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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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?

Wild Saturday night, poetry, and mold.

Ahhh Sunday morning.

I have a new bookcase. It’s chocolate coloured, tall, and begging for books. The walls of my room are freckled with mold that looks to be making a home for itself (the joys of living in an old damp apartment), so I’m frantically moving all my prized books out of its reach. As it is with these things, I couldn’t help but read some of them.

Now it’s late (or early) and I’ve had my nose in some pages by the likes of John Tranter, John Forbes, and August Kleinzahler. So now I’m messing around with words. Here are some I prepared earlier.

Coral lipped, she had her tongue split
down the middle, now she talks strange
She likes to stick it out at small children
declaring that she never saw herself as a
mother

concentrating on the red man, he changes
green and we walk to the movies, she hates
romantic comedies and so do I, so we catch
some Nicolas Cage disaster. We’re not there
for the popcorn.

In the park in the early hours she hands me
a can of Coke, we do the whole look
at the stars and contemplate our lives shit. She feels
Athena is misunderstood – her manager – not the goddess
she tells me, though the goddess has a right to be mad
too, if you ask her, which I didn’t, but to watch her is heaven
and the night’s too cold for me to move.

I think the ending is a bit too weak. But I’m still mulling over what to replace it with. Maybe a detail about the other persona? I don’t know, it’s kind of her show, so… I’ll have to think on it some more.

Wild Saturday night/Sunday morning alone at the keys. I know what you’re thinking, “how does she maintain her extravagant lifestyle?”. Coffee and meds, my friends, coffee and meds.

Why, what are you doing with your Sunday morning?

I, like prayers, say too much.

Been fiddling with a poem for the last two days. I’m not feelin it. Themes get stuck in my head and I gag on the same metaphors over and over. Here’s the middle of it.

Walking by your bedroom
crumpled flowers of clothes
sleepy mouthed coffee cups, slug-like
used condom visible under the bed
you close the door, chin cradling a half smile
you shrug. Your leather couch is
peeling like the sides of a mushroom
the mountains are fresh between
your torn blinds. Your hands travel
my thighs, I am 27, you are not the first to sigh
with me and I, like prayers,
say too much.

annnnd the only lines I like are “Your leather couch is peeling like the sides of a mushroom” and “I, like prayers, say too much”.

Back to the drawing board. At least I’m putting font to Word screen. Right?

 

 

 

Coming Alive

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive.” – Howard Thurman

But what if you lose that? What if you lose what makes you come alive?

No dirty jokes today. I haven’t written for a while, I know. But a little while ago I lost it. I lost the juice, the will to write. The thing that kept me going when nothing else did, left me. It’s been creeping up on me for a while. I don’t want to blame it on medication. I don’t want to go down that road and put off any mentally interesting writers that might have otherwise given medication a go. But I can’t deny that it played a part. A lot of things went down and I saw myself grow cynical and shun the writer’s way of life. Life’s necessities have woken me up to the fact that writing full-time can’t give me the life I want. I’m no writing superstar. I’m no academic. I just love poetry. It’s gotten me through a lot of really hard times and lately I’ve not lent on it as much as I’ve pushed it to the side to focus on paying bills and studying, and honestly? That makes me sad.

What does this mean for this blog?

It means I’m going to have to try harder and like a rough patch in any marriage, work to make it work. I’ll be posting little drafts here and there and maybe some pictures of places I’ve been. Just to try to inspire myself, kick-start my heart a bit.

So it’ll still be Ennui Remedies, just with a different flavor – a little more remedy and a little less innuendo – if I can manage it.

That’s all for now, lovely people.

– Jess

Valentine’s Day Scrapbook

What did you suckers do on Valentine’s day?

Did you make a valentine’s day scrapbook? Well you should have, and it should have gone something like this:

Read passionate love notes.
Read passionate love notes.
Be relentlessly pursued by your hot date.
Be relentlessly pursued by your hot date.
Chronicle said dates uncontrollable excitement at the chance to go out with you.
Chronicle said date’s uncontollable excitement at the chance to go out with you.
Go for long walks on the harbour with your long suffering roomate.
Long walks on the harbor with your similarly single long-suffering roommate hot person of interest (cameo by ghost knee).
Send a picture of flowers you found in the mall to your lover friend.
Buy, pick, borrow, or steal send a picture of flowers you found in the mall gardens to your friend workmate studybuddy lover.
Kiss hold hands stare awkwardly at the romantic harbour lights.
Yawn Kissing and stare awkwardly hold hands while you look at the romantic harbor lights.
Romantically watch rabbits stuff their tiny faces with lush grass metres away from the certain death of a busy road.
Romantically watch romantic rabbits stuff their tiny romantic-furred faces with lush grass metres away from the romantic certain death of a busy road.

There are rabbits there. If you squint. Look, I can’t do all the work. Use your imagination, romantic parasite-infested beasts of fluffy destruction – small enough and cute enough to make you regress to infantile exclamations of joy. Imagine it. Get involved.

Romantically
Romantically race a romantic leaf down a picturesque water feature in the mall in some fantastically classy place.
Romantic shit
Squat precariously in the dark to take hipster photos of a seed, some bird shit, a slug, or other romantic subjects while your long suffering roommate hot date laughs at your bizarre behavior marvels at your artistic genius.

That, dear friends, is how you have a glorious Valentine’s Day.

Table-Talk Tuesday: Fishing out the French and gettin down with old English men.

Ennui Remedies gets Nostalgic.

Today’s Table-Talk Tuesday is brought to you by the French. Specifically 13-16th Century french poetry forms. I know what you’re thinking, “that bastard’s tricked me into clicking her link again. This has nothing to do with boning old men”.Roundels & Rondeaus“. Ohmahgawd you’re right. You cultured little hipster you.

The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms & Literary Theory describes a Rondeau as  french, and totally cool before Swinburne liked it ironically¹. He is credited as ‘experimenting’ with the form in the 1880s, making it popular again¹, and by experimenting I mean mixed it up a bit and re-naming it a Roundel². Kinda like a 1883 version of The Black Eyed Peas.

Having said that, I like both versions (as well as another, similar form called the Rondel which is also worth checking out) and in 2008 I wrote a bunch of my own back when I thought end rhymes were better than sex.

First published in Five Bells vol. 15, No. 3, Winter 2008.
First published in Five Bells vol. 15, No. 3, Winter 2008.

I really love the sing-song nature of this type of lyric poetry. They’re short, like me which really suits my attention span makes them easy to remember and once you get the pattern right, they’re easy like your mum.

So if you’re interested in learning some new poetry forms, you should check out ShadowPoetry. They have a long list of different forms, from the popular Sonnet to not-so-popular Terzanelle.

You can pick up a copy of Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory on Amazon.com for around $12.

                                                                                                          

¹Cuddon, J,  1999, ‘Rondeau’ in Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, Penguin Books, London, England,  p772.

²Cuddon, J,  1999, ‘Roundel’ in Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, Penguin Books, London, England,  p773.