Sunday, March 18, 2018

There's a moment when

Sometimes I think I wish I could meet you tomorrow and then I remember I have dwindled into pointless goo and if you do or don't deserve more you think you do and that's what it is.

But I did learn. I'm not always able to deploy what I learned but that doesn't mean I didn't. I just never learned anything of any use to anyone else. Yet.

And I do learn every day. One day I think I know something and then I know something else. And in between I have a piece of clarity, as though the symbols I have always thought I knew what I was looking at, I realise I did know know what they said.

That anyway is one of the bigger things to realise. That the marks and signs of human life do not say one thing. When you read, I don't know, Derrida, that's what he says, and you nod, but you don't get it. And then you get it.


I am a face on a telephone screen. You don't know who I am. That's okay, neither do I. And I know you're supposed to. I know everyone else seems to think they do.

But they don't.

It's just the mask they wear.

And sometimes I wish, I wish, I wish you would not be like me, that you will learn to live among these people, that you will find content among them, but I look at me and I look at your mother and I know that the chances are it will be an effort of will.

But even so I do still love her, whatever that word means, and I do wish she would let us try to begin your life with a different lesson.

Even so.

I want you to grow to never have a doubt. To do and be done to and live with it. To never be sorry, even if you have things you should be sorry for because after all what does "should" even mean?


I will always be sorry I put my own wellbeing over loving you but I genuinely truly felt it was that or die and I couldn't die.

When you are younger, you feel like you want people to want to know your story. Then you know what it is and you don't any more and that's when you know that you made your own world and you didn't know how to paint it in with colours so it is grey and bereft. And no one really wants to live in ashes but sometimes you have to.

And what is the solution? I laugh, as though I have ever known the solution to anything. Sometimes I feel like you just have to forget everything you are or wanted. When you have done that, you can die. And other times I feel like even that wouldn't be enough.

Monday, March 05, 2018

On Brexit

I'm beginning to think that We'll be worse off is not a good argument against Brexit. Because many Brexiteers hark back to the austerity years of the 1950s as a golden age. They think we are resourceful people who have had our national vigour sapped by dark-skinned idlers.

 I think you can much more readily situate Rees-Mogg in the decaying greatness of Britain of 1950 than you ever could in Victorian Britain. The Victorians *were* vigorous. They expanded the frontiers of capitalism alongside the margins of science and thought. The 1950s was a time of stifling intellectual torpor, when even Churchill made sense.

 The sad thing is that the clash is not between those who have privilege and those who don't, at least not at the street level. It's between those who think that they *did have* privilege and those who think they *oughtn't to have had*. While the truth remains that they never did, whatever they think. They just had the comfort of knowing that some were even worse off than they were. So 1950s white suburban man had a shit job and his life was materially poor but at least he had a female slave and he was English, for which read "white". It was worse to be dark, as the newly independent third world struggled to find its feet.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

To Ally

If we can agree I could not love you, can we then move forward?

And I mean, I was not capable, not I didn't want to, because I wanted to.

And I mean, I was not capable, I know it, not I agree because I want you back.

And I do want you back. You are delicious. I do love you. You are so funny. I do love you. You are charming. I do love you. You can be kind. I do love you.

And if I know your value, I have to offer value in return. I know that but I did forget.

But I have no value, right?

I only feel like that because I fail in the ways that society, whatever that is, measures success, but I succeed in other ways. I can learn, and I have learned. I am healthy, and that health was so hard earned.

I wasn't healthy. We both know that. But I worked so hard to fix it. I really did. It hurt me and hurt you and while it feels external to me, of course it doesn't to you.

I had no idea how to learn that. I had to listen. I am so used to just talking talking talking I often forget that listening is how I learn. If I learn anything.


I spent so long asking what did I do for her to hate me? And it took so long to realise that the message is not what I did but that she hates me.

Don't hate me. I would beg if it would do any good. I never knew that it doesn't matter what a person does. You are loved or hated regardless what you think about it.

Forgive me and take me back. I do not ask you to love me. Just be with me for the sake of what we were and for our child. Be with me in the hope I am man enough to be the man you want. Be with me in the hope that the love you thought did not exist for you does exist, that I can embody it.

Say fuck it and be with me. I still want to give you thirty years. I want more than anything to do it better, to be worth the fuck it. And who cares what I want?

Tell me what you want. Please let us begin by you talk to me. Tell me what you want and we can decide if I can meet it. Tell me how I can be the man for you because you will always be the woman for me.

I feel foolish, humbled, tiny. I know that this is nothing worth a woman's love. So I am asking for you to believe, as I do, forever, believe in love, however alien belief is.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

On the neoliberal press

The Guardian has become quite scarily neoliberal. It's nothing much more than a mouthpiece for Israeli-US policy in the Middle East. Which wouldn't be such a bad thing if US policy wasn't so disastrous in that area.

Here's one example from the article I've linked to:

"Its former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, permanently upped the ante in 2005 when he allegedly called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”. His exact words are disputed, but the sentiment behind them has not been convincingly repudiatedby Tehran. Many Israelis remain convinced that Iran poses an existential threat."

This just isn't true but it's illustrative of how propaganda works. Ahmadinejad actually wasn't rabble rousing so much as waxing philosophical. He said that when contemplating Israel, one should remember that every nation is transient. In times to come, Israel would have disappeared, removed from the map like the Roman Empire. This is rather different from "calling for" its extirpation. Yes, of course, he delighted in Israel's eventual destruction, but he wasn't suggesting anyone do it. And of course Ahmedinajad didn't "up the ante". The US-Israeli security establishment and its mouthpieces in the press did so, by misrepresenting him. Not that Ahmedinajad did not have plenty of antisemitic things to say when he wanted to whip up a crowd. He did.

Ahmedinajad's words are not "disputed". They were actually very clearly and accurately reported (I believe they were actually recorded, which is how they became broadcast in the US). There's no dispute at all at what he said. Of course, he did say it in Farsi, which means there are issues of interpretation. And it's not true that Iran has not "convincingly repudiated" his words. They are faced with a problem. They cannot "repudiate" what he actually said because it's simply a philosophical musing of no real great import. And they cannot "repudiate" what Tisdall says he said because he didn't say it.

They have in fact tried both. They have made it clear that the whole "wipe Israel off the map" bullshit is a mistranslation. And they've said that they don't call for it in any case. Of course they'd like Israel not to be there. They'd like it gone. Just as Americans quite often call for regime change in Iran. But they do not call for anyone to make it so.

However, the point is, Tisdall can repeat this as fact. It is entrenched in the discourse about Iran. Many Israelis -- and many Westerners -- do believe Iran poses an existential threat to Israel. Close analysis of what Iran actually does in the Middle East will show that it doesn't really pose any threat of any kind to Israel. But most people don't have the time or capability for "close analysis". They can only give things passing notice and rely on "thought leaders" to tell them what the story is. Sadly, those "thought leaders" are all too often hacks such as Tisdall.

Well, what does it matter what some guy on the Guardian says? The problem here is that individual voices may not seem loud but they reinforce each other. Each voice echoes the others and builds a consensus. So the truth is now that Ahmedinajad might just as well have called for the destruction of Israel, because not only can Tisdall repeat that as though it were true but policy is built on that "truth". And worst of all, US leaders, either dilettante neoliberals such as Obama or lazy corpulent far right hacks such as Trump, begin from the consensus. In the case of Obama, I imagine he did know perfectly well what the truth was, but it's not the job of a neoliberal to challenge a consensus that supports his goals. This is something liberals might reflect on when they think about "progressive" leaders: someone who reflects back to you things you say is not necessarily challenging the status quo, particularly if what you say is no longer, or has never been, controversial.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Two sides

There are two sides to every story.

I am used to giving mine, only mine. And it's not even a story because I never really feel like expressing anything but pieces of it and not those few that are pretty either. And what is my story anyway? Nothing special.

I remember S wanted us to have a joint blog. Because that was the story we had together. Just a lot of words. But she thought it was romantic, innately beautiful and we should share that. I couldn't understand why she would want to make something private public.

But what a silly thing to think. Since that is what a blog like mine is. It wasn't always. It wasn't always the late-night phone call from someone you kind of worry about but not really.

I think the thing was, if I tell you what I feel, well, that's up to me. I know you can judge me for it. I wouldn't write it if I didn't accept that.

But if you tell me what you feel, it's not up to me to share that.

And that does sometimes seem unkind because anyone else's "side" is never any more than what I think about what I think they feel. It's never as rich to me, or to you, as what I feel. It's always filtered through my beliefs, my ideas.

And I do know that anyone who does see it filters it back through their own beliefs, their own ideas, and makes of it what fits in their picture. They'll never match. Even we ourselves filter our own selves back to ourselves, using the mesh of our view of ourselves to make our own expression of ourselves fit our own pictures.

And whatever S felt about the possibilities of this medium, it's just the empty noise of a note in a bottle, a message on your voicemail not a conversation. It does not mean anything. Sometimes, someone will have expressed anger to me that I only reflected one facet of a thing, or was wrong, or expressed only one aspect when there were more.

And I said, well, I write it for myself. It's like a sacred dance to expiate demons. You don't praise your god when you're killing the devil.


So when I think about her, I don't, as it happens, spend much of that thought on what's bad about her. I've had to try to make sense of things because chaos is so uncomfortable. I did leave Australia. It was humbling. I had failed everyone who matters to me in my life. Including her. She had enough unhappiness in her life, regardless who caused it. I didn't want to add to that.

Because I loved her. She is so engaging, funny, clever. When I think about her, I think about the things that created that love because they didn't vanish. There's no litany of complaints and fights. I expect most people have had relationships that broke down in rancour. That's relatively easy to cope with. You grow sour and the more anger you and they express, the more reason you have for that sourness. It's so much harder when it's not something you can understand.

I think about her dancing, laughing, joking. I think about the bobble of her head. I think about a world that is too private to say anything about, after all, and perhaps that is the problem. You cannot talk about love because so much of it is only yours. And even I have limits.


And I do think about what justice there is, because that is who I am. I think about what is wrong with me and what I can do about it. Sometimes I wish I could say, I have thought about what you didn't like, Ally, and this is what I've done. (And I don't write about it here because as far as I know, she doesn't want anything to do with me and that extends to reading this. But that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. What you say about something isn't necessarily all you think about it. When I cry because talking to Miggins hurts, part of why it hurts is that I failed her, that I am no good for her, that I want to fix that, that I am ashamed of it, that I do love her, that I love her mum, that I feel such great sadness that I lost the chance to build something for her with her mum, that I'm not very bright when it comes to fixing things and don't really know how I can get back to Brisbane so I can be part of her life, and then I think what good can I be in her life in her anyway and that is all like a merry-go-round -- and this is only five minutes, I spend much more time thinking about the future, what I can do, my plans and so on -- I don't write any of that here because if you care, I already tell you about it elsewhere.)


I'm not sure when it was, but a couple of months before Miggins was born seems about right, we went to Cleveland Point. I remember a sunny day but of course I would, it's so often sunny in Brisbane. We had chips out near the point. It seems like the end of the world, almost.

We talked in the sunshine. We did not have a harsh word, just chatted.

That's what I remember.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Today, every day, never

Great day. Started with a chat with my youngest daughter, who was trapped in her high chair, crying pitifully because she was forced to stay in one place and "talk" to a tiny man in a telephone. Still, it's an improvement on last time, when she waved goodbye to begin with and then cried inconsolably when I didn't actually go away. Facebook wished me a happy Valentine's, which made me want to deactivate my account and Plentyoffish showed me fresh matches, who will ignore me.

 And I sit here on a rainy winter's day because I was crippled with debt and ill health and had to beg my little sister for somewhere to live because my soulmate decided to pretend I was a bad person because I lost my job and couldn't support her dream but the government could so long as she didn't have any inconvenient husbands kicking around. And now I can't go back and fix at least those parts of my life open to being fixed because I spend half my wages -- barely more than the minimum -- on servicing the debts she helped run up and paying what I can to help support my children. Who don't want anything to do with me.

 So here's my self-pitying contribution to the day's commerce, which pretty much no one will read and absolutely no one will care. Why should they? Even I fucking hate me and they say love begins with yourself. Still, I have at least done what I can to begin to crawl back up the slippery slope again. I am well (ish) and I am at least paying the debts back and didn't renege. And I haven't quite given in yet. So there's that.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Bitterness is my jockey

Sometimes I feel like a horse being ridden by bitterness as my jockey. I feel entrapped by the belief in deserts and it is like being crushed in the coils of a serpent pitiless and greedy of my breath.

You don't want to communicate with me but I did nothing to earn that. It's hard on a person because it is like a ruthless calculus. When people do you wrong, you don't want to talk to them, so if you don't want to talk to someone, they must have done something wrong.

But you left me. You left me with debts that were your responsibility. You left me homeless and without means to get a home. You took my child and you didn't bother yourself with that, only with your anger that I wasn't around to make your life easier.

But my life, what about that?

And I still feel the echoes of how good you could be, before you crushed the good out of yourself for what reason I don't even know. I feel like it didn't even sour because we didn't go sour. You just curdled.

And I don't care what lies you tell yourself or what lies you tell your friends. (Because you must lie. You cannot bear not to be the victim and I know you will have created victimhood to spill to others. Because you cannot bear not to be adored. But you don't want to be loved. They are different things. How was I to know? How was I to know what penury of the soul you want the world to live with?)

Having nothing is nothing. It's not knowing how to get anything. And the truth is, most people I know don't know either. If they lost their way of making a living, their "skill sets" would be worth nothing much at all. Just like yours. You talked it up but you knew it wasn't worth much.


You don't want to communicate with me but we have a child. And communicating isn't hard. I don't say anything to you. You play shitty games: you'll schedule the times you permit me to contact my daughter, then you don't bother letting me know the times you will allow it. Then you fake being angry when I mention that to you. You demand mediation then ruin the session by refusing to discuss anything. You just want paper that says you are right.

You are only right because there's nothing I can do. And if it was you, how would you feel? How would you feel if I had left you with thousands in debt that you can't pay, stuck without a home; if I made it impossible for you to be part of your child's life? How would you feel?


But you know, I feel like I pay you another part of me for it. I pay blood you didn't earn by feeling badly about it. I pay the cells of my body for the bitterness you have invoked in me. I pay the breath of my body for the sadness that love has become for me.


I do not hate you for it. Why should I? You are sowing enough hate not to need mine too. She will hate you just like her elder sister. When she knows. You think we are just puppets you can treat with contempt. You think she will love you for cutting her dad to bits because it made you feel good about yourself? You think she will love you for hurting her when she understands you've hurt her?

She'll hate you like everyone else who's ever loved you, like everyone who's ever needed you. You'd think you know, a child cannot shed the bitterness its parent grows in it. You'd think you'd have learned. But you think growing bitterness is your right.

So this is where I feel I have to shed it. I have to rid myself of it. However hard, I have to cut it away like the rotting sore it is. There's a point where you have to say, you are not worth hating, and even if that isn't true, it can become true if you have faith.