Buttons

imageI was semi-engaged once. I say semi because we never had a legitimate ring or a party to announce it. We used my late grandmother’s dress ring and it turned my finger green. That should have been an omen in and of itself. I decided that my wedding would be alternative, with lots of handmade touches and second-hand items turned chic. I decided as so many brides-to-be do to feature blue prominently and my bouquet would be made of buttons not flowers (this doesn’t look as kitsch as you think). Each bridesmaid, family member or friend would choose some blue or white buttons and I would fashion them into a bouquet using my best straight-from-Pinterest DIY skills. Above are two buttons one designated bridesmaid gave me. The designs are etched into some sort of shell material.

After the relationship disintegrated, I kept the buttons in an old teal lockable make-up case along with some of my late grandmother’s things and other painful or precious items. Somehow they have migrated from there to a pen organiser beside my desk. Today I found them and cleaned them up a bit. They don’t arouse bitterness or pain in me now and they are the most gorgeous shade of blue.

We also received an expensive Japanese bowl set from one of my friends and once after a fight I was cleaning and dropped some of them, sending triangles of bowl all over the kitchen. If believed in omens that would have been the rooster’s second crow. We also had an orchid that we decided was a symbol of our love (yes, I was that ridiculous. Oh to be young and blindly infatuated). We got it at a seaside market and always laughed at the fact that it wouldn’t grow, despite being re-potted and fertilized and what have you. The rooster’s third crow?

After the relationship ended, and I was alone in my moldy one bedroom apartment during a particularly rainy May, painfully broke and slowly losing myself to depression, I looked out of the window and saw that the orchid was had a single shoot growing up through the cream-white bulb. I laughed.

I wish I could say that this was the time of a great epiphany. That this was the moment that I pulled myself together, became strong and fought against my madness to emerge victorious and build my life anew. But it wasn’t. I continued to fade into the shadows of myself until I was admitted to hospital.

When I moved house I threw out the ring, the orchid, and the remaining bowls but I could never bring myself to throw out the buttons. They were too pretty. I could never use them either. Because despite not believing in omens, I still associate those buttons with that man, not in a negative way, just as a memory. Who wants to carry around the ghost of their ex-lover in their pocket? Or sew their memory to your favorite shirt. Forgive me, but that’s like recycling a wedding ring. A bit creepy.

What do you think, my lovely chums? Have you ever recycled any of your ex-lover’s possessions?

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Briefs

In off-white stained briefs he scratches himself
out the front of the half-way house
as the girls giggle by, stomachs stacked with shots,
he watches them pull up every windscreen wiper
to the sky, leaving all the cars paused in prayer,
their hoods shining in the dewy early hours
One of the girls squats behind a car
rolling up her tight red dress to pee.
The man picks up a ukulele, hisses
“Excuse me, some people are trying to sleep!”
before humming Thunderstruck and plucking
the only remaining string.

An arrow from the gods! Did I greet it?

(Crime and Punishment mash-up)

An arrow from the gods! Did I greet it?
Pinned by my frontal lobe to the wall
a man beyond the limit of his endurance
empty of coherent replies

my heart is a weasel in its burrow home
escaping some larger carnivore, I feel her
in my sinews, her words ride my spinal cord
like a chill, in my semi-delirium.

My soul is a clockwork animation
I feel no more than psychology.
At another time, I was a prophet
I have ideas enough to draw a crowd.

Meek and mournful, now I sit
by the poker machines, preaching restraint
they kicked me out like an old drunk
If she were here they’d never dream it.

I have her photograph in my breast pocket
I wear it to warm myself to the world
I’m used to carrying on.
Beware gods! I’ve a warrior for ya!

Why should I stay any longer?
Why should I deprive the ground
of my majestic tranquillity?
Why should I spare the worms my charm?

Show me the tip of your finger
I will tell you the fate of your family
fate is an arduous business
I know only what is possible.

Life is full of absurd suppositions
I am one man. I can never be more.
An arrow from the gods! Did I greet it?
In some past life, did I curse a man?

What damage did I cause to have the
gods take my wife early?
leaving me at my knees.
I have no time for inexorable judgement.

I have only cold despair.
I stand at the cliff as it crumbles
I sit on the rocks as the tide tantrums
I am a man of choice. I am no god’s toy.

Writer, in the afternoon.

Writer, in the afternoon.

(Crime and Punishment mash-up)

I know nothing of means and remedies. I know nothing of higher art. I mistake zeal for action for actual progress and I have uprooted any hope of changing myself. I rent my heart to words. I have never been more of a cliché than I am now. At 27, the dangerous year for artists and lovers.

I grow out of my prejudices and into new ones like a pair of leather boots. My mind clings to a superiority to overcome crippling inferiority to a universe too big for one woman to discover alone. I throw lovers off the scent. Love, it all looks rather improbable. My heart stuffs its pockets with you and I go on humming the tune that saves my life every damn time.

 

Blue Dress

(Crime and Punishment mash-up)

The student shudders under his book at her dashing entrance. The blue dress, the white under skirt, the strength of her sexual enthusiasm wafts over on her perfume.

She takes her dress off on the train and parades around in her yellow underwear, six sequins on her bra straps. She says her boyfriend is a liar.

A man up the front hides a long neck VB, drunker than Christmas. He hollers at her to “put her clothes on, there are children on the train”. The student marvels at her almost endearing insolence as she gives him the finger and spits on an empty seat. A certain triumph in her bleary eyes. The suit by the door avoids her stare while the man with the little trolley smiles with pitying condescension.

She has an animal joy, burning with damaged self-esteem. The traffic cops pick her up descending like the gods of war. The drunk laughs and laughs and spills his beer, having avoided a fine. She laughs too, as the cops take her by the arm, swinging her arse as she saunters on, singing in Russian. The student watches as the train moves on.

Religion and the Pretty C-Bomb

This post will be split into two parts because it deals with two different but loosely connected things.

When I was religious I didn’t swear much. Well I occasionally said ‘shit’ but mostly just stuck to the fat-free cuss words like ‘crap’. I was so strict with myself that if I even thought the word ‘fuck’ I’d feel guilty for hours afterwards (I wish I was kidding). But I certainly didn’t even go near the C-bomb. No way, nuh-ah. Too sinful. All the soap in the world wouldn’t wash out that sucker. So here’s my story…

I

Upon my conscious bitter as betrayal uncoupling from religion I ended my cuss diet and binged. My brain stuffed as many cuss words into my mouth as possible. I said shit and fuck in every sentence and called people dicks (under my breath) but I never could bring myself to drop the C-bomb. In my mind it was a painful word that I’d first heard used in spite. It was classed as the worst of the worst. To call someone a cunt was to insult them in one of the nastiest ways possible (unless you’re a particularly laid back Australian teenager then it’s what you call your mates, but I didn’t know that yet, I was more sheltered than a wombat in a burrow. Yes, I really just typed that).

But soon I became daring. I’ve been told that I look innocent, so I began to say it for effect. Then I began to think about it. Why is ‘cunt’ such a bad word? Why does a euphemism for vagina have to be classed as the worst of the worst? Why is the worst thing a person can be stand in for a female body part? Now I’m not going to go into the politics of it here, others have done that and a hell of a lot better than I could. I’m just saying that I consciously thought about why it was that I didn’t say ‘cunt’. Then I began to say it in my head to try and get rid of the negative connotations associated with it. I said it under my breath. I thought it about the middle-aged woman talking loudly in the quiet carriage. I sang it in my head to the tune of Diamonds by Rihanna. “Shine bright like a cunt face… shine bright like a cunt face…” Ok, so that last part’s a lie, but it improves the song somewhat, no?

So what do I do about it now? I still only say it for effect. It’s still considered by many as the worst of the worst and despite my protests I still haven’t quite gotten over the way it sounds in my mouth. Perhaps I never will, but I’m trying. For now I engage in crafty slactivism. By which I mean I stitch ‘cunt’ onto fabric and frame it. We all have our small rebellions. I’m changing the face of society, one stitch at a time. I’m sure society’s views on what is deemed offensive will change based on one woman’s Sunday afternoon craft project. Give it time.

II

Now this wasn’t an isolated binge. After my uncoupling I went through a spiritual crisis (surprise! I’m still there! Woo! Fun times! – that’s a story for another post), in that I no longer felt spiritual at all. I went from deeply religious to believing in nothing. Not even myself. I didn’t feel connected to anything. When I was religious I would go out into nature and feel this deep and profound connection to god and to the earth. It was euphoric, I used to feel almost high on the country air (later I found out that this wasn’t a connection to god, it was a connection to untreated mental illness. Yay! Woo! Fun times!). After I started taking medication, all connection to god left me and I instantly didn’t believe anymore. It hit me like a train. I felt like my upbringing had been a lie. A hurtful scam designed to make me feel less powerful as a woman, guilty about sexuality, and oh I dunno, guilty about everything else on the planet. I became bitter against Christianity and binged on all the ‘bad’ things. By which I mean I purposely littered, I didn’t hold the door for people, and I called rude customers bitches (under my breath). Did I mention I was a little strict with myself? These things felt like acts of rebellion to me. I felt powerful. I felt how Snoop Dogg (Snoop Lion? Whatever he calls himself now) must have felt smoking marijuana at the MTV awards. I felt smug as fuck. I was sinning and there wasn’t a god in the world to stop me.

So where does that leave me now? I don’t know, cunts, crouched in some dirty alley way tossing Cadbury wrappers on the ground (no I’m not, don’t litter kids, it’s bad for the environment). Still bitter, I suppose. I still can’t bring myself to stand in a church and nature just makes me sad at the loss of connectedness to the environment. But we all have our things to work on. On another day I’ll go into the story a bit more if you’d like to hear it, but for now, let’s lighten the mood with more arty fun times.

Changing the world.
Changing the world.

So my lovely cunts, what’s your small act of rebellion?