Saturday, 28 November 2009

Washing of the water.

I miss my boat. The gentle rocking of the river, the squeaking of the mooring ropes as they stretched with the wake, the tapping of swans feeding on the algae that nestled upon the hull at the waterline, even the fortnightly palaver of emptying the toilet. Most of all I miss how Cep used to make everything OK, she represented my achievements, my dreams and the fulfillment of my ambitions. She was mine. She kept me warm and dry and safe, her steel arms surrounded me and sang me a lullaby every night.

River, river carry me on
Living river carry me on
River, river carry me on
To the place where I come from

So deep, so wide, will you take me on your back for a ride
If I should fall, would you swallow me deep inside

River, show me how to float
I feel like I'm sinking down
Thought that I could get along
But here in this water
My feet won't touch the ground
I need something to turn myself around

Going away, away towards the sea
River deep, can you lift up and carry me
Oh roll on though the heartland
'Til the sun has left the sky
River, river carry me high
'Til the washing of the water make it all alright
Let your waters reach me like she reached me tonight

Letting go, it's so hard
The way it's hurting now
To get this love untied
So tough to stay with thing
'Cause if I follow through
I face what I denied
I get those hooks out of me
And I take out the hooks that I sunk deep in your side
Kill that fear of emptiness, loneliness I hide

River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep
In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away

(Peter Gabriel, Washing of the Water from the album "Us")

My beloved Cep.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream.

In my dreams I know I am dreaming, I know that I am really safe, in my bed, warm and content. The adventures I have whilst my unseeing eyes rove are a second life, a life where I am invincible even in death. I almost never have nightmares. I love the dark and dangerous landscapes that my sleeping mind creates, I love the creatures that inhabit it. They are there for my pleasure, my fun, my escape.

But in the last few months I haven't been dreaming at all. Or at least I haven't remembered those that I have had - and I always remember. I have missed those moonlit escapades, my world is too homogenous without them.

Then, like a lover returned, I started dreaming again last week. But these dreams are full of sinking boats.   And the boats are sinking because of me. Because I didn't take care. In these dreams I don't know that I am dreaming, I can't control the adventure, although I don't wake as from a nightmare; screaming, sweating and thankful for the solid walls of my apartment. I just feel profound regret. Regret that I couldn't stop the boat from sinking.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Things fall apart: The centre cannot hold.

During my years as a psychiatric nurse I learnt a lot about the lengths people can go to in order to escape the responsibility and stresses of ordinary, everyday life. There are times when we all feel overwhelmed, incapable of dealing with even the simplest things like getting out of bed in the morning. I witnessed men and women so burdened with hopelessness that they no longer controlled their own bowel movements; curled like a fetus on the linoleum floor of their wipe-clean hospital room, as incapable as a new-born baby, their wails a desperate cry for someone to come and take care of them, to take on board the minutiae of their existence.

Although extreme, this dissociation was always something that touched a part of my understanding that most of the other behaviours I experienced on that ward couldn't reach. Empathically I understood their desire to just give it all away. To abdicate all responsibility. To surrender all control. There is peace and comfort in this quietism and it is the comfort of the womb; the soft, warm fleshy fortress where all our needs were attended to and all we had to do was just 'be'.

The drug addict, the dissociative patient, the ex-con who dreams of returning to the structure and enforced regimentation of prison, the alcoholic, the 'blame' junkie constantly searching for external obstacles to their happiness, the depressed. All of these are lost souls yearning for the womb and for the peace that they knew there. But they are also us. Every time we 'cannot be bothered', every time we choose not to act, every time we give in to the seductive urge to just stay in bed, or play Mafia Wars on Facebook we are taking one more step towards the abyss.

(The Death of Chatterton by Kelly Humphries)

Monday, 16 November 2009

I KNOW they're shit...

... but there are times when Keane sum it all up for me.

Who is the man I see
Where I'm supposed to be?
I lost my heart, I buried it too deep
Under the iron sea

Oh, crystal ball, crystal ball
Save us all, tell me life is beautiful
Mirror, mirror on the wall

Lines ever more unclear
I'm not sure I'm even here
The more I look the more I think that I'm
Starting to disappear

Oh, crystal ball, crystal ball
Save us all, tell me life is beautiful
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Oh, crystal ball, hear my song
I'm fading out, everything I know is wrong
So put me where I belong

I don't where I am
And I don't really care
I look myself in eye
There's noone there
I fall upon the earth
I call upon the air
But all I get is the same old vacant stare

Oh, crystal ball, crystal ball
Save us all, tell me life is beautiful
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Oh, crystal ball, hear my song
I'm fading out, everything I know is wrong
So put me where I belong

Friday, 13 November 2009

Stormy Weather.


You are the town and we are the clock.
We are the guardians of the gate in the rock.
            The Two.
On your left and on your right
In the day and in the night,
        We are watching you.

Wiser not to ask just what has occurred
To them who disobeyed our word;
        To those
We were the whirlpool, we were the reef,
We were the formal nightmare, grief
        And the unlucky rose.

Climb up the crane , learn the sailor's words
When the ships from the islands laden with birds
        Come in.
Tell your stories of fishing and other men's wives:
The expansive moments of constricted lives
        In the lighted inn.

But do not imagine we do not know
Nor that what you hide with such care won't show
        At a glance.
Nothing is done, nothing is said,
But don't make the mistake of believing us dead:
        I shouldn't dance.

We're afraid in that case you'll have a fall.
We've been watching you over the garden wall
        For hours.
The sky is darkening like a stain,
Something is going to fall like rain
        And it won't be flowers.

When the green field comes off like a lid
Revealing what was much better hid:
And look, behind you without a sound
The woods have come up and are standing round
        In deadly crescent.

The bolt is sliding in its groove,
Outside the window is the black remov-
        ers' van.
And now with sudden swift emergence
Come the woman in dark glasses and humpbacked surgeons
        And the scissors man.

This might happen any day
So be careful what you say
        Or do.
Be clean, be tidy, oil the lock,
Trim the garden, wind the clock,
        Remember the Two.
W.H. Auden

Thursday, 12 November 2009

The slinking cat beneath the lilacs of my mind.

Clive Barker once wrote "There is no delight the equal of dread." and I think he's right. From the very start of man's awkward, brutal ascent out of the primordial ooze he has meditated, debated and waxed lyrical on the subject of fear. We even use it as entertainment... we revel in the adrenalin rush, the sweaty palms and heavy breathing that accompany a good, scary story. Our fantasies are riddled with dangerous situations and cruel lovers because to be afraid is to be aroused; our hearts thump, our nerve-endings fire, our bodies shiver in anticipation.

But real fear, real terror is not so much fun. It can be educational and it can save your life, as Hannah Arendt says "Fear is an emotion indispensable for survival". In our ancestral environment fear was adaptive; the angel on our shoulder warning us of imminent threat. Even today fear continues to be our constant guardian, the sentinel of safety that helps to ensure a long, healthy life. I am a big fan of fear.

But as is the way with all good things fear all to often simply paralyses. It acts like an iron cage upon our hearts and minds, as Samuel Butler opined "Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself" and fear is a hungry monster, a yaffling Greedygut constantly whispering to us in honeyed tones "Feed me, feeeeed me". 

We can't escape it, we shouldn't escape it for it is as much a part of existence as the air we need to breathe but we do need to recognize it; to see it's true form so that we can understand it's motivations and ultimately, teach it some table manners.

(The Perils of Tessa by Darktess)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Words that should be used more often. Part 1

Verliebtheit or Limerence refers to an involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire for another person. Fallen-in-love-ness.

Miles to go before I Sleep.

Time is relative... apparently. We compartmentalize and solidify each moment so that we all have a marker by which to measure our lives and the activities we fill it with, but each of us experiences those seconds, hours, days differently. People often say that if they won the lottery or retired or for whatever reason no longer needed to work they would still keep their jobs... to do 'nothing' would be a 'little slice of death'. Balls! I say. You would fill your days with something. Something that structured each moment and gave meaning to waking up.

For over 6 months I have not 'worked' and for 6 months I've managed somehow to fill my days so that the months slip by, barely registering, till I find myself just a few weeks from Christmas; that ubiquitous landmark of our lives that fills us with dread and excitement in equal measure. But what are these 'things' that occupy my time? Some are productive efforts geared towards earning a living and advancing my 'career' while others represent little more than apathetic masturbation; a means of moving from one moment to the next with as little physical and mental effort as is possible. And I love those moments, the times of doing 'nothing'; watching asinine Police Procedurals TV shows and low-budget 1980's horror movies, constantly refreshing FB to see if someone else has been doing anything remotely interesting, having 45 minute showers, and smoking cigarettes as though each step that I bring myself closer to death is a past-time worthy of single-minded pursuit.

My days are now structured by the morning ritual of 8am alarms, coffee and a cigarette while wrestling with the online Guardian cryptic crossword, shower, FB, blog, MM, NM, back to FB,  followed by protracted mental flogging for my inactivity. Some days continue in this vein for hours until the sun goes down and I can convince myself that it's too late to do anything useful today so I might as well put the next season of 'Supernatural' on and open that bottle of wine. Other days find a way of shoe-horning my ass up from behind my desk and out into the world... I like these days too, they validate and excuse the times that satiate my lazy, sloth-like personality. But I know that I need more of this and less of the other... and this is the little death of 'not-working'. I no longer have a boss to demand my attention and energy; I am alone, free, with nothing but my own sense of motivation as a guide. This is what terrifies the retired and the lottery-winner. They know that they will find something to do with their time... they are just afraid that it will be of such little consequence that they themselves will cease to mean anything.

“Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realises himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is.” 

Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre 1946

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Did Ted Bundy buy this?

Evil science ;)

Riding the Oxytocin wave.

Dear readers, please allow me to introduce you to Oxytocin, the love hormone.

This little puppy has been linked to bonding and attachment behaviours in both animals and humans.

Oxytocin is a peptide of 9 amino acids that has both peripheral (hormonal) actions through secretion from the pituitary gland, and actions within the brain reflecting it's release from centrally projecting Oxytocin neurons in the amygdala, ventromedial hypothalamus, septum and brainstem.

It's actions include the 'let-down' reflex in lactating mammals (whereby breast milk is let down into collecting chambers in the mammary glands ready for suckling), cervical dilation and Uterine contraction during labor, and other bonding and maternal behaviours in mammals. More recent research has investigated the connections between Oxytocin and sexual response in humans, and while the jury is still out it seems that this little bundle of amino acids has a key role to play in sexual arousal and orgasm (when injected into the cerebrospinal fluid of male rats it causes spontaneous erections). Furthermore, some studies have hinted that it also plays a part in increasing empathy and trust and reducing fear.

So.... next time you hear you heart go 'Boom-Boom-Chick-a-Wow-Waa' in the presence of some guy or girl... don't fret, just blame your Oxytocin.

Edit: This is a rather fun link too... The Cuddle Hormone ... I particularly like the quote;

"You first meet him and he’s passable," Witt said of the phenomena. "The second time you go out with him, he’s OK. The third time you go out with him, you have sex. And from that point on you can’t imagine what life would be like without him."

Monday, 9 November 2009

Monday morning and things move on...

life's what you make it
Can't escape it

yesterday's favourite
Don't you hate it

Everything's all right
life's what you make it

life's what you make it
Don't backdate it

Don't try to shade it
Beauty is naked

Everything's all right
life's what you make it

life's what you make it
Celebrate it
Anticipate it
Yesterday's faded
Nothing can change it
Life's what you make it

Everything's all right
life's what you make it.

Couldn't say it any better myself...

( Schleifen by Kelly Humphries)

Thursday, 5 November 2009

I love the smell of developer in the evening.

In a room as dark as pitch, a red bulb barely throwing out enough light to see my hand in front of my face I attempt to bring life and meaning to an image captured months ago on a 30 Euro plastic camera... and this poem keeps running through my mind...

You'll love me yet!—and I can tarry
Your love's protracted growing:
June reared that bunch of flowers you carry
From seeds of April's sowing.

I plant a heartful now: some seed
At least is sure to strike,
And yield—what you'll not pluck indeed,
Not love, but, may be, like!

You'll look at least on love's remains,
A grave's one violet:
Your look?—that pays a thousand pains.
What's death?—You'll love me yet! 

(You'll Love Me Yet by Robert Browning)

(Lulu by Kelly Humphries)

I can't remember the tune but I remember the lines...

When I hear you call my name,
My heart skips a beat.

( "3" by Kelly Humphries)

Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea...

I think that most people who know me would say that I'm a fairly practical, no-nonsense kind of gal. Romanticism and the esoteric hold little interest for me outside of philosophical debate. However, every now and then I find myself wallowing in the fantastical, day-dreaming flights of fancy and obsessing over that which is not real.... or at least, that which is not yet real; I spend my days moping around my apartment, drinking way too much coffee, smoking too many cigarettes, hardly eating. At these times I always find myself drawn to the random collections of poetry that hover, gathering dust, in-between the rows and rows of serial killer biographies and pulp horror novels lining my book shelves. There is something overly dramatic about poetry that comforts me. The eloquent and luxurious prose somehow validates my histrionics, turning them from the destructive, sad and foolish things they are into something of heart-rending beauty.

So, just for you, dear readers... here's some Alfred Lord Tennyson...

A Farewell.

Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river:
Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
For ever and for ever.

But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.

A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver;
But not by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

(Tessa by Kelly Humphries)

Wednesday, 4 November 2009


I'm flayed by the love that used to
be the air I breathed.

(Tessa by Mike Kamei)

The white city...

Yippee!!!! The first snow of winter has arrived in Berlin... this is the view from my balcony as of 5 minutes ago.... I think I may have to go out and play ;)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

I'm having the overwhelming urge...

... to do a shoot while listening to Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.... really fucking loud!

Blue shadows behind your eyes
I wonder who you disguise
Through windows behind the sky
I wonder who you will find
I'm so tired
I can't get back
I'm walking to still come back
With something that I have loved

(Photo courtesy of FilmPhoto)

Monday, 2 November 2009

At times like these...

...only Bryan Adams can help me.

(Tessa by Kelly Humphries)