4th April. Easter Day
In the night, in the dark, the back of my hand passes over the hard cold glass. I’m feeling for – reaching for – water.
I suddenly remember my father saying to me countless times, “if you’re not careful you’re going to feel the back of my hand, my girl.” The feeling is a spinning, a numbing, a stiffness in my legs. A spaciousness in my head not unlike meditation, but not good or productive. It leads to loss. Loss of time, of self, of heart, of will, of life.
In the morning I practice the gesture (to understand the ‘back of the hand’ part): the sweeping of the arm out and forwards in an ugly arc: the batting away (of something unwanted, inconsequential, loathsome – his word) the rejection, the force, the dismissal. The poisoned patriarchy in action through the graze of an arm, the sweep of a cuffing fist, a vicious lunge into a permanent future of dismissal and disregard. I focus on the trajectory of the arm, I can feel the pain in my heart like a sore tooth. I stay with the pain, I don’t leave it.
I turn on the great beam, my dazzling searchlight. It’s wide and strong. It shines from a rocky outcrop black and sheer, in the middle of a churning ocean. It’s surrounded by seabirds and whales and clouds of spirit dwell above.
*Dream: Of a bridegroom with thick, padded, white sole/soul: soft, flexible, repaired….
I think of my painting , it’s a child giving birth to the world through her mouth/voice. It’s the act of speaking, of bearing witness (to herself). Her mouth is closed, her skin transparent, her eyes are closed, turned inwards.
In another on wood a figure with closed eyes holds an infant on her crown. Her hands are gold, delineated with the blue of night. The infant might have a bird’s bill piercing her crown. Or maybe the bird is extracting her bill. Maybe the bill has always been there, and will return there at death?
Maybe it comes out to allow the child to live here on earth, for her allotted time?
Maybe the bill pierces her, follows the line of her spine, activates her when she isn’t in skin-form. We don’t know if the bird is inserting his bill or removing it.
We don’t know what messages are carried in the bill, or in the act of piercing or withdrawal. Might there be a bird coming into her from the other end, into her sexual channel?
What coolness I’d feel, being pierced by a bird’s bill. The fat dagger of a Solan, a Shetland gannet carrying all the wild beauty of that place (and he’d close his eyes as he dived into me: a deep and black ocean); or perhaps the tiny carmine needle of a tern, a bird of light, a clitoris-tickler, a sun-bird; or a gaggle of sparrows descending with a shout of their tawny wings, little brown bills no threat, no penetration; or an eagle, who’d hook his great beak into my navel, spread his wings wide along the length of my open legs.
I think again of the messages tattoo-ed on the long yellow dagger of the Solan. They’re written by the airs of the rocky ledges where he was born. They’re incised by the guardians of that place; the eyes inside of my body can decipher them.
Fledgling mother with wing stumps, wing stems like unfurling leaves, foetal roundness, softness, so as not to pierce the amniotic sac, my tender growing-ness pushing against the pregnant air. The rounding air, the skin of the paper smoothed around me, I stretch out my growing limbs beneath your hand, your fat oily crayon, your sea-green, your petal-pink, chalky-white marks. Your eyes closed in bliss or weariness, your sense of finding your way with your hands. Of trusting the music today, the fire, the small fire growing from my nipple, the flame you inhale, you welcome me with your lips.
Then I’m walking across ancient commons of moor and marsh, lighting a candle beside a well; you gaze into the darkening pool, the noonday shade made by slabs of granite; I danced nearby once, full of hope; I learn at last to yield, to give up desire.