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Wednesday, 23 May 2018


We will be stepping out from this house to vote on Friday 25th May 2018. The boss has been resolute in getting herself registered to cast the first of all the votes she will make in her life. My daughters have made up their minds now and I knew my mind on this for years. There has a lot of talking between us.  Respectfully mostly, heatedly too. Sometimes, looking up mid rant, I catch a wry look telegraphed from one to the other. They do not understand. They think that this is new to this generation, this decade. Women, older women, old women can not speak to them. One way or another. They are indulgent.

I shove a scissors in my bag and march to the village and a massive low-lying billboard with the words  'licence to kill' in bold over a great fat baby in utero. The thing is at eye level, deceptive, offensive... manipulative. I cut it down and fling it over a wall unwilling to hold it for long. Another one, too high to reach, on the main street, likewise uses the image of a woman's body, her pregnant belly to depict a child, who looks to be at least eight months old though still anchored to the umbilicus.  Deceptive, offensive... manipulative.

"The thing is darling" I tell the boss on our Sunday walk  "the thing is I can't get it out of my mind, this vision of them coming by night, in the dark, with their ladders...or...or cranes, to plaster, insert, shove into my eyeline this nauseating horror show. Uninvited. The visual mugging... using women's bodies,  everywoman's body..."
She laughs at me then, at my hissing, and points to a poster high over our heads. It shows a man talking at a small girl. She looks back at him smilingly. The word NO hovers over her shining head.
"I mean that one? Look at that one? What's the point of that one. You think like he's saying
'when you grow up little girl, you too might want to kill babies? may not be trusted? and, I mean, Daddy says no? Daddy will protect you... from you?"
"And that one" she points upward at a sleeping infant who at least seems to be born and wrapped in a blanket.
" that one? like someone took a picture of their baby and used that? For that!"
When we get home the boy is in the kitchen frying sausages, lost in his leisurely Sunday drift, unperturbed by any of this, or anything at all.
"I mean posters? what posters? never noticed any posters. Are there posters? Have a sausage? There's a few over there I don't think I'll eat..."

The thing is I remember, I was there, when the wretched article went into the Irish Constitution in 1983. I wasn't much older than they are now.  I lived in that time. That time of college, of wry acceptance that there would be no job for you when you were finished, when the idea of an income, a car or, one day, a house was a dim chance in your worldview. And the Church, the Catholic Church was everywhere, fingers poking into everything still.

Your best aspiration, your most hopeful gameplan was to travel, to leave, to go to England, America, Australia. You'd go to work, for a laugh, for a life. For a termination of pregnancy should you need that when and if you were raped, caught, found yourself accidentally and disastrously pregnant. That too.

 In Ireland,  a conforming elite mopped up the good stuff, hoarded from scarcity, stayed.

And then came, who saw that coming? the Celtic Tiger and the Internet.  Access to money and discourses, the possibility of choice.  A way to live in your own country, whoever saw that?
And the Catholic Church losing its stranglehold, slowly, slowly, and now with dizzying speed. Our minds, opening like flowers, expanding, understood.  Our eyes opening, saw. We saw at last the women imprisoned and abused in the laundries, the babies taken for rich catholics,  'unsuitable' infants neglected,  starved.  And finally we saw the culpability of the church in sheltering paedophiles, sadists, predator priests.  A patriarchal state in a dark willing waltz with the church, the priapic hypocritical priests.

And since then I have had children, I have struggled, I have prospered, suffered dark days and good ones. I've had decades of bloody periods, bloody childbirths, hormonal tides. I have had beloved sons and daughters. Above all else, I have chosen. I have chosen each childbirth, each relationship, each passion I followed. And that trip to England when, disastrously pregnant, I travelled to end it, I have chosen that too.

I choose that. I tell my daughters that:

"You get to choose, dear ones.  You carry your babe in your body, in your mind, in your heart,  in your soul. You must choose that. Pregnancies happen randomly, accidentally, deliberately, thrillingly, and sometimes as a result of a criminal act. You are not (actually) Handmaid, Incubator, a Vessel of the Lord. You are a woman. You know.  You know when a pregnancy will damage you in your own heart's core.  And you terminate.  You choose and you terminate, and you know that is the right thing for you and an embryonic being burrowing into your body. Sometimes you cannot deliver,  and you choose."

When I woke up that time in London I was crying.  Lying quiet, staring out at blurry leaves shifting in sunlight through the long french windows on the ward. The voice of a nurse, strange, kind english vowels, behind me asking if I was all right, if I going to be all right?  "Yeah... no... I'm not... but I will be. I will be all right." Thinking how I didn't know where this place, somewhere in London, where I was leaving my blood and my embryo, actually was. Didn't know where I actually was...

And afterwards, long desolate months of the massive hormone fall, the bleedings I was glad to suffer. Knowing, at the end of it I would have my life back. And so it has been.

And now, with this Referendum, you tell yourself that this is not 1983? That's what you think, before the posters, the No-screaming naysayers, the singleminded absolutists come back again among us, roaring about unreliable, helpless, infantile women, who have terminated 'boys and girls' for 'social reasons'. Who must not the allowed' to choose. Not to choose. Never to choose. Choice, the final frontier for women in casting of being 'less than' womb bearers. In rejecting patriarchy, catholic control.

They come on from the Church, the IONA INSTIUTE, the Catholics. Maria Steen, David Quinn, Patricia Casey et al, directors named. You find the website. They describe themselves;
"The only organization in the world designed exclusively for top-ranking Catholic business-leaders and their spouses' Also 'The Iona Institute promotes the place of marriage and religion in society. We defend the continued existence of publicly funded denominational schools. We also promote freedom of conscience and religion'
Top Catholics then, (your everyday souls need not apply ) seeking to speak for us, act for us, choose for us, same as it ever was.

They scream like demons, when Google, Facebook ban adverts from abroad. They have the money, the power, still.

Will we let them do this again? Will we insist that our democratically elected government legislate as we direct, to regulate Abortion.  Will we allow this Diktat to remain, this law beyond the reach of our laws, in the Irish Constitution. Will we let the catholic church or any other church continue to control what happens to women by stealth?  By ruthless barracking, posters, lies?

Will you walk to polling booth on Friday, will your children walk with you, your people, your men, and vote for this, only this; for women's personhood, women's experience, women's choice, for women and only women's right to decide?

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Vicky Phelan. everything enraging here, so much so (headlined),
Cancer! Cervical! False Negative!Screening. (smearing)
So having up your tender insides, smears.

Cold metal instrument you cannot see
so helpless so
don't! tense.  T'won't hurt...much.
A scrape across the flesh is all,
so who would want that, who? You? do that, though. You do. You.
Have to. Or not; no sex no HPV the paralysing vaccine risk
Oh hush! Don't speak...that,
you must be mad or bad to say
And after That,
false negatives.
no telling
Anything true.
No have your cancer now its yours.

Is it 'cause you're Herd?

I mean like Cervicalcheck?
they must protect
the screening plan?
The herd immune?
fake news about false negatives.

strategic stoopid...

No, that's not it, Oh that's not that.  it's...
Slippery diss-ingenuity talk,
it's talkin' on the TV talk
it's talkin' talkin'
The herd the herd the good work
The innocent failure of planning after the inevitable errors in screening after the perfectly predictable
misreading of your unfortunately misleading...smear.
The way no woman wasn't
The way every woman was
Your cancer.  Yours.
White elephants dance behind him on the TV screen, the hospice rooms.

It's this I mean, it's this. I mean
...the three year wait to have another scan.
       American systems scraping less
           Flesh. America having yearly scans.
They knew they knew they knew they
resigned... figured...did the math...
You tell the herd, it only takes one headline one, dying woman one
to find us.

She found you anyway,
Vicky Phelan.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

WLTM A NICE RUGBY PLAYER.... (for dancing)

Two things that really piss me off, just now, like badly, like snagging on barbed wire every time you hear it fury, like hijacked derailed fury... when I really need to be thinking about something else...


middle men, talking, talking about the Belfast Rape Trial,  saying girls (these days) go on like groupies don't they? they're up for anything aren't they?,
game for anyone,  bait for everyone, asking for anything, aren't they. Basically.
...from I mean celebrities? from rugby players? presidents? producers!  All those guys, like... everyone knows, these girls they go to tents, to bedrooms, hotel rooms, buses, parties after,
because they're, THEY ARE,  basically,  UP FOR IT...

                                                                                group sexing,
                                                                                                   spit roasting,
                                                                                                                             use. have to see the gleam in everyman's eye in giving this recital, this declaration, this charter to abuse.... to understand the comfort all this BULLSHIT gives them, not to mention the vicarious sexual buzz (let's mention that)

I asked my daughter about it, this fine and self serving argument that girls can't wait to give group head to strangers, lie down to be devoured by braying men, gratify without being gratified...
she shuddered, and not in anticipation either,
" oh no, ah no, ah no one... no one, no girl wants, would want...ever.. that... not drunk of sober, single or wouldn't want that? it they paid you, even, you wouldn't want that? never, ever, no!
"I mean you might go out in carefree casual anticipation of encounter?...with a sort nice rugby player? for maybe dating? or like dancing? or maybe to walk you home, I'd say, or loving if you really really liked him, maybe, maybe?"  so,  that's all?

that's all guys,
                       that's really,

and this

the middle class male barristers talking, talking,  questioning, oblivious, (to their own unconscious bias) girls.  About rape.  YOU WHAT you smiled, you touched, you simpered, stumbled, followed, danced with, smiled? you smiled???...
YOU DID NOT go home early, stay on bitter lemon, move in girl packs, go home early, punch him, kick him, go home early, have a, measured, conversation during which you told him no? OH NO? You what you FROZE? you say YOU FROZE???  convenient no? when all you women make your fake claims, yes you, yes you say you, FROZE?.

                                           .... so he was tired of your teasin'.....


it's fright or flight for women, women, adrenaline floods and paralysis, in this uneven battle. 

Now get the hell out of my road to Dublin for this march today...
it's just a march, a lot of shouting, chanting,  placards, useless,  maybe. Useless...
But what else is there here between you and the picture of some violated girl with torn vagina, shattered (shat on ) in a cracked mirror held up by Law, the Courts, the country...
....(all the) spit roasting men.


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Saving Snowflakes. Old Feminists.

                                                                Old Feminists

I was siting in the cafe at the National Art gallery, on a visit with the Turners before January was out, thinking about old feminists.  Old women, Catherine Deneuve, Germaine Greer, Margaret Atwood, criticising, ridiculing even,  the #MeToo campaign. Snappy accusations tossed about, that the young women were, actually, party to a sexual exchange which was mutually beneficial. Young women were Snowflakes,  precious, needing to toughen up.  And they, Catherine, Germaine, Margaret, why they would have seen those guys off with a razor sharp quip,  with sheer force of character. And without, never that, whinging.

Hmm. Old women will be dead soon enough, and sooner anyway than all the spinning tumbling Snowflakes, still obliged to be out there in the world.

All the hopeful snowflakes be asked. To consent to any (sexual) mingling of the body or the heart. To consent? And not, as you go about your daily round,  toiling in the Work Place, getting there and back on the Luas/bus/train, buying groceries, having a drink, drunk and sober, concealed in coats or lightly clad in your best pretty dress.... not to be troubled by predatory raids, disrespect.....not to be hobbled by blind assaults, rape.

                                                        J.M.W Turner  (Radical Watercolours)

I was thinking I drowning in there for a while, with the pictures. Drawn into the canvas, helpless at the way things were blurring into other things, towards a hinted at mystery spilling from his painterly precision, immense, overwhelming the small human figures

And now in the cafe queuing for coffee, all the way along the narrow chrome counter, the clatter of crockery bouncing off the walls, the steam hissing from the machines, taking my place at this table, cup cupped.  I am thinking, tranced,  brooding hard about blurred lines and paintings. Turner's delineations, visions of vastness hiding in plain sight. And all the young women, their ecstatic vigour touching on magic, exposed, always exposed....always vulnerable. Needing boundaries sharp as knives to keep boys at bay, parasites out.

                                             Thelma and Louise  (not asking for it)

In the week after  Christmas, wallowing in afternoon ennui, filler movies, idleness, the Beautiful Girl and I found Thelma and Louise and we watched it together at my urging
"Yeah, You'll like this. Saw this in the cinema, yeah... we... all of us, went to see this back in the the  cinema...we loved it,  when first it was out?"
I said.
So her channel flicking slowed, she went back and we watched.
'So yeah, it's Brad Pitt? Brad Pitt's hot in it! ...and the women are cool.
 And it's .... about rape? Yeah, two rapes.  And, but...  like Redemption in... Suicide? Isn't that how it ends?
"Um, well..... but, I mean, they refused to be caught, to go back...?"
A silence
"to the prison of roles or the, you know, actual prison awaiting, darling girl?  They were brave! It was resolved! In um transcendance and glorious um...yeah, I guess, suicide."
Another  silence.
"But, anyway dearest, are things different now?"
"Umm yeah? Surely?  Better than that anyway?"
"So... is your college having one of those classes on Consent then?"
"Oh no! I mean maybe, not sure. I mean I don't think...we hardly need..."

I remind her then of a recent magazine article we read about a very modern student who could not prevent and felt she could not report a gang rape by boys she was drinking with, boys she knew...
"Yeah, I know. I mean....I know, almost everyone I know,  has had, has been...forced? do things. Like assaulted, or didn't know what to Or do anything after...complain...?"

We wonder then if those traumatised girls could not stop it,  could not report it, because, like poor Thelma, they figure that everyone will always say that... will always say  "Yes, but, wasn't she... asking for it? ...asking..."
And the sleepless nights afterwards, trying to figure out what it was, what happened, how it happened, when you're all torn up in your mind, your vagina, is the same still for all of us... our good women friends giving tea, kind words, solace.

and did i, consent, to a kiss yes a kiss to a fumble, a cuddle, yes maybe some groping the sex i said no i said no i said God was i asked though i froze God i froze i was deep under water his hand gripped my neck was a vise till the last one the pause i got over the waterline then and i ran i said no i  said no i said no

Oh Catherine, Germaine, Margaret Atwood, we were smashing through purdahs, glass ceilings, confinement, tossing corsets and bras in our outrage  but we did not had internet porn?
Nor suffered this wild-west unbound, this free-for-all heaven to predatory males.
Give over the wallowing in ballsinees (yours), giving comfort to oblivious men.
Our girls are in trouble
Get behind them.
Get beside them,
Support the #MeToo.

                                                    Storm at the Mouth of the Grand Canal.                                                 

And back you go flying up white marble stairs, like an arrow though hushed gallery hallways, to the Turners.
A last glimpse for this year of the best loved, the same one,
you come like a lover at last.
One last tipping over,
to vision,
the boundaries, the ego quite gone.


Friday, 1 December 2017

In Amsterdam the Women Wait / Anne Frank

                                         Things to do in Amsterdam... before you die.

We went to Amsterdam at Midterm, the girl and I,  wanting to get away but not too far away,
wanting to loose ourselves among strangers, though not too strange, the Dutch, and (handily) english speaking.

"You know my friends? the girls? ah, they were telling me, like, that I should buy you a sneaky Space Cake? for the, I mean,  craic?"
the dear girl smiles... looks at me quizzically.
"Huh?  Buy me a huh? Oh... right! and catch me on camera, eh?  kinda spaced? Eh? put it up on You Tube, eh?"
She grinned.
"Hmm, well... you can tell your friends, my darling, that if I'm having Space Cakes or weed in any other shape or form I'll get it for myself, in Amsterdam?  No You Tube clips, no sneaky snapchat shots, no dizzy laughs..... except, perhaps, by me...?"
Her beautiful eyebrows lift, disturbing the perfect lines she'd drawn in her bedroom, communing with the mirror at the crack of dawn, her half packed, unzipped suitcase gaping on the floor, her passport 'somewhere'  'probably'  'in the drawer'?
"you wouldn't though...actually...wouldn't...ohmygod... "
"Like maybe. Possibly. Depends. In Amsterdam...."

We did the things you do in Amsterdam.  Oh yeah. We walked the streets, we pilgrim tourists, charmed, by elegant gabled houses, individual, solid, other,
stopped, to eat at vegan, chinese, danish, eateries, better than Dublin, better than home, we swore, sauntered, over arching bridges lost,
and gloriously rudderless over water cleanly flowing in stone canals,
sitting dreamy at last with aching feet by water.

The mild grey weather folding us in. . .happy.

We saw no desperate drinkers there,  no wild eyed down and outs, no huddled shapes under sleeping bags in doorways, thrownaway, homeless, in Amsterdam, not one. The streets were easy, clean and thronged with people going somewhere watered, fed.

                                                   The Men look out, the Women in....

In the Rijksmuseum I let the girl off to find her pictures, see her way.
I found her by the Night Watch, standing with all the dwarfed observers, absorbed.
Drawn in so deep she didn't see me,
caught in Rembrandt's light and dark; locating each man in the frame, she told me after,
the place and shape and face,
of every man who fought to catch her eye.

Afterwards she found the great Dolls house,
stood, head to one side smiling, lost.

I  saw the other pictures too. The women.  Women, waiting, watching, writing letters. Thinking.  A woman warms her hands, absorbed.  She wears Pearl Earrings, solemn.
Women in the windows waiting. In the red light district women wait for johns 
to buy, to stare.

Out on the streets you have another brush with sudden death by bicycle,
adrift on the bicycle lane, unable to distinguish the walking path.
Saved by skill of cyclists,
dazzled by the silver streams of pretty boys with man buns,
glowing girls,
the sturdy middle aged, the children perched up high in baskets,
front loaded.

                                                                 Secret Annexe

Hours fly, days disappear, in Amsterdam.  We go to Anne Frank's house on that last day.
I was there, I, in a snailing line of silent people moving through the dim and empty annexe,  the yellowed light,
staring, at Ann Frank's pictures on the wall of 1940's movie stars, and snapshots of her people as they lived,
wall markings of the growing young who lived there between July 1943 and August 1944, (stretching like angel weed in the darkness)
Ann, Margot, Peter grow taller, nurtured, somehow, anyhow, in the claustrophobic space, waiting for the end of war.

Pictures there of the lived-in annexe rooms before the Nazis came and took the furniture,
the people..... they took Anne Frank, her passionate living voice that called all day long in the secret  rooms,
tossed down the death camp's filthy maw.

Released into the bare and sterile space of the museum, we watched ancient crackling film of  lamb-like humanity, men, women and children wait for the train to Auschwitz and such places,
grainy pictures of clothes collapsed on bones,
poor murdered fragments of the Jewish people.

The scattered pages of a young girl's diary waiting in an empty room,
falling slow from stolen furniture, settling on bare trampled floors.
The legacy of a writer.  Undeniable.  Accounting.
                                                          A  Haunting

Afterwards we talked about the future, the girl and I,
walking through Museum Square, past the pretty houses, over the tidy humming water serene in the canals,
the Christmas lights twinkling in still fading glory of Autumn leaves, already... already...
Drinking coffee, talking, mind tugged, a little absent, a little still in Ann Frank's House.
(You bought the book to read again, last read in adolescence when you were the fiery writing girl)

And now, this eve in Amsterdam, you are all of them,
All. You are Margot, Anne and Peter, Otto, Edith, Hermann, Petri, Albert.
You sit in the house in Prinsengracht, on the Merwedeplein Square and wear the yellow star of David, waiting.
For the war to end and your life, your precious, precious life, to start.

In Amersterdam the women wait, they wait
                                  for johns complaining after on internet rating sites.
                                                            You weren't warm or loving for the money,
                                                                            there were cracks high up there on your ceiling.
                                                                                         (and the act, the sex itself, was only average)

In Amersterdam, they stand,
in windows, rooms,  they warm their hands, they do not speak, they think, they read, they write, they wait.

They wait (for you)

Monday, 30 October 2017

Trolling the Ancestors. Hanging Harvey Weinstein.

                                            How Could this have.... actually.... happened?

Everyone ( a swarm of Facebook and Twitter bees ) is outraged about the Irish Famine just now.
 Oh yes. The Great Famine. One million people starving to death when the potato crop failed?
And the English, the English Government, refusing to give the starving people the food taken from Irish land as a cash crop for english landlords?
The potato crop failed for three years running.
It would have been too costly to keep all those people alive.

Everyone knows this now on account of the TV series 'Victoria', wherein television Victoria, coming to that calamity in time, brings our modern values, our virtue signalling, to bear on the crisis.
A bit of remedial time travelling, as it were.

                                         And what else could they have... Actually... Done?

The killer lines, sounding from the mouth of a stony faced English MP, came in the blunt proposal to let starvation do its job in correcting inconvenient overpopulation. As opposed to wholesale redirection of the fruits of peasant labour, to feed the starving people. A game of cheap labour, profit margins and famine by inaction, was all.  A game of feckless peasants, over-breeding and failing to put a little by for bad years. You could take your pick, your preferred narrative.

                                                 Charismatic ( Unconscious) Bias

Why, I believe that Mr Kevin Myers had a similar argument about the flow of overseas aid to Africa. Moral Hazard for poor people, people breeding fecklessly, living of the milk and honey of overseas aid, fodder for famines when the famines come.
 He showed a similar and energetic delight in blaming the victim on the subject of pay inequality  for women. Let's see how that went. Oh yes.
The women, being less charismatic, less able, than the men, were paid less. The market place decided.  A stranger then to the concept of unconscious bias, our Kevin...
But hey, they didn't have to off him, did they?  He honed my thinking, sharpened my perspective on the subjects of women's rights, multiculturalism, gender bias with his jaudiced, choleric diatribes.

And once he wrote a most beautiful piece, in 2012 I think,  about the glorious Autumn of that year, the collage of red to gold to bronze leaf drift, that year. God in the turning of the seasons.

                              Poor Harvey's (sorry) in a Safe Place ( purging and praying), People.

He, Kevin,  might have been purged, redeemed, brought at the end of the lash to Political Correctness.  Like Harvey Weinstein, who has taken himself off sharpish for therapy (in a safe environment)  (ah bless).  Safe from outraged judgements, the virtuous ire of the righteous, bringing current mindsets to bear on ancient sins.

Our outrage is exhausting, avenging, absolute. Never mind that the casting couch, the sexual preying on the hopeful young was a cliche, a joke, a fact of life for years and years before, even,  the birth of Hollywood,  celluloid, acting. It was the way of the world, the law of the jungle, the natural order of things.

                                                      Worthless Women/On the Couch

It was all that. The conviction that everwoman's shaking humiliation, her humiliated powerlessness as she lay herself down on the casting couch, was valid, real, legitimately felt, is very now. The understanding that it is not a question of being a good sport, being serious about your career, being copped on, being hysterical, is slowly settling still. The truth that we are being preyed on, abused by a man given all the cards, is shining clear at last.

How long has it taken women to catch hold of that truth, to unearth the unconscious bias of men and women. To nail the lie. Centuries, seasons, generations passing, to learn that essential thing.
                                                          Worms, Hooks, and Optics.

Weinstein is a canny man. He know about the optics, how to loop back in time and explain himself. So, like,  that was then and this is now? he offers. I mean, why, wasn't he a victim too!  Of those outdated notions obligating you to molest, to season the young. To message their ignorance, exploit their ambition. But now, ah now, he's (absolutely) having therapy, if we will only let him (slip) off the hook from which he hangs.

He dangles on the hook of time, caught on the turn, misfortunate Harvey. The neural pathways burgeoning in the minds of women, flowered in a narrative, a vision, a refusal, to be treated as meat.

                                             And we're coming for the English, after!

You wonder what the English might be made to do, now they've been shamed on Social Media.  About the Famine that is, and never mind Brexit.  Luckily (for them) all those monstrous ministers from Peel's Tory Government are long dead. They can't be made pay. Or, um, can they? Well, yes in a way. The spectre of Compensation for the Irish People is rising fast, taking shape, I tell you! A grovelling apology may be on the cards here too.
Wait and see!

And poor penitent Weinstien will have to take one for the team of male sexual predators stretching back behind him, dead and gone, beyond the reach of outrage.  Hmm.

                                        "Yet another fine mess ye made, Mary!"

'So, yeah, one million dead... two million emigrated to America?"
The boss looks up from her google search and I loose the thread of 'Victoria' again,  just as she, Victoria,  is proposing to take herself over there to Ireland to find out what in Hell and Damnation was, actually, going on?
"Yeah.  Yeah, we all used to know that. Every Irish school child used to know that?" I offer to her pained, considering face. (she has paused the TV show)
"Sure, the Irish people? they were taller,  and, I mean, free and fluent in the Irish tongue? until the Famine..."

And so they were, we were told. That and a bunch of other stuff about the Easter Rising, 800 years of oppression by English colonisers, and being an island of all Saints and Scholars (no, really)

"Haven't you ever heard of the Wound of the Colonised, darling? The dark dysfunction behind our drinking, our sexual repression, the way we lost the Celtic Tiger?"
"No," she said calmly. "No I haven't. But don't you think it would have changed history, like. I mean if the English hadn't  let the Irish  people starve? And, I mean, all those tall, Irish speakers had lived among us keeping the language going, here and present, and never going to America at all?
Never, I mean, dying in the Coffin Ships, here with us, swelling the numbers, having our backs..."

Never adding Irish to the melting pot, the sky scraping buildings, the American police.

                                                        A Parallel universe, Yeah.

How everything would have been different, had the potato crop not failed, and failed, and failed.

So that now tall ghosts walk among us, nudge, murmur 'as gaelige', detonate little bombs, from time to time, least we forget the nature of human nature, forget who we are and what we are and where we came from.

All that preying on the young and pretty, sucking substance, joy and confidence from their precious core?
That was us,  doing that people, not he or she, or bad people, us. Own it.

At least the young reach beyond us, always. Nothing is ever written in stone.                    

Friday, 15 September 2017

Bullets and Bloodlines and Marrying your Cousin.

                                                  Get back inside your Box there, Lovely Girl.

"I could've, I'd have liked to have, done that! That would have been something really cool...interesting... to do?"
The boss and I watch 'Victoria' on Television, who, newly crowned, is busy signing documents from The Box. We know all about The Box having watched 'The Crown'.  I figure that the Boss would have insisted on reading everything first, on giving the Prime Minister a thorough grilling before she signed any papers, if she had being doing that.
The Boss and Victoria are on the cusp of eighteen years, both on them on the cusp...

I say we watch, but its way more interactive than that. The Boss likes to compare, contrast, relate, run her TV viewing though her various mental apps as she watches. She likes to talk talk talk while she's at it it. It's pretty much Instant Feedback fired out to myself, struggling all the while to keep up with two eighteen year old women. Yeah.

We move on fairly quickly to the fact that it wasn't supposed to be Victoria on the throne at all, at all.  Oh no. The ghost of poor Charlotte shimmers.  Poor Charlotte, dying in childbirth, clearing the way for Victoria. Her shade thickens, darkens, as Victoria is impregnated by pretty boy Albert. (Oh how I miss Lord M). The Boss mulls over how that would, virginal sex, and pregnancy with an even chance of being a mother or dead...

                                                           Bloodlines, Jeans and Refugees.

But first, there was marrying your cousin.
"So okay, they wanted to marry only other Royals, but your euuugh, like, first cousin? Hello?"
"Um. Depends on the cousin, darling?"
"No! It doesn't!"
"Well now, it's all in how you look at it, isn't it? I mean you have to remember the Bloodlines!"
"The Bloodlines?"
"Yeah, the Bloodlines. You want to hear some Irish families talking about that, the bloodlines!"
I mean, like, not just funny anachronistic Royals care about Bloodlines, ye know."
"Yeah, but, it's genetically like, a really bad idea marrying your cousin isn't it!!"
"Yes and no, my darling" I say, warming to my theme.
"In Ireland not so long ago, down on the farm where most of us were, lots and lots of people got  married to their cousins! Well, their second cousins, anyway..."
(I'd say now they'd say sure it never did 'em a bit of harm either.  (Like being whacked at school or forbidden to have, speak or think of sex)
"Also it preserved the Bloodlines, the good old family genes?"
"Jeans? Genes? Why would anyone care about that. Who would care about that?"
"Very many people baby, then and now. Enough to treat women as breeding vessels to control outcomes. Enough to treat the Browning of this end of the world as a tragedy and a very bad thing.
Enough to watch refugees drowning out there in the ocean, or corralled in offshore camps to exist, just about. (Protecting us from the the distressing sight of the drowning children)

                                          Down at the Graveyard / all the Lovely girls.

"Well anyway, back then I would have done something else, avoided baby making.  Like, I mean, Jane Austen?" the boss offers, tired now of the Bloodlines.
She's finished Sense and Sensibility, moving on to Emma. She filters it all through her own female experience, snags on the cognitive dissonance between biology and individual being.
She loves the romance, the will she won't she get the guy. She has been briefed (by mother) about the graveyards back then crammed with first wives, killed by childbirth.  She has been left with no illusions about the liklihood of being married off to a monied old man (on his third wife), on how you might come to the graveyard on your sixteenth child, your body giving way at last.
She knows that no one questioned that.

"I guess poor Tom could've got himself a fresh faced eighteen year old if he's only lived a hundred years ago" she remarks, interested. (Victoria's been forgotten in the conversational back and forth). Quite.  She heard me on the phone on that one. Talking to (poor) Tom, middle aged, alone again and swearing no, nay, never, internet dating (for the middle aged) no never no more...  Yeah.

                                   She definitely would have dodged that Bullet so she would...

She tells me, cheerful now, thats she's off to bed, clutching the book, shrugging off graveyard shades, tragic girl brides, death by childbirth, as she goes. Clearly thinking that that was then and this is now, and anyway she would have been Victoria! or Jane Austen! or somehow anyhow bucked that trend, if she had lived back then. And also that that has nothing to with her as a girl/woman. Not. Anymore.

                                                 Biology being Destiny (not)

But not so fast my pretty.  Is there a world of difference in fact between being a breeding machine bought and sold, and a girl obliged to give two hours and counting every day to making up her face, conceding comfort to tiny dresses, thongs! Girls do that in a a far more driven, focused way now than back then when we were marrying our second cousins. Our girls are subject to Expectations (of acrobatic sexual titillation) from boys weaned off Mummy's breast (finally) via internet pornography.  Biology no longer destiny? Think again sister. The struggle to be a person, individual,  is as bitter as ever it was I say.

I think about that as I listen to the media storm about the HPV vaccine. Ah yes, the HP virus, spread by sexual activity. The vastly increased exposure of girls, young women, to cervical cancer as a result.  We used to be told to have regular smears, and that the early stages of cell mutation was easily treated. You had to take responsibility for that, but it was easily treatable. You had to take personal responsibility if you had sex! Oh.

There are some halfhearted proposals to inoculate the boys now. Ah yes, the boys, who are also at risk of cancer of the penis and other cancers from the same virus, as it turns out. They haven't been in the firing line to date. I guess they're home free if the girls take that bullet. Unless you are gay indeed. I wonder, and hope I'm wrong here, but I do wonder if there would be the same refusal to consider/acknowledge adverse reactions to the vaccine if we inoculated the girls and the boys. Just sayin'. 

                                                  Hysterical women  / Uterine.

Now, and yet again, we have a medical establishment arrogant and adamant that there are no adverse effects from the Gardasil vaccine. Despite the actual experience of girls and parents, the reports and lived experience of women. Nope! They don't accept it, won't believe it.  So, there are maybe 800/900 young women out of 250,000 (or so) reporting adverse effects? Well, you will get that! That's no reason to refuse! Refuseniks! So, the reporting of adverse effects is not monitored, collated? Well, so what! Had anything been wrong we should surely have heard. From rational folk. From doctors and such like. Yeah.

There is clearly a cohert of young women who are vulnerable to adverse effects from this vaccine. If that was even acknowledged by the medical establishment we might see an effort to pin point who might be at risk and and why.  Instead they insist all take a  chance. And rush to shut you down if you don't accept that position.

                                            It's a Cost Benefit Calculation Stoopid!

The good doctor is the one who admits to the limits of medical knowledge. Owns failures and harms occasioned by some medical treatments, initially based on certainties.  There has been many such catastrophic failures. Thalidomide anyone? Narcolepsy following on the Swine flu vaccine (which, is at least is under investigation) The second rate close their minds to argument, opposition. And who is on the receiving end of this blind and lumpen arrogance? Why women, yet again, that's who. Women, who can't be trusted to have a view on this, can't be permitted to criticise, to question the medical sacred cows.  Women, who can be bludgeoned with statistics about cancer deaths. Women, who have been driven like cattle from all the early graves to the hospital wards and over-medicalised childbirth.
                                        The  Medics have your Uterus, Lovely Girl.

It is a hazardous business, being a woman, Always was and always will be. It must be driven by women's voices, women's lived experience. We have to listen to what those girls and their families have to say about the HPV Vaccine. We have to explore all and alternative options to counter the threat of cervical cancer. We have to discuss why the virus is more prevalent now.  Contrary to Minster Harris's toadying suggestion that only doctors, the medical establishment be allowed to speak, we have to open up this debate.

We could push the medics firmly back in their Box, find the best way for women to manage the hazards, traps, enigmas of womb, sexuality, and gender.

a girl is not an (empty) vessel, instrument, fool, only green is all. A girl is green and being...