Western Civilisation

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

It was like how you’d feel if
an invisible man loomed close, breathed
Keep your fucking mouth closed
and so for years you just would.

It was like how you felt that time
someone wrote a poem and
you thought it was about you
but turned out it wasn’t.

It was like total disconnect
big people on plasma billboards
that over and over said
you would never measure up.

It was like a woman wailing
I only have six pairs of shoes!
and next-door for tea they
ate the sides of their cheeks .

That’s how it was
living in those times.
Civilisation on ice
shaken not stirred.


  1. Sue, all I could think about when reading this was this from Anne LaMott

    "You can't heal your sick shame filled worried mind with your sick shame filled worried mind. We are healed by grace.

    Where sin abounds grace abounds.

    The five rules of human life in America: (for today we will say Western Civilization...which turns out to not be too civilized)

    1. You should not have anything wrong or different about you.

    2. If you do have something wrong or different about you, you should fix it.

    3. If you can't fix it you should fake it. Pretend your okay.

    4. If you can't fix it or fake it, you should just stay away because it is just too painful for everyone to be around you.

    5. If you insist on still coming around you should at least have the decency to be ashamed.

    With that being the human experience it is a radical act to show up."

  2. Was that from that wonderful audio you linked to, which I have listened to twice already? That would explain then why I feel a bit creepy because just before, I was thinking exactly that thought - it is a radical act to show up. Ahh! See how easy it is to plagiarise without even knowing it!! :) The wonderful things we hear go down into the soul swamp and swim around in there and then we fish them out and call them ours :)

    I wanted to tack something Franciscan on the end of this poem about turning aside and going a different way but duh, like, obviously! :)

  3. PS: Don't she just nail it? I really need to read more of her books. There's a couple of recent ones I wanna get my paws on.

  4. Yes Sue, she says that in an interview I linked to on my blog quite awhile ago. I love hearing her interviewed.

    The unconscious connection you speak of is another one of those "mind trippy" things we talked about last week.

    I love Anne but I must say that as much as I enjoyed Plan B and Grace Eventually (her last two books) they didn't quite measure up to Traveling Mercies for me at least.

  5. Really? Bum. Oh well, I'll move it down from 1863 on my to-read list to 1890 then :)

  6. Oh Gawd! I love those rules! I heart Anne Lamott!

    I hereby stand up and say: (repeat after me)

    "I AM Different and will not fake it and will not censor myself and to hell with anyone who doesn't like it".

    Love the poem, Sue. That invisible man lives at my house too. He says "no one cares what you have to say, so shut the hell up. And don't cry about it or I'll give you something to cry about". On
    endless repeat. Since I was 8.

    I love getting free.

  7. "I AM Different and will not fake it and will not censor myself and to hell with anyone who doesn't like it".

    :) I don't even think we have any idea of what being free looks like. We are in for the ride of our lives (and deaths, I suppose, ;)

    Kent - I can't find that Lamott audio on your blog. Do you remember where it was?

  8. here ya go sue


  9. Thank you kindly, sir :) (Erin, if you love Anne, it's a good podcast to listen to if you're so inclined)

  10. Thanks. I'll put it on my mp3 player with the God Journey podcasts.

  11. Dear God please send Sue to Hell for eternity so that she may minister to the poor suffering souls there. Not necessarily immediately, I mean when the term of her natural life completes. And if she doesn't expire then, well, I'm sure you'll know what to do. You love sending people to Hell, don't you, you sick bastard. I would, if I were you. Amen.

  12. Dear God, why does David keep coming and reading my blog? Is it for something more than my amazing prose, my wild mood swings, my lovely poetry, my ponderings and prognostications?

    Speaking of ponderings, I reckon he actually wants you to be true. Not the crap, mentally illnifying Calvinist version of Churchianity most people see, but the real you, the way we need you to be, the way we suspect sometimes you might be, but then dismiss it as being a fairy story. I reckon David is really hungry for that, just like everyoen else on the planet.

    Or maybe he's just a pain in the arse who likes coming onto the blogs of Christians and harassing them because he's a moron. If that's the case, please send a virus to his computer, and him gonorrhoea, and a truck to plow through his loungeroom window. Amen

  13. Not hungry, dead.

    God is not interested in bitter, old men. God is only concerned with young, shallow thinking people who dribble and wave their hands moronically to loud, crappy pop-style music played in dying churches at a different time from the old farts 11:00am service.

    Pain in the arse, fuck yes. Moron, most certainly, especially if he hasn't expired this calendar year.

  14. Oh, Dave, please don't expire this calendar year. Who will I rub iron against if you don't come here and abuse and threaten me?

  15. Dave, what seems interesting to me is your shallow uniformed view of the some of the people you are talking to here.

    I for one haven't been in a sunday morning service for over 20 years with shallow thinking people who dribble and wave their hands moronically to loud, crappy pop-style music played in dying churches at a different time from the old farts 11:00am service.

    When one's perception of things/people is off...one's emotional responses will be off also.


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