27 December 2013

Faceless Woman

I apologise. Not because
I wronged you personally,
except in the privacy
of my mind for things
you will never know, things
that will never cross your path,
at least, not at my hands. But
even if you never once feel
the whiplash of
the towering hurricane
of my anger and resentment,
of my bitterness and contempt,
I owe you an apology
nevertheless. I refuse
to give you a face; in my mind
I try very hard to blur
it out, to make it nothing
more than vague shape
and colour. I refuse
to think of you
by name—not because
I dislike you, (I do not
even know you) or because
I seek to deny you any
humanity or dignity that
a proper name lends. The truth
of the matter is, by keeping
you as remote and distant
as I can, by keeping you
an Other, I seek to do
the exact opposite. I fear
I am not strong enough
to think of you as real,
as flesh and bone and blood,
without wanting to strip
one or both of us down to bloody
tatters. Because that is
the world we live in, and
I am not strong enough,
as a woman, to be able
to look at you as anything
but the Other Woman without
wanting to place all the blame
squarely at your feet, exactly
for being the Other Woman. Instead,
I want to place that blame
where it belongs, with the
one who tore my heart to pieces,
rather than take an innocent
face and make the worst things
people say about my sex
the only truth the world can see.

22 December 2013

A Second Coming of a God

Thor: The Dark World was worth the money paid to see it in cinemas (albeit in 2-D; 3-D gives me a headache). It was a disappointment that the first one, even with a brilliant director and mostly a great cast, was such a let down. This one, directed by someone whose career I knew nothing about until I checked out his IMDB page (credits include mostly TV, but some v. good TV: Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, and The Sopranos, among other titles), was a much more satisfying adventure.

I would like to start out by saying that I am definitely a Tom Hiddleston fangirl. I'm very much a fan of most of the casting in Thor (with the exception of Natalie Portman, who really just gets under my skin), with actors like Hemsworth, Russo, Hopkins, and Dennings bringing wonderful performances to the screen. But Hiddleston steals the show, with a subtlety and finesse that made me giddy. Loki is the ultimate anti-hero, and Hiddleston's performance brings a depth to his struggle between revenge and redemption that is not often seen in comic book films.

Overall, T:TDW is a better film than its predecessor. The story is more interesting, the characters' development is more solid and coherent, and the action was well-paced and enjoyable. There are fewer gaping holes in the plot and while it is no necessarily as visually stunning as the first film, it is a solid piece. (We're no talking Nolan-esque Academy Award-winning calibre here, but that's okay.)

Loki is easily the best part of the film. As I said, Hiddleston steals the show without even meaning to do. There is just something about his presence on screen that draws attention away from everything else in the scene. The dynamic between Loki and Thor is interesting, because there is a tension that is built from what feels like genuine family dysfunction. On the surface they are, at best, wary allies, but there is a much deeper current to their relationship than the ostensible need of Thor to use Loki's scheming in order to defeat the film's baddie. (Who, by the way, is played wonderfully by Christopher Eccleston, who manages to turn a rather filler-fluff role into something sinister and lingering.) The brotherly affection and antagonism feels true, not just staged for effect. It helps, perhaps, that Hiddleston and Hemsworth seem to get along quite well, and play off one another equally well. There is definitely a true bromance brewing between the two of them (as is evidenced in any interviews with the two of them), and it serves them well in the story, because there is deep affection between the characters, tempered by exasperation, disappointment, and a need for each to be in the right. (Or rather, for Thor to be in the right, and for Loki to be in control, respectively.)

I have no idea whether the physics of the film is accurate, but I do love the blending of magic and science. That is an element that will always captivate me. I like how Thor (and most of the characters who aren't from Earth) just accept that magic and science are the same thing, and it doesn't matter what something is called as long as it functions the way it ought to, and as long as they know how to use the tools they have.

There is one thing that has me curious, and to satisfy my curiosity will take a few (or several) more viewings no only of Thor: The Dark World, but also the first Thor film, and the Avengers film. I'm curious whether there is any significance in Thor's costuming, and why in certain scenes he wears full sleeves, in certain scenes, he's bare to the shoulder, and sometimes he does not have his cape.

But fangirl moments and idle curiosity aside, Thor: The Dark World is a rollicking good time, and Kat Dennings as the primary comic relief is charming to the nines. It is definitely worth seeing in cinemas if one gets the chance.

05 November 2013


You called me your selkie
Who stayed of her own free will.
How bitterly ironic
That you were the one who left.

29 October 2013

New dreams


She said to him:
Go and make
your dreams come true.

She wiped her eyes
and held her ground.
But you must
do so without me.

She sighed and turned away.
I must dream
new dreams to chase,
for in all the dreams I had
once upon a time,
you were by my side.
I am learning to live
without you; to dream
without you; to love
without you.

She whispered to herself,
That is the lesson
I learnt, hard and well,
When he closed the door
between us.

She took a deep breath.
He closed the door.
I simply locked it.

17 October 2013

Musings under the full moon

When I was out of my mind (and
I admit I often was not myself
no matter how much I wanted
to be, and not matter how hard

I tried) you told me often that
my actions were what mattered—not
the sincere apologies I offered
when I came back to myself. Yet now

when I am faced with your actions,
you ask me to accept your
words. Ask me to understand
your suffering. Do I know how

much you wanted to call? How many
things you wanted to share? How can
you ask such things?
am I expected simply to accept

your words as truth and give
them credence when the message from
your own mouth was actions are what
matter, even when we were together

and when we were in love? Not being
in my right mind never once
changed my love; but not being myself
made me incapable of stopping myself

hurting the one I cherished more
than my own life.
Let me pose
my own questions, if I may.
Do you know how hard I tried to be

worthy of your love? How hard
I tried to earn your trust back?
How desperately I tried to keep
that madness at bay? Do you

understand I still wake from
nightmares and reach for you
only to remember I am all
alone with my terror and guilt?

Do you know how often I see
things that make me cry because
they remind me of you—of
the life I wanted to build,

of the future I finally felt
safe enough to start planning?
Do you understand I lost
the person I trusted more than

any other—the one man who
made me feel safe, the man
to whom I confided my deepest
secrets and darkest fears?

My dreams have been snatched
from me, one by one. And then
to experience the galling,
humiliating shame of realising

it all means nothing, because
in fact, I am replaceable.
You do not need me. Maybe you
want me, but your actions

reveal a truth different than
your words. You left. You
moved on. You have someone
new in your life, in your

heart, in your bed. If I were
worth being loved, should I not
have been worth staying for,
worth fighting for, worth the vows

I thought we would say
to one another when
we were hand-fasted—vows I will never
now hear from the only man

I ever truly wanted, the only
one I ever thought found me
worthy of swearing to me:
even though I am flawed,

I am small and plain and broken
sometimes completely, that he
loved me enough to stand by me,
to lend me his strength

and his heart when my own
faltered. For better or for worse.
Because with you, I could have been
more better than worse.

But now, I cannot have
my heart's desire, and I do not want
the consolation prize. There is
nothing consoling about losing

my heart, my dignity, my world
and having to stomach seeing the one
who gets to have the only thing
I wanted, that I never thought

I could have, but for one brief
moment. It will not keep me
warm at night. It will not
keep the monsters at bay.

It will not help put back together
the shattered shards and dust
that was my heart of fire:
once, whole and beating.

12 October 2013

Not a love letter

(Written Friday 13 September 2013)

Yesterday was another
Do you remember?
Not that one.
The other one.
Just two years ago.
I was 25. You were 34.
We tried
with all our will
to move slowly
to step softly
to touch lightly
Desperate to convince
ourselves we could
let go.

Six months—that was
our limit, our shelf-life.
Until, 3 weeks
after the day
we met, 2 weeks
after that night
under the street lights

you touched my bare
skin in the darkness
of my bedroom.
As your fingertips traced
my curves in the dim light
shining through the window
you talked of how
you had new feeling
for the first time
since the accident.
A part of me
broke loose, and that small
fragment I entrusted
to you. Despite
the fact we tried
to cling to the idea
of casual,

in that moment
when all the barriers
were lowered—
when our truer selves
were laid bare
I knew we were taking
that first step down
a path neither of us
believed was
short term.

In that moment
we chose to laugh
in the face
of the odds stacked
against us.
We let ourselves
be consumed
and fire blazed
between us from
the spark we lit
in the moment
we first kissed.

And the reality—
sealed merest days later
when I stood
facing you with my back
to the kitchen sink.

23 September 2013


My heart broke once
and you were there
to hold me. You
took me by the hand
and told me I was
strong enough to
survive. But now
my heart broke twice
and you were the one
who broke it. This
time there was no
one to hold me
when I cried myself
to sleep at night.
How can I survive
when those who broke
my heart were the ones
who were supposed to
care for me when
my heart was broken?

10 September 2013

Heart of Fire

Listen to the MUSTN'Ts, child, listen to the DON'Ts.
Listen to the SHOULDN'Ts, the IMPOSSIBLEs, the WON'Ts.
Listen to the NEVER HAVEs, then listen close to me:
ANYTHING can happen, child, ANYTHING can be.

The old woman sat in a chair with a blanket over her lap. She stared into the fire and did not move when the girl walked through the door, setting the bell tinkling. The girl approached the old woman, her footsteps muffled by the dusty carpet. She knelt beside the chair and clutched at the woman's thin arm. Her skin was papery and soft, and the girl could feel the warmth that emanated from the crone. She looked up at the wrinkled face, cast in inconstant shadows from the flickering light of the fire in the hearth. Saying nothing, the girl just waited for the old woman to acknowledge her. They sat in silence that stretched longer than the girl thought she could bear. A single tear ran its course down her pale cheek and dripped off her chin. The tiny droplet landed on the arm of the woman, between the girl's fingers. As if a spell were broken, the old woman turned sharply and looked down at the girl, her eyes flashing red in the firelight.

She stared at the girl, her red eyes boring into the green ones that looked up at her with such pleading, such pain. Then she lifted her other hand and traced the track the tear made on the pale skin. ‘So you have come,’ she said in a voice that sounded as dusty as her carpet, ‘At last, when there was nowhere else to go.’ She continued to penetrate the girl with her gaze, cutting through her defences as with a knife, and seeing into the heart of the matter. ‘It hurts, doesn't it?’ she whispered. The girl dipped her chin in mute assent, and the woman nodded as well, turning back to the fire.

‘It will lessen,’ the woman said, her eyes mirroring the dancing flames, ‘but it will not go away. You have a heart of fire, child, and that is a terrible burden and a great gift. Do not be discouraged, though. You must try a little harder than others, and it will take you longer to get there. That is part of the price of fire. We who are gifted with fire burn hotter than the rest, but it happens in its own time. The world will heave and turn, spinning on its axis, spinning through space, and the years will pass, but that means little to the Fire. The Fire comes when it will, as it will, and does not take notice of such trifles as time.’ The old woman closed her eyes and breathed deeply. She could have been asleep, or dead, but for the warmth of her skin and the very slight sound of her breath. Then she continued.

‘Your heart is young, child, and it is still kindling. The pain you feel is it coming alive. Life is pain, child, and we come to this world in pain, and we live all our lives in pain, and someday we escape that pain, but only in death. Those with the gift of Fire feel more than any other. Pain is ours to bear, and ours to cherish. It is our life that we feel pulsing within us, and the way we know we are still moving forward. I will not lie, child, it is a terrible, wonderful thing to have a heart of fire. But you must accept that it is your lot in life. You must accept the gift.’ She paused as the girl gave a barely audible sniff. ‘But pain is not all we are gifted with, child.’ She lifted the girl's chin so she could look her in the eye. The old woman's gaze softened, and the light that gleamed in her eyes blazed forward with warmth and comfort. ‘Pain is what keeps us grounded, but that does not mean it is all we have. We also have greatness. You must seek out what your fire wants to give you, and you must pursue it with all your heart. You will be rewarded for that, and well. It is only when we understand great suffering that we can truly appreciate the world; it is only when we make great sacrifice that we can truly treasure that which is good. It is not an easy path, child, but it is yours to take. And if you do, I promise, it will be worth it in the end. I know you cannot see it now, you can feel nothing but the pain of the new fire inside you. But fire is cleansing. It is pure. And it will never lead you wrong.’ The old woman let go of the girl's chin and turned to the fire once more. When she spoke again, her voice was thin and distant, like it came from very far away.

‘If you accept your heart of fire, it will serve you well, child. But it must be accepted freely, without reservation. Otherwise the fire will die. The pain will leave, if that happens, but everything else will leave you as well. Your life will turn to embers and ashes as the fire in your heart dwindles, until one day it is snuffed out completely. Your body will still live, your mind will still function, blood will still pump through your veins and breath fill your lungs, but you will love none of it. You will feel none of it. So you must ask yourself if you can accept the gift and the burden that have been given to you. They are yours alone to bear, but if you accept them, you will not be alone. Fire gives life even as it consumes. If you accept your heart, you will find greatness. I cannot tell you more, for I do not know your path. But the reward always surpasses the sacrifice, and you, child, will burn brighter than any I have ever seen.’

The woman stopped speaking and grew very still. The girl stared at her, watching her pulse flutter in her throat. After what seemed an eternity, she rose from where she knelt by the chair. She stared into the fire and saw shapes appear in the flames, dancing and whirling. Pressing a hand to her chest, she felt the warmth radiating from her, calling to its own. She took one last deep breath, then turned and left the room. The door tinkled again as it swung open and she was blasted with a gust of cold air from the street. She squared her shoulders and pressed her hands together, as if in prayer. And in the moment of acceptance, she felt the warm glow in her chest spread throughout her entire body. She sighed, and began to walk down the street.

Listen to the Mustn'ts © Shel Silverstein

09 September 2013

Better Stories

Her body tells many stories
To those with eyes to see

Every scar tells a story
This one of the time she fell

off her bike. That one of
a fence on a playground and a

gate not quite open. There are
other scars as well, stories

that go deeper than childhood
trifles. The thin line along

Her right wrist. The burn
between her toes. There are

stories that not all eyes
can see. How she turns her back

in a crowd, or how she freezes
just for an instant when

approached on her blind side
by an unfamiliar man. These stories

are told by scars. Scars she
can trace with her fingers.

Her being tells many stories
To those with hearts to know.

Not every story is told
by a scar. Not every story

catalogues a hurt done to her
or a wound that healed. There

are other stories told of
happiness, of closeness, of time

spent breathing in life. The beat
between words that lasts a fraction

of a second longer than it
used to last. The turn of phrase

said in a fit of laughter. Her secret
smile when someone touches her face.

These stories are wrapped up inside
her heart and her head, clasped

close to her, cherished. But only
seen by those who look for the signs

of being loved. Of loving
freely, openly. And truly.

Not every story is told
by a scar. Some are more

subtle. But she is made
of all of her stories.

And those who can see
beyond all her scars

will see that she loved once,
and well. And was loved in return.

06 September 2013


I have hidden our secrets
In a box on the back shelf
Of the closet, where I cannot
Reach without standing on something.

All of our secrets are wrapped
Very simply, plainly, in fact
And packed up with care.
They are safe on that shelf
From prying eyes who might
By accident spill their contents
To the world.

We do not have a ‘we’
Anymore that means both of us
Now are two separate ‘I’s
Bound with thread of memory

What is on that shelf
In the back of my closet
Is locked up in my heart
Where no one else can come close
To touching the places
Our secrets are resting
They remain undisturbed
And my lips remain closed.

Someday that dial may be turned
By an expert hand that will know
The numbers and codes
Our secrets will then see the light
Of the world, but only in halves.

02 September 2013


Remember the night spent
Under the streetlight
Clinging to you
Like I was drowning
Touching your mouth
And your chest and your hands
My head filled with doubts
That made me reluctant
To want to go on
Because running is easier

I am not running now
Just walking, and slowly
My heart in my hands
And my chin to my chest
Wanting is not
Enough of a reason
To stay, or go back
When the world crashes down

Again I am drowning
But not with desire
Or fear of a monster
Lurking just out of sight
But with pain and regret
And a sense of foreboding
A wish I could change things
Go back to the start

I do not for a second
Apologise for
That moment our lips met
Under the street lights
Saying yes to my heart
Has never been easy
Taking what I want
Has never felt right
I did not fall
But rather I jumped
Into love with you
On that wonderful night

It is over for now
And I must continue
Forward despite wanting
What I can't have
My heart aches and my mind
Is weary with wishing
If only I could
Stop feeling so deep

The marks that our love left
Are still open wounds
But the scars that I sport
Show I am tough enough
To wait out the healing
Though it may feel like forever
What we started that night
Was the greatest adventure
I have ever been on
And I would not exchange
All the moments we shared
Just to end this pain.

28 August 2013


I fear, she said,
That broken
hearts may mend
like broken bones.
That, when
they mend

Which means,
she mused,
That the act
that breaks this
heart anew
must be
more terrible than
each act
that broke this heart

But, would that
also mean
a heart re-broken
may harden
to stone?

23 August 2013


Today was meant to be
An Anniversary.
I took what I wanted
While I walked
In that terrible Valley
Two years ago.
I said, Yes,
In a place
where the only
thing I heard was

But today is not joyful.
There is nothing to celebrate.
Is a day
Of mourning.
A day for grief.

I pierced my skin.
I cut off my hair.
I seek to drown
In smoke and vapor.

Today I allow the part of me that said Yes to die.

I do not walk the same barren path
That lay before me two years syne.
This is a new waste,
Here after climbing
The Mountains of Maybe
And, foolishly,
Keeping my sights
On the summit,
Tumbling headlong into
The Desert of Never.

I want to turn my back on this journey
That has tried me
Judged me,
And found me lacking.

But to leave,
I must bury
The remains of my heart
At the base of the Tree
That marks the entrance
To Beyond.

25 January 2013

Pet Peeves, part 1 -- Grammar (mostly pronouns)

I am a grammarian. I am. I adore grammar. I cannot believe that I did not learn to diagram a sentence until I was at university, but unfortunately I grew up in an educational system that kept switching back and forth between phonics and 'whole language learning,' so grammar was barely even on the radar. I learnt the basics (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions), and sort of learnt when it was proper to use 'I' rather than 'me,' although the latter came with a 'rule of thumb' explanation rather than an actual grammatical rule to follow. Had I learnt how to diagram a sentence then, I would have clearly understood when it was appropriate to use 'I' versus 'me,' because I would have understood the difference between nominative (or subjective, in common English) and objective cases. I would have been able to describe when it is appropriate to use 'who' rather than 'whom' to my friend before the SATs more clearly than 'use whom if it has a preposition in front of it.'

There is a certain grace and elegance to a diagrammed sentence. A sentence diagram shows exactly what part of speech each word is, and how as this part of speech or that part of speech, each word interacts with all the other words in the sentence. Is the pronoun referring to someone the subject of the sentence? Is it the object of a verb or a preposition? Is the sentence written in passive voice or active voice? All of these questions are answered easily when one can see the spider-web-like diagram that shows that THIS word is the subject and THAT word is the object, and THIS word is a preposition and THAT adjective modifies THIS word or THAT phrase. It eliminates the grey areas of understanding in what can be a complicated and twisted language. But, as I said before, I did not get to see this elegant way of explaining grammar until I was grown. So I learnt 'rules of thumb' instead. The most common rule of thumb was used to determine whether to use 'I' or 'me' in a sentence. It was quite simple really: If speaking of someone in addition to oneself, drop the extra person, as if one was talking simply about oneself. If, solo, 'I' sounds better, use 'I;' If 'me' sounds better, use 'me.' That's it. No need to understand that 'I' is nominative (or subjective) case, or that 'me' is objective case. Just drop the other person, and use the pronoun that sounds right solo. (E.g. Your mother and I thought it best. 'I' is correct because it would be correct to say, 'I thought it best.' || It is a gift from your sister and me. 'Me' is correct because it is correct to say, 'It is a gift from me.') Many persons seem to struggle with this (or, more likely, simply forego the bother of figuring out which pronoun is correct), and instead use 'I' as a default. This probably stems from the fact that, as children, it was (incorrectly) badgered into their heads that 'ME IS ALWAYS WRONG,' which is not the case at all, but seems that way because of most children's proclivity to say shit like, 'Me and Johnny got into trouble today.' So persons default to using 'I' in all cases, which sounds just as stupid as misusing 'me.'

Now, as an avid grammarian, it is natural that such things irritate the piss out of me. I can find it in my heart to forgive such transgressions (grudgingly), because the fact is, most persons cannot find their way to BEGIN to diagram a sentence, much less understand such concepts as 'nominative case.' What really pisses me off are the persons who parade around with an air of smug superiority because they are oh-so-much-smarter-than-you, who get this shit wrong, and then wig-the-fuck-out when it is pointed out to them that, yes, dear, you may have a degree in English, but even you do not seem to know the difference between nominative and objective cases. I know, because I gave up that fight a long time ago with someone who no longer matters. There is nothing quite so annoying (nor quite so laughable) as someone who is convinced she is smarter than everyone else, and continues to disprove it every time she opens her damn fool of a mouth.

And do not even get me STARTED on misuse of reflexive pronouns, or the fact that APOSTROPHES HAVE NEVER EVER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER HAD THE POWER TO MAKE A WORD PLURAL.