Friday, November 28, 2008

Alive together

Alive Together, by Lisel Mueller

Speaking of marvels, I am alive
together with you, when I might have been
alive with anyone under the sun,
when I might have been Abelard's woman
or the whore of a Renaissance pop
eor a peasant wife with not enough food
and not enough love, with my children
dead of the plague. I might have slept
in an alcove next to the man
with the golden nose, who poked it
into the business of stars,
or sewn a starry flag
for a general with wooden teeth.
I might have been the exemplary Pocahonta
sor a woman without a name
weeping in Master's bed
for my husband, exchanged for a mule,
my daughter, lost in a drunken bet.
I might have been stretched on a totem pole
to appease a vindictive god
or left, a useless girl-child,
to die on a cliff. I like to think
I might have been Mary Shelley
in love with a wrong-headed angel,
or Mary's friend. I might have been you.
This poem is endless, the odds against us are endless,
our chances of being alive together
statistically nonexistent;
still we have made it, alive in a time
when rationalists in square hats
and hatless Jehovah's Witnesses
agree it is almost over,
alive with our lively children
who--but for endless ifs--might have missed out on being alive
together with marvels and follies
and longings and lies and wishes
and error and humor and mercy
and journeys and voices and faces
and colors and summers and mornings
and knowledge and tears and chance.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

This week that I am having

Well, I have to say.

When the universe wants to screw with you, it certain excels at making everything happen at the same time.

After my fun-filled journey home on Tuesday, King's Cross Station was helpfully closed again yesterday night. Apparently, I am not allowed to get home before approximately 19.30. This is enjoyable for me, especially on days like today when my boss called in sick and I'm on deadline. Meaning that there are four different people who think that I should be concentration exclusively on their publication.

The lowest point of the day was when I was standing in front of the photocopier, after having pressed the 'print' button for the fifth time, and a small voice at the back of my head started screaming 'I will CUT you!' I thought that it might be an idea to go home and just start drinking.

So, on the Thursday of this week I am having, that is what I have done. Assisted by the purchase (by someone else, because as per usual I have approximately 23p to my name until payday) of pizza and an excellent bottle of Beaujolie, I am well and truly on my way to starting the weekend.

Thank god.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

That was a record, even for you

Dear TfL,

Very rarely while living in this hugely crowded city do I have the urge to just start screaming ‘FUCK!’ over again over again at the top of my lungs in a public place, but you’ve managed it again. Really, you’ve got a rare talent.

Somehow, the two hours it took me to get home today just seem to be getting to me a bit.

I was fine with the severe delays on the Hammersmith and City line, even though yesterday there had been severe delays on the Victoria line (Because nothing is as fun for me as standing at an awkward angle for ten minutes while being told that we’re being held on the platform and you think the guy sat in front of you is imagining what you look like without your clothes on). I was fine, standing out on the platform in the freezing cold for 20 minutes, waiting. I was even okay for the first two stops, until that guy stood behind me started grabbing my ass in as casual a way as he could manage.

And then, Tfl, we arrived at King’s Cross. Now usually this is a clusterfuck of epic proportions anyway, but today, oh, today was special. Today, we got routed out of the station back up to the main entrance, and had to go around for some reason that, as per the usual, was not told to us. Then, bouncing off each other like thousands of balls trying to fit through a space that only allows five balls through at a time, I shuffled towards the barriers in an attempt to have my ass grabbed on the Victoria line.

However, it was at this point that the lights started flashing and the lovely automated voice came on the speaker telling everyone to leave the station immediately due to a state of emergency. So, the thousands of balls turned around and tried to quickly fit through an opening that let out 20 balls at a time instead of five. I have full confidence that if there really was an emergency, I’d be blown to bits in the time that it took me to traverse the approximately 100 feet to get out of the station.

From there, Tfl, it was a hop, skip and a jump home – if you count the four buses I couldn’t get on, because everyone who usually takes the Tube was trying to take a bus, and then the one I had to claw my way on to that was actually going to the right place, the 30 minutes bus ride, fighting my way through the Arsenal supporters because I needed to get to the other side of Finsbury Park station and there was a match on, and then standing in the longest queue I have ever seen in the last 11 months for the W7 as a hop, skip and a jump.

I am going to go and drink my gin and tonic, which is at least half gin, now, because if I don’t I might just walk straight up to you in the less than 12 hours I have before I have to use your insane services again and set you on fire.

Sincere Regards,


Monday, November 24, 2008

If everything happens that can't be done

I had an idea for a post. It was thoughtful, and considered, and as it’s been ages (again) since I posted, it was going to be pretty long. Instead you get this, because I read it. Then read it again. Then sent it to certain people, because how could I not share it? And now I’m posting it here, because sometimes poetry does exactly what it’s supposed to do – take your breath away.

if everything happens that can't be done
e.e. cummings

if everything happens that can't be done
(and anything's righter
than books
could plan)
the stupidest teacher will almost guess
(with a run
around we go yes)
there's nothing as something as one

one hasn't a why or because or although
(and buds know better
than books
don't grow)
one's anything old being everything new
(with a what
around we come who)
one's everyanything so

so world is a leaf so a tree is a bough
(and birds sing sweeter
than books
tell how)
so here is away and so your is a my
(with a down
around again fly)
forever was never till now

now i love you and you love me
(and books are shuter
than books
can be)
and deep in the high that does nothing but fall
(with a shout
around we go all)
there's somebody calling who's we

we're anything brighter than even the sun
(we're everything greater
than books
might mean)
we're everyanything more than believe
(with a spin
alive we're alive)
we're wonderful one times one


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A chance to change the world

I am sitting at work, staring at my computer. I’m on the net, restlessly jumping from story to story about Obama’s expected win, how he is perceived to have a massive lead over McCain in all the key territories. Mostly, on the British media sites I’m reading, there the the sense that this is it, this is America’s last chance to show the world that it’s not a country of ideological, fanatical isolationists but a country truly worthy of being the world’s superpower. The last chance America, as a country, has of regaining the respect of a world that it lost through a comical puppet of a President

I feel sick.

It will, in 12 minutes, be 9 am on the East Coast, and I can’t stop jumping from story to story. I have hope – an overwhelming, desperate hope, that is burning a hole in my gut and making it hard for me to breathe. Hope that the country that I am from is not as blinded as I am afraid it is, hope that my country will be somewhere that I want to return to instead of stay away from. And I am terrified that once again, everything will fall apart through lying, cheating and deception.

I believe that America is a better nation that it has been in the last eight years. I know that the American people are proud, patriotic (whether I believe in their beliefs or not) and kind. I believe that America has so much more to offer the world than it has so far, and that its star can continue to shine.

But not if we have a continuation of the hate, fear, and war-mongering that has happened over the last eight years. Not if we continue to bomb countries instead of talk to them. Not when the American public is lied to and deceived to drag the nation into conflict it had no business being part of.

For everything you hold dear in this world, get off your ass and go vote today if you live in America.

One minute.

Here we go.