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You Won't Hold Me Like I'm Luscious

I have been scratching around in the dirt with my gnarly sharp claws and my ugly clumps of feathers sticking up around bald pink patches of scaly skin snapping at you with my sharp bitter beak — because you won’t hold me like I am luscious.

You seem repelled by this furious needy thing, you step back and away and I walk round in circles utterly self absorbed but never enough to scoop my own self up and nurse me, only enough to get tired and fretful and ever more needy.

So it goes.

The rare (fake news) moments I am dysfunctional pitch up when I least expect them. One moment I am loving it, loving the earth I can feel under my feet, loving the sky and all the bits in between, touching them with my tender tentacles, floating not trudging, giving away smiles like blessings, because I can. And the next, I am this fraught baby bird hungry for enough, and everything, and never finding it.

And when there is all this fruitless scratching around in a world bereft of meaning and love and cuddles I become an angry, needy bird, all the better to back away from.

I am a lonely, angry, needy bird in a flock of cross, lonely birds because while I got lost, you did to, and you, and you. Lack got spread about like a virus. I wanted and wouldn’t give, then you wanted and wouldn’t give, to someone else, and the existential curse of this embodiment rippled through a sea of vulnerable, bald, baby birds looking for a food called love in all the wrong places. And now it is time for the nightmare to end.

I lean over, out of my forlorn, needy bird. I find your shoulder. You incline your head to meet mine and my spiky feathers fall away and love comes back because I stopped squawking, and wanting it now.

Before I go to sleep, a great big sigh. The airplane hums and thrums on the miles of invisible air beneath me. I am afloat in a love that I couldn’t find when I got hungry and needy. When I wanted, before I would give, when I tried to carve words around the aching hunger to fling at you and failed to reach you, or myself, then I cast myself out of the nest of love, before I remembered that I knew how to fly.

We simply won’t be luscious all the time, will we?

It is hard to stay feeling loved, feeling worthy. No, it’s not hard, it’s impossible. This human condition skitters between completion and hollowed out emptiness like an inebriated underage driver. Safety belts don’t matter in something so badly out of control.

We earnestly attempt to live the contents of all the self help books we consume when the ‘lack of ages’ rises up, inexplicably, out of the gorgeous blue, and we turn to someone, to blame, to implore, to push away. And instead of connection and support, desperation rises like the opening swell of a dirge.

We suddenly know, because we feel it in our bones and blood, that we have lived through unbearable suffering. We suddenly know in our bodies what it is like to die from wanting. This consciousness knows lifetimes of hopelessness, and the despair and aloneness feels like a chasm that will swallow you or a wave that thunders over your head.

This is the beginning of the lost it is human to feel at any time, the story of a past that still lives in you, stretching to its full height, waking up. And the sky dulls with sudden cloud and the landscape bleaches out.

In your cells you have this memory of being driven from the tribe, being outcast, dying hungry and alone. All of time merges in you and this present isn’t safely cordoned off from what went before and where and what you were and will become.

It is such a big life that began at the beginning, witnessing everything, that will never end. It is so hard to grow an understanding that grasps more than the single dimension of the time we are told is our lifetime, one page of a book that is still being written. And we have been in this world always, and seen everything, touched everything, life and death. Over and over again.

This is terrifying, but hear this. There is nothing that you have not already lived through — no war, no famine, no violence you have not already experienced — and survived. Even death. Yet you persist in believing in the fledgling who cannot fly, who cannot feed itself, who cannot be held like you are luscious. When you are massive. Watching this from everywhere. Ready to change the lighting, adjust the angle, drop the curtains. This little ugly birdling, this you, this is all there is.

The end, sort of….


If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. 

George Eliot



I live in hazard and infinity. The cosmos stretches around me, meadow on meadow of galaxies, reach on reach of dark space, steppes of stars, oceanic darkness and light. There is no amenable god in it, no particular concern or particular mercy. Yet everywhere I see a living balance, a rippling of tension, an enormous yet mysterious simplicity, an endless breathing of light. And I comprehend that being is understanding that I must exist in hazard but that the whole is not in hazard. Seeing and knowing this is being conscious; accepting it is being human.

John Fowles, Aristos


“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.”

Arundhati Roy

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