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I performed this at the Exeter Reclaim the Night and was asked to make a copy of it. This was therefore recorded at the end of the night, and is probably a bit rubbish as I was KNACKERED from organising everything. Still, here it is.

Short Fuse:
Let me ask you this.
If I bend down, can you see my pants?
Now what makes you think you stand a chance
just cos my skirt is short?
Well so is my fuse
Anger my muse in this tiny town of
No-can-dos
Where if you shout fire people run to your aid
But if you shout rape the price is paid
in fame
and shame
and blame
Where your name is driven into the dust
along with your trust in the moment that thrust the light out of your eyes
Your demise won’t be mentioned in the local news
Because you choose to keep breathing
A hundred deaths in every breath and all they can say is
‘How short was your skirt?’
Like they can measure the hurt in a plunging neckline
or how much wine you were drinking.
‘Girl, what were you thinking?
Were you walking alone?
Well next time stay at home, like you did before with those other men…
how many was it again?’
And they’ll reel them off
Memories tainted
tainted
tainted
and recall how you fainted that night in the station,
drunk no doubt,
chicks these days, huh?
No, I’m talking about DICKS these days
and the power to choose how you use your body
so if I bend down now what do you see?
My choice, my right, my liberty
To act and to speak and to dress as I please
So keep your sleaze, your thoughtless shout
Cos I have NO doubt that a change must come
and as I stand on your stage
and speak my rage
I can see it’s already
begun.

…But first, allow me to explain. I write this kind of thing occasionally, and this time it’s inspired by this TOTALLY AMAZING book that I’m reading. It’s called “Who Cooked The Last Supper?”, by Rosalind Miles, and is a woman’s history of the world. I’m about half way through it and it is literally changing my life. I shall no doubt be recounting the most interesting bits on here, but really – buy it! And read it!

It is inspirational, life changing, mind altering and both joyful and deeply depressing – for the history that we learn nowadays has nothing to do with the women of the past, but is totally male-centric. The only women I’ve studied really have been queens, in power only because they had no brothers to take power in their place. It has made me resent my study of Early Modern History a little, but at the same time given me greater motivation to attend the lessons and get involved, so that I can help my class mates see that women aren’t a recent invention, but the heart of civilisation and existence.

Anyway, this is turning into a rant in itself. Have the creative one – I call it ‘All We Have Owned is Lost’:

 

This feeling, that all we have owned is lost, circles my mind. It burns a ring of fire into my dreams. It burns away the ideals I have built up, the optimism that held my head up, face to the world. It is the fire that encased my sisters, that held us back, that burnt the hand that built it. It is the fire of discovery and knowledge and it has cooled. It is the fire of despair and of anger, and it sears a line through my sight and sends me back, back, through sorrow and out the other side, to the correct setting, the right stage, to how it was and should be. Oh history, history, the story of men and how distant, how far it all feels to me now. How I spark sorrow when I hear of you, oh my forgotten women! How the silence of my peers tears me apart, to know how loudly you once spoke! Oh, to hear your words, to feel your knowledge flow through accepting crowds. Oh to have known, to have prevented your pain, your untimely deaths, to warn the men that turned their backs on you, to warn them of their loss. The loss of your fire has lit another and this fire, this feeling, circles my mind. All that we have owned is lost. All that we have lost is owned.

Forgive us, as we take our first shaky steps after centuries of shackled feet, that we claim them as The First Steps. We have been deprived our history, we have been deprived our selves, and all we can do now is beg forgiveness. We never meant to lose you. We never knew we had you to lose.

They have made sure of that.

The seeds they planted strangle your already flourishing fields; the doors they slam were opened by you, built by you from your own aspirations. They live a lie and we learn it, accepting blindly at first then questioning, too late. Where are you, my ladies of learning? On the written page you are every space, and I shall learn to read you. A language of silence speaks so loudly, for it is yours and once you were heard, once it was your words they listened to. So how can we possibly not hear you now? Your voices join the others on the winds, in the sighs of the disillusioned sea and the cries of the birds above, so how can we possibly not hear you now? You, who gave us our language, you who shaped our minds, you who healed and you who knew, how can we possibly not hear you now?

Our ears have been trained, our senses dulled. It is only the 6th that sees you, it recognises your work, your worth, and fills every space on every page with your praises. It sings them in the trees, it lays them at the feet of travellers, it lines our veins with them and still, somehow, we are blind to you. It takes strength to take the steps that lead us to you. We must fight through so many lies.

I have fought.

Now, only now do I see and still all is hazy. Your faces mere fragments glimpsed through the fog, your words muffled. Oh, to see you clearly, to have learnt from the start. Then, perhaps, this sorrow would not pierce my mind, my eyes, my being. Oh pity us, women of the wilderness of days gone by. We are all missing something and we were blind to it. It is only now I know you that the hole gapes in my side, that the emptiness has a name and it is yours. Oh, women of fire, burn your circle brighter in my mind. I fear this sorrow, but I fear losing it more. I cannot lose you again; I cannot lose the knowledge of what we once owned.

Oh my people, all we have owned is lost.

 

Happy, no? 🙂

And on that note – adieu.

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