Feb. 21st, 2017 10:26 am
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
Fountain pen-tilled soil
Reveals chthonic love letters
Harrowing the soul.


Feb. 25th, 2014 10:21 pm
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
My blood runs red
Slows, slows, saunters.
Hands up overhead
Touching my changing hair
Skin is white, olive, frog belly

I can't wear that hair, they say.
I do not own it. Stolen culture.
My blood runs red beneath my skin.


My blood runs red
Hidden beneath my skin.
My blood runs red
Skin runs white, olive, frog belly
Eyes brown almonds. Cheeks flat high tundra.
Backs of incisors scooped out. Shovel teeth.

You don't know who I am.
Born to the unseen unheard sex
My blood runs red
My voice runs, trickles, halts.

I don't own that voice, they say.
I am not to be heard in the church.
I must cover my head.
Show obeisance.
I must not take the rights of the man
Because I am not a man.
Because blood will stain my frog belly thighs
That undiluted colour granted to the skin of my ancestors
But not to me.

I would speak
But am shut up
Like the blood runs red
Beneath my skin.
I would cover my head with my own hair
My own choice
But my hair is stolen, they say.
I must not speak, they say.
Blood runs red.
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
Don't let them take Mandela
No no don't let them steal Mandela
Make no mistake they're going to fake erase and lie about Mandela
They can't wait for him to die so they can plasticize Mandela
Appropriate Mandela
Don't you know they hate Mandela?
We can't have the free Mandela
And they'll never let us know that we all can be Mandela
They won't let us feel Mandela
We can't have the real Mandela
Just like Che Guevara shirts they're going to buy and sell Mandela
Now that he cannot speak himself they're going to corporatize Mandela
And we shouldn't be surprised when we don't recognize Mandela
And they will whiten up Mandela and they'll hide the truth about Mandela
Because the last thing they want to do is end apartheid like Mandela
So they'll divide and rule and govern through a colonized Mandela
And this capitalistic system will consume the true Mandela
And we won't like the new Mandela cause he's not for me and you
And they will take him from the ghetto and the township and favela
Oh yeah they're gonna use Mandela
So we have to tell about Mandela
Don't forget the freedom charter when we yell about Mandela
But they cast a big umbrella
Full of brainwashing and error
It's got skeletons inside they already tried to get Fidel
And they will stick to their vendetta
Cause their clique goes on forever
They'll shove Obama down our throats
While they hide speeches songs and letters
You can bet that they will twist him to whatever serves them better
They're going to write their own novella
Because they can't control Mandela
So we have to hold Mandela
Know the goals that drove Mandela
Spear of the Nation old Mandela
And truth and reconciliation sold Mandela so we have to get to know Mandela
Not the diamond mines Mandela
Or the compromised Mandela
Not the World Cup or Invictus or the canonized Mandela
The ride or die Mandela
Viva la revolution socialized Mandela
Cuito Carnavale and militarized Mandela
Castro and Mandela raising fists to the oppressor
Oh but they'll give us safe Mandela
Nobel peace prize great Mandela
And let's forget about the state and institutions that brutalized Mandela
And are still in place world wide together
They'll say oh he forgave, remember?
So there's no need for the poor to ever rise up like Mandela.
We'll get quarter of Mandela
A watered down Mandela
A kindergarten cartoon for your sons and daughters
Just a shell of our Mandela
Just like with Gandhi and with King they'll sound the death knell for Mandela
And before his body's cold they'll cast their spell upon Mandela
We'll get have a dream Mandela and love your enemies Mandela
And power to the people will be buried with Mandela
So we can't let them steal Mandela
Because they can't feel Mandela
It's the spirit of the revolution can't conceal Mandela
It's a 500 year connection sharing ideals with Mandela
From the slave ships to Haiti, Cuba and Soweto
Thats what reveals Mandela
And that's why they can't keep Mandela
But we can't sleep on Mandela
Because the truth is there never was just one complete Mandela
It's the people made Mandela
The movement create Mandela
The youth in streets while he was still behind prison gates propelled it
And it went on whatever measures they attempted to suppress it
And so the people can remember
Solidarity forever
Because as long as our hearts beat then they can never take Mandela.

- by El Jones
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
What brought her here, this sweet fur spark
to gasp for milk, to wrestle vainly with the air
all laid out on the unforgiving, hard-baked clay?
Her eyes still shut, her limbs too weak
to drag her here by some misguided urge, and
no squirrels’ nests above
from which she might have fallen.

Some kite’s meal interrupted,
when a mobbing crow flew out to harass
and she slipped from harried talons,
or a Steller’s jay’s or raven’s boorish prank,
perhaps, to drop her on the road.
I thought her dead at first, but then
she woke, my shadow fell on her
and on her back she went, mouth open for the tit.

Her new fur clean and short. Her head no larger than
the first joint of my thumb,
and similarly blunt. From snout to tail
two inches and a half. Her teeth
the merest nubs.

A downy, breathing bit of innocence, and she would die.
Ten thousand eyes watched from the trees.
The ground around her littered with coyote scat,
the fringing grass alive with serpents.
Even a squirrel espying her here
would be more likely to devour than nurse her.

(Milk, please, milk!)

She would be one flick of coyote tongue,
a kingsnake’s five-minute diversion, irresistible
and wriggling. She fell asleep before me,
woke again, begged me for milk again.

I could scoop her up, I thought, her teeth
too small to bite, carry her home
in a bandana held against my heart
and wring thick milk from tips of rags
into her greedy mouth.

(She would not live, too young by half.)

But perhaps she would, and then the release.

(Tamed and guileless into a world of cats.)

She will die. She will die! And I stand here and do nothing.

(You can do nothing. You should do nothing.

To cradle her in your palm, to run
soft fingertip along her spine, would be indulgence.
She dies a hundred times a day
on this mountain, and the only oddity
is that today she dies before you on the road.)

She dies before me on the road!

(And there is this: she is a fox squirrel,
and ten thousand of her kind advance
from the exotic leafy suburbs
to eat the eggs of native birds, to oust the grays
and drive them to extinction on this mountain. You
who wrench the Vinca from the ground
know this. What more humane control
than this, before she learns the skittering joy
of flight from tree to tree,
the bitter succulence of acorns?)

I knew, but still her yawning hunger
filled my brimming eyes.
All of existence had betrayed her. All she asked
was sleep, and warm fur, and the tit.
I knelt above her. She stretched,
and stretched again, and
turned to me again and asked, again.

I kept my longing hands held stiff away.
“I can’t help you.” As much to myself as her.
And rose, and walked five feet away and turned.
I am sorry, little girl. I am sorry,
and when I came down from the rainy summit
six hours on in the coyote twilight
she was gone, and quail called from
beneath the flower-laden buckeyes.

- by Chris Clark
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
Forgive me, body before me, for this.
Forgive me for my bumbling hands, unschooled
in how to touch: I meant to understand
what fever was, not love. Forgive me for
my stare, but when I look at you, I see
myself laid bare. Forgive me, body, for
what seems like calculation when I take
a breath before I cut you with my knife,
because the cancer has to be removed.
Forgive me for not telling you, but I’m
no poet. Please forgive me, please. Forgive
my gloves, my callous greeting, my unease –
you must not realize I just met death
again. Forgive me if I say he looked
impatient. Please, forgive me my despair,
which once seemed more like recompense. Forgive
my greed, forgive me for not having more
to give you than this bitter pill. Forgive:
for this apology, too late, for those
like me whose crimes might seem innocuous
and yet whose cruelty was obvious.
Forgive us for these sins. Forgive me, please,
for my confusing heart that sounds so much
like yours. Forgive me for the night, when I
sleep too, beside you under the same moon.
Forgive me for my dreams, for my rough knees,
for giving up too soon. Forgive me, please,
for losing you, unable to forgive.

- by Rafael Campo


Jul. 4th, 2013 12:31 am
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Fuck you my Arab brothers who rape your women
Shame upon the day you were born
While they fight for the freedom you thirst for
Freedom for you and your sons and daughters
Fuck you habibi and habibi
with your flowery words stolen from the beauty-truth of the sufis
like you steal the jewels of surrender from anothers body
Surrender your impose with your culture of dominance
Fuck you all the way habibi and habibi
We Arabs are known to either kill with our beautiful art or with our swords. Only you do not even carry swords of honour. Just like assault rifles you wield your sick dicks.
May Grace restore your honour. May Mercy and Justice reign hand in hand.
Fuck you with a rainbow of Love-light right in your ass-cunt habibi
Does it feel good to pump your fear of death into a traumatized body?
Does it feel like fucking the Goddess herself?
This goddess fucks you right back.
Fuck you habibi.

- by Roula Said

Dear Me

Jun. 12th, 2013 03:28 pm
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
The envelope for this mail art is made of heavy drawing paper which had previously been painted with undiluted blue and yellow acrylics. Although it was painted with a brush, I was going for a repetitive pattern of variable colour values in the blue, similar to the potato printing I did as a child. The sheet was then trimmed to a square shape, the centre of the sheet was determined, and two corners of the paper were folded in until their points touched. Then the other corners were folded inward past the centre point and the body of the envelope was attached in place with double-sided tape.

The inset is made of flimsy graph paper, and detailed with ink and marker. I chose the graph paper because the repetition of squares reminded me of my primary school years, when many homework assignments were done on similar paper. The paper is the same sort of stuff I used throughout my grade school years for not only schoolwork, but for corresponding with my numerous international pen pals.

The images and text come from a variety of memories: most from my childhood, with memories of school experiences, foraging, gardening, living in wilderness, Jehovah's Witness upbringing, my hobby of drawing mazes, etc. The masks symbolize the constant need for adaptation, my drama and Classics background, and that what you see on the surface does not necessarily reflect the thoughts and memories beneath. The fractal patterns partitioning the sections are a reminder of the repetitive nature of thoughts and memory.

I intend for the piece to be both bittersweet and playful. )
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
when the gargoyle
of phlegm sat on your chest
and spat your life out

your cheeks
stained from inside
purple blood spatters

it's as if you were born
in an elephant of wind
white snow swirling
on white skin

- by Brenda Clews
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.

Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
Did this.

I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?

The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.

She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,

Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.

She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.

Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.

Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering

She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.

To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.

And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.

And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,

With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.

Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.

They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.

Not everything is lost.

- by Naomi Shihab Nye
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average
human being to supply any given army on any given day
and the best at murder are those who preach against it
and the best at hate are those who preach love
and the best at war finally are those who preach peace
those who preach god, need god
those who preach peace do not have peace
those who preach peace do not have love
beware the preachers
beware the knowers
beware those who are always reading books
beware those who either detest poverty
or are proud of it
beware those quick to praise
for they need praise in return
beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone
beware the average man the average woman
beware their love, their love is average
seeks average
but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you
to kill anybody
not wanting solitude
not understanding solitude
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world
not being able to love fully
they will believe your love incomplete
and then they will hate you
and their hatred will be perfect
like a shining diamond
like a knife
like a mountain
like a tiger
like hemlock
their finest art

- by Charles Bukowski
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love, a thick fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives in my body like the night.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where you do not exist, nor do I,
so close that my hand on my chest is your hand,
so close that my eyes close as you fall asleep.

- Pablo Neruda
shanmonster: (Dance Monkey Dance!)
This past year has been tricky for me. I recover from one issue just to fall back into another. My hip is feeling pretty good, but my peroneal tendonitis has flared up again and put my training on the back burner. So much for the running I was hoping to do.

Still, I survived the Louise LeCavalier workshop last weekend. Although the choreography with its tic-like specifics combined with jumps and full-body movements eluded me, it was because my brain and choreography don't mix well. Physically, I was fine. I was tired from the intense training, but not as tired as from one of my usual training sessions. I could tell the other dancers were feeling it, though. Although everyone else had the choreography better than I did (no surprises there), I suspect I was the only one who wasn't feeling muscular soreness from the training.

As a note, tricky dance workshops are not a good match for wicked menstrual cramps. That is all. UGH.

In regards to the material itself, we worked on conditioning exercises drawn from boxing. I am not a boxer. However, I have studied a variety of martial arts for over a decade, and know how to deliver a solid punch, and how to use my body mass to drive that impact. There were a few stylistic differences between my trained/natural fighting stance and the stances expected by Lecavalier. She wanted us to put more weight on the front leg, which may work fine for boxing, but for any sort of fighting where kicks or leg sweeps are a possibility, it's not so ideal. I did as she said, because it was a dance workshop, not a fighting workshop. Still, a few things niggled at me. The guard position she touted had the elbows touching or almost touching the torso. This is a weak defensive position, just begging to be jammed. And when we were doing punches, she said I was hitting too hard. This boggled me until the end of the workshop, when we got to do a Q&A period. This is when I learned that although she does a lot of boxing training, she never competed, only sparred once, and hates hitting things.

Ahhh... This explains much.

The choreography she taught was a combination of elements from Édouard Lock and another choreographer whose name I didn't catch. Lock's elements were twitchy and precise, with jumps and arm waves. The other choreographer's work used more space, larger, less specific movements, and incorporated rolling and floorwork.

When it comes to dance, Louise Lecavalier is amazing. She's a living legend who's been accorded the Order of Canada. When it comes to applicable martial arts, though, seek someone else. After having taken two workshops with her now, I think I have no more need to do it again, unless she showcases new content. The material was almost identical for both.

Nevertheless, I recommend her workshops to any dancer who gets the opportunity. She is a sweet, highly-skilled dynamo, and holy heck, she sure is fit. She did two workshops each day, back to back, and did most of the work alongside us. That's some serious endurance. She also has an incredible memory, and called out to each of us by name throughout the workshop with corrections/critiques. To top it off, without introductions, she remembered me and the other student who'd taken the workshop with her two years ago by name. And I look very different now from then, too!


On March 10, I performed at 60x60 again. It went well. Here's a still. )
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
Black milk of daybreak we drink it at nightfall
we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night
drink it and drink it
we are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie there
A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete
he writes it and walks from the house the stars glitter he whistles his dogs up
he whistles his Jews out and orders a grave to be dug in the earth
he commands us strike up for the dance

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink in the mornings at noon we drink you at nightfall
drink you and drink you
A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes
he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete
Your ashen hair Shulamith we are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie there

He shouts stab deeper in earth you there and you others you sing and you play
he grabs at the iron in his belt and swings it and blue are his eyes
stab deeper your spades you there and you others play on for the dancing
Black milk of daybreak we drink you at nightfall
we drink you at noon in the mornings we drink you at nightfall
drink you and drink you
a man in the house your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith he plays with the serpents

He shouts play sweeter death's music death comes as a master from Germany
he shouts stroke darker the strings and as smoke you shall climb to the sky
then you'll have a grave in the clouds it is ample to lie there

Black milk of daybreak we drink you at night
we drink you at noon death comes as a master from Germany
we drink you at nightfall and morning we drink you and drink you
a master from Germany death comes with eyes that are blue
with a bullet of lead he will hit in the mark he will hit you
a man in the house your golden hair Margarete
he hunts us down with his dogs in the sky he gives us a grave
he plays with the serpents and dreams death comes as a master from Germany

your golden hair Margarete
your ashen hair Shulamith.

- Paul Celan
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
My heart, display toward all your friends a changeful character,
Adding into it the disposition that each one has.
Adopt the disposition of the octopus, crafty in its convolutions, which takes on
The appearance of whatever rock it has dealings with.
At one moment follow along this way, but at the next change the color of your skin:
You can be sure that cleverness proves better than inflexibility.

- Theognis
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles is a work of poetic prose. Not only is it poetic in nature, but it is also inspired by poetry. In the pessimistic “There Will Come Soft Rains,” pathos is driven home by allusions to popular poems and their imagery.

The most obvious reference is to its namesake: Sara Teasdale's poem (1) about the perseverance of nature in spite of human extinction. Both poem and story carry iconic images of warfare. The poem evokes the barbed wire fences of WWI, and the story evokes WWII's human silhouettes seared onto walls. However, while the rains in the poem are cleansing, the rain and sprinkler water in the story are irradiated. Although nature lives on in the poem, in the story, everything dies.

With its tick-tock rhymes and scurrying mice, the next rhyme evoked in the story is “Hickory Dickory Dock.” In the story's context, the rhyme invokes the Doomsday Clock, which was created in 1947 to measure the proximity of global nuclear war (2). This portentous interpretation contrasts with the cheery nonsense of the children's rhyme.

The third allusion is to the “The Work Song” from Disney's Cinderella (3) which hit the theatres two months before the first publication of Bradbury's story (4). The mechanized house and its robotic mice take the part of Cinderella in that they do increasing amounts of mopping, sweeping, dusting, and cooking. Jack's lament, “She goes around in circles/Till she's very, very dizzy,” (5) corresponds with when the dog “ran wildly in circles, biting at its tail, spun in a frenzy, and died” (6). Cinderella gets a happily-ever-after ending. “There Will Come Soft Rains” does not.

From these examples, one sees how Bradbury used an ironic interpretation of poetry in the creation of his story.

Works cited )
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

- Sara Teasdale
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
Fleas interest me so much
that I let them bite me for hours.
They are perfect, ancient, Sanskrit,
machines that admit of no appeal.
They do not bite to eat,
they bite only to jump;
they are the dancers of the celestial sphere,
delicate acrobats
in the softest and most profound circus;
let them gallop on my skin,
divulge their emotions,
amuse themselves with my blood,
but someone should introduce them to me.
I want to know them closely,
I want to know what to rely on.

- Pablo Neruda
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
WE watch’d her breathing thro’ the night,
Her breathing soft and low,
As in her breast the wave of life
Kept heaving to and fro.
So silently we seem’d to speak,
So slowly moved about,
As we had lent her half our powers
To eke her living out.
Our very hopes belied our fears,
Our fears our hopes belied—
We thought her dying when she slept,
And sleeping when she died.
For when the morn came dim and sad,
And chill with early showers,
Her quiet eyelids closed—she had
Another morn than ours.

- Thomas Hood

(In Dracula, this is the poem referenced by Van Helsing upon the death of poor Lucy Westenra. None of the other characters present seem to catch the foreshadowing.)
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
The Close Shave

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens . . .
So maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.
"Warning" by Jenny Joseph

This poem is more or less how I live my life, but the words are still missing something. They are missing the hideousness incipient in many old women. I used to look at some scary old ladies with beards, moustaches, and big dangling wattles with enormous black hairs, and I'd shudder. Now I know that if I make it to that age, I'll probably end up resembling them. Rather than fear the thought, I delight in it. I can't wait to be a hideous old woman. I want to be able to scare small children with a single glance. I want the power to shrivel men's dicks with a mere glance at my hirsute visage. I plan on being the ancient Medusa of hairiness.

My earliest memory involves hair. I was very young--I couldn't walk yet--and my father was holding me in his arms. I was staring at his face, and then I started staring up his nose. That's
when I saw the nose hairs. I didn't have nose hairs at this point, at least, not lustrous black ones like he did, so I was pretty fascinated. I reached up to yank them out, and Dad pushed my
hand away saying, "No, no." It's a pretty silly first memory, but the depilatory characteristics of it seem to have set the stage for my life.

Sometimes I think my life can be encapsulated as a losing battle against hair. When I was a little girl, I used to have long, glorious dark blonde tresses. I was an active child, and my hair was very curly, so my frustrated mother finally had my locks chopped off after too many tangles with my malevolent tresses and too many combs losing teeth in my scalp. My hair remained relatively short until I was in grade five and I decided to grow it out again. Then it became almost non-existent. I went to the barber shop for a trim one day back in 1981, and the barber mistook my ten-year old androgynous form for that of a boy and gave me a serious military brush cut. I went home crying, but was somehow vindicated when I became the first punk skinhead in my school.

As my hair grew out, the old battles with the comb came back. My hair was an enormous ball of frizz: a Caucasian Afro of magnificent proportions. When I'd go to a beauty salon, hairdressers
would stare slack jawed with their shears dangling helplessly by their sides. They'd make a few tentative stabs at getting my unruly hair under control, but it would invariably go back into its
giant poof.

Even in the 1980s when big hair was de rigueur, my mane would not fit into even the largest of banana clips. People would stop and stare, and I was often referred to as "Hey! You with the hair!" I tried in vain to make my hair conform to the styles of the time. I had my hair hacked into a mullet, and I tried to tease my fringe up nice and high. This only made me look like a puffer fish with a perm. Besides, I couldn't get the back of my hair flat to my head. This was the style of the day: skyscraper tall in front, and flat as a flapjack in back. The style was very similar to those false-front shops so prevalent in old Western towns.

It's just as well. This hairstyle is as ugly and ridiculous as any mullet could ever hope to be.

At some point in my mid-20s, my hair decided it was too old to rebel, and settled down into an easily-coiffed wave. I don't know what good thing I did to deserve this boon, but I didn't dare
question it. However, I was now left with all sorts of spare hair time. I took notice of other hairy bits which had previously escaped my attention, such as my unibrow. In folklore, a singular eyebrow is symptomatic of lycanthropy. Maybe I was a werewolf. Or maybe I was a muppet. After all, Bert from Sesame Street sports the same sort of facial hair. My attempts at plucking were uneven and sometimes resulted in bizarre divots. I was in modelling school at this point, and my instructor suggested I get my brows done professionally. I trooped off to a beauty salon and was introduced to the horrors of waxing.

The aesthetician sat me back in a reclining chair, much like a dentist would use. The similarities between dentist and aesthetician did not end there. The pain was also similar. First of all, she gently washed and massaged my face, then applied hot strips of wax above my eyes. Then, with a mighty RRRIPP! she tore the wax (and half of my face from the feel of it) off. My eyebrows felt like they had fresh half-moon shaped brands. My eyes filled with tears, but the aesthetician didn't stop this horrid torture until the job was done.

After she rubbed cold cream on my throbbing eyebrows, I looked in the proffered mirror to survey the damage. My unibrow was gone, and if I ignored the fluorescent swollen pink bits, the brows looked pretty damned good. The swelling only went down a day later. Now, I keep my eyebrows carefully tweezed lest I go through the wax torture again.

Ironically enough, I have since begun getting what is colloquially known as my bikini area waxed. Apparently, I don't have enough pain in my life. However, I do loathe body hair, and sometimes believe the world would be a better place if it had never been invented. I mean, whose idea was this, anyway? Did some great creator decide, hey, wouldn't it be funny if men could have more hair on their backs than on their heads?

The first time I had the timber line clear-cut off Mount Venus was early in the summer of 2001. I was really sick of my groin looking like a scalded and freshly-plucked chicken every time I went swimming. With a certain amount of trepidation, I made an appointment to see an aesthetician up at a mall. It was all rather seedy and tawdry, actually. I paid a woman to flip up my skirt and maul my crotch, and I didn't even get a half second's enjoyment out of the experience. I could hear mall muzak playing in the hallways, loud hip hop music in the trendy clothing shop next door, and the top 40 pabulum playing on the radio in the salon.

I don't think the aesthetician relished the experience any more than I did. Yanking the hair out of strange women's crotches just doesn't seem like a very rewarding job. Once again, I was plunked down on an inclined chair/bench. This time, my skirt was hauled up around my waist. The woman gave me a tissue. "Wrap this around the edge of your panties so I don't get gunk on 'em."

I did as she requested.

She dipped a spatula into a tub of warm wax and smeared it onto my upper thigh. She laid a strip of gauze over top, patted it down, then yanked it off. My eyes teared slightly at the sting, but it wasn't that bad. "That didn't hurt too much," I said.

She smiled grimly. "Good."

Then she moved in a bit closer to my grotto of love. Once again, the waxy spatula smeared itself onto my hirsute bits. The cloth was patted on, and then my leg and crotch were torn asunder. At least, that's what it felt like, to put it mildly. It was as if the top eight layers had been ripped off me. If Shakespeare had only known about waxing, he would have written it into The Merchant of Venice as a good way to obtain the pound of flesh.

Somehow, I managed not to scream or recoil. Perhaps I am a closeted masochist. I hope not.

Yet I stayed in position as this Torquemama repeated the process even closer to my holiest of holies. This time, my eyes teared up in anticipation. This was really going to hurt, I thought.

I was right.

The process was repeated on the other side. When the waxing was over, I felt both relieved and sore. Unfortunately, she wasn't yet finished. She reached for a pair of tweezers and began methodically tearing out all the survivors of the molten wax blitzkrieg. I'm sure she was pinching me in the process. Although the tweezing didn't have the all-over style of searing pain that the waxing did, it felt like she was grasping below the surface of my skin (catching skin in the process) before yanking.

When it was all through, she said, "How does that look?"

"Great," I said. The Black Forest could have flourished in my lap and I would have told her it looked dandy. The truth is, I once again looked like a freshly scalded and plucked chicken. The skin was red, and bumps showed where all my hairs had been pulled out. My skin was suffering from follicular dry heaves. Later, when I got home, I discovered she had missed several patches, but there was no way I was going back to see her.

Believe it or not, about a month and a half later, I went and did it again at a different salon. This time, the experience was much better. The hair no longer looked like a brillo pad, to begin with, and the yanker-outer-woman was much more experienced. The pain was nowhere near as intense. In fact, it was quite bearable, and although my skin was once again red and swollen afterwards, it looked fine by the evening. Also, she didn't leave any hirsute patches.

The experience was vastly superior to the time I decided to do my own depilation in a place I couldn't actually see. If you ever get the sudden urge to shave your butt cleavage, do not give in to it. It can only lead to a literal pain in the arse. Trust me on this.

Hair has also been a big part of my life as a dancer, and plays an important role in Zar trance rituals.

(To be continued....)


Dec. 21st, 2012 12:40 pm
shanmonster: (Purple mohawk)
In case you've been wondering what's with all the poetry entries lately, I've taken on another challenge: a poem a day for 66 days. I expect the stuff to be of varying quality, but I'm looking forward to the creative brain flexing.

In the meantime, my 100-day squat challenge is still a go. I missed a few weeks of the challenge due to leg surgery, so once I was healed I decided to do 100 squats a day until I was all caught up. I lost track, and out of a strange sort of laziness, I decided to just continue doing 100 squats a day for the rest of the challenge. I might just continue doing 100 squats a day when it's done. I think it's great for my general strength and flexibility, and really, I don't find body weight squats taxing. They're also making my pistol squats much easier....

Wait wait wait, you may say. Surgery?


About two years ago, I noticed a new mole a few inches above one of my ankles. A bit paranoid, I asked my doctor about it. He took a look at it and told me not to worry. He said it was just a mole. A year later, I asked him about it again. He once again told me not to worry. I didn't like the look of it, though. It didn't feel the same as any other mole I have. It felt slightly dry, and the edges weren't smooth. So I asked him to excise it. I could tell he thought I was being a hypochondriac, but he agreed to remove it with a punch biopsy. I've had a mole removed before (from my back). It wasn't a huge deal. It barely hurt.

This time, it hurt like fuck. The freezing needle must have gone right into a major nerve cluster, because I gave a good yell. Once the freezing set in, it was fine, though, and the punch biopsy didn't hurt at all. The doctor assured me that it should be healed up in less than a week.

It didn't heal for months. It never even got a scab. I had to keep it clean, moisturized, and bandaged all the time. I stopped doing aerial silks because the wound is in exactly the right place to be constantly re-injured by leg wraps, which are an integral part of aerial silks.

About a week before I was scheduled to leave for Peru the doctor called me. It wasn't just a mole. It was a basal cell carcinoma.

Fan-fucking-tastic. Cancer time. Luckily for me, this is an extremely-slow-moving cancer. An appointment was made for me to go in for surgery to have it removed. As you can imagine, I was pretty freaked out and filled with a plethora of what-ifs.

On the scheduled day, I ran to the dermatologist's office. I knew it would be my last time running for a while, so I made the most of it. I got to the office and laid down on the gurney, sock off and pant leg pulled up. The doctor prepared the freezing needle, and I prepared myself for the suck. This time, however, the needle wasn't that bad.

The freezing worked pretty well, but not enough. On the surface, the cutting was fine, but he had to gouge in deeper. He cut out a piece of me about the size of an almond, and it hurt like fuck. You know how it feels when you hit your funny bone? Well, I figure his scalpel hit the nerve cluster that first freezing needle hit, because all of a sudden, I was hit by the funny bone sensation if it were made of sheer pain. I yelled. I jerked. I tried not to, but I couldn't help it. I felt a wave of nausea and faintness. He apologized, but then it was over.

He plopped the excised flesh onto the table next to me. It looked like a little piece of raw chicken. Such a small bit for such a big pain.

He stitched me up. It took a double row of stitches, and I looked down at the site, aghast. It protruded like Frankenstein's monster making duckface lips. He told me that because of the location, the stitches would be under a lot of tension. I was therefore not to run, jump, or anything else which would increase the tension for fear that my skin would rip. Walking was ok, though.

I nodded. I felt faint. I called a cab and went home. For the next two days, I sat on my ass. It hurt too much to walk more than a few steps. I hoped and hoped that the surgery was sufficient, and that it had gotten all of that skin cancer out of me. I didn't want to go in for more excision. What if they had to dig it out of me with some sort of doctor shovel?

The stitches healed wonderfully. The wound no longer stuck out, but the skin had relaxed and settled back into shape. When I had the stitches taken out a week and a half later, I went right back to training. I'd lost a bit of stamina, but it was good to be back.

A couple of days later, I was all set to go training again when I was hit by a wave of nausea which I just couldn't shake. So I went home.

The next day, I clued in to why I felt nauseated. The wound had become infected once the stitches were pulled out. What had looked completely neat and tidy suddenly looked like an infected zombie bite. I went to the doctor, and he was afraid I had cellulitis. This scared the crap out of me. [livejournal.com profile] knightky had that last year, and it was BAD. I was put on antibiotics and told that if the infection spread, to go to emergency right away.

I was lucky. The antibiotics worked, and the infection didn't spread at all.

And guess what? The excision worked. It got all of the carcinoma. I have a clean bill of health.

Take that, cancer. To celebrate, I'm living my life as fully as I can. Celebrate with me?

July 2017

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