxoxox

AN UN-AFRICAN BREAKFAST 

So here I am this morning
Early in the Kitchen.

The aroma of fresh coffee on the boil,
Nose-filling aroma of good fresh coffee
on the boil;
And this kitchen is good to be in
And good to hear the browning water
babble-bubbling inside the glass-trap
head of the percolator;
And the good wife still asleep in her vono bed
Dreaming good dreams, I hope,
Of me!

All night the tummy hasn’t been well,
Running like it wanted nothing more
to do with me for eating what I
do not know-
All night a running tummy;
Till at last out of weariness
I drop into oblivion between 4 and 5
Quite unknowing –
Deep oblivion
Sweet as feathers…

Then crash out of nowhere
The white day comes bursting in
Through frosted louvres…..

And its good to be alive!

Good indeed to be alive,
So thank we god
For everything,
And the myriad sparrows
Chirrupping in the fresh morning sun outside
While the percolator bubbles……

(The poem is quite long, I can’t type the whole poem out but I highly highly highllllyyyy recommend reading his poetry, they are soul food)

WASHPOPPINNN!!!!

HELLO INTERNET, LONG TIME NO SEE!!!!!

I have returned after a long hiatus finishing my undergraduate degree to now pursue the infinite love of poetry to it’s lair… and the road I’m using through today’s brambles and briars was weaved with a fake pair of tits and voice screaming out for the schmoneys; cause’ I’m the bitch they love to hate, the bitch they hate to love.

Yes- Cardi B is poetry. She may seem a somewhat rough-edged muse, but what else is poetry written for if not rude survival; good poetry is not for the faint of heart, and neither is Cardi B’s rapping. She inspires the fuck out of me. As, despite all the inevitable horrid comments made about her body and person – whether as stripper, or now-  despite the potential for silence and conformity and blind-eyed chasing for money, Cardi decided to try for something better. Horniness for money isn’t her greatest charm; though I do love the idea of her shaking her beautiful ass in front of boring men and taking all their dollar, but the sustained capacity she displays for kindness.

YES I KNOW SHE BECAME FAMOUS FOR BEING LOUD AND VOILENT AND PETTY ON REALITY TV AND VINES- but don’t we all have to be petty to get along? And every one can grow and change. Plus, to be fair- her wild eyed flaring up is pretty cathartic to watch for me; if only I could cuss all the people in life who deserve it like she can. I thank you Cardi: for being funny with no make-up on and signing about love with her rapper zaddy. For getting pregnant and still playing the Coachella stage. I fucking dig how she believes in love, how she’s a trap-romantic. I love how she puts love and money back in the strip club (I bet she pays the girls well) and how proud she is of the Bronx when many people would just call her ratchet. Well, perhaps ratchet is code for alarmingly brave and threatening to patriarchal capitalist hegemony. lol.

I’m not saying that Cardi is perfect, or that she is some kind of socialist activist hiding her sickle under all those diamonds: promoting gang culture isn’t cool, nor can Transphobia be tolerated, but who can say they are perfect? and I hope as she matures and grows with her child, some of the less than radical views will change.

When the world starts to make me want to lay down and die: Theresa May (her lizard bowl cut repulses me- not that physical appearnce is at all the most alarming element of her demonhood) and Amber Rudd’s disgusting immigration policies, the bombing of Syria, Donald fucking Trump and his spray tanned fascism… I imagine Cardi and think, LITTLE BITCH YOU CAN’T FUCK WITH ME IF YOU WANTED TO.

I am returning to this blog with the intention to try and be a little more like Cardi B. To write and write and write like she laughs and raps and is generally very resilient. I want to share poems on here, reviews of books, general thoughts AND…. to promote my first book!!!!!!

So, I thank you for reading this post, and I hope you return here again in the future!!! For now, the poem I want to share is by Eboni Hogan, giving us some black girl magic with her poem ‘Cardi B Tells Me about Myself’.

Cardi B Tells Me about Myself

Dear Frustrated in Flatbush,
Gurl, just go on ahead then.
You waiting for your Daddy
to give you the thumbs up?
Do what you like.
Do what makes your ass happy.
They gon’ call you all makes
and sizes of hoe anyway.
That’s how this thing been set up.
But just cuz they name a thing a thing,
don’t mean it ain’t still named God
in some other language.

Your fortune cookie say you poppin’.
You a full spread of good shit.
Your rotten wisdom tooth.
Your pockmarked shoulders.
Those eyelashes ain’t come here
to talk about the weather.
You the hottest day in July
and every fire hydrant in this city
is written out to your name.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOOXOXOXOXOXOXOXXOOXOXXOXO

3 Types of loss

Loss is a sprawling hurt. I thought about three types of loss for just this moment – the good kind, the unexpected kind, and the bittersweet kind.

The Good Kind

Today I finally felt anger instead of limp sadness thinking of my ex-first-boyrfriend. I won’t go into details, but I finally said enough: you can leave now. All the emotional twistings of intent and hope into confusion and shittiness. How I felt guilty for not being good enough, too much to handle and plain wrong. NO MORE I AM WORTHY OF LOVE MOST OF ALL FROM MYSELF I WILL NO LONGER CRY ABOUT A PERSON WHO ONLY LIKED ME WHEN I WAS WHAT HE WANTED. This is a good kind of loss, like spring cleaning. I hope my heart stays this buyount floating on its own Island.

The Unexpected Kind

I thought I lost my small dog Pogo today. She ran into some thorny undergrowth and wouldn’t come when I called her name. I screamed and shouted and climbed through mud and cow poos to try to find her. I couldn’t believe it was happening- she could be eaten by a fox, out on the railway or scampering in a new field I couldn’t reach. Luckily I found her, unluckily I had to chase her again at top speed to finally grab her. This loss was brief but powerful, it made me love and loathe her at the same time. Lesson: Keep small naughty dogs on their leashes.

The Bittersweet Kind

Soon I have to go back to university- whilst this prospect of seeing all my friends again and beggining my course is very exciting, I shall miss what I’m leaving here for a while. My blue book case, the thick walls of my bedroom, my family and pets, the walks near my house and a plentifully stocked fridge. These losses are reoccuring, but I know when I leave home shan’t vanish. It will be a speck that is a big size in my brain to be reached by train and rail.

On this note, today’s poem is the one that reminds me of my sister when I first had to leave for uni- my sister said loss is

 

just not having things. Even when we’re apart, I never lose my sister xoxoxoxo

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Leaving and Leaving You

 

When I leave you postcode and your commuting station,
When I left undone all the things we planned to do
You may feel you have been left by association
But there is leaving and leaving you.

When I leave your town and the club that you belong to,
When I leave without much warning or much regret,
Remember, there’s doing wrong and there’s doing wrong to
You, which I’ll never do and I haven’t yet,

And when I have gone, remember that in weighing
Everything up, from love to a cheaper rent,
You were all the reasons I thought of staying,
And none of the reasons why I went

And although I leave your sight and I leave your setting,
And our separation is soon to be a fact,
Though you stand beside what I’m leaving and forgetting,
I’m not leaving you, not if motive makes the act.

Sophie Hannah

Volaility of feathers

I am a volatility of feathers- one day sweet as apricots freshly brimming up with ruddiness on the twig and branch; Smiling is for granted, even with no make up and a lil bloat on; without having spoken properly to another person, be they friend, family or bachelor- on these day’s life is magnificent and mine. The sadness of this volatility is it’s inert nature: things cannot remain so.

Other times, simple acts of willed neglicence or bluff, intended cruelties- which most people flounce off with an expletive and distraction- cause me to imagine approximatley 100 reasons of said blow’s cause; the nature of the cause; how this cause is intertwined with and affects other causes etc etc. AKA- I cry and get mad at myself for uncomprehended reasons.

I feel like this blog has no poetry to it; I want to write about important, universal issues and not just focus on bitty, repetitive autobiography the whole fucking time. But it is late, I am hungry and simply want to savour this day where I have willed survival and not Sorrow’s feathers.

I watched the T.E.D Talk, “The gentle power of highly sensitive people” by Elena Herdieckerhoff and it made me feel so elated to know my propensity to cheshire cat smile at the sight of my dogs excited for walks, in tandem with unfathomable hours of thinking and crying and blaming ghots some more, is not a weakness. I felt like Billy Pilgrim’s long lost sister- “And so it is.” The fragility of things and my incessant hankerings for answers that justify tenderness are no joke. Hale-fucking-luja!!!!

Rambling and waffling are beyond the realms of energy right now, so I am just going to end on a little quote (So much for exclusive poetry- haha) by another highly woke and wonderful woman, Minna Salami-

“Only a person who sees and values the humanity in everyone can be a revolutionary, because only a person who sees and values the humanity in everyone can do so about themselves.”

Women fly when men aren’t looking

I still feel a bit tired and for no fathomable reason unnervingly wierded out since coming back from my birthday weekend: this makes me feel guilty, seeing as I have nothing to complain about yet still want to stab my self with a million forks (wierd image, I know- but it’s what hit my mind first)

I saw some artworks at the Tate Modern; Carrie Mae Weem’s red sadness and protest of the enslavement of black African people into black slaves of America- ‘I saw and I wept…”; Red photographs cased by poetries etched onto glass frames. After the Tate Modern, I met up with Daisy and we went to Oxford Street to look at pink feathered jackets and blue sequined denim jeans that looked like they belonged to a mermaid with legs. We met up with Flo and walked down to Foyles, scanning shelves of books, but of course focusing on the beloved aisles of poetry- I was so flamboyant. I brought books brand new.

In the evening Zab came- we got ready in make-up and fancy clothes; I feel in all my pettiness, this is where some seed of current confusion of stabbing forks was sown. In the weeks leading up to this celebration, I had been so excited to make myself look and FEEL hot/sexy/ powerful bla bla bla in this little red dress. The reality is I felt bloated and ugly and pure second rate compared to my HEAVEN SENT GORGEOUS friends, and got changed immediatley into a less than glamourous outfitt (think Paris Hilton’s ugly sister who was locked up in the highest hotel room, forced to live only on Twinkies). I am not saying this in order to try and obtain any sympathies, on the contrary I am saying it because it is the truth of incomphrensible emotion. It is white first world problems, and it makes me feel even sillier for knowing what I should finally (at nearly 21) know is bullshit, my brain still pushes onto the child within me and makes the child inside cry and want to hide.

This small, miniscule discomfort of not wearing the dress I’d imagined us partying in should (and truly, thank god, DOES NOT) overshadow all the fun we had travelling round London; talking of poetry in Foyles and the feminist library, being intellectual and going to see the beautiful Queer exhibition at the Tate gallery; laughing in parks so hard I could pee and dancing to trap music on the stairs of St. Pauls, then collapsing into our hotel room with plush double beds and a boquet of flowers (we’d eaten all the cupcakes by this point).

I hate this ungratitude of the disobedient side of my brain focusing more on how my stomach and hips looked in a dress rather than on the smile of our faces in the strobe flash of photos we took. I may not be, nor ever shall attain supermodel status or looks- but that in no way inhibits capacities for love, for loving my friends and the time we had- all the times more awaiting.

I realise now how easy it is to focus on one tiny negative thought instead of cherishing the memories of how lucky I am on this planet- a father who organised it all, the train drivers who got me there, and my friends who took the time out their jobs to come see me.

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SHOUT OUT TO MY FRIENDS FOR PUTTING UP WITH MY EXTRA BULLSHIT AND SELF-LOATHING ALL THE TIME!!!!! XOXOX

Today’s post is already verging on being lenghty, but thats okay because it’s for a special lesson and occassion. Without further adiue, here is today’s post- it is from a book I bought in Foyles by Jeanette Winterson, one of my favourite authors. The small book is simply called ‘Love’ (the quote I use is orginally from “Why be Happy when you could be Normal?“). xooxooxoxoxx

“Love is vivid. I never wanted the pale version. Love is full strength. I never wanted the diluted version. I never shied away from love’s  hugeness but I had no idea that love could be as reliable as the sun. The daily rising of love.”