It is in place that we locate ourselves

It is in place that we locate ourselves, mark ourselves in relation with others; it is  in place that we survive. – Meena Alexander  

Within my body, I carry the stories 

of my mother, grandmothers, 

sisters and aunts. My body carries 

their stories of love and loss;

wounds passed on through

bone and blood. Leaving scars, 

leaving diminished spirits.

But just as those stars are burning

bright right now, leaving their trails

of light, my body, my beautiful body

will survive, heal and fire. 

Another day another page

Visual Journaling Through The Night – 05/05

Can’t sleep. Won’t sleep. Story of my life at the moment.

Could be the change. Could be tummy pains. Could be anxiety. Who knows.

I just know sleep will not come. So instead of mindlessly scrolling I got the journal out again and explored the thoughts and feelings that were at the forefront of my mind.

To go to Paris again in June or not? I fell in LOVE in Paris when I booked a few days there in August 2009 to complete the PhD.

I needed to get away and just focus on the manuscript and be done with it. And Paris was the ideal place to go as it was quick and easy and cheap to get to but it would have plenty of sights and sound and tastes so feed my soul as I dredged it all of everything goes in order to complete the PhD.

It was such a magical time where I would walk most of them day, stop for food and drink and work on the manuscript and then walk some more. Photos galore. And then I would run during the evening through the streets enjoying the fading light and voices and sights of families coming out to socialise.

It also holds a dear place in my heart as I was pregnant with Miss Ella during this trip and didn’t even know. She was definitely a gift.

So I’ve been itching to travel again and go back to Paris now as I’m much older and wiser and have more of a sense of self to really appreciate all this beautiful city has to offer my thirsty soul.

But as my late night/early morning muses explored, I can’t justify the expense of going at the moment, well June, as money is tight after a few weeks of little work due to sickness and tiredness and lack of forward planning on my behalf.

So I’ll continue to dream of Paris hopefully be able to share my plans to re-visit this magical place somewhere in the near future.

Until then I’ll dream about it with my eyes open. As there’s no sleep coming my way.

Can’t sleep. Won’t sleep!

Under the Pink Moon, The Procession Thrums with Memories of Blossom

The Procession, 2022, Hew Locke

After Hew Locke. After Taylor Johnson

My father would say so much with his eyes and hands. Sitting up in his burgundy armchair like a thorn. He would dress in waistcoat and trilby to walk up the road to the bookies on blossom warm afternoons. And when he was gone, I waited in his shadow for his sing-song step to return up the stairs. And when he didn’t return, I sat there lost like our place in history and the world.

Something was wrong when I left the country. Heart tight, sorrow crawling through the blood. Leaving meant joining an age-old tradition, down dusty roads at the crack of dawn. Humid bodies, sweat mingling fear, ebb and flow red blue and green paints. Thrumming bass behind the truck. Before us, lined streets, roped between black and white bodies. We whine to claim space.

I love the freedom assembled lines give. Celebrate, protest, mourn, and escape: The Procession. My father who packed away home in his grip on arrival; was Roberta Flack who set off a smile. I was left to shift between the gap and practice owning something around blackness. I had a feeling I would never be enough. There are times of melting, with the turn of a record, under a pink moon, when there is so much beauty to live, when I recount memories of love tucked inside.

When you want to be so much like your mum but fight the urge

as the day comes to a close,

and the house settles in for the night,

the clock ticks-clicks into the thickening

silence, a breathing silence, you claim as your own.

You’re reminded of late night conversations

with your mum about everything and nothing.

How sitting across from her, you longed to be as kind and giving as she but not as lonely.

You’ve witnessed how she never had a chance once everything

shifted and drifted off course after

her one and only love died. You witnessed their love

desiring that kind of love for yourself and grabbing at any given at times in desperation.

Now you realise, their love was conjured up in a child’s mind to be all

and festered in a woman’s heart to be nothing.

The Body As Memory

The Object of My Gaze, on going project by Marcia Michael.

This body is the site of memory.

Riddled with shame and mystery.

Stories hidden like oysters

to be prised open from reluctant

lips and hands and hearts.

This broad brown back bares

history’s heavy weight.

Shame folding in on itself

for what we have no control over.

This body is stolen territory.

It’s gonna take the rest of our lives

to reclaim ownership.

To belong between this high

shine, bruised and batter flesh.

Part 2 – Exploring Rituals To Be More Present in My Life, Never Mind Writing

A poem can start with the sound of water falling onto my body. Allow it’s curious wet teeth to sink into my flesh, to pull out chucks of questions to fuel a conversations with myself, later. 

The ability to be present was a luxury my mother never had as she worked 3 jobs with her hand down toilets and fixed smile for the men with keys and brutal laughs. 

I claim the ability to be present. To allow my yearning for a past to awaken a future I will imagine, as I salver my arms and legs and belly, housing a familiar homesickness I’m not sure where from, with coconut oil. 

Turning cold hard oil, soft and warm against my skin, I reconstruct fragments of history, lost in colluded archives, and turn them into bleeding scars and pickled memories of somethings rather than nothings.

When I’m ready to forgive and understand, I’ll conjure Dad back from the dead, sit him down, and ask why he never ever mentioned love, in all his administering of disciplined care. 

Dressed, hair twisted and walking across green fields, and under cherry blossom, I swallow doubts to turn a phase over and over against the roof of my mouth, rewriting with each footstep. Slide stepping cliches, kicking around experimental metaphors. 

Or the poem could hit me full force when I walk into the coffee shop. Glasses steamed, journal in hand,  eyes on drinks board, but already knowing my order by heart, the table I’ll take – number 13, my lucky number.

Acting like the fugitive from my life, here, I steal time to soften my gaze and repurpose the image of  the sea into an open window that will startle you, dear reader, into a new perspective, into a new way of holding your mind and your heart towards yourself.

Part 1 – Rituals

A poem can start with the sound of water
Falling onto my body
Allow it’s curious wet teeth to sink into my flesh
pulling out chucks of questions to fuel a conversations with myself later

The ability to be present was a luxury my mother never had as she worked 3 jobs with her hands down toilets and grinning at men with keys and brutal tongues

I claim the ability to be present
To allow my yearning for a past
To awaken a future
as I salver my arms and legs with cocoa butter.

Creatrix in Residence @ HOME

visual journaling spread

The rain pours down, the temperatures drop. And we’re inside.

Miss Ella has Covid again so we self-isolate. We do our bit to keep the infection rates down even if no one else does.

Forced to stay in door could play on my mind, could make me frustrated and resentful if I let it.

What I’ve been doing is getting creative. Creatrix in Residence @ HOME is me allowing my imagination to wander while my hands are busy. Even my body as I continue to knock out my 4 miles a day of walking, indoors. It takes a whole heap longer than when outdoors. So I mix things up with a bit singing and dancing to Silk Sonic.

Things could be a lot worse. But poor Miss Ella. Just getting better after her stay in hospital and now this is just another set back. She’s taking it well as she gets creative too with video games, you tube, make up and singing.

Apart from writing a poem a day for the month of April here, I’ve also been making a ZINE a day as I’ve been accepted to present at the Edinburgh Zine Festival 2022 in May. Getting all my creations ready to share, swap and sell hopefully.

Hopefully, all will be well by the time this comes along as Miss Ella is going to be my assistant, sharing in the non- profits.

Bound up with Memory*

After Marcia Michael

My body has a yearning for the past. In this country, I am duped to believe and live as if we were nothing .

Nothing until they allowed us into existence. Nothing until they opened their arms, and allowed us to carry on being their slaves into the 21st century.

Search and recovery, my body reclaims her history.
My mother transported it on her skin, buried in the stomach of the ship, boat, truck.

My father carried it in his voice, trapped in the belly of the ship, train, coffin.

I cannot rely on any colonial archives for finding me and my people. Now or in the future.

Colluded, concealed, constructed, the archives have fabricated the narrative that sees we as other.

Reduce us to a footnote, a scar, a tear.

My body is my archive.
My presence is a testimony.

My imagination will do the rest.

*Quote from Toni Morrison 

The Object of My Gaze, on going project by Marcia Michael. Me Remembering you – transformations, 2021