The Red Hand Files (every single word in this post is copied from Nick Cave’s site). I own no rights or copyright. Issue #59 On Poetry, or infidelity.

Intro by blog owner:

Everyone should read Nick’s beautifully empathetic, humility fuelled, comicly crafted answers, coming from a big pool of love for his fans.

I first encountered his music as a punk/gothy teen at the Rebound club in Athens and my mature years had me thinking he needs to grow up and out of the pool of self-absorbsion and then his son died, and that was the fundamental lifetime event that I perceive when he did. We so need loss of life to define our reality and reconnect us with life again.

ISSUE #59 / SEPTEMBER 2019

My girlfriend, a woman I love through soaring heaven and table-flipping hell, refuses to read any of my writing because she always sees some hint of infidelity, resentment, or perhaps madness in it. How do I get her to understand that just because I might write a poem about some lusty girl I saw on the train I don’t actually want to sleep with another woman?

CIRCIUM, COLORADO, USA

Dear Circium,

Tom Waits famously wrote “You are innocent when you dream”, yet dreams are not nearly as innocent as they seem. Neither are songs nor poetry. Songwriting and poetry are perilous callings, full of intrigue and infidelity. They are covert undertakings that creep around our deepest and most hazardous needs. They are not for the squeamish or the eager to please.

I believe you when you say you don’t want to sleep with the ‘lusty girl on the train’ – the problem is what you want to do is actually worse. You want to write a poem about her. To write a song or a poem about another human being can be one of the most intensely intimate acts a person can perform, it is an act of profound, unblinking contemplation, a near religious meditation on that moment of carnal recognition.

Listen to Patti Smith’s version of ‘Gloria’, where she has taken Van Morrison’s already wolfish classic and expanded it into a supercharged religious rumination on lust.

I look out the window

See a sweet young thing

Humpin’ on the parking meter

Leanin’ on the parking meter

Patti Smith’s ‘Gloria’ is not concerned so much with the actual sexual encounter, but rather with the brutal carnality and religious ecstasy of language itself. It is one of the most demented displays of predatory sexual desire ever recorded. Yet, it is beyond sex. It is even beyond worship. It is poetry. The “sweet young thing” that is “humpin’ on the parking meter” is your “lusty girl on a train”.

Gloria, Peggy Sue, Billie Jean, Angie, Delilah, Fernando, Jolene, Ruby, Maggie May, Chuck E., Sharona, Sara, Suzanne, Sweet Caroline and, indeed, Deanna – these names live on, as sacrificial lambs, compulsively sexualised in our collective consciousness.

My song ‘Deanna’ was seen as a particularly brutal act of betrayal, and thirty years on I still haven’t been fully forgiven. I console myself with the thought that I was unflinching in my duties as a songwriter and in doing so wrote a song that brought joy to the lives of many, even though it broke a heart (or two) in the process.

From one wordsmith to another, and from someone who has spent a considerable amount of a long and contentious career in the songwriter’s doghouse, that’s the name of the game, Circium. Harsh as it is, we spend our lives walking on the hearts and messy eggshells we have smashed in order to make the omelet that feeds the multitudes.

I can perfectly understand why you want your girlfriend to read your stuff, as we poets and songwriters often have little else to offer than our words, and of course our perverse little truths. However, your poems are intimations of an eroticized and imaginative adventure of which your partner is excluded. It’s little wonder she might be reluctant to get involved.

Having said that, over time I have discovered great poetic and personal value in writing about the familiar, that which is in front of you, that which you see every day, that which sleeps beside you, for often that quotidian presence is the most extraordinarily complex and dangerous thing of all. It holds a looking glass up to beautiful and terrible truths that live inside us. As we look into our lover’s eyes and see our reflected selves, our courage as writers is tested and enlarged.

The girl on the train will always be there, forever travelling through that imaginative space, but maybe the challenge for you as a poet lies within the intricate wonder of the one who sits before you. She is, after all, your mirror.

Love, Nick

Passionfruit

Passiflora edulis is a fruit cultivated in subtropical Latin America.

I picked a packet in Asda, no questions asked how far it travelled to get to that corner on the Isle of Dogs. I was just too glad they looked ripe, juicy and god damn tasty.

The first question people ask is how to eat it. I recommend slicing it in half and scooping the seeds out with a tea spoon.

Passionfruit is rich in potassium. So you know it helps calm down anxiety. I call it the natural chill out scoop.

50% of the vitamins contained is vitamin C. Now in the middle of the winter, or any season for that matter, that’s a win.

Rich in fiber and carbs, it gives a nice boost to your energy.

For the avid bakers, there are plenty of recipes for tartlets, tropical Eton mess, vegan pavlovas, lemonade, yogurt and honey mixes to name a few.

Toxic People: 12 Things They Do and How to Deal with Them –

Source: Toxic People: 12 Things They Do and How to Deal with Them –

Christmas gift wrapped points:

They’ll be completely lovely one day and the next you’ll be wondering what you’ve done to upset them.

Toxic people have a way of sending out the vibe that you owe them something. They also have a way of taking from you or doing something that hurts you, then maintaining they were doing it all for you.

They’ll twist the story, change the way it happened and retell it so convincingly that they’ll believe their own nonsense.

Enough will never be enough.

Summary:

Short term ear noise for long term pleasures.

Please please please walk away and never look back. Whether that’s dumping them right before their birthday, not picking up their calls, leaving messages unread, or changing your flight destination to spend holidays away from them, and with normal people, you’ll feel much more better in the long run.

Rowing in the East End with its histories and all

Two years ago I came accross the documentary called Men of the Thames. The film is a journey of watermen and lightermen working in businesses on the Liquid Highway of London.

The story is narrated through the family histories of people with long associations to the London docks, the changes that have shaped their local industry since and their closeness to rowing.

Rowing for them is a family affair, taken up to continue the tradition of family participation in competitions, or as a means of rehabilitation from severe injury in pursue of ‘bringing those who stray back into a much supportive community’. It also highlights how tragedy is reflected upon and the power of responsibility owned by those working on the river.

The second documentary zooms in on the Doggetts Coat and Badge race.

Introduced and funded by Thomas Doggetts, the film takes us into the community within one of the oldest livery companies in London, housed at the Watermen’s Hall.

This is a single sculling race for apprentices in the lightermen and watermen sectors of London, traditionally originating East from the Tower of London.

Rowing in these parts of London was a far cry from the associations of today to university crews and the boat race.

Oared vessels were used to transport people by the river, and the importance of understanding the tides, steering in the streams and the elements in these wider parts of Thames were key to safe and time efficient passage.

Many of the references point to rowing facilities in the east of London. The London Youth Rowing, next to the City Airport is a more recent addition utilised by many regional clubs. Poplar and Blackwall District Rowing Club hosts exhibits from generations of Doggetts winners, many of whom trained from the club. Further athletes went on to row competitively in high performance national, international and Olympic events.

The Eastend is a place of transience and evolving histories, still unfolding to date.

Building health

Stop building hospitals. That is how you really do not help people to cure, but you reinforce their belief in illness.

People do not need someone to support their sick perception of things, someone who will perpetuate their erroneous thinking and ill thoughts.

Stop enhancing their view that the body is getting sick on its own or because of poor diet and abuse.

Stop casting responsibility for heredity, exonerating the choices of their thoughts. The only heredity is the perpetuation of a misconception, of an already ill-founded reasoning.

The body is diseased after the mind has already been ill.

Stop stroking the bodies, and start bothering the mind. If you really want to help, build mind schools and clinics. Build schools that teach you how to use this perfect tool, that every single one of us has; our mind.

And a hospital. Not for bodies, but for minds, to cure one who has a manifestation of an illness, by bringing his mind into balance, and in good thought.

We believe that because we are thinking, we know how to use our minds correctly, that we can pride ourselves on being more sophisticated than animals.

And yet, every single thought is full of deficiency, hatred, anger, guilt and judgment for others, and for ourselves.

Our thoughts are mainly catastrophic, and this slowly, or quickly manifests itself in our relationships, in our work, and of course in our own body.
Make or build something that is actually used for healing. And this can be anything to do with mind.

Take care of something that is actually in charge. Because the only thing that is truly in charge is the Mind.

Written by Gerasimos Pavlou

Tai Chi Instructor and Alternative Healing Practitioner

In Greek:

Σταματήστε να φτιάχνετε νοσοκομεία. Μ’ αυτόν τον τρόπο δεν βοηθάτε πραγματικά τους ανθρώπους να θεραπευτούν, αλλά τους ενισχύετε την πίστη τους στην αρρώστια. Οι άνθρωποι δεν χρειάζονται κάποιον που θα τους υποθάλπει την αρρωστημένη τους αντίληψη για τα πράγματα, κάποιον που θα διαιωνίζει το λάθος τους σκεπτικό και τις αρρωστημένες τους σκέψεις.

Σταματήστε να τους ενισχύετε την σκέψη τους ότι το σώμα αρρωσταίνει από μόνο του ή λόγω της κακής διατροφής και των καταχρήσεων. Σταματήστε να ρίχνετε την ευθύνη στην κληρονομικότητα, απενοχοποιώντας τις επιλογές των σκέψεών τους. Η μόνο κληρονομικότητα, είναι η διαιώνιση μιας λάθους αντίληψης, ενός ήδη αρρωστημένου σκεπτικού. Τίποτα άλλο.

Το σώμα νοσεί αφού έχει ήδη νοσήσει ο νους. Σταματήστε να χαϊδεύετε τα σώματα, και αρχίστε να ενοχλείτε τους νόες.

Αν θέλετε πραγματικά να βοηθήσετε, φτιάξτε σχολεία και θεραπευτήρια για νόες. Ένα σχολείο που να διδάσκει πώς να χρησιμοποιείς αυτό το τέλειο εργαλείο που έχει ο καθένας μας και όλοι μαζί. Το νου μας.

Και ένα θεραπευτήριο. Όχι για σώματα, για νόες. Για το πώς μπορεί κάποιος που εκδήλωσε κάποια αρρώστια, φέρνοντας τον νου του σε ισορροπία, σε ορθή σκέψη, να μπορέσει να θεραπευτεί.

Θεωρούμε ότι επειδή σκεφτόμαστε, ότι ξέρουμε να χρησιμοποιούμε ορθά τον νου μας, και υπερηφανευόμαστε ότι είμαστε πιο εξελιγμένοι από τα ζώα γιατί έχουμε μυαλό. Και κάθε μας σκέψη είναι γεμάτη ελλειμματικότητα, μίσος, θυμό, ενοχή και κρίση για τους άλλους και για τον ίδιο μας τον εαυτό. Οι σκέψεις μας είναι κυρίως καταστροφικές και αυτό αργά η γρήγορα εκδηλώνεται στις σχέσεις μας, στην δουλειά μας, και φυσικά στο ίδιο μας το σώμα.

Φτιάξτε κάτι που να χρησιμοποιείται πραγματικά για ίαση. Και αυτό δεν μπορεί παρά να είναι κάτι που να έχει να κάνει με τον νου. Ασχοληθείτε με κάτι που είναι αληθινό. Γιατί το μόνο που είναι πραγματικά αληθινό είναι ο Νους.