Tuesday, 30 January 2007

big ting! (cosies, st pauls, bristol)

yeap, big ting was pretty great this month. after a sketchy and shaky start, everything turned out pretty fun time party, with seemingly endless dj-ing from le surge. was wicked to see soul lounger down for the evening, playing his brand of house and deep beats, with a lovely remix of brandy's what about us that had people dancing. chris (puffin jack) pulled out the reggae and the dubstep that is becoming a pretty great regular genre in the night, and it is always fun i think to watch people do that slow slow bounce dub step dance. he started off with some chillax regggae coming on after jay's second (?) go on the decks, before moving through to dubstep which is always a good tip, you know you can properly see the evolution of the genres of reggae-dub-step when those are mixed together.
as more and more pints of guinness and shots of tequila were downed, more and more on the mic did jay go. my personal favourite moment had to be his pissed off mc-ing over the lack of enthusiasm to greet bob and earl's harlem shuffle (now THAT is a tune!) resulting in a rewind much appreciated by me and the crowd. it is always a bit tricksy recalling exact details of the musical eclecticism that is big ting because i am generally pretty pissed. this generally results in a confused attempt the next morning to try and restructure the sets on the way to munch pie at the pieminister - this sunday no exception. but i am pretty sure there was some james brown in there, and nicole willis was dropped at some point, the day i get bored of that chick is the day i stop dancing. it was 'perfect kind of love' which is my second favourite tune on her album, after of course 'if this ain't love', the two being played together the previous evening at hermanos.
moving on to in love and china mike - some good hip hop being pulled out mike's bag along with his usual mix of rare funk 7" always get the room dancing. i always love sam's set (in love) but man, im at a loss to name the tunes...all i know is that they are great and he produced some wicked big ting mix cds last year.
jay was pretty determined in the 'what to play tomorrow night' discussion to get some surprising songs in the mix. the aim was to get songs from childhood years that everyone would love to dance to - resulting in some phil harris - baloo the bear to you and me - before sliding in some amazing bbc recordings of african and indian drumming from 1939 (or 6, i can't quite recall) that was fantastic, really spiritual and full of loads of levels and different influences from across the globe.
by the time the bar decided to close we were all pretty knackered and wasted, with just a few stragglers hanging on to the dance floor in the end. but even then they didn't want the tunes to stop. and if that isn't urban butlins, i don't know what is...

Thursday, 25 January 2007


story from the autumn
i was loved up when i wrote this, it captures it i think xxx

The Aftermath

The sun hits my eyes to wake me from slumber. I open them drowsily and feel warm for your arms around me. I think you awake, and it works! Your eyes open to meet mine, and they smile down on me. I push my back and the reverse of my legs into your body, as your mouth shapes a heart on my cheek. As I pull you closer, I mentally hug my body in gorgeous joy at finding me in your arms.
In the brief interlude between my open eye flicker and yours that followed, a natural fear starts to rise in my chest. Terror if I wake, it will be to find your back against mine, a steel wall building between us and shutting me down, crushing me beneath a brunt of blame. But as consciousness pushes me up, it is in a wave of self-relief that your arms have locked me in kind embrace. Hey you, you whisper softly and kiss me again. I murmur sleep sounds and turn myself towards you, breasts pushing against chest as I try to bury myself deeper into your body. I know I am fidgeting to and fro, but I cant find the place where I can be embracing your body s completely. Yet I dont need to search for you, I dont need to claw up and slip down any steel walls, you are right there, you are letting me in. You arent hiding behind glass eyes, but you understand my fears and seek to reassure. You take my mouth in yours and fill my body as I bite my lip in thankfulness that you arent hiding.
I lie in your arms once more and we talk quietly about the meaning of life as we trace bodies with fingers, leaving our print on each other invisibly. Joyful in the arms of your morning, secure in the look of your eyes that no matter what happens when we move upright, no matter what the aftermath brings, you havent put down a lock.
When we fully waken once more, it is time to stop the morning. I find you a towel and show you how to work the shower. I desire you in the water, but respect your privacy. When you put on your clothes, it seems strange that I was permitted to see you naked, as I stumbling and muttering pull my clothes together. I wonder if you see my skin through the encasing fabric. I wonder how one can freeze time, but the minute hand presses relentlessly on and leave we must. The day laps me in beauty as I hold you tight and keep you at my lips a little longer.
Stiffly we walk side by side in the cool sun, nervous laughter but not nervous enough to make me fearful. Youre so grown up; I think to myself, you wont be a weak child like the others could be. We part quietly and when you call me in the morning, I know I judge right.
I wonder how I am spoken of, if you worry for my youth and if you are happy at my contented happiness. In our aftermath lies only peace.

sad songs sings lou reed

this is from crooked rib 4, its a bit ok

Sad song sings Lou Reed

The saddest days are the days when the sad songs arent enough. You sit paralysed in front of the lines of records, trying to find the right track. You want to hear something that can make you cry with no guilt, but this is too new. This is a feeling that has not yet had a song assigned to it.
You think of when it was simple, and whenever you were down, some teen angst music gave all the answers.
You play the records you hope no one knows you have.
You play the songs youve used in fiction to show the reader that the character is sad.
Nothing works.
The saddest days are when nothing you play or read can make you cry enough.
When you want to sob and weep and scream (do you think theres a heaven where the screams have gone?).
You go back in time. You think if you play Billie or Nat, the sadness in their lives will push the tears forward.
All you want to do is cry.
But you cant.
Something in your gut revolts from the ducts in your eyes, because you know deep down, you know that if you cry, the sadness will be real. And far too much time has been invested in telling yourself that it will be ok. That youre not upset. That this time youre alright.
I look at the thin rows. This one for that break up, this one for that gash, this one for that swallow, this one for that time I walked down the street breathless and the world turned in on itself. This one for when there was always a song.
Ford made Dowell say this is the saddest story. I made Angel say the same thing, and she played Stormy Weather. You write a fiction, and you can always assign a song to the line.
Once I didnt cry for two years.
There werent enough songs. And suddenly there were too many, and I could cry at a sad song played in the right advert. When the Jew revealed his tattoo in the teaching commercial.
There are moments that trigger tears. I know before it comes that it will happen, and try to prevent, but when they sing La Marseillaise in Casablanca; or Tomorrow belongs to me in Cabaret, and I dissolve. Its like my knee moving when you hit the right bone. Its like my heart turning when I remember your mouth on my breasts.
Slip that in there.
The sad days, when it was sad was when you woke up and thought about being alone. I read that somewhere. Maybe I will wake up and that will make me cry.
You think too much about crying though, and suddenly it becomes too abstract. The concentration on it becomes too much, and you forget what it was that was making you sad.
You forget that it is the happy songs that make you cry.

watching you without me

this is rob's favourite. i think i wrote it in about january. then things brightened. but now they are not so merry again.

Watching you without me.

I watch you discreetly, sitting next to her, sitting where I should be. Or, to be more accurate, where I want to be.
If I watch hard enough, then I can learn her secret. The secret that they all have, the lesson that after all this time I havent been able to learn.
Shes pretty, I think, but Im pretty too. I think I am prettier than she is. But maybe she looks at me, and thinks the same. I dont see what he saw in her, Im prettier than she is. Obviously, I muse, prettiness isnt enough.
And Im funny. And young. They tell me Im beautiful. They tell me Im special. So, what is it? What is it that I lack? What do they have that I dont, what combination that makes them able to stay, when I have to leave?
Im obsessed with her. I cant move my eyes away. When I go away, I see her on every street corner, she is on every bus, every train. Then I look again, and it is just a similar jaw line, a similar hair shade, a similar eye. Even when it isnt her, I guess that they have it too. It. The spell, that extra something that I dont have. If I stare at her for long enough, then I can learn it too, I think. She turns up in my dreams, gloating, laughing at me, showing off the indefinable that makes her that much more than me. She gives me a glimpse, and I grasp at it, but it eludes my hands that shrink and cripple, unable to take from her what I need.
I want to seduce her. If I do that, then shell reveal to me what it is that makes her special, makes her more special than me. If I make her love me, then she will be forced to lay it bare, and I can take that quality, shell show me how to use it, how to keep it. And once I have that, then maybe I can have you.
I move away from the table and on to the dance floor, but I feel her right behind me, weaving the magic that makes her one to keep hold of. I study the way she holds her drink, the way she angles her head when she fires her cigarette. I watch you watching her, knowing that you see what I miss, and that you see in her what I lack.
I want to throw myself at your feet, at her feet, at the feet of all the girls and boys that have won the fight with the weapon that I cant seem to find. I want to beg and plead for them to give me the revelation; I want to make them fall in love with me so that I can see how they do it. I need them to share the secret of keeps.
But I am too afraid. They keep the nexus of it hidden; instead all they flaunt is the power that they have over me, not its source. The power gets bigger and bigger, it is choking my questions, and like the useless hands in my dream, I get smaller and more silent, unable to protest, unable to seduce.
They keep their secrets, and haunt my dreams, I watch you both.


crooked rib 5 is beginning people
i wrote this in london. it is weird, i don't know if it way pretentious or good. life is hard!


Do you think youre strong enough for this? Do you think youre brave enough to hear what I have to say?
Then you are a right one, arent you?
Look what I have here. Look, I tell you. Lines of shelves, bottles of secrets, stoppered to protect those such as you.
I dare you to listen.
This one. This one here says: Look on my works ye mighty and despair.
Is that right? You dont need to check it?
And here. See what it says here? Read it and weep my child, for Ill show you fear in a handful of dust.
Watch this one. This one is just for you.

There was a time, she says, twiddling the tissue in her hands, threading it through her fingertips as it becomes more ragged and frayed. There was a time, she remembers it well, when the hurt was raw, when the pain was unbearable. She stumbles at the word. Un. Bear. Able. It isnt the right one. Too. Much. This language, she considers, may be too little.
It seems so long ago now. So long ago. But always there, carried in her breast, a reminder of the time before, if never quite concrete, if never quite solid.
Shes looking at you, right at you, right now, to see if you understand. Of course you dont. She hasnt explained it yet. But maybe you are beginning to, even before she reaches the crux of it. Maybe you have started to guess, or tried to pick a moment of you to insert into her story. Maybe you can give up right now, smug with understanding.
Listen to her. Shes trying to tell you. Im just the messenger. Shes going to tell you about the time.

She smiles apologetically. Its harder than I thought, she admits. My mouth keeps forming into clichés. I didnt expect that. I thought I was unique.

Reassuringly, all the big ones are clichés.
I love you.
I hate you.
Your eyes are like stars.
How could you do this.

She smiles again, more relaxed, nods her head slightly.

Youre thinking right now how if you were telling your story, youd avoid cliché. Youd be original. You would succeed in uniqueness. Well, I have a bottle here that would tell you that all great art is imitation, and all the best writing is stolen. So hush up and listen to her. Shes telling this story. I just brought it up.

It began, she says loftily, it began like all great stories do, with a once upon a time; with a Marley was dead, dead as a doornail; with a whan that April with his showres soote; with a Mrs Dalloway decided to buy the flowers herself It begins with a birth, maybe to end in death or marriage for who can tell in the beginning if we are in comedy or tragedy? Or do we always fancy ourselves a Hamlet, or you, sweet lady, would you prefer a Rosalind?
It began, she repeats, with wanderings, aimless and lost.
You sit up, a note of recognition. How do you judge this wandering, these aimless steps? Do you see in her the Baudelaire, in his pose of dandy flâneur? Or Orwellian tramping? I see you now, picturing yourself in her shoes, those high and strappy alligator ones she wears on her visits; and take yourself onto the streets, walking where you wish to go, walking how you wish to go.
PAY ATTENTION! Shes telling this story, not you, not I. Stop coveting those alligator shoes (which another lady wears on her trips to Sing Sing on a Thursday).

And so we progress, she resumes, so my tale continues.
This is the hard part, she mutters, this is the tricky bit.
How to keep it going, she murmurs, how to keep momentum.
Let me tell you of my pain, she asks. But how many times can I write it? How many more times can I pick myself up? Lying on my bed, stuck to my mattress insect like, a halo of salt water around my head and unseeing eyes staring down at meHow many times, how
many timesdizzy headed and stumbling, red rivers and streams running over numbing limbs, swollen tongues and bruised lipsHow many times, how many timesparalysis and I cant get out of bed today and my legs hurt and my head hurts and How many times, what world is this?
A woman wanders howling over moors, whilst her sisters hero wanders howling over moors, and in a nights forest the fairies play games on the mortals. In town and country houses women love the wrong men before the ending (but were not there yet) and fortunes are made and battles are fought and in the middle somewhere a bisexual prophet watches a loveless couple on the divan.
The middle catches you out, it happens before you know, and all those things you learn cannot be placed on a line.
It is more of a feeling, she tells you. It is more of a notion of the time. The time I am trying to tell you.
You are beginning to understand her story. Do you see yet what she is trying to tell you? Are you marching in her fine Hessian boots? Shes coming to her end.

And so I finish, she declares, like all good endings do, with a happy ever after; with a Reader I married him, or a lonely ride into the sunset, the survivor paddling across the ocean with crab apples in his cheeks, the bad times over and my limbs reassembled. The glaze gone from my eyes and the smile smacked on my face; to continue, to go on, click clack down the road in my alligator shoes to do it all over again.
This, she affirms, is my triumph. This is my work of art. To walk down the street to do it all over again.Did you want a tale of woe?Or a battle? Something more original, more unique? Something more than alligator shoes?

learning curves of acceptance

crooked rib is beginning people
i wrote this today. this morning. i don't know. maybe?

Learning curves of acceptance

When youre young and the first time it happens and you keep quiet because you are young and you think if you keep quiet and dont make a fuss then it will be ok, you know how to behave although you dont know how you know, you just feel that this is the way it has to be.
And a few years later when it has happened again and again and again and you keep quiet and you dont make a fuss because once more you know that it is the only way to behave because to behave other ways is as ineffective as to behave this way.
And you look at yourself in the mirror and you see that you have the same face but that your eyes are different and they look at the world with less wideness and the cheekbones that once opened up to all have sharpened to razors that you hope they will cut themselves upon.
And you judge each piece with a harshness that you learnt that first time back all those years ago when your body and its face first became the weapon that it is today to hurt you and others.
And you ask those damn questions that you indulge in so desperately even though you are perfectly sensible on the surface, even though you are perfectly perfect and calm on the surface.
You pull at the skin that lies over the belly that for a few weeks there you thought was lovely and ask if it is because you have put on that little bit of weight or because before you lost all that weight or because your breasts that you so admired may actually have turned out to be a little too little after all or that weekend when that spot appeared and marred your otherwise odd little face with the cheekbones poised to attack.
And because it has happened again and you are so bored now of it happening again and you cant say what it is and you smile and you laugh and make everything ok because that is the role you have to play. You keep up the appearance of making sure everyone around you remains comfortable and that way no one need feel uncomfortable because that is the way you have to behave and then no one gets hurt.
You drink that extra shot and the next day ache in body but it is your mind that aches more because it is those times when the danger comes and you are frightened that you didnt behave well, you didnt behave how you are supposed to and maybe for a moment you gave up the truth.
You throw yourself into bed with people to try and fuck it out of your system and know that what you are doing is wrong and that you are treating the one on the other end of your body in the crass way that you so fear to be treated yourself but you find it so hard to care.
Because after the first time it happens the first time when you are young and you learn not to let anyone know how you feel like you are withering inside and that with each extra moment when you see the other and the other with the other it is like the layer of skin that worries you over your belly starts to stretch and melt over hips which swell and grow over the thighs that drip to the floor whilst the breasts shrivel and die and you want to crawl into the accepted body on that beloved arm and the accepted face just so you could know once more how that felt like.
Because after the first time it happens and the first time when you are young and you learn how to behave you know that the only thing that matters is that the other never learns of this feeling and that they remain safe from the neuroses that plague your silly female mind.
Because if they knew then that might hurt them and if you hurt them you might lose them, but more importantly you have to keep them safe from what you are feeling, because after the first time it happens you learn that that is what counts.
And when you are young and you think it is happening for the first time until you realise that you have always known this.

something else

something else
Something else.
She watched the cat pad across the road to where she sat in her window. He pushed his nose against the freezing glass, sniffing for the warmth that she kept on her side, behind the outside. It had been cold. The cat's fur stood on end and she fancied she could see traces of frost balancing over the tips of the black hairs. She imagined his whiskers hoary and weighed down by strips of icicles, shook away with an awkward but full of wisdom movement.
It had been cold, and the sky was the same colour as the ground beneath it, a faded whitewash that had turned grey in misuse. If it weren't for the verticality of lampposts stark black against the uniform grey, you wouldn't see where the boundaries of sky and land began. This idea fascinated her. Where, she would consider, lying by the draught in her window frame, looking horizontally against the land lying dead and flat in front of her, was the boundary of sky and earth? What if the horizon worked as a mirage. It wasn't a thought she felt capable of articulating. On one major level it didn't make sense. But there was something that tugged at her mind in these recent days of mono tone dullness. If there weren't the colour dividing the two spaces, what would we use as the boundary line? There was something in the angle of sky to her vision that explained it to her, but she was lost to say it in the required words.
For now, the cat crossed the boundary of sky and earth. You could tell by looking at the outline of his fur against the grey where the sky hung around him, the earth steady beneath his padded claws.
It couldn't harm to let him in. So she did. She opened the window and let in the black shape and a breeze of the grey into her own self-contained world, closing the window and the outside behind it.
The cat silently padded over the room and settled himself in the opposite corner to where she sat on the ledge, and started to wash himself, warming his body from the cold with his bright pink tongue.
It's ok, she thought. We cannot expect to be friends straight off. But something tugged in her. She had hoped for at least a hello.
She looked around her room and felt that the presence of the cat had added an inexplicable lightness to it. It was a bare room, she recognised that now. Before the cat had come in, she had accepted the emptiness, maybe not even accepted it, but merely not noticed it. Use is another nature, she thought to herself. So that you don't notice something until it becomes different.
Before the cat had arrived, the room had been a world away from the land outside it, yet its characteristics had nevertheless had little difference between them. If the world seemed to her to stretch out never-ending merging into the sky that coated the globe in a cradling, her room was pretty much the same. Sometimes she would lose the boundaries of the walls, and the floor would fall out endlessly until it was out of sight, at one with the horizon that was maybe arbitrary. The door stretched out of reach, and she would trace her arms over the wall in order to find it so that she could leave to go to her job. Her feet she would keep near the skirting board edges, and she would slide her body over the wall around her, until she could find the cracks in the smoothness to reach the door. When she opened it, she would close it again behind her as fast as she could, she didn't want the outside encroaching into her space.
Outside, she would feel herself merging into the grey landscape that enveloped her like the fog hanging heavy over the streetlights that tried to pierce the blanket around them. Her clothes, which she would pick so carefully to try and eliminate the aspects of invisibility she felt, would magically take on the appearance of dead overalls and her glossy hair would switch to lank blandness. No matter how much blue or green she painted over her eyelids, no matter how scarlet she coloured her lips, by the time she made it across the seemingly endless plain to reach the world, her face was pale, her features wiped clean. Around her stood out people who were vibrant and bright; as she faded. There was not enough space for her in the streets. The rest, they were bigger than she was, they took up the streets with loud motions and big voices, which allowed her only a corner of their world. They looked through her, but she could understand that in the most part. She was faded, she was grey, she was not to be seen. In the streets, that was where it was dangerous. It was best not to be visible. It was best to fade in.
It was with relief that she retreated back to her space. If its endlessness was sometimes frightening, sometimes lonely, sometimes out of reach, at least here she had space. There were no elbows to jut in to her here, forcing her to contract her body even smaller. Outside, her extremities would shrink inwards and grow inside her, to avoid the shoving of someone bright and big who couldn't see her small and pale. Here there was no one to force her to hide, here she could fill the air around her with no fear. Her clothes would gain their vibrancy, her face would fill with light and she could move with sweeping motions, and she knew that if she spoke her voice would be strong and proud.
The cat was here now though, and it changed the aspect of the room. The presence of another asserted the room's shape. That he would sit on the opposite corner from her, she reflected, gave the floor a boundary that had so often seemed absent before. The cat was a marker to the room just as he had been a marker against the sky and the ground when he had sniffed at her window.
Like her, the cat didn't speak. There was nothing to say to each other. But they had settled to live side by side in the room, aware and accepting of the other's body, without any need to confirm each other's presence.
They were happy together.
Then, slowly, she began to feel something growing in her breast. The sight of the cat washing himself in the morning gave her a warmth. The thought that when she returned from being a faceless figure in the busy streets he would be sleeping soundly in his corner made her quicken her step and gave a new sense of safety in her being back in her room. The sound of his soft purring as she slept lulled her heavy eyes in a new comfort. She looked forward to seeing the cat. Being away from him tugged at her. She was growing to need his presence in his space where before there had been the mere stretch of floor.
Tentatively she began to bring things home for the cat. A mouse head and a rabbit's foot. The cat would rarely accept these offerings in front of her, but they would always be moved when she next looked. His lack of responsiveness hit her in a manner she could not expect. A flame of anger would ignite briefly. The back of her head would tick with questions that she had never before felt the need to ask. Why did he not thank her? Why did he not bring her things? She was jealous of the space where he hoarded what she gave him. Those things belonged to him in a way that she didn't. The anger would always be followed with a new sensation of guilt, guilt that she expected too much, guilt that she was trying to force him to feel something intangible to both of them. After guilt would come the desolation. This too was new to her. She had never been lonely before. But now the cat was there, she was more alone than she could ever have predicted, imagined she could feel.
Her body became full of a need that had never been there before. It was all encompassing, it took over her whole being, shaking in her feet and clutching up her calves and thighs until it reached her breast and bred there, an insidious liquid spreading through her blood until she was just a bundle of want, an insatiable desperation. From her corner of the room, she imagined her hand stretching across the interminable space and taking the cat in her arms and holding his hot warm breathing body against hers. The room was endless again. She could never reach across it.
The cat sensed the need growing in her. To him, the room no longer seemed empty. It was filling up gradually, and faster and faster, until under it all he could barely breathe. Where before there had been space, where before he had stretched and purred in openness, now he was surrounded by a cloud that hung heavy above his fine domed head.
All that was left in the room was want. She had become a personification of want; he had become the object of want. It lay in every move they made. Where before they had lived side by side, now they watched in wait. Each motion the other made was noted and scrutinized.
Outside the room, the cold snap was coming to an end. She could feel it in the streets as she walked to work. If no one else saw her, the sun did. It crept into the back of her neck and attempted to illuminate her skin. It sensed the desire in her and tried to use it to brighten her face, to highlight the paint over her eyes and over her lips. It didn't help. The elbows still hit her and the faces still looked through her. The cat still refused to meet her eye. Instead he forced her into his corner and took up watch by the window. She had returned home to find him in her place. She knew this was not an approach. It was a request for her to move.
She understood. He was preparing to leave her.
The ground remained grey. But the definition between the sky and the earth was becoming sharper and sharper as the days passed. It began slowly, as the sun shook of its dead light and began to shine with a greater liveliness. The rays exuding from the sun licked a paintbrush over the blank canvas that had reflected the barren prairie beneath it, and started to offer a promise of colour in the atmosphere that refused to enter her room. The fog remained heavy there. The room, once a part of the earth and the sky that enveloped it, had become divorced from all the surrounding. The attraction of the space had gone.
She knew what the cat was waiting for. She knew when the sky was coloured blue he would leave her. She struggled and she grasped, but nothing could change the resolution scorched into his eyes. He would go, and she wouldn't need to feel lonely anymore.
this is another poem that has been called "brutal" blam!
Dear u.

And when I walk around and all I can think is.
The pressure lies at the forefront of my head until it aches
It aches aches achesaches.
How can you not feel this ache?
I don't understand how you can live without my love
When I can't.
Can't even exist from motion to movement without the desperate need of yours.
I turn my back on those who enfold me,
Until slowly I grow to realise that it is my fault and all my words that came before have been lies.
Wrong or wronged it is all confused now as I stand un choosing.
Thorns grow out of my body at every touch which isn't you.
Spinier than all, only with you is my body a cushion.
For your pins to prick.

lots and lots of treats

so to start this blog off i am basically going to post everything that has been on the myspace page onto here.
there are poems, short stories, "prose poetry" (ugh, pretentious title!) and the opening chapters of my kid's book.

the loveliness of your flesh
magnetises to my body,
like wave flows from my belly.
and i hold it near dear,
i hold it near.

welcome to my blog

i'm a writer and a feminist and a general music person. i write a magazine which i distribute in bristol and UCL in london, called crooked rib. it is basically a collection of short stories and poems and feminist articles that i write and try and sell.
I already have a blog on my myspace page, www.myspace.com/sianflower, however i want to try and reach as many readers as possible, hence the beginnings of this blog dedicated to crooked rib magazine and my general musings.
i hope you enjoy my work, please comment on it and give me your views and all that good stuff.