Llama Ticks

Eff Your Beauty Standards: I’m a Size Perfect

Disclaimer: The authors speak from a cisgender, middle – upper class view focusing on fat shaming and do not cover other kinds of shaming. We strongly condemn the same and apologise for not fitting these important perspectives in our article.

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A week ago, social media worldwide rejoiced at The People Magazine’s move featuring Tess Holliday as the publication’s cover with the words, “The World’s First Size 22 Supermodel!” splashed across the page in bold lettering. Responses were instantaneous; The People Magazine was lauded for spearheading the battle against body-shaming and the fashion industry’s promotion of anorexic models. But amidst the sound of cheering voices, a few questions remain unanswered.

Whoever was the world’s first “0-20 sized supermodel?” Are “plus-size” supermodels (as People Magazine refers to her,) different from non-plus size models? And if so, how? What is the publication trying to say when we use tag lines such as “plus size”? Is social media commending Holliday for becoming a model despite her being a size 22?

Models in the early 50s were commended for their curves.

The ideal size of a model has changed over the years, as have notions of beauty. Today’s model  wouldn’t be considered attractive 60 or so years ago. However, despite recognising that these standards change, we are hell bent on body shaming, o anyone who doesn’t fit the norm of an ‘attractive’ body, on placing restrictions on what men and women should look like and transforming our bodies into commercialised products, ready for consumption.

If, despite not fitting this bill, a model manages to make it big, we glorify her, giving her a pat on her back. “Oh you’re fat. But you made it,” or, “Oh you have small breasts, but you are a high fashion runway model- that is exciting!”

The problem begins with the epithet used to describe a woman like Tess- she is known as “plus sized.” She isn’t identified first as beautiful, or as a supermodel- though these things are truths- she is identified first as plus-sized. By this logic, if Holliday was a size 2, Tess may not have been made People magazine’s cover girl. The focus remains on size. If we are to truly integrate diversity in the fashion and modelling industry, what we should be doing is applauding her actual achievements, which is that regardless of one’s physical appearance, one can still achieve in society. Pointing out that she is a size 22 only diverts attention from her greater achievements, besides.

Of course, this raises the argument that not pointing out her size is dangerous because then we are not talking about how ‘fat’ women can make it big, too. The problem we have with this is that we continue to conform to society’s need to categorise people into sizes; to limit their achievements to the size they belong to rather than their hard work. We aren’t liberating ourselves by pointing out ‘plus-size’ achievements- we’re still conforming to what is seen as ‘normal’, and assuming plus size to be a deviation from that norm.

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Hand in hand with the media and fashion industries, we have created the perfect body size: Long legs, large breasts, a proportionate butt, slim waist, and symmetrical face.. Over the years we shape and re-shape this image, not realising that human beings aren’t meant to fit into small boxes of perfect, and that we are larger than thin waistlines, D cup breasts and perfect hair.

Due to our patriarchal set-up, these impositions are largely on women. Of course this has also had some impact on men in the recent years. What ultimately happens is that we limit dialogue to men and women belonging to privileged sections of society and when a Tess happens to be successful, we feel ‘liberated’. But we aren’t. We forget what the social pressures to look good does to people from underprivileged economic backgrounds, people of different races, genders and age groups; in sum, anyone who is not part of the mainstream majority cultural group. For example, even though Tess is a size 22 model, she still is white. Though this is not a bad thing in itself, it needs to be remembered that among the models featured in the magazine, there is not a single black super model. The struggle of inclusion of African-American women in mainstream media has been a battle that is being fought for the longest time, and in a space of inclusion with ‘plus-sized’ models, African- American women still have to fight for that space.

Body shaming, especially fat shaming is rampant in a West dominated cultural environment- worsened by both mainstream and social media, and it has major effects on a non-conforming individual. Kids as young as 5 years of age get bullied because of their weight; are self-conscious about what they eat. Adolescent girls have made best friends with eating disorders and are then shamed for their anorexic figures. Our mothers look at chocolate the way we look at Channing Tatum- a longing for something they think they can never have.

7Discrimination and shaming on the basis of weight leads to decreased self-esteem, higher rates of depression, a distorted body image, feelings of shame with respect to one’s body and constant anxiety about how others see one’s self sand their opinions. The increases stress also contributes to poor physical health. It can lead to lowered life satisfaction, and puts people at a higher risk of gaining even more weight, instead of motivating them to shed excess pounds. Some sources say that being a ‘fattist’ is more dangerous than being racist or sexist. Despite all these negative effects, we perpetuate this system of making a person feel ashamed of their own body. Even if we move away from the construct of ‘health’, what we need to realise is that this kind of shaming affects one’s self-perception negatively. We’re constantly plagued by thoughts of not being good enough, of not being beautiful, of people judging us. We tell ourselves that we will never be successful in our careers, in love, if we are not pretty, sexy, ‘perfect’.

10As a culture we are exposed to and obsessed with body policing. We have grown up believing that our bodies were made to live up to the stares and belief systems of the society. And we need to stop. We need to allow ourselves to look at our bodies in full length mirrors without flinching, to allow ourselves to reside in them as people and not houses waiting to be remodelled.

Bear in mind, we aren’t thin shaming either. It doesn’t matter what size you are, how thin or fat, as long as you are happy with it, and are aware of your body and what’s happening to it. Being beautiful based on what the world wants you to be can be done on Photoshop, being the one true beautiful you, that only you can do. So if you’re a woman with a petite waist, prominent collar bones and slim legs, you are beautiful. If you have a waist as large as your heart, breasts as large as the universe, you are beautiful. We aren’t preaching, we mean it, because world #effyourbeautystandards.

Art by Isaiah Stephens
Art by Isaiah Stephens

So, here’s what we appreciate about a woman like Tess. Her presence in the industry remains a ray of hope, increasing representation (from zero to one) for women of many shapes and sizes. It allows for greater diversity; much needed in a world dominated by regulation of your diet and maintaining tiny figures even when your body screams blue murder.

Additionally, the confidence a woman like Tess radiates is also comforting to women of all sizes. It eases the pressure on women to conform to unrealistic beauty standards and exerts a positive influence on the modelling industry. That being said, the excessive use of Photoshop to make women look flawless, to make skin shine like we were in a Twilight movie STILL BOTHERS US. However, there is a reduction in the dissatisfaction women feel with their bodies when they see greater representation of people who look like them on screen. Representation is very important, and women like Tess serve as role models, so to speak, for women out there who aren’t ‘perfect’ by social standards, and who shouldn’t be perfect, and those women who have for a very long time in this century have been underrepresented. We believe this makes us more accepting of themselves and their bodies.

Thank you Tess, even with Photoshop and plus-size tagline, you give us hope.

About the Authors: (From Left):

Amla Pisharody is currently in her Third Year, soon to graduate in Sociology and Anthropology with an aim to work on Human Rights issues. She already possesses post doctorate qualifications in gastro indigestion and ghatti dancing. She loves reading, travelling, and insulting her near and dear ones (repeatedly). She believes in the power of hugs and opinions, sometimes given together, and is always ready to debate social issues, class divisions, feminism, evolutionary theory, and indigestion. In her free time, she talks to llamas.

Kavya Menon studies Psychology and Anthropology, which, contrary to her family’s long-standing beliefs, is not the study of insects. She loves little kids, but prefers animals. If she had the money, (which is highly unlikely when you major in the study of insects,) she would backpack around the world. Her abiding principles are the three golden Cs: Coffee, cheese, and chocolate. In her spare time, she steals umbrellas and likes to pretend that she is a cat (Spoiler: Actually is not). Her favourite animal is the llama.

The Existence...

Parenting: You’re Doing it Indian

“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”

Mitch Albom

A friend of mine once said that all families are dysfunctional and only the extent differs. There’s never been a truer thing said. An article I once read mentioned how all of us would be in a therapist’s office one day, complaining about how our parents were either too smothering or too aloof. Parenting is hard, and we often struggle to reconcile our love for the ‘rents with the defeated expectations we hold from them.

However, that does not mean we ever stop trying. For a long time, India has held onto a set of beliefs that say hitting children is alright, that blaming a woman for her psychologically disturbed child is the norm, that treating two very different siblings the same way is okay, and that academic excellence is the only indicator of parental success and achievement. It’s time we learnt otherwise.

In conversation with Psychiatrist Wilona Braganza, (MBBS, M.D.) and Educator and School Principal of Happy Hearts, Christine Alphonso (MA.), we learn what parenting attitudes are prevalent in India and how things just might be changing.

Llama: Hey, guys! Since one of you study people’s studies and the other, their minds, what do you think’s most messed up with Indian parents today?

Braganza: Unlike herd animals, (or any animals, really,) Indians still live in a male-dominated society, where if anything goes wrong with the child, the woman is blamed. Today, however, many urban families are moving towards gender equality and equal distribution of labour between spouses. But this isn’t always so. Many a times, the father doesn’t want to admit that a problem is necessary, and doesn’t seek help, though the wife says otherwise. They hit their children, too, another thing that’s unacceptable. As psychiatrists, we try to educate them about corporal punishment and its ill effects.

Llama: Parents DO that? We just keep feeding our babies till they grow large enough to make more babies.

Alphonso: As an educator for the last 34 years and a parent myself, I can safely say that corporal punishment is not the answer to any indiscipline. There is never an ideal method of punishment for the child as it differs from context to context and the degree of the offense, itself.

Braganza: Parents frequently forget that they would never hit someone else’s child, an indicator that they can exercise restraint, but do not do so because of an idea that their child is their property. Parents also think that beating their children is okay since they were beaten in the past, as well.

Llama: We’re so evolutionarily backward- we can’t hit our kids even if we wanted to. You bipedals, you!

Father meme

Braganza: Things aren’t all bad, however. Newer schools, ICSE and CBSE ones in particular, are discouraging parents from bad parenting practices, corporal punishment included. But parents still have a massive focus on academics.

Alphonso: I agree. Indian parents have great expectations from their children. They want the child to excel in all spheres, right from kindergarten. Many parents lack sensitivity and push the child without caring about their capacities. In addition, the child is not consulted before making any decisions regarding themselves.

Braganza: Parents frequently tell me that children are occupied with studies from dawn till dusk, and have little to no physical play-time, though till adolescence, a child needs physical play for at least an hour a day on average.

Llama: I feel you. Our kids do nothing but play, and look how happy they are! Spitting and eating hay is where the fun’s at. But how do you get your babies to do what they should be doing?

Alphonso: Role modelling. If you are teaching your child honesty, you need to avoid lying, yourself. Not doing what you’re telling them to do yourself is confusing for children. Discussion and explanations are the best way to promote values, and the child should also be made aware of the consequences if they fail to behave well.

Braganza: You can also withdraw privileges. Parents need to spend more time explaining what their expectations are to their children and what happens when these expectations aren’t met. These things aren’t easy, and as a parent, myself, I know how hard it can be, especially when you’ve had a hard day and are likely to lose your temper.

Llama: So what do you do when you’re angry and might beat your babies?

Braganza: Under those circumstances, I find that distracting myself or moving away from the child helps. Parents are humans too, and we’re bound to struggle with our roles sometimes. When moving away isn’t practically possible, I switch roles with my partner, who has more emotional resources to deal with our child at that point. As I move away and attempt to calm down, my partner ensures that the situation doesn’t get out of hand. This also helps because both adults know that they’re working for a common purpose; the welfare of their child.

Llama: This would never work with llamas. If our kids spit at us, we just spit right back. How do you handle the spitting and the non-spitting kinds?

Braganza: I think you’re talking about children with different temperaments. Though I’d still say that a majority of Indian parents deal with all their children in the same rigid, authoritarian manner, not taking into account their very different children’s needs, there is a growing trend towards recognition. As compared to Western cultures, we still have significant others like relatives influencing the nuclear family. Siblings are frequently compared by these significant others, and parents feel pressured to raise them both the same way- though they maybe diametrically different individuals.

Alphonso: Many parents also decide which friends their children ought to mix socially. They raise the child they want, and not the child they have!

Braganza: This lack of respect for the child’s individuality can greatly damage the parent-child relationship, too.

Llama: Seems legit. The Llama Bureau of Statistics gave me this study to talk to you about today, which said that until alerted about their child’s condition, 61% of parents have no awareness regarding their child’s psychiatric disorder and almost 64% thought that their child would not be helped with a doctor’s intervention. Does that surprise you?

Alphonso: It doesn’t. have come across many children with disabilities during my teaching career, and it is very difficult to convince parents that their child needs help. Parent must consult doctors if they have been asked to by educators. Wrongful diagnosis is still a problem with India’s current mental health situation, as well.

Braganza: It doesn’t surprise me, either. Indian parents only come to me today after they’ve been told that their child can’t continue in school unless they’ve been tested. A small number do come to us earlier on, after looking for symptoms online and finding that they match. But  most parents often remain in denial, which makes things much worse, because the earlier the intervention, the more scope for improvement in the child’s condition. In particular, autism spectrum disorder, if discovered late, can set the child’s development back quite a bit.

Llama: Alright, Wilona and Christine. Thanks for the interview; it’s been llamazing!

What are problems you’ve found with Indian Parenting? Are there certainly memes you love that explain Indian parents in a nutshell? Tell us more by commenting below!

Llama Ticks

Let’s Talk Sex- The Indian Way

I was around 14 when I was caught in class for laughing about the word ‘hormones’ with a friend. The CBSE biology syllabus had a chapter on human organ systems, and we reached the endocrine system when we subsided into a fit of giggles. We were punished, (made to stand in class; not that bad after all,) and then asked to sit down by the end of the period. I think it was the first time I learnt that sex wasn’t something I could talk or think about openly.

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Kapoor’s night dress takes the cake in this poster.

All of my readers can relate to an incident like this, where someone somewhere told us that sex couldn’t be talked about. India’s desperate tussle with sex is well known to us; spoofs go viral everyday about it. There’s no one who personifies the struggle better than Sunny Leone; darling and devil of the Indian media (for all of its 4 second attention span). Currently starring in Kuch Kuch Locha Hai, (which appears to have Leone doing a double act where both her characters suffer from thigh cramps and Ram Kapoor from constipation,) the celebrity makes the news regularly for activities like pouting, currying favour with children, and flaunting her porn-star persona with pride. Just as Indians can’t stop loving and loathing the idea of her, so too it is with the idea of sex. One report suggests that India is ranked #5 in generating traffic for Pornhub, with Leone featuring topmost in search bars from Kashmir to Cochin. However, the same folk raising stiff salutes to Leone in private are quick to express disgust with her antics in public.

So you see, India can’t deal with sex currently. Unfortunately, we can’t close our eyes and pretend sex doesn’t happen, either. We have rapes to tell us otherwise! India knows all about rape, having been crowned  the rape capital of the world following the Nirbhaya case. We’ve also come up with our own ‘Indian’ way of handling these violent crimes, such as yoga and brother-zoning. But somehow, a few of us do not think these strategies are working out that well. A rape case is still being reported  every 20 minutes in India. So how do we stop it? And how much do we know about rape? A conversation between Generic Indian Mother and her son will reveal more.

Generic Indian Mother: Beta, you look very sad. Don’t you like Mama’s gobi fry today?

Son: No, Mama. I was very sad because today in the news I read about Nirbhaya. Why do these things happen, Mama?

Generic Indian Mother: Uffo, no need to read about this rape-shape; reality is not good for you. Don’t worry, eat your gobi and be happy.

Son: But Mama how can anyone do that? Is it because they.. *glances at G.I.M, afraid* thought she was nice?

Generic Indian Mother: *Gasps* What is this nice you’re saying? What nice? Is there some girl you think is nice? Tell me now!

Son: No Mamma. I just want to know why it happened.

Generic Indian Mother: It is because these people can’t control themselves. They see these women wearing all these short-short clothings and then they can’t help it. Have you ever seen Mamma wear? No? See, nothing will happen to good women. These women are not like us; coming from good families. It can’t happen to us. Now eat gobi fry and say if you think anyone is nice.

Asaram Bapu, charged sex-offender, tells us how yoga will make rape nonexistent in India.
Asaram Bapu, charged sex-offender and yogi tells us how yoga will make rape nonexistent in India.

G.I.M has a lot in common with Asaram Bapu and others who love their fair share of rape myths. However, research reveals that these well-meaning folk are wrong. Rape rarely occurs at the hands of a stranger in a dark alley.  Of 24,923 rape cases registered in India during 2012, 24,470 of them were committed by someone known to the victim (98%). And the rape of a 72 year old nun this year shows that what you wear has never mattered. So if bad values and ‘short-short’ dresses aren’t the cause, what is? Simple: The need for power, anger, and misogyny. The three types of rapists are the power rapist, (the most common kind,) working under the need to control and dominate the victim, the anger rapist, motivated by resentment and hostility towards women, and the sadistic rapist, who derives sexual gratification from inflicting pain. Groth found that the first two overlap easily, whereas the third is incredibly rare, though the media would have you believe otherwise.

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Source: Damnlol.com

Wake up, India. Rape is motivated by misogyny; the same thing that forbids our women from entering temples when on their period, the same kind that makes it alright for a man to bear his nipples in public, but not a woman. Wherever we teach our children that men  are different from, (and worse, better than) women, we teach them rape culture.

While we’re talking about what we teach our kids, let’s talk about what we’re not teaching our kids: sex education. My CBSE syllabus covered the reproductive system in 10th standard, (age 15) around three years after I’d hit puberty. We were taught about the reproductive function of sex, and that’s where the conversation ended. In India, 47% of girls are married before 18, and 28.5% of women report a first birth before 18, said a 2013 report. In such a country, where sex education is so critical, our government condemns  it.

The school ground is where everything from sex-play to misogyny begins, and we need clarity on what should and shouldn’t be happening in these spaces. Children need to hear first-hand, from their parents and teachers, what sex is all about, with fulfilling dialogue regarding sexual health and contraception. Nobody is asking for a live demonstration, (those times parents are caught holding hands are scarring enough,) but if we want to work on rape and misogyny, this is where we start. Outsourcing sex-ed isn’t ideal, but if that’s what it takes, do it. Things like the Tea metaphor delineating sexual consent make it easier for anyone of an age to grasp. We need to stop demonizing sex-ed and start dealing with the fact that our children can and do become sexual beings with needs of their own, and sexual behaviour can be expected from them very shortly.

We need an India that acknowledges the fact that rape is a natural successor to deep-seated misogyny which, in its turn, is brought about by a society sharing a deeply convoluted relationship with its women. The only cure to this is age- appropriate sex education. Lastly, I appeal to all my readers: share this with someone who is bound to disagree. If you are nodding in assent and are looking fro the ‘share’ button, you already know these things, but many disagree. Tag people who do not know (and maybe,) do not want to, in the hopes that it will change their minds. I stand for an educated India that fights rape with all it has, where talking about sex at 14 (and earlier!) is okay. Do you?

Have you ever been made to feel like sex isn’t up for discussion with an authority figure? How would you broach sex-ed with (your) children in an appropriate manner? Comment and tell us more.

Next week: Where is Indian Parenting taking us?  Look out, next Friday!

– Alaric Moras

The Existence...

The Red Chair

red-chair“What else?”

“There was this time when I fell down, I scraped my knee, y’know? Playing alone? It was just a tiny scratch, no longer than my toenail, but she came out of the house, hair all tied up, lipstick smeared and almost cried. She carried me- I was six years old, dammit- she carried me and applied this medicine thing and told me how strong and brave I was…. She always… always DID that to me, to both her children.”

“Growing up, didn’t you tell her to lay off?”

“No. I was always ‘the apple to her pie, the wind to her chimes,’ and all that. I- I loved it. But then it got worse. I was too good to eat out late at nights, too smart for my friends, too attractive for the girls I brought home… And now…”

“Now what, Arthur?”

“You know what.” The 24 year old turned around the therapist’s chair, glaring at its owner. “I’m the frog in the well. The bird in the cage. I can’t date. I don’t feel like I’m good enough. I creep around online chat rooms, hoping to meet someone who’ll love me for me when looking at a mirror hurts. It’s why I’m in this doggone red chair, after all.”

“I don’t think you’re not good enough, Arthur.”

“Really? You think so? No, wait. I’m paying you to say things like that. You don’t count.” Arthur Lodge slumped in his seat, beaten.
“When was the last time you heard a compliment, Arthur? Really listened to it?”

“This morning. She told me I had pretty eyes. Pretty, green eyes. “But they aren’t mine,” I thought, y’know? They were given to me. By her, too. So I thanked her and walked away. Now she’s telling everyone in the office I’m gay….”

“And are you, Arthur?”
“God, NO. I’ve already told you before. I like the occasional Sparks novel, but that’s all!”

“Alright, I’m sorry. It looks like you blame your mother for a lot of whom you’ve become. Would that be right?”

“Yes. And I don’t know if I can do anything. I can’t help her, she’s just always at the back of my head, telling me what to do. And she was a psychologist too, you’d think she wouldn’t have made such a mess of us.”

“Your sister’s struggling, too?”

“I don’t know. We don’t talk. Patricia kept us apart a lot.”

“I see. Well, it looks like your time’s up, Arthur. We’ve made some great progress today, and I want you to think about how much control you have over your own life. I’ll see you same time next week?”

Arthur nodded, shook his hand and walked out.

A minute later, his assistant’s head poked into his open doorway. “Your next client’s here, James. Shall I send her in?”

“Yes, thank you, Betty.”

Janine Lodge sauntered in, placed herself on the chair that had just been privy to her brother’s catharsis and stared at the therapist, chin tilted upward.

“Hello, Janine. How are things at work?”

“Fine.”

“Really? I heard you fired your assistant because she was “breathing too loudly.””

“I had to. What if she snorted into my coffee with that hoover nose of hers? It was for the best.”

“You also asked Veronica when she would,” he checked his notes, flinched and continued, ““drop those extra pounds she was carrying.”

“Have you met her? She’s a walrus.”

“She’s pregnant, Janine.”

“Don’t blame me. I didn’t do it.”

“Janine, do you know you hurt people when you do things like that?”

“It’s how she did it with me all the time.”

“Are you talking about your mother?”

“Yes. Patricia never cared. Ever. My first report card had one A- and she threw my supper out. When the kids at school laughed at my pimples, so did she. That’s what life is; it’s hard and sometimes, it sucks. At least I’m being honest with them.”
“Have you worked on writing down your thoughts when you say these things, like I asked?”
“Sometimes.”

“Show them to me.” The therapist leafed through the work she presented him. At places, there were childlike illustrations of an older woman being subjected to various forms of social embarrassment.

“I’m assuming these are of your mother?”

“Good. You aren’t as stupid as the others. She did this. If you want someone to blame, she didn’t care, and now I can’t. All this crap you give me about feelings and empathy, I have none. I think I’m the bees’ knees, but the rest of the world isn’t worth my time.”
“Have you ever confronted her about any of this?”

“Why would I ever talk to her again,” Janine almost shouted. “After all this time!”

“Remember what we worked on, Janine. Deep breaths. There you go. Please unclench your fists.”

“I’ll never speak to her again. Do you hear me? Never.”

“I understand. I think this is enough for one day. Focus on controlling these thoughts of yours. And remember, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Good evening.

Janine tossed her head and walked out, shutting the door behind her. Arthur stretched, took a deep breath and smiled. From behind, he heard his study door open and then felt warm arms wrap around his shoulders. He closed his eyes, tilting his head back into the warm embrace.

“Did you hear that? You’ve done it. They maybe a little rough round the edges now, but I’ll have them leading relatively normal lives soon enough. This is the work of a lifetime. You’ve got all you need to finish that thesis of yours.”

“And I couldn’t have done it without you, James,” Janine Lodge replied, twirling his hair in her long, manicured fingers. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder in one child, Inferiority Complex in the other. The scientific advances we’ve made through my work alone… D’you know, I’ve even got a name for the book ready.”

“What is it?”

“The Red Chair.”

– The Observant Lefty

The Existence...

Do Not Forgive Me

I swear, I am doing everything wrong.

I eat in my suit and briefs everyday after work, and the reheated apple pie crumbles on the floor and the good work wear, just like you always said it shouldn’t. The little notes on the fridge reminding me not to forget that I cannot remember aren’t there anymore; everyday, there is a little less milk in the carton and a little more water dribbled in. I savour the taste of your disapproval over cereal served with milk on the side, not rolling in between the fruit loops the way you like it. And every night, I slip into bed with Old Monk on my tongue, knowing that my breath still tasted ranker than your mother’s before the furniture drew your blood.

And I leave the window open; a damn to the bats you so fear, and red-white toothpaste stains the side of the sink like an angry apology and the pens aren’t capped after I’m done with them and I do everything, everything wrong, just the way you said I shouldn’t.

So why won’t you come home to set me right again?

The Observant Lefty

The Poetry...

Seasons’ Spells

You tasted
Of Summer lost.
Upper lip- Mint julep,
Lower- Wet bower.

But you were Winter’s Child,
Hair- Frost’s wares,
Skin- Warm linen.

Yet.
Yet,
Your heart was Autumn’s,
Vein- Delicious pain,
Auricle- Leaf’s tickles.

Caught between seasons,
You were too fleeting
To be a favourite.

The Poetry...

Christmas Tree

Mother checked every year.
The green plastic measured inch for inch
His height against time’s march.

Electric shadows
Fell on the carved plastic bark.
Notches of Christmases past.

In her last year, her hands shook.
The gouge was faint.
She smiled.
He had surpassed the tallest needles.

Next year, no dent was made,
But his head nudged the false base
As Sophia’s sighs wreathed his loss.

She dug her nails into his spine,
Marking his arching tree of life.
Thought she, “I am his Bread and Wine.”
Thought he, “Her gouges thrum with life.”