Monday, 30 July 2012

Don't. Wake. Up.

Laura (aka She Makes War, aka @warriorgrrl) calls her music 'DIY gloom-pop' and, yes, her music does have a serious, weighty, dark and bewitching feel to it but I certainly never feel gloomy when Laura's sirenesque visceral vocals start insistently swirling around my brainspace. Something about the defiant tone in Laura's voice as she sings makes me feel galvanised whenever I listen to this track. On days when I felt adrift and rudderless Laura's voice was an anchor, life boat and safe harbour all in one.

I first heard 'In This Boat' when Laura performed it live at the Hope and Social Garden Party last summer and it  blew me away - by the time she played 'Scared to Capsize' I was fighting back tears behind my sunglasses. I thoroughly recommend you buy her recent album 'Little Battles' which you can download for however much you want on Bandcamp. The artwork is gorgeous though so you might want to splash out and buy a physical copy. And try to see her play live if you get the chance - but Laura makes playing live look so effortless that you might well find yourself thinking you should learn to play the ukulele, buy a loop machine and start a band of your own ... don't say I didn't warn you.

One of my favourite lines from 'In This Boat' is 'in these veins I hunt for poetry' and I couldn't resist writing those words onto my veins - the same veins that a part of me longed to open up earlier this year. Those same veins somehow feel much more embedded in my body these days:

hunt for poetry

Friday, 27 July 2012

Let's meet at Hope Street

I asked my friend Mark Ivkovic if he would contribute to my Saving the Only Life I Can project by taking a photo of my favourite street sign in York and he certainly did me proud ...

Hope is a word that I've used a lot over the past couple of years but it's a hard word to pin down the meaning of - Charles Snyder defined it as "the sum of the mental willpower and waypower that you have for your goals”. Earlier this year I think I was running low on both willpower and waypower. At that point carrying on the battle against my own mind often became an act of faith with only a small slither of hope that I would ever feel like a halfway normal human being. I wonder now whether I lost hope completely for a short bleak time and that maybe it was running out of hope that signalled the lowest point for me before I started to resurface again. It's hard to know for sure - when I look back at the first three months of this year it's still as bewildering to me as it felt at the time. My hope now is that I stay well and that I help others hold onto hope and seek help a hell of a lot earlier than I did.

You can see more of Mark's talent on his professional photography website: bang | Photography

Mark's photography is inspiring enough but the way he mixes it with words on his blog is something else and this post on his own self-doubt resonates wildly with me and my own cliff edge.

And if you want to visit Hope Street yourself then you can find your own way there with the help of this Google map.

Mark and I are talking about collaborating on some more photos for this project and I'm hoping that some of his photography skills will rub off on me in the process :)

Footnote: In the 'See Also' section of the Wikipedia page there is an entry entitled 'Anything is possible when it means everything' which I love but it turns out that it's a non-existent page and there are only five search results for that phrase in Google, all of which go to dead ends ... how delightfully strange :)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Wait of the World: Act Three

The Wait of the World, a poem in three acts 
by Helen Harrop
June 2012

Act Three:
The universe waits,
The universe watches
Its juvenile galaxies
Of birth stars and death stars
Leaving their light legacies.
Destruction and destiny
Played out through
An infinite sky ballet.
All stagnant satellites,
All ghostly globes,
All spinning baubles
And enslaved pebbles.
Numerous as grains of sand,
Smooth and bright
As playground marbles.
All fire and brimstone,
All hell and highwater,
All gas and vapour,
All clumsy collisions
All futile and futureless.
An orbiting ossuary.

The universe waits,
The universe watches
For the final falling star
For the celestial light to fade
For the future to fold in on itself.
One dark night of the soul
And then ...
All blank horizons
And inert energy laid bare
Across the wide waiting sky.

The nothingness waits,
The nothingness watches.
And there is no end
To the endless beginning.

The Wait of the World: Act Two

The Wait of the World, a poem in three acts 
by Helen Harrop
June 2012

Act Two:
The world waits,
The world watches
Each extinguished epoch
With the ignoble grace
Of a billiard ball
Unwrinkled by time.
The world is a spinning spectator
As race follows race
With no winners or losers.

The earth continues
With no worries of science
Or physics, or gravity.
Simply everything in its place
And a place for Everything.
No historic histrionics
Just a past-less presence
With no fear to furrow brows.
The world just is and always was
The universe’s eternal yes.

The globe endures
Impermanent parasites;
A barely perceptible,
Innumerable nuisance.
From ethereal single-cells
To insignificant Jurassic beasts;
All imaginary mosquitoes
Evidenced only by their egos
And their venomous bites.
All fury beasts,
All faithless and dreaming,
All fearful and hiding,
All hopeless and hurting,
All hate-filled and hunting,
All pestilence and predation.

The earth devours their dead
Builds mountains from their bones
And forests from their fallen flesh,
Drawing their blood into its corpulent core.
Deaf to their desperate prayers,
Unmoved by their moods and means.
Blind to the damage they do,
The earth lives on in fermitude, not servitude.
Each eon blinked by and instantly forgotten.
The world waits,
The world watches
As the moon conducts tides and
The sun devours time and
The universe opens its waiting arms.

The Wait of the World: Act One

The Wait of the World, a poem in three acts 
by Helen Harrop
June 2012

Act One:
The woman waits,
The woman watches,
All glacial grace
As the world passes her by.
All vitriol and volcano
Beneath her micron thin skin.
She travels on
An arrested trajectory
With no peace or progress.
She is a dream dredger
Who is drowning on dry land.
Every day she fills her pockets
With stone-dead desires
And walks to “the bottom
Of a great ocean of air

The woman waits,
The woman watches
For permission to proceed.
All chaotic energy and wet steam,
All silent fury and invisible screams.
The vestiges of verbal violence
Still hang heavy overhead
Like storms over Thor’s anvil
Threatening her mind’s meniscus.
Her heart is a prismic prison,
All refracted hope,
All shattered light,
All white heat.
She is held together
Against her will.

The world waits but forgets to watch
And even the orbiting satellites
Avert their gaze
Until one day it slips her mind
To hold her molecules together.
And hairline cracks that race
Across her porcelain mask
Become fractured canyons.
And the whole universe glimpses
The glittering carbon centre
Of this daily doomed star
As she achieves escape velocity
And hurtles into the world’s waiting arms.