I am not a Sister’s Poet


She sways through town

5 feet 9 inches tall

And wide

Inside

She is still a child

 

Her boyfriend nods

On her mountainous back

Of a push bike

Trip to hell

His wheels deflated

By the airy tight force

Of her cutting mouth

 

She is driven to swell

Him

Beneath

But, he carries no desires

To service a chauffeur

And offers her

No passenger led rides

 

He is merely on loan to her

Until his use-by date expires

 

Whilst her skin is as ice is thin

Thoughts dripping

Beneath the frozen veil

Of words that threaten

To betray her

Her actions

Speak louder

Than her

Designer heels of delusion

 

And she short circuits reality

By reaching for the sky

 

Clip, clip, clop

She conscientiously navigates

Society’s exclusive upper underbelly

For if she stops, she fears that

Like her punctured bicycle

She will never be remounted

Silence Speak Please


Every time I open my mouth

You rip out my womb a little further

I become as barren

As a November Sunday afternoon

My words severed

By your blade of silence

Your gaze reduces woman

To form of a symbol

Like a child bride

Groomed to perform

Acts against her nature

Or a virgin suicide

Wrought

By the penetrating power

Of men’s inequitable ideology

Tied to our conjugal bed

Your fist of masculinity

P

L

U

N

G

E

S

Into the clenched behind

Of my heart unbound

But, no one hears my cries

For my mouth is gagged

And my tears are invisible

To all other empirical, “I’s”

Thus, I bleed for womankind

For Magdalene, Christ’s castigated lover

For Malala

Awarded a prize

For surviving

Her own attempted homicide

-A trophy voice

Which, of course

She possessed, anyway

I bleed and plead

But no one sees or hears me

For like a maiden aunt

I have been castrated by mankind

Left to rot on the shelf

With the other unconsumed

Unconsummated perishables

Past my sell by date

Putrefying with middle-age

And disconnected femininity

Feminising Dr Marten


Through my ups and downs, the highs and lows, many people have come and gone from my life. However, 20 years ago, my feet befriended a pair of Dr Marten boots and thenceforth, I rarely wore shoes, again. Thus, in tribute to the noblest of boots, I present my lament to Dr Marten and the issue of the loins of his creative mind.

A symbol of rebellion, since the 1960’s 3 generations of women have worn Dr Marten boots, with confidence and pride. A statement fashion, Dr Marten’s cross the boundary between functionality and style, and the women who wear them speak with their feet, the squeak of leather enunciating a desire for autonomy from the ideological hold of the masses.
Doc Marten boots have always been synonymous with countercultural identity. Originally, worn by working men, subsequently skinheads (pre-National Front allegiance) adopted them; their dress code reinforced their outsider status and estrangement from bourgeois culture. Thenceforward, representatives of most of the significant movements in popular culture, also, wore them, often as signifiers of their associated music taste. Although their popularity has fluctuated over the years, like a true classic Dr Marten boots have never become completely outdated, and to this day sooth the feet of millions who wear them.
In 2013, fashion designers may have once again appropriated notions of androgyny in their collections, however, wider society is yet to catch on. Men and women are still expected to dress according to rigid ideas about gender. The symbolic power of the woman wearing D.M boots reveals the primacy of the concept of an essential self. Posited against individuality is homogeny, the women who battle pain caused by their six-inch heels and the men who design them to fulfil sexual fantasies. Ultimately, however, individuality means being true to oneself, six-inch heels possess a language of their own. Maybe we should listen more carefully to the women inside the footwear.

Neurosis is made not born


My recent preoccupation with thoughts of how I have wasted the last 20 years of my life, has led me to consider the plight of those who have been unable to pull themselves out of the abyss of despair. Like approximately 1 in 4 people, I am affected by mental health issues. I would argue that principally I am not a survivor of illness but a mental health system which, from its inception, has consciously appropriated and promoted misogynistic ideas and practices. Whilst men are equally oppressed by the tools pf psychiatry, differential narratives about sex and gender have determined differences in the nature and outcome of the treatment of women and men psychiatric patients.
Any discussion about women and mental health should be framed in a historical context. The concept of “mental illness” is the historically specific conceptualization of the notion formerly known as madness; lack of reason is re-defined by science. Men prescribe, whilst women eat the pills of their labour.
Hippocrates, the Father of medicine, first associated the notion of hysteria with female psychology. Women were perceived in relation to our biology, we were beyond the pale and out of our minds. Ironically, the first practitioner to extend the definition of hysteria into the male domain, was Freud. The founder of psychoanalysis who, correlated female hysteria with sexual dysfunction, also differentiated between neurotic and psychotic disorders, establishing the prototype for the contemporary diagnostic model of mental ill health. Whilst history indicates that features of psychotic illness have always existed, the nature of neuroses has changed in relation to socio-historic and cultural changes.
In 2013, studies in Britain and America indicate that mental health issues are more prevalent among women than men. Do wombs dictate moods? Is anxiety the product of menstruation? Why, if this is the case, do cross-cultural studies reveal that there are many societies in which mental health conditions, like anxiety and anxiety, affecting so many in western capitalist society are virtually non-existent.
I would argue that, although gender roles and expectations may nowadays appear more fluid, the contradictions and complexities of life in the western world have complicated both our social roles and the way in which we perceive ourselves. Anxiety is a reaction to life in the 21st century, the metamorphosis of hysteria and counter-point to self actualization. Thus, it is fear, that gnawing worm in the mind, that impedes our will to become. Realizing that we all have the ability to re-define, not only our own reality, but the entire social realm is the first step to recovery. No one is mere body, we are possessed of the consciousness to discover and appropriate our own hidden power.

Was Virginia Woolf a Feminist?


In the year 2013, a hundred years after her birth, Virginia Woolf remains one of the most misunderstood and influential writers in the British canonical tradition. Generations have deconstructed her essays and novels, in an attempt to better understand her feminist aesthetics and many have questioned the ambiguity of the ideology encoded in her work.
For me, her feminist credentials are not explicit in her texts, but are affirmed in the recorded details of her life. Her involvement in the suffrage movement, estrangement from the traditional heterosexual archetype and frequent retreats into mental distress, highlight her rejection of patriarchal authority. One could argue, however, that more interesting than her endorsement of feminist ideas is an exploration of the extent to which her feminism was a conscious political decision to challenge the prevailing social (patriarchal) order. Was her feminism really given to textual primacy of her aestheticism? Arguably, it is the aesthetics of her texts which live on, but Woolf’s feminism which makes her seem more real.

No Apologies: I Am Woman and…I Bleed


Right now, at this moment when life seems too short for prostration, I do not feel happy. I am not ill or depressed, I have merely looked into my soul and perceived a gapping hole of unrest. My mind is uneasy with thoughts of failure and the ridiculousness of my vanity. As I write my blog, a platform for self-expression transforms into a confessional-an occasional table at which we all have sat. I ask myself, if we do this is in pursuit of redemption or merely as a cover for the desire for affirmation. For, I self-affirm daily and subsequently tear myself to pieces, like a piece of paper on which I have written a poem of bathos with allusions to my own feelings of distress.
Why do I blog? Because I was advised to. In these days when social networking is essential for all struggling writers I have entered the twenty-first century and, strangely, it feels good. However, goodness, lies in the hands of derision and darkness is forever near. Where there is good, bad threatens to invade. Thus, I have entered the blogging realm and uncovered an ego so fragile that it breaks in the wake of potential rejection. Does that render me any different from others? No. I am woman, if you do not like me, it is okay-I am not about to change.

Sentencing Woolf: Do Women Write Differently From Men?


Engaging in a conversation with a customer in the charity book shop in which I volunteer to work, I touched upon a subject which demanded further exploration. For, after mentioning that the central character in, and narrative voice of, the novel I have recently had published is male, he asked if I felt that I, as a woman, could accurately represent the male perspective? I replied that I had tried to and that it was, now, incumbent upon the reader to decide to what extent I had been successful.
Ruminating about the subject, reminded me of Virginia Woolf’s assertion in her essay, “A Room of One’s Own,” that the best writers possess a form of mental androgeny which transcends the restrictions of gender and penetrates the essential consciousness of the characters, whom they have created. Arguably, the actual representation of language in a text is as relatable to the author’s gender as the plot.
Virginia Woolf cited Dorothy Richardson as the originator of the, “women’s sentence.” Richardson’s rejection of traditional linguistic structure signifying, also, a rejection of the patriarchal order, by which the novel had previously been defined. Elaborating upon Richardson’s semiotic magicianship, Woolf ventured beyond the battleground of content into the arena of form. Her defining moment, the novel, Mrs Dalloway, whose action takes place during a single day, eschewed linear causality and embraced a form of elliptical progression which was at odds with the traditional male produced novel.
Although, at first glimpse the concept of the women’s sentence may appear to be contingent on a belief in biological determinism, Woolf did not propose that gender differences were inherent. Rather, she looked outwards into a society which not only produced, but reinforced difference. Thus, men and women were not born different, society reproduced our differences. Reflective of this was the pursuit of a women’s sentence; the pursuit of a woman’s voice.

AVAILABLE NOW ON AMAZON, MY DEBUT NOVEL, “THE GENERAL PARALYSIS OF SANITY,” BY LOUISE M. HART