Thursday, April 22, 2010

autumnal spinning

i love it when seasons are on the cusp.

they're ever so illusive here. guileful. you can hardly tell.

unless you're me.

sometimes i'm jealous of the northern hemisphere spring.

it's just so definite. so obvious.

here seasons declare themselves with a japanese hint. a nudge. a slight change in light angles and shadows. a double edged clarity. african winters.

it's that time of year again....just when the rains are tailing off, the grass is green, rudely lush and wild yellow flowers dot the green, like little fallen tender stars.

and flame lillies . oh flame lillies. so overtly hand painted. they're mostly yellow here. in zambia they're red.

i think i prefer red....but cain't complain 'bout the yella.

the moon is crisp and clear cut and i wish i were her. i wake in the early hours with the dogs barking. i stare out the loft windows, marveling at the star packed sky scapes. which an hour later turn into raging storms.

the stars are spikey, irredescent and clear.....crystal.

and me. i have wings at my feet.

i'm dreaming.

i'm smiling.

a lot.

even my students are noticing.

is it that obvious?

"but miss you look so happy? why?"

just coz. ok?

coz life is sweet right now, k?

just because i see the way the clouds skud across the blue. i notice the flame lilly on the way to school next to the gnarly balanites. i notice the angle of the moon. and the sun. who is edging her way slyly north. poetry comes easily. curly sapphire blue ink words splodge simply and prettily into my secret note book.

and i have discovered the sudanese poet of love.

the sky is buzzing with swallows and swifts and buzzards hanging in the last twilight wind at the tippy top of the ngorobobs.

yesterday i was smoking outside the school gates. a young maasai strolled by with his cattle smiling happily, amusingly at me. i smiled happily back thinking "you see? it isn't just me. nice maasai man." until i looked down and realized i was standing in a big fresh cow poo.

i exhaust myself by containing myself.
no no no no you can't whoop here, man.
wrap it.

you try marking A Level coursework under similar conditions.


toodely toot oh bestests. bisous X.X.X. moon sliced burnt orange autumnal ones x j

Friday, April 16, 2010

time musings

when i woke up, easter was miles behind me, winter was edging through the door, disguised in veils of rain, but yup, that surely is her pale foot wedged in the gap and had i blogged? no. had i recorded my music? no. had i recovered the torn cushions? no. have i thrown out all my sparkly indian clothes? no. in fact, i bought more from the markets.
but yes, i have nearly finished the jack kerouac novel. he, crazy neal cassady and a smattering of other beatniks who kept the faith, have recently arrived in mexico, glittery eyed and wild.

and school is about to start. monday. god. school. monday. mondays will be Real Mondays again. which means sundays will be Real Blue Sundays again. and week-ends will be sweet relief. but then again it also means that the summer hols (which are really winter ones here but lovely and long) are only ten weeks away. and have i read julius caeser? no. and have i finished death of a salesman? no siree, i have not.

what would it be like if Time had a pause button? and a delete button. but no rewind. but you were only allowed to press them three times per life. . . and for as long as you liked? and you could press play when it turned nasty or as W.C Fields said, when things were filled with "eminent peril".
of course this would all work terribly well if other people would kindly co operate with your pause and delete too. but if not, golly, things could be even more perilous than they presently are. "gosh!" (napoleon dynamite)

i know where i would pause my time. and i certainly know which bits i would delete. retrospectively, naturally and herein lies the inherent problem with this idea. one has to think carefully about this, ya know. repercussions. consequences and all. time is no flippant thing. mostly it feels like it's on fast forward. was it only 30 odd years ago when cowboys wore tight white pants and thought it cool? ? and magnum PI was It? when we wore lee jeans, checked shirts, hand painted silver high tops, tied pony tails on the side of our heads and wore cherry red lip gloss, boogying on down to Heart Of Glass and Funky Town in crappy little backwater towns?

oh this rhetorical blathering is doing my head in.

time to move on.

taa ra then, from a rainy wet ngorobob hill, bisous X.X.X. lightening flickered ones x j

Friday, April 9, 2010


not to sound dentist obsessed, but...i most likely have one nerve left in my head. ok. say, three.

i saw one of the last being pulled....a long delicate pink nerve, nicely curved around a hair thin needle. i. saw. it.

everyone always says ask for gas ask for gas. she doesn't have any, people. only lovely injections.

i will not lie on the chair without being assured that i will be injected up to the hilt. even for dead teeth. i told her, "it's not for my teeth. it's for my head."

my gums must surely look like a pin cushion.

as the root canal process starts, i close my eyes and concentrate on not frowning. i dream of the soft, velvety bits behind my horse's ears, the part i love to kiss. it works swimmingly well until the little macedonian says, " can you feel this? this? this?" and i go, " ah ah" sort of shaking my head...and then she says, "oh it's really deep now."

WHY? do i need to know this? no indeed i don't. straight away i remember the x ray image of that needle sitting deep and long right through the middle of a tooth. dentists should all take the vow of silence unless asked. unless anyone really actually wants to know what is going on. she insists i look with a mirror as i sort of cower, blanche and baulk at the idea. macedonians are an insistent people, i've come to discover.

i've decided this flourish of dentist visits is all about overcoming deep rooted phobia and fears. about mind practice. like elephant. i've grown up in africa, amongst the herds, bobbing on little chinese boats on the zambezi river amongst hippo and crocodiles, watching herds swim across that great river, their trunks above the water, like teapots; lucid memories of being chased by elephant along windy tracks through forests. i've come to learn that elephant don't need to stick to the road. they cut corners, taking trees out as they tear along behind, their blood curdling screams chilling to the core and full of serious intention. i've watched them under the moon, hoovering up muchenja fruits (their favourite sweeties), and being charged INSIDE my little hut, left cowering naked in a corner, half in half out my house, her great wise forehead resting against a roof beam, the little thatched roof wobbling under the moon; waiting with the stillness of a statue for the mouse to run. i didn't. i was frozen.

make no mistake, i LOVE elephant, the great symbol of this continent's soul. over the years i've developed a deep respect for them, not dissimilar to the respect i feel about dentists and pilots, but am naturally terrified. distance is everything. this has been born from experience: chinese, czech dental encounters in socialist states (where they use tools from the garage next door), years of elephant encounters, where revenge is fiercely waged for years of indiscriminate poaching.

so it was with a strange sense of trepidation and fascination that i visited nkhasis and raziki over easter - two domesticated elephant who live west of kilimanjaro, with their trainers dirk and ricarda. dirk walks amongst the wild herds, he reads their signs, he feels completely at ease amongst them. he is the only person i know who has bolted on an elephant. more than once. he postulates wisdoms like " never fall off. just never fall off."

i watched dirk ask nkhasis to lie down - with only his voice.

she heaved herself onto her side and lay as still as a mountain as he walked up to her. her eyes were closed, at peace, as if dreaming. i watched trust in action.

i watched him holding "hands" with her.

i watched a strange and beautiful communication which quite suddenly i yearned to know.

and finally when nkhasis strolled up to me, my heart in my throat, i had to swallow the fear, breathe deeply. i stood stock still. open eyed and smiling. (breathe janelle, breathe. oh shit i'm wearing my mother's ivory bangle. oh shit my father used to shoot elephant. ) i extended my hand out to her stretched out trunk. i blew into her trunk. she wrapped it around me and kissed me five times, loud heart bursting schmacking definite kisses, which left heart shaped mud marks all over made my heart swell and roar. i felt the emotion rise, like a marble blue wave. i gently placed my hand on her forehead. she closed her eyes and sighed. i haven't ever felt such peace. such forgiveness. such union. such understanding. such trust. i walked some place i haven't ever been before.

my soul was stirred and a myriad of butterflies, stars and wings rose, fluttering around me into the still golden twilight.

toodely oh bestests. bisous X.X.X. great, schmacky elephantine ones. x j

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the show must go on

the rain is here. everything is plush, green and mushy.

the hill is misty most mornings.

it's bliss.

i need to sleep more. holidays have hardly been restful. no sirree.

so much to tell.

but must rush off to the little macedonian dentist for some more lovely root canal therapy.

love it.

i'll just fall asleep on the lovely rocking chair as she rips nerves from my head.

late already.

back later, oh bestests, bisous X.X.X. ephereal misty ones. x j

Thursday, April 1, 2010

heavy things

(warning: negative, dark content.)

you'd have thought i'd know it by now. never to be excrutiatingly happy.

but it's so hard not to be. even when you know the other side of the coin isn't quite as, well, nice. and there's simply always another side to everything.

and i KNOW it isn't rocket science, ok? but:

bad things always happen afterwards. they just do, in my experience. look what happened to baby jesus. i mean, did he see that comin'?

i think i'm getting quite good at this death thingymabob. that fella with the dark hood, pale faced and hooked nosed, casually wearing a glinting scythe. i ain't scared of him. in fact, he has much to offer so i am discovering. he's becoming blandly familiar which i am beginning to think is a good thing.

the night up on wind torn west meru was exactly how i had described it. and boy did we scare ourselves silly. a swore she glimpsed a figure in dark nun's clothes glide past the star smattered window as i was regaling the lamu ghost story, which had followed swiftly from the zanzibar salome's ghost story. i could've vomited from fear. it's truly amazing how you can scare yourself. how you can conjure up ghosts. it's too easy.

yes. we sipped vodka and shared secrets. and listened to the wind rattling the roof and sat quietly with thoughts and dreams, our heads to one side, saying "hmmmmm" a lot. it was good. almost perfect.

quite suddenly easter is here. third born lies feverish, dosed up, watching rubbish robin hood. and i am worried about her. the fever refuses to break. it's so high it melted the chocolate bunny i gave to her to try and cheer her up. it now sits hopefully in the fridge with first and second born eyeing it with evil intentions. safari c has headed south to bury his father.

things could be better. i feel a little un - moored. (sounds better than unhinged, which quite possibly i am?) yes. un - moored. drifting. sort of tossed about. ain't nothin' new, though, is it? yes but is it? 'fess up. internal windscreen wipers are on top speed, swiping away bad, dark little thoughts. i think i rest in the in between place. waiting for the new ones to miraculously implant themselves.

(my god. b is right. blogging IS self indulgent.)

i could write about the sky at night. about how the hills fall away in relief. about histories and the godless world. about shadow puppet shows under the stars and searing red aloes on a washed out zululand winter's day. but not tonight. not tonight.

and here's the strangest thing. i believe everything about love. everything. the whole messy spaghetti bowl thing of it. still.
but by god, sometimes i hate it.

(windscreen wipers on. windscreen wipers on, windscreen wipers on. windscreen wi---)