Unionised

Liberté

It was not you who had to surrender all
The two-bed day-dream by a Southern shore
Lined with a diversity of horizons
Bearing only flags of blue: liberty on labels
coloured Us and Them.

Egalité

It is not you who refuses to Tri on
Sleeves coloured Ourselves and Alone
Flanked either side of gowns in bridal white:
for the march down the Island
to a pre-arranged fight

Fraternité

It was not I who quietly jettisoned all
The silent signs. Finger-tips no longer touching fringe
Across to either shoulder then down to
Heart of sacred red: To join with me
In bringing her up as a flag set free

Tower of Babble

department of speculation

Finger-tips standing to attention
Left buttock lifted to fire
A starting shot of sulphur
He’s off
Left, right, left, right
Fingers sashay up and down
The Queen’s keyboard
In exclamation-marked outrage
At charges of gutter culture
Left, right, left, right
Re-routed and stopped
From entering the Republic of Logic
By those blockading reconciliation
One’s iconography being set alight by
Placing an inferno under that of another
Left, right, left, right
Jenga’ing his way around detractors
He slides one pallet out from under another
Reconstructing his argument
Capital-lettering one back on top of the next
Left, right, left, right 
Until they fill the entire screen-line
On which he stands aloft on top
Squinting over at dandruff-sized brethren down below
The click-clacking of
Bullets from his behind
Left, right, left, right
In concert with the silent but deadly
Desertion of his leaders

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The Draughtsman

Seventeen years since your retirement –
one for every foot of your occupation of my girlhood
which was not to scale, for at seventeen I discovered you are
as unassailable as the stool my three-foot self could never climb,
however steadily positioned against the drawing board
with a drop so sheer for the plummet of your moods
that frequently rolled like pencils over blue-prints
of right-angled doorways and vague outlines of windows,
like a sketchy outlay of the foundations of your being
that insisted on revealing where the septic tank should be.
As if we did not know where the sewage was located,
while numerous Storage Units were strewn arbitrarily
across both floors of your semi-detached self
without any clues as to what should be kept in them,
though we later suspected.
And now that your own foundations are beginning to sink
and you are no longer to scale as you once were then,
(less defiant two-story than abandoned bungalow)
I still tip-toe slowly across the t-square of your mood
negotiating it like a pirate’s plank knowing it will
inevitably lead to a 90 degree turn
Onto which I mount and slide unsteadily
as it narrows and shortens,
while your tongue sharpens the lead of my feelings,
paring them down until there is a storage unit’s worth of shavings
to shore up with a wooden ruler.
One rule for you
and a different rule for everyone else.

Post-coital feminism

Post-coital feminism

“I don’t believe in an intersectionalist God”, he teased
with sheets coiled about his knees
As she padded towards the bathroom.
Her deliberate poise intersecting with her shame
at the moon-landing terrain of her thighs.
“Get a life, would ya”, she retorted over her shoulder
Towards him lying prostrate in submission
to her naked point of view.
His deliberate pose already obsolete
given the rainbow of pillow-creases along his face
And the victorious underwear discarded with indifference
Along the hedges of the bed like fast-food wrappers
Whipped up by the wind from passing car windows
on those perspired dates of summer.
Rolling over on his back, he waited to be stroked
By her star-grabbing handed exuberance at the
urgency of it all. But first she had to undress
At least five other women.
Crossed-legged on the bed she hung her left brow
on a hook high upon her forehead
And gazed intently at them as her fingers jabbed
Up and down their torsos one by one until
She felt sure they were

hashtag –
Undone

Sorry, not sorry

Sorry*, Not Sorry

To my second child
I was too elsewhere to conceive
To my first who will not
always think him or her
inconceivable
To the piano for leaving
whatever potential was left untuned
To my head for failing
to lower the volume
on my heart
To the miracle of mortgage
For not co-oporation with it
To my occupation
of little sense of direction
To my lack of loyalty
to loyalty cards, which
to my credit
card, is past its expiration
To the pension
not given planning permission
from the authority local to my logic

*Terms and Conditions apply:

To the rapidfiredvoiced offer
(of which only 16% percent variable was audible)
for my interest-free indifference
To my ovaries for re-directing thousands
away from one eternal hope
To the linear life
for over-taking it on the inside lane
along the A-drift
To my heart for
occasionally forcing it to concede victory
in an arm-wrestle
with my head

Finally, to The Non-Conformittee:
A letter of resignation from one
No longer fugitive or fleeing

Things Women’s Cis Privilege is not responsible for

  1. The term ‘cis privilege’
  2. The imposition of narrow gender roles derived from regressive stereotypes based on either sex
  3. The social construction of gender
  4. The material reality of biology
  5. The consequences of conflating both and allowing gender to trump sex
  6. The sex-based violence against women including: femicide, global poverty, rape, sexual violence, FGM, period poverty
  7. The biological basis of global female oppression as opposed to the cause of ita claim no-one is making
  8. The deliberate misconstrued meaning and application of biological essentialism 
  9. The sex-based gender roles imposed on males and females from birth
  10. The appropriation and exploitation of intersex people in the gender debate against the express will of the minority of people with intersex conditions (who are all male or female)
  11. The systemic and institutional discrimination of trans women in areas of employment, education, health, welfare, and safety
  12. The systemic and institutional response to that discrimination in the form of thought-terminating slogans and self-serving moral marketing that fails to address any of it
  13. The subordination of the needs and voices of trans men in all public discourse to those of trans women
  14. The limitless and all-encompassing ‘definition’ of transphobia
  15. Distress experienced by males due to gender dysphoria (as opposed to sympathy)
  16. Ditto autogynephilia
  17. The continued ignoring of this condition and failure to adequately factor it in the mix
  18. Male perpetrated violence including transphobic violence towards trans people
  19. Comparatively lower rates of homicide among the trans population than females in the UK and globally
  20. The murder of Black Trans Women by males predominately in the US & Latin America
  21. The internal and external factors that condemn many Black gay men to sex work in the States
  22. The blanket acceptance of sex work as career choice
  23. The lack of evidence supporting safe use of puberty blockers on children
  24. The long-term effects of puberty blocker use: infertility, medical dependency, osteoporosis, loss of sexual function. All irreversible
  25. The rates of destransitioning
  26. The unprecedented acceleration of transitioning among young females
  27. The walk-out of 40 clinical staff from Tavistock Clinic due to safe-guarding concerns
  28. The BBC documentary reporting on same
  29. Necessary child safeguarding and protection protocols in all spheres of public life in response to male-perpetrated sexual violence and need
  30. Ditto single sex space and the multiple reasons for their evolution including safety, privacy, dignity of everyone including the need to enable women, men and children participate in public life
  31. The trauma from violence and sexual abuse on women that requires them to have access to single-sex therapeutic single-sex spaces and programme for them and their children
  32. The objective clinical evidence this is based on
  33. The housing of males with sexual assault offenders with the most vulnerable women in society: female prisoners
  34. The ensuing incidences of sexual assault and violence towards female prisoners by trans identifying males
  35. The mandatory recording of male-perpetrated sexual violence in the offender’s preferred gender
  36. The mandatory rule that female victims of male-perpetrated sexual violence must refer to the perpetrator in their preferred gender in court
  37. The biological basis of same-sex attraction that is inherently and uncompromisingly discriminatory based on – biology and legitimate genitalia preference. Ask a Left straight male who he can and can’t have sex with
  38. The imposition of gender-based sexual attraction that undermines this in the name of inclusion that renders lesbians ‘bigoted’
  39. The erosion of sexual boundaries
  40. The implications on necessary precise data required to plan resources, services, and measure discrimination through deliberate conflation of sex and a nebulous idea of gender
  41. The significantly increased upper body muscular strength, lung and heart capacity males retain compared to females following puberty irrespective of hormone intervention
  42. The implications of this on maintaining level-playing field for women’s sports, for which resources and opportunities are already in short supply
  43. Ditto women’s positions in spheres of public politics, culture, decision-making, and representation
  44. The introduction of education on gender to young children based on regressive sex-based stereotypes
  45. The introduction of protocols that inhibit parental knowledge of young children ‘socially’ transitioning in schools with no recourse to intervention
  46. The unprecedented infiltration of every public sector department, private sector ‘diversity’ awareness, and 3rd sector institutions by trans political lobbying groups including Stonewall & Mermaids
  47. The threat of job loss & actual loss of employment if staff do not fully submit to these political beliefs
  48. The 2004 Gender Recognition Act
  49. The Equality Act that includes sex as a protected category alongside those who have undergone gender reassignment surgery
  50. The single sex exemptions the law permits
  51. The limitations of the GRA and the rationale for these
  52. The right to condemn organising politically exclusively as a female sex-class as abhorrent and something to be approved of by males. Female is a distinct meaningful political category that depends on political organisation for the safeguarding of rights and protections
  53. The anger of Left males brutally administered among women highlighting the above under the guise of solidarity with trans people
  54. The silence from these same men to all the above issues regardless of platform size, celebrity status, or occupation
  55. The failure of these men to challenge themselves and their own sex class  on the ongoing perpetration of violence against women and transphobic violence
  56. The assumed right of these men to direct the terms of feminism under the guise of solidarity and inclusion
  57. The continued framing of international bounds and concerns that transcend feminism, nationality, left/right axis of politics as a uniquely British right-wing phenomenon
  58. The ‘right’ of twitter to ban users (many women) for stating biology is immutable while allowing on-going abuse and threats towards women (from mainly men) for stating that their sex matters to their life experiences
  59. The wilful determination to interpret this as respectable corporate responsibility than the political lobbying it is and the implications of same on democractic engagement and discourse
  60. Glinner
  61. Bono

Tower of Babble

Finger-tips standing to attention
Left buttock lifted to fire
A starting shot of sulphur
He’s off
Left, right, left, right
Fingers sashay up and down
The Queen’s keyboard
In exclamation-marked outrage
At charges of gutter culture
Left, right, left, right
Re-routed and stopped
From entering the Republic of Logic
By those blockading reconciliation
One’s iconography being set alight by
Placing an inferno under that of another
Left, right, left, right
Jenga’ing his way around detractors
He slides one pallet out from under another
Reconstructing his argument
Capital-lettering one back on top of the next
Left, right, left, right 
Until they fill the entire screen-line
On which he stands aloft on top
Squinting over at dandruff-sized brethren down below
The click-clacking of
Bullets from his behind
Left, right, left, right
In concert with the silent but deadly
Desertion of his leaders

Rewired

The first problem with pulling the plug on the blog was wondering what to do with all the posts. What worth had they, if any, in the annals of internal monologues, and for whom. The desertion by question marks from that sentence consistent with the indifference everyone reading it feels.

As a compendium of places my monologues visited during a specific time and place, was there any point in letting them gather dust for future surface-blowing. Having spent most of my independence as a fugitive from carrying much baggage other than psychological, I had come to regret the periodic replenishing of recycling boxes with letters and diaries and scrapbooks and Red Bulled essays. Some origamied into qualifying for forensic lab assembly requiring tweezers and expert witness hands. Others discarded whole with a cavalier flick beloved of anyone adept at undervaluing exchanges between 20 somethings with no money, no direction, and no surrender to the game being up.

The second problem with pulling the plug on the blog was wondering who could blow the dust off. Laundering them through Twitter as re-usable currency for communication was all very well but their shelf-life eventually expired along with representations of everyone and everything in them. If they were dating site profile pics, the hair-lines would now be dots on the horizon of their owners foreheads hovering above thinned top lips hanging like interval curtains over teeth gone for another costume change.

A few teeth are missing. The two front teeth just this weekend. She is above my fluctuating waistline now and firmly under his wing. I thought of asking him to store these posts under lock and key for her to peruse at a legal drinking date should fate intervene and dispossess me of an opportunity to hand them over myself. Hand over myself. My other selves. The half-distracted self. The middle-distance thinking self. The one she senses is somewhere else.

She mightn’t be interested in where I went anyway.

The third problem with pulling the plug on the blog was being caught short of a place to be and ending up in Twitter. Again. And again. And again. Twitter is other hells of other selves and an elusive sense of self. The HD self. The short distance sprinting thinking self. No roaming in the gloaming through the byroads of the subconscious for a long-form to and fro. Just interrogation lighting with torchlights drawn at 20 paces along the keyboard.

The fourth problem with pulling the plug on the blog is wanting to plug it back in. Sometimes.

 

January 7th, 2018

She unfastens grave-stoned tinsel tracing frames.
Silver: Like the anniversary celebrated within.
Green: What she was on her wedding day in hindsight.
Green: What she feels if she thinks about it long enough.
Red: The colour of two delicate unlit candles
held in by a girdle of tape slowly limbo dancing
the air on the mantlepiece; Having swaggered in upright
in 19 and 61 when presented as a gift for their first Christmas
from her Mother who, for the last two weeks has been adorned
with plastic holly in the hallway without her consent.
It doesn’t match the pillbox tilted in the same direction
as the eyes made at her new husband sitting comfortably below her.

Cherry-picking the tree, off with glittered globes from Sainsburys.
2 for £1.50 in the January sale of 2014.
Sainsburys being the one shop that do those bulbs for the lights
hanging over paintings in the only gallery she has ever curated.
The harbour at Port-na-Blagh from the main road, on the bend,
pre-planning blight, pre-life insight.

A concentration of boxes lining the valley of Glenties;
recognisable only to the discerning eye. And at that,
incapable of revealing his true origins to her
no matter how intense her gaze lingering on it.

An elegant woman, overdressed to be wandering a meadow alone,
before ending up in the living room on account of the flowers
she sniffs matching the carpet perfectly.

Upwards towards preserved artifacts of her children’s childhood:
Chain-gangs of looped paper rings, misshapen stars,
the clear glass bear from Dublin. Or was it Derry?
Tiers of nearly tears until she reaches the inscrutable angel
presiding somewhat judgmentally over her domestic domain.
Refusing to look down over unabashed nakedness at eyes
coming up for her in the hope they’ll both see the next.

20191228_152432.jpg

Aye

She stood losing a staring contest with the new coffee machine before stepping aside for a Cop. He overtook her on autopilot to resume the universal challenge of early morning indifference. Both of them united by separation anxiety from its predecessor. One that might’ve gurgled back in protest but didn’t tease regulars with fancy moves like this one. Like dispensing hot water then pausing for a round of applause before introducing the headline act to the cup.

That’s when I invaded her peripheral vision with the offer of a lid they thought hip to hide from view, startling her in a manner usually reserved for catching my own reflection.

Ah. It’s yourself. I was away in another world there.

A world of under-eye shadows from Intensive Care Unit hours she’d been keeping; under eyes no bigger than curled up confetti from going through her revolving car-door leaving no time for her usually flawless make-up.

How are things?

Aye. OK. He’ll spend another week in ICU, then home. But recovery will be slow. It’s hard on Mum but there’s hardly a family we know that’s not affected by it. Is there, like?

Aye. True.

Everything else is much the same. The boys are fine. Still fighting over Power Rangers cards. And football football football. You know yourself. Is your wee one not into them things yet? They’re a bloody torture.

Aye. She’s a big Celtic fan though, I conceded, finally settling my end of the subtle transaction of child inspired exasperation. Like her Da. So, you know yourself.

[In unison] Aye!

And with that we awkwardly strung out our goodbyes until she reached the till and the poppy on the lapel of her padded coat faded to something vaguely resembling a blood donor badge on a shrunken duvet. One she could cheerfully disappear under.

I skulked back over to the flashy coffee machine wondering what would she think if she knew I pulled my wee one from Remembrance Assembly last week. The one her two boys skipped into along with every other wee one from what I could gather on Facebook, where all the best rights are violated. Shouldn’t I have sent in her in there? Isn’t this what integrated education is all about?

Aye. According to the stock imaged posters, and those misty-eyed promos featuring Liam Neeson selling us the benefits of holding hands across the playground in a non-threatening voice. There he is. All whispery, beatifically laying his hand on a shoulder as the camera pulls away to reveal me gnawing my fist. For f*ck’s sake, Liam. Too many people already think integrated education is for pretentious w*nkers and toffs. Ham up the local brogue there like a good man.

Aye. OK. I made that last bit up.

Of course it’s for bloody toffs you stupid eejit, pointed out my friend diplomatically. You have to drive to get to it!

Aye. Right enough.

And where does your wee one go, the integrated?, inquired a colleague condemned to my front passenger seat longer than should ever be necessary.

Aye.

Aye?

Aye.

Fair play til ya. Friends of our Mary goes there.

Aye?

Oh aye.

Wait a second. So there’s no Irish at all?, another mate re-checked, ramping up the incredulity.

Aye.

Lucky f*ckers.

Aye.

 

blood

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