Book Review: In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette De Bodard

Book cover. image shows a Vietnamese woman who is falling or leaping downward across the page facing left. Her arms are outstretched, her brown hair flows upward. Her light pink tunic is split at the sides and embroidered with orange fish, her orange trousers are embroidered with pink clouds. Behind her is a complex scaled background, which is actually a dragon. The dragon's head is positioned behind her, its eye above and to the right of her head. The dragon is shaded blue and green. Alietter De Bodard, the author name, is at the top of the cover. The title, In The Vanishers' Palace, is in large text acoss the bottom. All text is in white.

The first inkling that things were going wrong was when the voices in Oanh’s room fell silent.

This is my first venture into the wonderful mind of Aliette de Bodard, and it was fantastic. I did not know that I needed a queer Vietnamese sci-fi post-apocalyptic retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but I did. I’m gonna say right now that I know next to nothing about Vietnamese culture, so please if I say something stupid, call me out on it and I will apologise and correct.

Yên lives in her village with her Mother, a healer, right on the edge of their community and in constant fear of being thrown out where the Vanishers’ constructs still roam, or, worse, being sent to the Plague Grove. The world that Aliette de Bodard builds is brilliant, instantly present and believable. I enjoy fantasy and sci-fi that just throws you in, and this book does that. Things become clear as we move through the story, but at the beginning we are left wondering who the Vanishers are, what are their constructs, and just exactly what is going on. Aliette de Bodard manages that fine balance of having a brilliant world that doesn’t overshadow the plot. It also left me thinking a lot about genre, as at the beginning I would have said this was fantasy or fairytale, and by the end I would have said it was sci-fi. Maybe it’s a fairytale story in a science-fiction world. I think you get to make your mind up.

ANYWAY, Yên’s mother, the Healer, is put in a position where she must do very dangerous magic to save Oanh, the daughter of the head of the village. Straight away, we as readers know this is unfair. That there is a power play going on in the village. But there’s little Yên’s mother can do about this, and so she summons a dragon and the dragon heals Oanh for a price. The price should have been Oanh, but the village elders, in an act of betrayal that felt really painful even though it was clearly going to happen, instead sacrifice Yên. And so Yên goes to live with the dragon woman in the Vanishers’ Palace.

She expects to be killed, or toyed with, or something worse. She doesn’t expect to be presented with two children and informed she will be their teacher. She certainly doesn’t expect to be attracted to Vu Côn, the dragon. But both those things unfold and I’m not gonna say a lot more about the plot because spoillerrrsss. But the plot is Very Good.

This is a fantastic book: it’s rich and wonderful, and I was really able to relate to and feel what Yên was feeling – her confusion and her anger and her despair, but also her joy. Vu Côn is a wonderfully complex character, desperately trying to create some good in a world that has been broken, and is much more compelling than any Beast I’ve ever come across. Her children, Thông and Liên, were brilliantly realised. I enjoyed who they were, and why they were who they were (trying to avoid spoilers again). The plot appears deceptively simple; however it is a love story that touches on family, belonging, justice in small communities, colonialism, and power (im)balances. The titular setting is a dizzying and dangerous place full of impossible geometry. I was made intensely happy by the inclusion of multiple characters who use they/them pronouns, and the casual queer rep that went across the board. Just, yes, yes yes yes yes.

There’s a lot I could say about how wonderful the writing is: it conveys a sense of immediacy, bringing in details that pop, descriptions that make you shiver, and the ability to picture impossible things. I really loved this book, and I hope my readers will enjoy it too!

Rating: read this book, and pay your respects to the dragon.

Support the reviewer by buying her a drink. If you want to anyway. She’s probably still bored in quarantine.

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Arts and Capitalism and Self employment – a rant

I don’t usually do politics on here in a big way, but I don’t know how not to right now.

Almost everyone in my immediate family works in the arts. My dad is a musician and an examiner for ABRSM. One of my sisters works/ed at the Tobacco Factory (I’m pretty sure they’re all being laid off). My other sister is a singer and a yoga teacher. My brother-in-law works in theatre. I am a writer and proofreader. Self-employment is the norm in my family. And currently we’re all being screwed by the government. It’s very painful. I got an email this morning saying that I can have a taxable grant for 80% of my earnings. This won’t happen until June. JUNE! What, precisely, are we all meant to do until then? Do they think none of us need to eat? HMRC decides if I’m eligible or not. They will, at some point, get in touch to let you know that you are eligible to apply. They are at least balancing the average of your earnings across three years, but what people who’ve just started trading as self employed are meant to do is anyone’s guess. Starve?

Also, some people are saying (and it’s not clear) that doing something like, for example, trying to get a delivery driver job to keep yourself going between now and June will mean you are no longer eligible for the grant. It’s not clear if this is true. There was both a buzzfeed and a guardian article about it though, so maybe it’s true? Where are we meant to voice these concerns and ask these questions? And again, how are we all meant to survive through to June? I’m likely to be okay, others are not. Many self-employed people in the arts are living right on the edge all the time. 100% of what we usually earn is not enough. A possible 80% of what we earn on average, in three months time is definitely not enough. More than I was expecting from this Tory government, yes, but enough to keep people going in this crisis? No. It feels, simply, as though we are being left out to die. I shouldn’t be surprised, because the Tory government have been leaving people out to die for years. It’s just, I suppose, that as this is a pandemic part of me really hoped to see some shred of humanity from them.

How are we all meant to feed ourselves, and pay rent or mortgages, and keep the lights on, for three months with no income and no certainty that we’ll even get this taxable grant at the end?

I am, on no level, disputing that what is essential right now is keeping food and medical supplies flowing. There are lots of suddenly jobless self-employed people who’d love to help with that, if we had any security whatsoever about what was happening with this damn grant.

The government has the power to do something. They’ve passed the Coronavirus Bill, which some experts are saying is the biggest reimagining of state powers in ever and that it has the potential to constitute a serious infringement of certain human rights (source)(source). Parts of this bill will be in action for up to two years and can be renewed beyond that.The UK Human Rights Committee is currently looking into this. So they’ve passed this fecking bill, which means they are capable of action. So how hard would it be to pass some kind of emergency legislation that stops all rent for three months? That means we can have guaranteed energy for three months? That means all mortgage payments could be stopped for three months? If they’re going to take three damn months to get around to giving any of us any kind of financial aid, then they could have the decency to help us out for three months. Even better, they could just go ahead and institute an Universal Basic Income for everyone. But they won’t, because they are ideologically opposed to giving anyone something for nothing. Because capitalism is based on the idea of capital over lives, and the economy is more important. The idea of simply giving people money or aid with no strings attached, because they need it to stay alive, is so against capitalist thinking, and Tory thinking in particular, that they are just going to hang us all out to dry rather than do this. People who would survive this pandemic with help are not going to make it through without.

And Boris Johnson can hope that companies will do the right thing all he wants, but unless he passes some actual legislation we know that most companies won’t. My electricity company is gonna keep charging me, my landlord still needs paying, the council tax is still due, the water bill is still due, and I still have to buy food. I am so angry that I might throw up, and furiously grief-ridden because people are dying and people are going to die and it seems like those in power do not care enough to help. A lot of us can’t work, have seen the industries we work in vanish in the last week. And people, individual people, continue to be excellent. I’ve seen writers giving away their books for people to read in isolation and musicians releasing free songs and organising online jamming sessions and poets releasing new poems and actors making comforting videos and giving them away and with the exception of the very famous, most of us are poor. And this it to say nothing of the nurses and doctors on the frontline of all of this.

Most of us are poor and right now most of the artists I know are giving things away to try to keep people’s spirits up, and stop people losing all hope in isolation, and help people feel as though there is still a community out here. And all those excellent people you’ve seen releasing their books for free or their music for free or their artwork are likely to be self-employed and poor and panicking and wondering if they’re going to make it through this alive, if their friends and colleagues are going to make it alive, if there’s gonna be any arts to come back to after this and trying to deal with the pain of incontrovertible proof that our government actually just doesn’t care if we die.

I don’t have an ending point. I’m just angry. I’ll probably write to my MP, but I have very little hope of her even responding to me as she hasn’t the last three times I’ve written.

I guess, so you’re not totally bummed out by me, I’ll leave you with this song my dad wrote:

You can buy me a drink if you want, but you could also write an angry message to your MP and ask just what they are playing at with this self-employment shite. Or something that’s more relevant to you if you’re not self-employed.
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Book Review: The Morrigan by Morgan Daimler

Book cover. The image shows a crow standing on the ground in a darkened woodland setting. Trees form a frame around it, and there is grass towards the bottom. At the top is the series title: Pagan Portals. Below that, the title and subtitle of the book in white font: The Morrigan, Meeting the Great Queens. At the bottom of the cover in white font the author name: Morgan Daimler

The Morrigan was an important figure in Irish mythology and she is still active in the world today.

This is a book I’m going to read several times. I’m reviewing it after one read through in the full expectation that I’m going to go back to it. Unlike most of what I review, this is not a novel but a pagan academic and worship introduction to a goddess. My prior knowledge of the Morrigan is chaotic and limited: I know her from Pat O’Shea’s book The Hounds of the Morrigan, which at my school spawned a rather violent chasing game when cops and robbers got banned; I know her from The Wicked and the Divine by Kieron Gillen and James McKelvie; I have picked up background knowledge of her where she’s turned up in the pieces of Irish legends I’ve read, and by osmosis could have told you that she’s a war goddess with the ability to prophesy, that she’s not someone you mess with, that she often exists in three parts (I would have said Macha and Badb and Nemain, though I could not have told you where I got those names or why)(and I’m not convinced I’m pronouncing any of them right) and that she has a strong association with crows. That was roughly my starting point for this book. My prior encounters with her have been more as a character than as a goddess, although she was always a character that gave me the very strong feeling of having more going on.

My personal pagan practice is… Haphazard I guess. I’ve never felt like a “proper” pagan (whatever that is). I picked this book up because I had a very strong instinctual desire for it as soon as I saw it (I also picked up another book by this author about Brigid). And it was a good decision, because this is an excellent book. Morgan Daimler gives us a clear, concise introduction to the Morrigan. Her writing style is clear and well-informed without falling into the “this is so academic that no-one will understand” trap. She tells us what is substantiated, what is theory, how likely she thinks the theory is, what is conjecture, and what is personal experience. She sources everything and gives us a wonderful list of further reading. And she brings into every chapter something about her own worship of the Morrigan.

I felt, throughout this book, as though a friendly but firm teacher was present with me. I also personally got very excited right in the introduction when Morgan started talking about how we need to understand that Morrigan is used as a name, as a title, and as a noun. I love picking apart words so seeing someone use this throughout the book as a way of understanding this goddess was really relateable for me. That we start by looking into the possible meanings of her name (nightmare queen, queen of phantoms, great queen, queen of the slain, sea queen) and how and when that name is used worked very well for me. We then move forward through different aspects of the Morrigan, including the many goddeses who are associated with or might be Morrigan. There’s a chapter on the Morrigan in mythology, on her animal associations, and on finding her in the modern world. Throughout, Morgan Daimler does her best to put the Morrigan into the context of the stories told about her, and the culture in which those stories would have been told.This book is short – only 79 pages, but it feels a lot longer.

I particularly enjoyed what Morgan Daimler had to say about “Dark” gods and goddesses – putting into words a lot of things I had been thinking! That she doesn’t think it’s a differentiation that is accurate or helpful, that it risks causing disrespectful attitudes towards “light” deities and undercuts the complexities of “dark”ones. I feel like, whether I was considering starting a worship of the Morrigan or just had an academic interest, this book is an excellent and sturdy starting point. I find myself fascinated by this complex figure, and, as I said before, I’ll definitely be reading it again.

Rating: read this book, and respect the crows.

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Found this review helpful? You can buy me a hot chocolate, although due to being in quarantine it might actually be spent on eggs.

Poem: Empty Lady by Meredith Debonnaire

This is one of two poems I performed at Piranha Poetry last night (the other being The Day David Attenborough Found the Kraken, which is already on my blog). In the traditional manner, you now all get to read it. Enjoy!

 Oh Empty Lady
Your ribs open like fingers,
Skull sprouting through your skin.
Oh Empty Lady.
Oh my kin.
Please take this offering,
Take this flesh,
Take this pain,
Take the heart that I left in the fishpond.
Oh Empty Lady.
Oh darkness of stars.
You hold this bond in your hands
and all that we are is just stardust,
is worms in the soil,
is the coil of heat in my belly, beating.
Know that I know that this pleading will reach you
Where you stand at the edge of the night.
Know that I know that delight is still ours.
Oh Empty Lady.
Oh holder of decay.
Oh goddess of mushrooms and rot.
Your love is forgotten
and dust.
All the promises that we must keep are holding me here.
Oh Empty Lady.
I am filled with you
And I choke up thorns
And I grow horns
and my soul yearns for the mist and the mire and the mud and the mast;
For the sinking soil and the endless past;
For the memory of water
which I feel, sometimes,
All the way up to my knees.
For release
and release
and release.
Oh Empty Lady,
Your bones could hold a galaxy
And the graveyard of my soul is open to you
Even as I decompose,
Even as I regrow,
Even as here, now, at the end,
I am again a new green growth.
Oh Empty Lady!
You see me and I am known.
Oh Empty Lady!
I know I am ever in your house,
I am here, living in the cave of your mouth.
Oh Hollow Lady,
I am here in the well of your throat.

Swallow me.

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Annamarie Nightshade is Going To Die

A piece I wrote for the Hopeless Vendetta concerning the death (or otherwise) of Annamarie Nightshade, witch.

The Hopeless Vendetta

Annamarie Nightshade is Going To Die

Just Not Today

Annamarie Nightshade is going to die. She knows this in her bones, in her toes. She knows this the way she know how to breathe. Annamarie Nightshade is going to die. Just not today.

Seeing the future is not a particular specialty of hers, but sometimes you don’t need to See. you just have to pay attention, and as a witch a lot of her job is paying attention. People are sick, the cemetery is full of vampires and O’Stoats, and they’re looking for someone to blame. Annamarie knows how that goes

She’s got tea on the hearth. She’s cursed Durosimi O’Stoat one last time. She’s hidden her broom in the attic, and tucked a bucket of seawater outside her door where it’s unlikely to be knocked over. Lamashtu is glaring at her. His tail twitches.

“I could just move you…

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Update: Rambling and reimagining

Hello all! An update post for you.

So I’ve been ill and busy – we’re selling our family home and it is taking up an enormous amount of brainspace, including brainspace I usually use for reading. This is a thing that happens when I’m stressed; I stop being able to get through books. It doesn’t help that I also had the eternal winter lurgy, which lasted over a month and which I’m still recovering from. Slowly.

BUT it is, by my reckoning anyway, Imbolc and therefore there’s a tiiinnyyy promise of Spring and snowdrops and elfcaps and I woke up this morning with the desire to clean my whole flat and run around outside. Which is nice.

And despite not being able to get through a book, I’ve been enjoying storytelling in a lot of other media and thought I’d ramble about that here.

So I discovered the Mechanisms, a self-described storytelling cabaret. They have sadly broken up. But I found them in the album Ulysses Dies at Dawn (here!). Now I’ve yet to finish The Odyssey which I’ve been reading since August, but I’m glad I’d gotten partway through at least as it’s an interesting context to have. Ulysses Dies at Dawn is a shambolic, excellent, rollicking reimagining set in a city that has eaten a whole planet. Ulysses is drunk in Calypso’s (a bar) and four suits have dragged them (why yes, Ulysses is agender/genderqueer/something of that ilk in this interpretation, thanks for asking) out and are trying to get into their vault. A vault which, it is rumoured, could overthrow the accepted power order of the whole city. It’s excellently arranged musically, fantastically adapted, and all round fun retelling. As fun as this type of story gets, anyway. The Mechanisms also have an album called High Noon Over Camelot (here it is!), which reimagines Arthurian mythology onto an abandoned space station which is slowly falling into the sun. Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot are in a biker gang (and are also a thrupple), the landscape is made of rust, Mordred is trans, Merlin may or may not be part of a computer, and the entire atmosphere is excellent and wonderful. It all ends in tears, of course, but what a ride this is! I felt as though I was falling in love with the stories all over again, and falling back, and drifting into a mythology which I always have problems with and finding that someone has already got in and played with it makes me ridiculously happy.

And re-imaginings are something of a theme for me at the moment, as my other current obsession is Hadestown. I have listened to the original concept album, the original cast recording, the broadway recording, and have sent my family many a message about all my thoughts on it as a retelling. If nothing else, it is musically rich and textured (I recommend listening to the concept album with proper speakers). There’s a whole anticapitalist message going on in there, as well as parallel love stories and mythologies. My brain keeps getting fixated on learning all the words, although I do think they could certainly have played with the mythology more if they wanted to. Perhaps it’s the time of year as well, with spring happening and Persephone finding her way back. Perhaps it’s where I am as well, but I’m all for an ending where Persephone and Eurydice team up and run off together (Orpheus is sweet but damn boy, in this telling anyway he’s a bit useless. And Hades has an excellent singing voice. That’s, well, that’s about his good point. Again, in this interpretation).

Currently my favourite track is this one:


And then, diving into another re-imagining altogether, I watched Snow White and the Huntsman. You can read my live tweet here. But I must say I loved this. The whole reality was slightly magical, there were Dark Forests, and magical forests, and a forest god in the shape of a white hart. The evil queen, excellently played by Charlize Theron, was complicated and magical and had motives. Kristen Stewart was fabulous, and everything they did with the story I was onboard with. There was a wonderful mixture of fantastical elements, with a grounding in reality. The Dwarfs had a history that was hinted at, the attacking army had to take into account that the tide was coming in because the castle they’re trying to get to was tidally locked, and someone actually tries to teach Kristen how to do fighty things.

Kristen stewart dressed in a grubby dress reaches towards the nose of a large white hart with very impressive antlersA white hart with large antlers stands in front of a large tree, possibly standing on water.

So why all the reimaginings? Why is that what I’m interested in at the moment? The truth is I’m not sure, but I’ve always loved them. I think sometimes reimaginings are about reclaiming something. Maybe a story resonates with you, or it resonates with an area of your life, and if that area hurts it can be healing to reimagine the story. Or maybe you weren’t someone who was ever in the story, or when you were in the story you were a monster. Maybe the stories and fairytales you were given as a child were a bad fit, and taught you things you wish they hadn’t (you are a girl, and you should remain kind and passive even if your evil stepmother is trying to kill you. Maybe do housework. You have to remain in the dark because he said so. There is no space for queerness in this fairytale. There is no space for anyone not perfectly white) So you retell the story. You reimagine it. You take it into your hands and you say “no, this is not the way it happened. Let me tell you.” Or you say “this is how this happened, but afterwards there was more.” Or sometimes you just go “Okay, this story plus about 300% more queerness.” which is also healing. And I think that’s what I like about reimaginings, because so much of our folk culture these days has been replaced by big name films and Disney, and taken out of our hands, and when that hurts what can we do but reimagine it? And of course sometimes people reimagine things in ways that specifically hurt more (see the use of Grimm fairytales by Nazis) and some stories really shouldn’t be messed about with if they’re not yours (like, I as a white english person would just not touch any kind of Aboriginal myth. At all. There’s a whole web of privilege and power dynamic there and I think my job is to know that that thing is not for me).

But on the whole, reimagining can be a process of folk healing, of saying “actually, there is space for me and people like me in this story. I know because I’ve put us here.” and that’s wonderful

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Poem: The Day David Attenborough Found the Kraken by Meredith Debonnaire

A new poem for you all! Enjoy! This one hasn’t been anywhere yet… You are the first to see (other than my family). I wrote it on a train

The day David Attenborough found the Kraken
Was a Tuesday in June:
The sunshine was hazy,
it was half-past two.
He was on a boat out in the big blue
having a short break and a cuppa with his filming crew.
They were working on a new documentary,
looking for spinner dolphins and tuna,
when the sea began to boil
and fume
and spume.
The waves grew large and began to loom.
David stayed calm despite the unseasonal gloom:
Darkness fell swift that afternoon.
The camerawoman kept filming
as up from the deep
rose the leviathan
tentacles steep as skyscrapers,
taller than trees.
David Attenborough fell to his knees,
and shaking with joy.
He felt once again like a little boy
as she arose, glorious, from the abyss
filling a space in his heart that he didn’t know he missed.
The boat tossed on the waves,
the Kraken bellowed at the sky.
David knew we were all saved,
though he couldn’t say why.

“And here we see,” he whispered, “that fabled beast,
“the Kraken. She is rising up from the deep,
“as she does once every three-hundred years,
“to feast.
“She is believed to herald great change.”
David Attenborough’s face was sodden with rain.
It was strange, but
She left the boat untouched.
She turned.
She roared,
the roar was such that the camerawoman’s equipment shattered.
The entire crew felt a little bit battered.
And around the Kraken gathered a flotilla of sea-creatures ready to take a stand
and as one they began to swim,
towards land…

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed my silliness. Feel free to buy me a drink through the magic of the internet should you so desire.
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Guest post: Luke Eastwood

Hello and welcome back. I’ve been quiet for a while, I know. Had that post Winter Doom Festival illness that just would not stop. I’m a little better now, and thought that, to get this blog back into gear, I’d host a guest blog. A little background for you: I don’t talk about it all that much on here, as it doesn’t always come up, but I’m Pagan myself. In a sort of, still-figuring-out how I’m doing this, wandering about poking various traditions gently as I sort out what’s for me way. Part of the appeal for me with Paganism is that there’s a level of gentle anarchy in its organisation: I don’t do well with people telling me how I should relate to the spiritual or the sacred. For me, that’s a personal relationship. But I can certainly say that, as a Pagan, I consider myself to have a duty to the earth. It’s not easy, and I never really feel like I’m doing enough. Most advice that’s out there about how to help is about cutting things back, and a lot of the things that we’re advised to stop doing I don’t do anyway, or am not in a position to be picky about (I don’t, for example, earn enough money to buy local veg from a market).

So here, guest blogging for me, I’ve got Luke Eastwood who’s written a book about saving the planet. I hope you enjoy his words.

How To Save The Planet: 10 simple steps that can change the world by Luke Eastwood. Cover shows a photo of the planet in colour, on a yellow background, with the title and author name placed around it

How To Save The Planet  – we are all responsible

As a member of the Pagan community for many years I’ve always had a deep interest in the environment – I grew up in the country and reluctantly helped my parents with the vegetable garden. As a teenager Greenpeace became an important symbol of change and I was fortunate to be able to volunteer for them in London.

I’ve observed over the years that many Pagans do not really live the life they aspire to on a spiritual level in the physical world. I’ve visited the homes of Pagans with 3 tvs, playstations and decorated like a consumer temple, plus a garden bereft of plants.

I’ve written for a spiritual audience, mostly Pagan, in the past but I wanted to write something that went beyond the already converted Pagan and ecological types that I often spend much of my time around.  This book is not aimed only at Pagans, it’s aimed at everyone and anyone who might have even the slightest interest in this subject.

My hope is that people will actually make decisions to change their actions after reading this and pass on the ideas to others around them. I’ve deliberately written this book to be as short as possible, each chapter is around 1000 words. The core message is very simple and I’ve tried to communicate the ideas as simply and succintly as possible. We badly need a change of behaviour as well as our thinking, not next year, but right now. This book is intended to be educational, explaining how we got in this mess, but above all it is practical – highlighting what we can do personally to be part of the change that is so desperately needed. We are all responsible for the sad state of mother Earth and it is our duty to do what we can to reverse the damage for future generations of all life that lives here.

Luke Eastwood

You can buy  How To Save The Planet at or well-known online retailers. 50% of profits from this will book go to Greenpeace.

As ever, you can buy me a drink through the internet. I hope to be back next week with a poem about David Attenborough.

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Poem: Towpaths by Meredith Debonnaire

As is traditional, this poem has gone to Piranha Poetry, so it now comes to the blog! Enjoy!

October rain splashes down, muddled up with sunshine.
I am walking down the canal, trailing ghosts and giants
and I can barely breathe.
The trees hang low,
the trees drop jewelled water on me;
a shower of newness.
The air gets stuck in my lungs – my ghosts will not let me breathe.
I need reprieve.
I am walking the canal tailing the memories I left here yesterday
and the day before,
the day before that.
All the old versions of me who have walked this way, this path.
The sky opens, unfolds, and quivers.
It sings to me that it is circling the world,
it sings to me that it is an arched woman pregnant with burning stars.
It shivers.
it says to me that it is the ocean reflecting the sky reflecting the ocean.
It croons to me that it is a fishbowl.

I am still choking on ghosts in Autumn,
eating leaves and leaving poppyseeds scattered behind me.
The day gathers pace and springs forward,
I am tumbling headfirst into water, knowing you hold me
Hold me, hold me and
My bones are singing, telling me of marrow and blood cells and decomposition.
Your fingers hold my bones where you hold me
On the towpath;
where I dream of ducks and dread and barges.
Where I grip your head and drown you and your memories.
Where I snap your fingers and spit you out gasping.
The ground is wet and smells of cider where apples have rotted –
I will excavate you from my landscape,
dig you out and label you and leave you behind in some dusty museum cased in glass.
I have nothing to ask.

I’m trailing the memories of the mes who came before,
who walked here yesterday and yesterday and yesterday
and holding their hurts in my hands,
whispering words of healing
and picking over footprints
and leaving you the way leaves leave trees.
And it is October, the towpath is wet.
I forget my umbrella.
I know, I know I will drown you.
Tomorrow another me walks this path and picks me up
and holds me
and keens
and splits at the seams.
Tomorrow another me chases you from my dreams.
The ghosts will not choke me – these visions are all exactly how they seem.
The trees whisper and lean and the water is new.
And I am an entire landscape letting go of you.

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Update: ill!

Hello! I’m ill this week, hoping to be better soon but it’s gonna be a quiet if not silent week blog wise. Having trouble uploading to youtube as well, sods law. There’s a proofreading video intro already filmed, and I’m not sure what might be amusing as videos after that, so feel free to leave suggestions.


See you all soon 🙂


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