Poetry Day

A pair of poems written in the style of William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’.

 

The Hopeful
A symposium of angelic harmony greets her as she arrives in London for the very first time. A new life, a new start and abundant opportunity await. The green plains of the royal parks and public open spaces have essence of the vast emerald forests which line her home near the Caspian Sea. It’s high season in summer and everywhere she looks is beauty; in the people, in the skies and in the flower beds. Smiles become infectious when exchanged between strangers and friendships are forged in minutes. Inspiration comes at her from every imaginable angle and she snaps away with her camera phone, noting down areas so she can return with her Canon. Passing by those with freedom of the city she drops metal coins into hats. It seems she has finally found a place where people look out for each other and relishes in the joy and comfort this brings. Ignoring the advice to avoid certain places, the nomad decides she can trust the city. No problems walking around on her own, and if any arise she takes it all in her stride and decides she’s just in the wrong place at the wrong time. London itself will never be blamed, for it plays no single hand in steering ones’ destiny. The only thing it offers is grand opportunity and will happily provide for whomever requests. The hopeful need nor want for nothing, for it all exists in front of them, laid out in the form of a concrete jungle. Just waiting to be taken for those who believe in it, offering itself in the role of a God.

The Hopeless
A cardboard city within a city of stone, where the homeless and helpless seek solace in similar company. The high-flying stock traders past them morning and evening, never glancing up from the stats on their phones. They share petitions to end hunger on social media and troll Facebook friends for having cold hearts – what a challenge to look past a screen. Although their unkempt clothes should make them stand out, the people in boxes remain as pieces of glass. Shelters are made from discarded papers, the very same ones the city boys read on their warm journey in. Preachers with leaflets stand beside the destitute teaching the lesson of “love thy neighbour”, but seem blind-sided to the plight of the one behind them. It’s the students on government loans that bring food from the supermarket and offer it up to ease the cold winter chill. Clothes drives are organised in universities local to the urban campsite. Yet students are still regarded as a sponge in the societal money pot, soaking everything up and giving nothing back. Where benches once stood now exist sleep inhibitors, spikes sticking out of the floor. Bus stops no longer have level seating, the black plastic bar is angled to make resting impossible. Those falling out of private members clubs think it’s funny to steal hats full of change as a dare; they pay two hundred pounds per month to pay for cocktails on a roof next to a heater. A church congregation takes place near-by with the full attendance of the local acolytes. They entice new parishioners with the promise of free tea and cake, the ones outside remain starving and frozen. Policemen patrol the streets doing their duty to keep the place safe, but they move on the cardboard dwellers and impose dispersal orders, as if a hungry lost soul is a threat. Sign boards and posters make it clear there’s no loitering, whether safe in a group or alone and exposed. For the homeless the city is baron and empty, light doesn’t exist here and life is a black as the dirt on the streets. Desperation does not destroy morality; the absence of empathy achieves this all on its own. But now all they face is trial and redemption for wrongs that they didn’t commit. Wrong place, wrong time; the city dealt a bad hand and now it’s controlling their destiny. With no end in sight and their only relief in the form of a pre-paid hostel or selling the big issue, the ghosts of the city remain this way, until they disappear from existence. The sun sets as cyclically as their optimism. Such is the result of grand opportunity, conning its way into the hope of the hopeless. The city takes on the role of God, punishing those it deems unworthy.

Holocaust Memorial Day & Why it’s Still Important

Anti-Semitic practises have existed in Europe for a very long time. The 20th century saw the culmination of what was essentially the demonization of an entire religious sect, ultimately ending with the mass genocide committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime – the Holocaust. This was a genocide of such magnitude that it is recognised as its own historical event within WW2, a collection of depraved and heinous acts towards humanity that there is absolutely no excusing or justifying. Mankind isn’t adverse to rearing its ugly head from time to time, but the utter depth of sadism present throughout the Holocaust really does create a case for the existence of pure evil. And whilst human nature dictates we must always try to see the positives to ensure ‘balance’, it is important to recognise that, sometimes, the positive simply doesn’t exist.

What can be done when faced with such a subject?

The most powerful approach involves education and the encouragement and teaching of empathy. It is not sufficient, or necessary, to constantly apologise for the actions of our ancestors, but we are responsible for ensuring that we do not repeat their mistakes. We do not need to suffer in guilt, but we do need to remain mindful as to how atrocities like the Holocaust came into being, if only to stop them from happening again.

Unfortunately, it is all too easy for some to label their fellow man as “the other”, and prejudices that lead to the Holocaust still very much thrive throughout the modern world. News stories detail current topics such as the Rohingya Crisis and the Calais Refugee Camp, thousands of people are still being displaced and persecuted based on religious and racial grounds. We hear of Gay cleansing in Chechnya, with accounts of intimidation, torture and murder being given by those able to flee. Even somewhere as Westernised and “civilised” as the States, gay conversion therapy exists’ and attitudes remain archaic. Far Right groups such as Britain First demonise those fleeing to the camps in Calais, such is the strength of this prejudice that persists, which all comes down to fear.

But, there is something stronger, and that is compassion. This too, is part of human nature and is proven to be an instinct in human beings. If we can really learn from the past and realise that we are all one of the same, then maybe we have a chance at getting this right. Remembering the Holocaust not only allows us to pay respect and mourn the heart-breaking losses, but it also reminds us that we, as human beings, can do better.

We are products of our history and there is no escaping that, but we can steer the present into a peaceful future, to a world that is free of hate, of violence and of unnecessary pain.

 

 

A Poem, by me.

Here I share a poem that I produced as part of a university assignment. It is in the style of John Gays ‘Trivia, or the Art of Walking the Streets of London’. Trivia was written at the beginning of the 18th century and is fundamentally a piece of social satire, so I emulated the style and put a contemporary spin on it. It remains unnamed.

To walk London is a grand show of one’s own affection,

Towards a city offering nothing in the way of direction,

There are pathways and shortcuts that only those born here know

As if it’s a Londoners’ privilege to take the short route home.

Keep your friends on the pavement to be sure you’ve not lost them

Though that’s particularly difficult on a Thursday in Hoxton,

For this is the play day of the inner-city banker

Who keep their beer on the sidewalk as if it were anchor

They don’t seem to mind that its winter outside

As its 2for1 cocktails but they can throw out the ice

Beware the scruffy poet who stands by the corner

He’ll trick you to thinking he’s an urban explorer

He will ask for a word and then give you a rhyme

Then force you to pay for his valuable time

Down to Brick lane as it’s not to be missed

Though avoid all the restaurants that hold a cease and desist

Dodge all the mouse traps and step over the poison

Noticed closed windows that keep the loud noise in

Walk down to the end and find goods in shops marked as vintage

Although all second hand, to buy you’d have to be minted

Here the crowd thickens and so does the air

A hipster adds to the soundscape by playing a snare

The lungs slowly tighten from all the pollution

And unexperienced tourists run around in confusion

They take lots of photos next to a spray-painted wall

Unaware that behind it sits an old music hall

Whether that’s intent or they’re just quite unwitting

You can see how they looked past that as the colours are pretty

The pavement is littered with moped thieves in contention

Who probably wouldn’t think twice to stealing an of age ladies pension

As the sun sets the sirens begin to roar in the distance

Perhaps caution is warranted in this sobering instance

The sidewalk safari slowly intensifies

Retailers close and the roads swept with pesticides

The sweeping is done by a man in machine

By the look on his face though, doesn’t care if its clean

Jump out of the way so you don’t end up underneath it

And into a doorway of an off license that’s heated

As the moon rises, London’s thrown into shadow

Claustrophobia sets in and it reaches a plateau

Hen nights alight the train at the High Street

Moral conduction becomes obsolete

Party members disguised in OTT fancy dress

You do have to wonder if they’re present under duress

You can stroll through dark alleys and get lost in the turns

Be mindful that here the neo-pick pocketer lurks

The unmistakable thump of the base from a nightclub

A mans refused entry and has started a riot

His friends are inside and have been for ten minutes

But the bouncers said no for being over the limit

Defeated he stumbles to purchase a beef bagel

Encroaches passers-by while lamenting his fable

As night turns to morning the roaring turns to a hum

Pale faces are shaking from having far too much fun

They wait for the night bus as the trains have stopped running

A last-minute decision as their Uber’s not coming

The track workers appear in their orange hi-vis

A safety device so their seen in the sunrises mist

The clubs start to close and the offices open

Carnage from drunk folks, a few windows are broken

At this time of morning exist two different commutes

The jaw swinging raver and the men in their suits

The shadows disperse, and the black streets are brightened

Children on school trips run around with excitement

The market is open, the day has now started

A whole day in East London is not for the faint hearted

Out come the brunchers and Instagram models

Who will only take coffee deconstructed in bottles

Parading their dogs in designer ensembles

Half of them don’t realise that they’re pure breeds are mongrels

Lunch time traffic comes to a standstill

The workers head out like tamandua to anthill

The brunchers feel smug being early no doubt

The best food on the menus now completely sold out

Car horns sound off and cabbies start shouting

A result of a city drowning in over-crowding

Walking through London offers a chance for reflection

You realise it runs on total inverted abjection.

 

 

 

I am not a Concept

I have Borderline Personality Disorder.

There, I said it. But what exactly does that mean? I used to think it meant that I could call myself a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, one who exists for the exclusive purpose of showing a broody, soulful man, how to live life to the fullest. A girl whose free spirit injected adventure into the lives of those around her, who took the seriousness of the world away. Sometimes I still do…

But, that is only sometimes. When I’m not MPDG, I’m BPD Nightmare. I am impulsive, reckless, needy, sad, I push people away, I beg them not to leave, I feel I deserve to be hated, but know I need to be loved. I become so riddled with anxiety that I shake until I’m sick, all because of imagined abandonment that terrifies me, which I end up inducing anyway; I am a living contradiction.

This is where I came unstuck with the MPDG. Once my BPD made itself known, I could no longer claim to be a 500 Days of Summer OR an Elizabethtown, and you know what? I’m not even sure I want to anymore. What I did start questioning though, is where my reflection came in terms of relatable characters. Now that I’d had to relinquish the Pixie, the ray of sunshine embodiment I had tried so hard to live up to was gone, in it’s place a raging storm that is every bit as beautiful, albeit with its difficulties.

Negative Traits of BPD: Emotional Instability / Fear of Abandonment / Unstable Relationships / Unstable Self Image / Impulsivity

Positive Traits of BPD: Empathetic / Intuitive / Compassionate / Creative / Curious / Loving

As far as fictional representations of BPD go, I have 2 that I adore; Faith Lehane (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Clementine Kruczynski (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

Faith, in my opinion, is a classic case of BPD. She splits (fails to culminate positive and negative) so intensely that she can only be entirely good or entirely bad. She is reckless in her behaviour and has a desperate need to feel wanted. Faith has a hard time with self forgiveness, believing herself to be inherently evil after making a mistake, which sets her on her personal downward spiral. Eventually Faith is able to reconcile with herself, but only after an attempt at getting Angel to end her life. Instead, he offers to help Faith and sets about saving her from herself. Further down the line, Faith is sought out when Angel reverts to his vampire demon self. Refusing to put him down she exclaims ‘Angel’s the only one in my life who’s never given up on me. There’s no way I’m giving up on him’. It’s this part of Faith that resonated with me the most. She spent so long believing she was bad that it looked as though there was no way out for her. Instead, Faith is shown compassion, stability and love from Angel (the inherent things every Borderline needs) and through this she was able to function as a balanced human being, and get back to who she really was.

Clementine isn’t as dark as Faith, and that can be put down to subject matter. However, what also strikes me as different is the fact that Clem is self aware. She knows there’s something up. She can be noted for telling Joel that soon he’ll find something wrong with her, or she will get bored and leave (again with the splitting).  Her unstable self-image is portrayed through her changing hair colour, and she is particularly neurotic. My favourite quote from Clem is as follows, and it perfectly sums up how it feels to live with frustration when you are so aware that you’re ‘different’ –

I’m not a concept. I want you to just keep that in your head. Too many guys think I’m a concept or I complete them or I’m going to make them alive. But, I’m just a fucked-up girl who is looking for my own peace of mind. Don’t assign me yours”.

There seems to be a trend in the media to paint BPD’s as absolutely unhinged when its simply not the case. Sometimes we can appear to be, but this is down to the near on impossibility of us being able to regulate our emotions sufficiently. What you’re actually seeing is someone struggling to communicate internal pain in a way that makes any sense, who ends up getting so frustrated at their own inadequacy that everything turns to shit around them. My brain effectively shuts down. Everything is intense, whether I’m sad or happy I can guarantee that I’m not expressing it in a ‘normal’ way. Faith and Clem are my favourite and most relatable BPD characters because they are written in a way that shows all aspects of them. BPD isn’t just doom and gloom and mental breakdowns, it’s being so amazed by a sunset that you start crying, or crying so hard that you laugh. It’s wanting to make the people you love so happy that you’ll spend hours making tiny worry dolls from toothpicks and cotton, no matter how many times you end up pricking your finger on the needle you’ve used to thread. It’s being you worst, your best, and everything in between, and realising that actually, you’re far too complex to be a concept, and you were never meant to be just a Manic Pixie Dream Girl anyway.

 

The First Post

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I suppose I should begin by informing you of my purpose; a personal blog relating to, well, me. Now this may seem straight forward, but like every other living being on this planet, I am unique, which also means I’m not. My aim is to be able to share with you – anonymous reader – my passions, my experiences, my questions, my unwavering curiosity of the universe, and sometimes my answers, if they apply. There is safety behind a screen, and perhaps this is why I selected blogging as the way to bare my soul. I expect there will be repetitive themes based on my personal interests like mental health, history, poetry, art, BDSM, and lot’s of cats and alpacas. You will learn about the things I love and the people that I’m lucky enough to surround myself with. I will share my highs and lows, and hope that in both I am able to reach those who are also feeling lost and trying their best to work their way through this elaborately constructed labyrinth of living.

This is the start of my healing, welcome to the journey