Another one I’ve deleted many times. This whole affair really, really affected me. I wrote it in the moment and it probably comes across a bit too muchy… but seems more than relevant especially in this current climate.
This will be included in my upcoming book So You Are… An Anxious Avocado.
Here is an excerpt of a half day course I paid to attend in the hopes of learning from industry peers. It was anything but.
This thing was odd from the get go and your newfound self publishing knowledge probably worked against you in this sphere. You naively thought this truly would be about the craft and should have seen it coming. You kind of did on entry. That synthetic, intoxicating feeling when there are too many products and banners and promo crap in a room. It’s stifling and reeks of plastic and deception.
You wanted to believe and therefore subconsciously ignored the obvious truth. The answers you and presumably many others were seeking, were cleverly and strategically packaged up into a program – the real ‘product’. The lure of getting punters in the door and ‘bums on seats’ was the guise of teaching those skills in an elaborate retreat that cost tens of thousands of dollars. You presumed you weren’t the only one who didn’t come to buy or be sold something you were not remotely interested in. It was both genius and brutally shameful.
The room felt sticky from the icky ilk of ‘schemy’ sales tactics and the energy coming off the presenters was nervous, tense, defensive and aggressive, like they were waiting to be sprung. Shoddy looks and shady fidgeting were as telling as deep water neon.
You could feel the pennies dropping at different moments as attendees put two and two together, but hated that you’d figured it out almost immediately. It felt like an agonisingly slow, silent, smoky wave of disappointment, betrayal and irritation. It felt like the nineties – except the women who would have been the wives of the men who were having their moment in the synthetic sun – were now here – in their sixties falling for the exact platforms they had helped create and benefitted from. Despite that, you immediately felt a surge to protect them.
To be continued…
Writers Group Session – Poetry.
Writers group is great for my mental health, not so much for my ever expanding arse – the nibbles are first rate. Tonight we were treated to a delightful host, delightful poetry, classical, beautiful words in intricate covers and pages.
We also had our poetry critiqued as well as reading personal favourite’s. I’ve got some cliched classics I enjoyed as a child and a teen as well as some new discoveries.
I read the Jabberwocky word for word – exactly how my third grade teacher had brain washed our class all those decades ago.
The writing exercise was
…from the hat of funness. I chose Boiling Bunnies which I painstakingly wrote an epitaph and limerick about. The limerick was bloody hard – much harder than I remember when I used to write them as a kid. The topic made it both tricky and hilarious. 15 minutes writing time for each.
Here lies our darling departed
Whose dear lives had barely started
Wee hares courageous and bold
Forever remain, buried and cold
Stark contrast to sweet cotton tails
Once hippity hopped over meadows
and frollicked yonder in ditches
‘Tis a ditch they met a tragic fate
Hungry traveller came calling quite late
There was no waning moon
Nor was it sunny
Just a drooling oaf with a giant pot
and a penchant for boiling bunnies
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
Add salt and gravy to the rabbit stew you must.
and the really woeful limerick…
There once was a lass from York
Whose head was the shape of a fork
Folk thought it was funny
When she boiled a batch of bunnies
and skewered them with BBQ pork
The world’s first known author/poet is widely considered to be Enheduanna, a woman who lived in the 23rd century BCE in ancient Mesopotamia (approximately 2285 – 2250 BCE) and the first person in human history to sign their name to a work of literature. An ancient “triple threat,” she was a princess and a priestess as well as a writer and poet. As Leick notes “to some extent the descriptive epithets of Mesopotamian goddesses reveal the cultural perception of women and their role in ancient society”.
The Exaltation of Inanna
Without you no destiny is determined… To run, to escape, to quiet and to pacify are yours, Inanna. To open up roads and paths, a place of peace for the journey, a companion for the weak, are yours, Inanna. To keep paths and ways in good order, to shatter earth and to make it firm are yours, Inanna. To destroy, to build up, to tear out and to settle are yours, Inanna. To turn a man into a woman and a woman into a man are yours, Inanna.–
Sappho was an ancient Greek female poet who wrote lyrical poetry famous for its intense passion and description of love. Being born on the Isle of Lesbos she is also referred to as the first Lesbian poet. Little is known of her actual life, though she was born around 620BC, and died approximately 50 years later.
Charaxos and Larichos
Say what you like about Charaxos,
that’s a fellow with a fat-bellied ship
always in some port or other.
What does Zeus care, or the rest of his gang?
Now you’d like me on my knees,
crying out to Hera, “Blah, blah, blah,
bring him home safe and free of warts,”
or blubbering, “Wah, wah, wah, thank you,
thank you, for curing my liver condition.”
Good grief, gods do what they like.
They call down hurricanes with a whisper
or send off a tsunami the way you would a love letter.
If they have a whim, they make some henchmen
fix it up, like those idiots in the Iliad.
A puff of smoke, a little fog, away goes the hero,
it’s happily ever after. As for Larichos,
that lay-a-bed lives for the pillow. If for once
he’d get off his ass, he might make something of himself.
Then from that reeking sewer of my life
I might haul up a bucket of spring water.
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
"A woman's psyche may have found its way to the desert out of resonance, or because of past cruelties or because she was not allowed a larger life above ground. So often a woman feels then that she lives in an empty place where there is maybe just one cactus with one brilliant red flower on it, and then in every direction, 500 miles of nothing. But for the woamn who will go 501 miles, there is something more. A small brave house. An old one. She has been waiting for you." Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes
How To Silence A Woman: Retrieving Her Voice
When someone says, “We’re saying the same thing.”
Say, “We are not saying the same thing.”
When someone says, “Don’t question, just have faith”
Say, “I am questioning vato, and I have supreme faith in what I think.”
When someone says, “Don’t defy my authority.”
Say, “There is a higher authority that I follow.”
When someone says, “Your ideas are seductive.”
Say, “No, my ideas are not seductive, they are substantial.”
When someone says, “Your ideas are dangerous”
Say, Yes, my ideas are dangerous, and why are you
so afraid hombre o mujer ?
When it is said, “It’s just not done.”
Say. “It will be done.”
When it is said, “It is immature”
Say, “All life begins small and must be allowed to grow.”
When it is said, “It’s not well thought out.”
Say, “It is well thought out.”
When they say, “You’re over-reacting.”
Say, “You’re under-reacting vato.”
When they say, “You’re being emotional.”
Say, “Of course I have well placed emotions, and by the way, what happened to yours?”
When they say, “You’re not making any sense.”
Say, “I don’t make sense, I am the sense.”
When they say, “I can’t understand you when you’re crying.”
Say. “Make no mistake, I can weep and be fierce at the same time.”
When they say, “I cant understand you when you’re being so angry.”
Say. “You couldn’t hear me when I was being nice, sweet or silent, either.”
When someone says, “You’re missing the point.”
Say, “I’m not missing the point, but you seem to be missing my point—
What are you so afraid of?”
When someone says, “You are breaking the rules.”
Say, “Yes, I am breaking the rules.”
When someone says, “That’s not practical.”
Say, “It’s practically a done deal, thank you very much.”
When it is said, “No one will do it, believe you, follow it.”
Say, “I will do it, I will believe in it, and in time, the world may well follow it.”
When it is said, “No one wants to listen to that.”
Say, “I know you have a hard time listening to that.”
When it is said, “It’s a closed system, you cant change it.”
Say, “I’m going to knock twice and if there is no answer,
then I am going to blow the doors off that system and it will change.
When it is said, “They’ll ignore you.”
Say, “They won’t ignore me and the 100s of thousands who stand with me.
When they say, “It’s already been done.”
Say, “It’s not been done well enough.”
When they say, “It’s not time yet.”
Say “It’s way past time.”
When they say, “It’s not the right day, right month, right year.”
Tell them, “The right year was last year,
and the right month was last month,
and the right day was yesterday,
and you’re running behind schedule vato,
and what in the name of God and all that is holy
are you going to do about it?”
When they say, “Who do you think you are?”—
tell them who you are, and don’t hold back.
When they say, “I put up with it, you’ll have to put up with it too.”
Say, “No, no,no,no.”
When they say, “I’ve suffered a long time and you’ll have to suffer too.”
Say, “No, no, no,no.”
When they say, “You’re an incorrigible,
defiant, hard to get along with,
Say, “Yes, yes, yes, yes,
and I have worse news for you yet—
We are teaching our daughters,
and our sisters…
We are teaching our sons
and our brothers
Favourites from long ago…
The Jabberwocky was drilled into me by my third grade teacher who read the poem every. single. day. for months! I remember every pause, every dramatic breath, every roll of her tongue. Whenever I hear other people read it I am quickly irritated because it sounds completely wrong. I can hear the ghost of her very impatient voice screeching unapologetically how poorly the interpretation is.
She was a tiny, very masculine looking warrior woman of the eighties. She scared the shit out of me and the entire school, but ironically her and I developed a great respect and adoration, one I still recall fondly. She not only introduced me to what would become a love of literature – but also the world of dystopian sci-fi. I devoured the tiny primary school library of the genre. She also read I am David by Anne Holm to a year 2/3 split class! It was only very recently did I discover it was an historical fiction based on WWII concentration camps – it sounded so foreign and unreal. It was an intense book for adults, let alone 7 & 8 year olds and it had the entire class horrified, but enraptured. Even the shit heads of the class would shut up and listen for the hour she would read.
She passed away years ago. I wish I could have told her how much I appreciated her influence in my life and my love of the written word.
Lewis Carroll The Jabberwocky 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe. "Beware the Jabberwock, my son The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun The frumious Bandersnatch!" He took his vorpal sword in hand; Long time the manxome foe he sought— So rested he by the Tumtum tree, And stood awhile in thought. And, as in uffish thought he stood, The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame, Came whiffling through the tulgey wood, And burbled as it came! One, two! One, two! And through and through The vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head He went galumphing back. "And hast thou slain the Jabberwock? Come to my arms, my beamish boy! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" He chortled in his joy. 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe; All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.
When I was 11 I went to stay with my Aunty and Uncle in Kalgoorlie. I was introduced to their neighbour’s daughter who was a few years older than me and she introduced me to – The Outsiders By S E Hinton. I think most gen x’s probably would never have become fans of Robert Frost had it not been for that book and later the brat pack film.
It was such a delicious gem at a sweet and poignant time in my life. I cherished her dog eared and footnoted copy, reading it so many times the pages started to fall out. Regardless of the 80’s teen cliches – I will always picture the golden sky across Ralph Macchio… I mean Johnny’s beautiful face as he sat listening to Pony Boy recite Nothing Gold Can Stay. His gut-wrenching death played out just as tragically on screen with Stevie Wonders haunting tones really bringing the whole depressing shit show home. No wonder I went down a dark path. Still – beautiful, classic poem.
Nothing Gold Can Stay Nature's first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf's a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay.
William Butler Yeats
This was the dawn of my research in the early 2000’s when I wanted to recreate that feeling of not being alone at my grandparents home in Fremantle. Because I was there so frequently I never allowed myself to imagine a reality where ghosts could exist, hence discouraging an eerie truth I constantly felt as a child growing up in a century old house. So fairies were something I gravitated to and happily worked with so as not scare the be-jesus out of myself – particularly at night when that place literally became a haunted bloody house with all its old baroquey Victorian era architectural decorative shit and freaky, fricken shadows casting every which way waiting to murder me.
The Fairy Pendant Scene: A circle of Druidic stones First Fairy: Afar from our lawn and our levee, O sister of sorrowful gaze! Where the roses in scarlet are heavy And dream of the end of their days, You move in another dominion And hang o'er the historied stone: Unpruned in your beautiful pinion Who wander and whisper alone. All: Come away while the moon's in the woodland, We'll dance and then feast in a dairy. Though youngest of all in our good band, You are wasting away, little fairy. Second Fairy: Ah! cruel ones, leave me alone now While I murmur a little and ponder The history here in the stone now; Then away and away I will wander, And measure the minds of the flowers, And gaze on the meadow-mice wary, And number their days and their hours— All: You're wasting away, little fairy. Second Fairy: O shining ones, lightly with song pass, Ah! leave me, I pray you and beg. My mother drew forth from the long grass A piece of a nightingle's egg, And cradled me here where are sung, Of birds even, longings for aery Wild wisdoms of spirit and tongue. All: You're wasting away, little fairy. First Fairy [turning away]: Though the tenderest roses were round you, The soul of this pitiless place With pitiless magic has bound you— Ah! woe for the loss of your face, And the loss of your laugh with its lightness— Ah! woe for your wings and your head— Ah! woe for your eyes and their brightness— Ah! woe for your slippers of red. We'll dance and then feast in a dairy. Though youngest of all in our good band, She's wasting away, little fairy.
The next is the most unoriginal teenage obsession – old Will, but in my defense I did have to study him. For years he was my escape, but as deeply as I immersed myself into his worlds I withdrew just as rapidly and have no clue what my favourite’s were, nor can I recite any of his work that I once knew off by heart. Me thinks my trip down hallucinogenic mid 90s lane may have something to do with that.
Fairy Land I is another more recent poem I’ve been influenced by with Warders Cottage.
William Shakespeare Fairy Land I Over hill, over dale, Thorough bush, thorough brier, Over park, over pale, Thorough flood, thorough fire, I do wander everywhere, Swifter than the moone's sphere; And I serve the fairy queen, To dew her orbs upon the green: The cowslips tall her pensioners be; In their gold coats spots you see; Those be rubies, fairy favours, In those freckles live their savours: I must go seek some dew-drops here, And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear.
This starts off cutting, but I promise it gets kinder.
The first time I heard you was in my Mum’s Carona with a custom fitted bonnet to rival any street car – we were quite the envy of my peers. No we were not. The bonnet was white, the car – cream biscuit beige. Thankfully it was an era where even rich people had bungers, though my Dad’s bright green Kingswood was a mortifying exception and the bane of my teenage existence. Nothing dents a developing confidence like being dropped off to parties in an apple on wheels.
Of the two crap choices Mum’s shitty multicoloured meep-meep and her four dollar radio was the less crapper mode of transportation. And your music was less scratchy out of her wireless. They both listened to the same hits-for-the-oldies station and it was in the creamy Carona where I heard You Oughta Know and that was your first strike with me.
The second was when I saw you on Rage and things just got weird. Everything about you – was me to the point it felt like you’d stolen my identity and I sure as shit did not want to be associated with some frantic, Top 40 doppelganger being thrashed on commercial radio so often – even baby-boomers knew the words to your songs. I couldn’t align with someone that my mother would sing along too! It was all way too much for an anti-everything-too-cool-for-school-triple-J teen!
My refusal to jump on your bandwagon was not an isolated sentiment. Australians are a fairly skeptical bunch. And in an uber skeptical, all-knowing-know-all-youthy climate, it seemed like you were attempting to represent and profit off a generation of pissed off gen x girls of which I was very much a proud advocate.
The war-cry of the self-centred 90’s girl:
Who the hell asked you to speak for me?
What I didn’t realise of course was you were echoing things that hadn’t happened to me yet, and by the time they did your musical penny dropped like a bong… I mean bomb.
But I was a confusing little contradiction. At that stage I was Sub Pop driven and wanted to be left alone and write shitty poetry and you seemed like a suspicious shade of mainstream. I didn’t need you, or your catty music to shine a light on the unchecked madness of my sex when betrayed by the opposite sex – a real and devastatingly regular reality for insecure, unlucky-in-anything-resembling-“normal”-love me.
People began comparing me to you almost instantly at a time I was desperate to disappear, find my way, find my people and fit in. I wanted to go under the radar, underground and wanted no association to someone I’d begun to seriously resent. Which looking back as an adult – makes stuff-all sense – you were gorgeous, brighter, prettier, smarter, thinner and way more majestic than any of my lummoxy akwardness.
But what began innocently as occasional comments of,
“Oh wow, you look like Alanis Morisette”
began to morph into a weird form of harassment. A celebrity status I didn’t earn, nor want. It was great when your fans would approach with compliments and on closer inspection realise – besides the hair & the mouth we really didn’t look much alike. Not so lucky with your haters, particularly those who would accost me in nightclubs, flick my hair and slur abuse like they were actually speaking to you! I even went to a tribute show and the singer who mimicked you brilliantly – couldn’t stop staring and seemed irritated I was there. It was seriously a weird time.
We were around the same age, with same hair, same smile, same false aloofness and same self-loathsome creed. An identity I had worked hard to achieve and one I could deliver confidently. Problem was everyone thought I had stolen it from you and even worse – was trying to be you.
It took me yonks to understand how cool you really were. Just a shorter, more articulately ventier, Canadian version of myself – a closet hippy, looking for real experiences, respectful relationships, questioning the hypocrisy of the world and letting everyone hear about it. Loudly.
The difference was you had way more life experience, actual talent and the platform of fame to share those protests. I, on the other hand – had late night ramblings from a pine podium of misty carpark balustrades, in between sucking on can bongs and mowing down filet-o-fishes. The only fame I knew was at the Maccas drive-through. First. Name. Basis.
Two random things switched my dislike to adoration.
First – in a morning-after coma – one of your songs came on Video-bloody-hits and on closer inspection it felt like I knew you. Other than encyclopedias – I have no idea how I researched anything as a kid, and it’s not like I googled you – but somehow I found out you were one of my favourite’s on You Can’t do that on television. It took that randomly bizarre connection for me to reassess my loathe fest. Yes. Weird.
Second – The Greek I was in love with said I reminded him of you and that he liked you because you reminded him of me. So I begged my parents for a birthday guitar, took out a vendetta on hairdressers, grew my locks to my arse, bought a polyester beanie from Kmart, a pair of Doc Martin boots and upped my grunge game. I memorised every song you wrote, hit every notey, screechy quiver and sung my lungs out to the dust packed stadium of my folks living room.
I never learned how to play that guitar. I did teach myself the beginning of Given to Fly by Pearl Jam and that is literally all she wrote musically. It sits in my kids playroom. I hear it twanging out of tune every now and then and hope one of them will pick it up, because quite frankly I can neither afford or be arsed taxi-ing them to another extracurricular activity – so a heavy reliance on natural talent is their only hope.
I remember counting down the months until your second album was released. I was such a scattered mung bean during that period and our mindset of escaping the wankery of the day seemed similar. You pissed off to India – I buggered off to Cairns. You found enlightenment. I found the same bullshit I tried to run away from – just a tropical version of it.
When your album finally did come out I couldn’t afford to buy it! I was so broke and skinny, my girlfriend and I would scab mangoes from the council trees just so we could eat! We’d hang out in the shopping centre because we stupidly rented a unit in northern Queensland with no air conditioning. I’d loiter outside Sanity reading the song list and obsessing over owning the CD. By the time I returned home, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie was played and scratched until it was stolen from my car many moons and many me’s later.
After that I forgot all about it. About you. About the massive influence and affect you had on me in that minuscule, but pivotal point in life when I was oozing confidence, was fearless and clueless about my place in the world.
I recently started researching and delving into the worship of Goddess’s in ancient civilizations and bizarrely “Heart of the House” took up residency in my brain – on repeat. That was the first song I fell in love with and the first I had to etch from my mind because it fed my depression. It tapped into that dream state of life as a kid in the 70s and 80s. Orange hues, hazy days as a little girl, family picnics, sucking sour grass, threading daisy chains and worshipping my own real life Goddess – my Mum.
I was so in-love with everything about Heart of the House I wanted to share its strength and the love and joy it conjured of those beautiful yester-year memories to anyone who would listen. That song was so ridiculously powerful – when I played it for my friend she made me turn it off half way through.
…You saw me, run from the house, in the snow, melodramatically…
Her mother had died when she was a child and all she wanted at that point in her life was a Mum to watch over all of her dramatic tendencies – and she had loads.
My undying love for YouTube rekindled the obsession of your song and I play it to my daughter on the school run. It’s now in her favourites playlist along with Jolene and Working 9-5. Sweet little Merida in the making.
I never realised the impact you, your songwriting, your music had on me and I feel like I abandoned and betrayed you – like those little goddess statues tucked into the walls of ancient ruins. Hidden away so that no one knew they were being worshipped.
So, modern day goddess of the feminine arts – thank you. Thank you truly for your delicate influence on who I am today and the mother I fail constantly at trying to be. My long ago doppelganger. You, me and our very…
…gypsy, garage sale ways.
Fangirl poetry inspired by real life heroine – Dr Bettany Hughes. Her documentary – When God was a Girl is inspirational. A fascinating and in-depth flip of history and how the past has shaped who we are and why many of the issues we live today stem from our removal from the history books.
Please follow this link and watch all three. They really are fascinating for all genders.
Finding these documentaries as well as the brilliant The Ascent of Woman on Netflix (now on YouTube) by Dr Amanda Foreman, have helped me find my way with my own historical fiction – The Warder’s Cottage. You know when you get that niggling feeling you’re onto something, but are not yet at the stage to see it clearly? Not quite ready for the answers to be revealed? That was my moment at the beginning of last year when I quit drinking and all these fantastic doco’s, books, podcasts etc came pouring our of nowhere onto my radar. The most recent was Witches: A Century of Murder.
One led to the other and suddenly everything I’ve ever found interesting in history all made sense! Epiphany galore! Threads I’ve been looking for – for yonks had me totally geeking out over women in history.
So I wrote a poem – When We Walked As One, and entered it into a few competitions and predictably it bombed. Wayyyy to wordy and far too emotional and probably less a poem than a creatively worded rant ensemble. It read as it sounded – like it was written by teenage me. It’s a worthy topic for a long winded poem – based on the Goddesses and attempted removal of women and feminine deities across history.
I read the poem out to my Writers Group peers with positive feedback. The first comment was – “Whoa. That’s heavy,” and I must admit I felt deflated. But these are women and writers I trust, so every bit of critique is valuable.
The greatest thing about this group is after a year of attending the feedback is still brilliant. I’ve been told nothing I haven’t learned and grown from. This fellow writer also said because the first 2 poems (I read out) were light and fun – When We Walked As One was… well, heavy.
It is damned heavy and also a reflection on the way I approach things – full fricken force or nothing. I questioned my overdoing-everything habit and the self-doubt flood gates opened. Thankfully they quickly shut back up.
This poem was unique. Like tripping without the drugs. It felt like I wasn’t the one writing things, like the words were someone else’s thoughts. It felt more like an obligation than art.
The problem is there is no way for this particular topic not be heavy – especially when you condense nearly 12000 years, 2 documentary series and a life time of reflection on being female – into a 50 lined poem. It’s going to be a head fCk.
Probably could have used some help from the Horrible Histories writers.
Ra, ra, Cleopatra!
Famous beauty coming at ya!
Ra ra, patra Cleo!
Guys all go gaga for me-o!
I am a leader
And a lady and a queen
Such a queen never been seen
I am a pharaoh
Yet they’re-o meant to be guys
But I don’t care-o
I just wear-o beard disguise…
Maybe not in patra-Cleo’s case, however in this circumstance – heavy – is necessary and it comes back to the flaw of critiquing people you are acquainted with. There is a bias towards the writer and even the bias is usually biased. These fellow writers are people I admire, respect and enjoy – but what is heavy for some, may resonate with a thousand others, so I’m running with the latter.
I look forward to more feedback, but stand by the intensity I filtered into this particular piece of work – a subject we should all investigate a bit deeper.
As for the poem – a lot of tweaking, chopping and brutal fine tuning is still needed. But it does sport a new, super subtle title. Voila –
Little Lady lump of rock
Deliciously plump and ripe.
Birther of panic
Seeder of spite
Abundant flesh and form.
Abandoned clay all-grainy.
pondering our loving return.
Finally found her
Thousands of years later
and she found us
Foreign, wanting, vainly disappointing.
Lo how they tried to rid you.
Cast away you.
Stamp tramp dust you.
Will you to rust.
Desecrated your pages.
Great houses relished, hypnotized the ages…
“To the hills we traipsed Triumphant. On high once she reigned. Crushed. Slain.
From cauldron. From broom. Tricksy heights of their womb. Blood lusted idols lapped sacrificial alters. In fields all were mixing, dancing, bleeding. Nakedly singing to the stars conjuring oceans afar. Shipwrecking royalty. Wretched femininity. Hail Daemonologie! Stamped it! Burned them out! Parchment and quill. Ravings to the ill. Nonsensical comforts. Wicked whisperings. Eradicated hearings extracted historically – deafened false prophecy. Howled at the crescent moon lest they claimed our sun! Yang seed, epigenetic creed, collectively aloof – New Global Truth. A thousand years prevailed shrouded and veiled. Backed ’em to the ground. Returned to earth. Buried prowess-powers-progress. Buried maiden-mother-crone nonsense. Buried midwifery-sorcery-healing. Fanciful inner-within-ness waning. Tore at it, tore it away. Deep rips ’til they surrendered. Submitted to submission. Dutiful handmaiden. Virtuous virgin turned from ambition to suspicion of own fruition. Wounds so deep, rotten. Who, why, what’s forgotten. No memory of the hour when she wielded power. When God was a Girl and they ruled the world.”
Oh, sorrowful betrayal! Our reflection.
’Twas you summonsed Cybele!
Magna Mater. Floating statue through the city.
Worshipping Her almighty to aid unquenchable warring.
Forged a million identical promises to funnel feminine glory.
Restore the balanced story – to all! With our aid!
But you buried her. You buried them all.
Buried Us ’til we forgot sacred divinity evermore.
Gaslit and smeared, snuffed, sneered.
Wiped truth and trace
Formed on mountains.
Love. Petals. Grace.
Clear hearts overflowing, sharing
All knowing. When Earth was a Woman.
When we thrived as One. More than a rib, or a putrid pun.
Magdalene a confidante? a twin soul! Woman more than vessel, whore, hole.
Barbaric little statues etched from forgotten scrolls. Manhandled by Victorian trolls.
Boxed deep. Cave bowels. Musty museums. Smothered. Silenced. Keeper of keys never was. Never were. Birthless. Hear now DNA churning. Lioness awakening. Recalling
Views from sandled soles, chains and choke holds. Publically leased, privately leashed. Fragmented. Broken. Warped. Awoken. Rising humbled, healing. Leading. Forgiving.
Breathing solution. Living revolution. Life and death giving. Little lady lump.
Ripe fertile rump. Porous prowess. Healing magnanimous. Nurturing.
Glory and form. Re-setter. New dawn… if you let her. Remember?
Before control and rule. Before concrete and fuel.
Before ignorance and ridicule
We. Your whole
when we walked as one
This was a cool one. I love food writing prompts. They’re the best. I got:
The alarm blared.
“It’s okay. You only need to leave when you hear ‘evacuate’,” the staff called jovially, and patrons returned to the library like luggage on a carousel.
“For shit sakes,” Gloria moaned.
“Oh, that’s funny,” Eloise laughed as staff began ushering them toward the exit doors.
“I guess that’s it then. What a waste of bloody time,” said Gloria.
“The night is young! How about a cafe? Not all alarms are ringing.”
“C’mon. Hot chocolate’s on me,” Eloise grinned charmingly and rustled her bag. “Still got the chockie stash too.”
“Oh, alright. Let’s go then.”
For an hour the two women, practically strangers – shared their stories, their past, their highs and woes of being poets in a world crazed and beautiful. The cafe played fifties songs and they would pause from their camaraderie to sing along and sip the luke warm drinks.
“Thank you Eloise. Sincerely. I haven’t laughed, or thought that deeply on anything for such a long time.”
Gloria rested her hand on Eloise’s coat. It was warm and furry, much like the night. They hugged like family do and walked back to their cold cars. Not even the late night inhabitants of the shady shopping centre could dampen this fleeting loveliness and with keys in stabbing grip they floated. This was the type of car park where serial killers dared not loiter. It felt like they were walking on air.
Enheduanna – the earliest known poet recorded. High Priestess of the goddess Inanna and the moon god Nanna. All round bad-ass legend. I won’t butcher what is essentially other peoples hard work and research by trying to reword what has already been re-worded, no doubt, hundreds of times.
I would never have come across this amazing woman had I not seen the documentary: The Ascent of Woman by Dr Amanda Foreman OR Divine Women by Dr Bettany Hughes. I know it’s becoming a feminist cliché but I don’t really care – they truly switched some buried, epigenetic shit buried deep inside awakening my favourite historical past time – Why in the fuck were women wiped from history?
I have included The Hyper Texts version of Enheduanna below.
The HyperTexts The Temple Hymns of Enheduanna with modern English translations by Michael R. Burch Enheduanna, the daughter of the famous King Saragon the Great of Akkad, is the first ancient writer whose name remains known today. She appears to be the first named poet in human history and the first known author of prayers and hymns. Enheduanna, who lived circa 2285-2250 BCE, is also one of the first women we know by name. She was the entu (high priestess) of the goddess Inanna (Ishtar/Astarte/Aphrodite) and the moon god Nanna (Sin) in the Sumerian city-state of Ur. Enheduanna's composition Nin-me-šara ("The Exaltation of Inanna") details her expulsion from Ur, located in southern Iraq, along with her prayerful request to the goddess for reinstatement. Enheduanna also composed 42 liturgical hymns addressed to temples across Sumer and Akkad. And she was the first editor of a poetry anthology, hymnal or songbook. Now known as the Sumerian Temple Hymns, this was the first collection of its kind; indeed, Enheduanna so claimed at the end of the final hymn: "My king, something has been created that no one had created before." And poems and songs are still being assembled today via the model she established over 4,000 years ago! Enheduanna may also have been the first feminist, as I explain in the notes that follow my translations of her poems.—MRB
By Molly Meary ©
Ode to Enheduanna
first of all firsts
yet where is our memory
where are the footnotes
lectures and exams
first named woman
first name signed
first author of prayer and hymn
first not a “him”
oh, but the fuck-you thrill
to have Inanna kill
She – ruler supreme
over all gods
promotes Queen of Heaven
first holy entrepreneur of all that is good
despite our inevitable odds
How you tried Enheduanna
Banished Moon Goddess
Almighty conqueror in fiery crossroad
Where you, unbeknownst
recalled shadows recent past
women stepping alongside male counterparts
For all your loving persistence
amidst sinister transition…
eye for an eye derailed
tooth for a tooth prevailed
Or did you?
you – of a knowing
Oracled dark corners to pass
Fire and sword
you etched your name
etched it deep
etched it first
never to remove
blackest of cones
phallic and thick
“If a woman speaks out of turn then her teeth shall be smashed by a brick”
uniter of kingdoms
turner of men’s minds
from warring and power
turn them within
to the divine
in your precious hour
Signed your name
foreseeing future betrayal
time of yearning
flipped humankind’s first bird
ensuring it would be your words