Strengthened in Life (version two)

 

Breathe-out

and

stand

the Weh

is at hand

 

 

Breathe-in

rejoice

let

Yah guide

the voice

 

 

for when

 

joy fills

the lungs

 

when

 

breath-full-ness

comes

 

anxieties fall

 

as

 

Love Be-stills all.

 

On the pure:

meditate

 

For the just:

Supplicate

 

Praise both:

 Noble and True

 

Give thanks for:

Virtue

 

With the Loveless:

Consort

 

and with all good report

 

‘Rejoice’

I say twice

 

and Be strengthened in

Life.

 

After Philippians V4: 4-13

Exploitation, death and decay

In the week where Prince Charles became

‘humbled and surprised,’ to be shoed-in as the next head of The Commonwealth, I have been mulling over my recent visit to Bristol’s own museum of exploitation, domination and white man’s stolen play things.

Ostensibly my visit to The City Museum was to witness a gathering of arty folk chew over how to bring light and modern day context to the now hidden collection of 500,000 Empire and Commonwealth artefacts (which had once been displayed in the now defunct Empire and Commonwealth museum, and which now are stored away in the gunnels of the Bristol Records Office).

I admit I usually avoid entering this dusty world of neatly annotated, well organised death and decay, and so even before the meeting my hackles were slightly on attack mode.

So when the  speaker from the Bristol Records Office talked about an  African collection of steel locks, unique and ‘of no use to Bristol,’ and followed that by saying  that ‘in fact, there is so much other people’s stuff stuffed away in dark closets that new storage space is needed.. My internal and usually well wrapped rage became ignited.

‘No, no no Bristol,’ I screamed (admittedly only internally), ‘instead of employing two full time archivists to list and categorise colonial stolen lives, instead of making quasi educational lists of historical plunder, find ways to open up the vaults and let the goodness flow back to its source.’

God how I wish I had said that.

Instead, as my stomach juices ate my own lining, I waited for my chance to blurt out

‘Why don’t you just let that encased and delicately shrivelled Egyptian queen downstairs make her journey back home, yes let her go home so she can die again within the splendour of her rightful resting place. And while we are at it, reunite that shrunken African head so he can stand strong in the solid unity of home. And please please please consider letting go of all those alarmed and stuffed animals, give them the dignity of death and decay so they too may each close their glassy eyes and return to the dust of mother earth……

Bristol: open your mucky clutches and release yourself, release us from witnessing your continued superior claims to be even handed custodians of other people’s stolen creativity and priceless heritage.’

 

An ode to sleeplessness and pain.

Your

suicide
dial
reports
soars
digging deep
into
petal sharp
flex
of
inverted
pride.
scoring
soft
flesh
you say
drains
thought
poppies thought
too
sickly weak
to
salve
numb
fumbling
regrets
of
past
pressed
days.

still.

fidgetting
with courage
you
continue
to name
marauding
nights
touched
distantly
in said
blood clots.
you
scratch
to grip
to
gulp too

tap
tap
tap.

fingering
your sayings
tap, tap
moves we
to call and response
Water
Sister?
No, not that
and pushing
down
preciously
down upon
your plastic teat

you

trickle
sweet saltings of sweat you
imbibe wounds until
they hatch
in overwhelming
whelps of weep-ful-ness
while
in otherness
aches and strains
invite us both
to once again
card-board chew through
battle fallow fields
to warp the walk
from
ego stress.

till
till
tilling
un-
countable
fillings of
past soiled
future
sores
intimate
groans
and
sleepless ness
distanced
becomings
re-erect themselves
in this now
upon
hoarding pillars both
bile and blue
spent and
deformed
with these new
warming
spirits despaired
and passed
between us
in momentary
fragmented
truth

rest awhile

my broken flower

yes

you

my fullness of
stiff regret
breathe and stretch and
profess
movements to soften
further
varicose spills of
forty per-cent
night-time
armistice

you of this
new hope-ful-ness
wishing to
ward off
immersed
confusions of chemical lash
burning yearnings that
crisp the crust, that
deadens dawning grief
in low familiar
yawning dusk
flow slow from
those darkening swills
that translucent soak
so melting here the
salted cubes this
fleshed disbelief
may dis-

appearing again ‘for Christ’s sake,’ you say

‘surely,’

you pause to re-orientate to re-find your currently wearing face within this worn out journal stock:

‘surely, this time, I’ll re-find relief and solid ground within this rolling reef, this ice bound rock.’

and

watching
as you regather
as your precious life
leaves in my lap such

absurdly poetic

stuttering words

of

thanks

I wonder at your strength

I ponder over your wisdom-filled beauty 

Shall we see
shall share again these un-
speakable, most legible most
tenderful privileges of groundings
grown deep within
these suffering joys, these
witnessings of transforming pain.

Whoever is willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to herself, that person is a pleasant shelter…It is enough to recognise one’s nothingness and to abandon oneself, like a child…

St. Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897), aka: ‘The Little Flower.’

(Quoted from Richard Rohr: Eager to Love p.111 & 114).