March 2008


I came across this postcard 5 years ago and have always looked at it blankly and it felt meaningless to me as I lacked the motivation to look at the patterns I am stuck into that prevent me from astonishing myself (including the one about ‘I don’t do astonishment‘ – such a middle class word.)

Every day for a week meditate on a candle about the areas of your life where you don’t astonish yourself. Be brutally honest.

Which areas of your life would you like to astonish yourself in?

Can you be open and surprise yourself by making possible new ways of being?

What is it like to live with a continual sense of surprise or, go on, astonishment about everything that you are becoming?

Feel beautiful and easy change in your meditation. 

In one of my meditations the image of hurdling self-imposed barriers came to me. Hurdle, now that’s a nice word. Curdle hurdle girdle


 Written using the guiding principles of permaculture, it includes the following words

journey betrayal family asylum women burma GSOH shirk cows

download because the following cut and paste has given rise to complete textual meltdown but I’ll leave it here so you get a gist

back to openbracket

1.         Careful observation can give important information. This information is not immediately available    I’m on. Read and buried.Sorting out is an improvisation.Forever in search of the compost heap to play dead in.untold cutout.I’m a con.horrendously overdue.a reminder to mourn. Relish scary cherry moments of truthtelling.Unfold transform breaking the eggs  Sorry, painful. No business as usual please. love desperation love betrayal. Mourn loudly. I manipulated her petals. She is a gift. Hunched in the go around. Plonking abandonment. She must have gone over each conversation, realising with shock each betrayal and how Jesus Christ ended up as the hell of Christmas, for men’s eyes only, Playboy playtoy, spent matches, room for football, play catches. Please return or renew by the date shown. The battle over this hilltop in Wales – coal is the filthiest known to. For Jesus Christ, Saké  Make bread, help with lunch, call a friend. I’m tired, let’s speak tomorrow. Now time to do shells or think heap and break down into egg movements.can’t make an omelette without.she’s 13.she doesn’t go to the beach anymore.she’s sick of it here.she is seed. My evangelical friend texted reminding me to thank Jesus for Xmas is only possible because of him but I don’t think we can blame it all on him.I am all for the dead.I call them up.I am afforded. a shiver of order. they shoulder us- a room for dead matches returned by  the fate shown. Red eye torment. For men’s eyes only but all women see. You get lost in Florianópolis for 2 years and all the while your sewage is ending up in the lagoon. Years of political correctness can’t save shit. Sick of tragedy? Learn about the stars. Cigarette ends  lust after maturing beef whisky all the eases all the ills sewage lagoon waterski champion-ship prawns are just sea rubbish 2 beers when none will do. He doesn’t like getting water in his eye. The ocean is scary. It advances, gives a fright. He’s never seen anything like it. Oh mother! Worrying her way into wars the war way is worry. The shops are strewn with dead bodies empty eyes and the pigs are given their coffee swill. Fuck Starbucks. Fuck the buck. Sucking on straws causes cancer and we all chubb out in our forties.  

2.        Leave as much land as possible to wilderness(thrive on as little land as possible)       


asylum   at   bars  battered   beaten in front of  Border & Immigration Agency, 31-33 Newport Road, Cardiff  Cameroon   continue to be detained  dangerous and impoverished situations that they have risked everything to leave              deportation                  despite   doors  dowry   dragged   England  female   forced   from                                         front   genital              ‘I thought I was in Stalin’s Russia, not a civilised country like Britain. This was not just a raid, They had guns and dogs.’  seeker   locked   marriage   money   shamed.  imminent   information   lack


3.        Rehabilitate degraded or eroded land  or The challenge of returning to a family when still trying to break away from it emotionally                         Gingerline mutilation I want to I know how to I can                    These Is make no differencePull it up                                  The root stays the head remains the parasite lives onDeaf defeat deplete bleat Jabuticaba – the black berry has dried up, tree trunk cling, what would it take for it to grow again, what consequences would its growing again have for its environment and neighbours                                                      Does it / have / the means to /grow?If they stopped milking cows, would the milk dry up?                              Would the cows have another kind of existence?   People of course are pigs                                        Sensitive water          Deaf deaf ear death             a bright blue bolt      Wet orangeDeaf suck inwards                                                    I move on when the flow has dried up       People of course are animals No one is born demanding packaging on their bananasNo one is born demanding cheap flights and cheap pillsNo one is born destroying ancient hilltops in WalesNo one is born sanctioning that we grow food to feed cars   No one is born financing the Burmese military regime through the oil they buy People of course are daughters of sons of                                                             what does it take to grow again?                                                                                                                                          Dead is alive alive                                    a shed for skinning emotions slowly Seed sprout plant                 an adolescent                        A queerbe disco queenmake a doll to represent the woman                                             Deaf drop                                                                                                       A bright blue boltthis is no place this is no place to recount the struggle this is no struggle of truthtoday’s truth can’t be written it’s a deaf drop          a bright blue bolt      an adolescent disco   an anarchist distro  Don’t let your indecision Take you from behind Trust your intuition Don’t let others change your mind    a shed for skinning emotions slowly Women I suspect (I picked this up on the way ) Womensit here with you & our memories will clasp cling berry baby bring observing our own tiddlywink                       a                     way                 across                         the                  bored  Vacant absent withdrawn Dawn with doodlelove                                              witchhunts to annihilate women’s expertise This nowhere is here! After years of trying                                                                                    The change was puncture it was the emotions curving caving skiving TAKE A MENTAL HEALTH DAY OFF WORK question fence sitting, question extreme flexibility, question quiet acceptance of doing work that could be shared Tricky Tina Take a holiday from yourselfspend a week getting to know your murderous sideManic highs a calm observation of your betrayalsA positive attitude implies looking also at the dark side Things come out anyway I go into all the relationships I’m constituted ofAnd I lose the way I cameLike the dead                                                            Scattered          And suggestive Life in words                                     Can only be resolved                                    Beyond words Today’s truth can’t be composed                                  It can only be thrown on the compostFront door mat zone with post                                               Step through each day the ripoff There is only a hard shoulderTo break down on  A hem  

4.        Permaculture means different things to different people. This diversity is important, it helps to keep a sense of balance     Talking up free love to puritansAtheism to churchmenRevolution to reformersDenouncing  the ballot to suffragistsPatriotism to soldiersThe more opposition I encounteredThe more I  was in my elementCalling Emma Goldman to enter the circleThe compost heap must needs  meet the combined ignorance and venom of the food scraps it aims to reconstructAn  ancestor canEating too muchOverfedUndernourishedJunk mail pest of diabetes100kgThe  waste of waterWhere can it collectWhere can it be re-usedDry toiletAll waste is food for  somethingFertilise the momentWith attentionNowhereDead end cheap clothes material  dread dreamNow hereThere is no tradition of carnivalSo it is nowWhere people liveI’m so  lost in this poemI haven’t made a designAnd I ate so muchMy teeth have tiredJunk mail  thudsSpiritual matBut it doesn’t seem to work like thatI write by writingCarnival is here

5.        Each element performs many functions. Each important function is supported by many elements  All names have been replaced with the name of a Native Brazilian tribe  The Apalai lent a cot and The Arara do Pará asked when she could drop off a book. The Camaracoto was tired in her second pregnancy and The Chontaquiro said the house is designed anarchically, both bedrooms being the same size for father and daughter and with two big social spaces, one below where the dogs are and one above, the only place where there is air in the summer. The Curripaco said they’re together but it’s a different kind of together and the Guarani reckon the birth will cost 5,000 reais all told because she doesn’t have health insurance. The Ikpeng  said she was almost at the police station to denounce her neighbour’s drunken homophobia when she sat down with the Irantxe because it felt shit going to the police to sort out a problem they had a drink she ended up going home and knocking on the gate good evening is your dad there hello is your husband there hello I wanted to talk those insults the other night and then the egg this can’t go on and he’s red-eyed and doesn’t know where to look I too have things I can’t tolerate the shouting the arguments late at night and he shifted his weight from foot to foot. The Chontaquiro encouraged the baby to cry louder ‘Complain little one! Start practising now cos you’re going to need to shout loud later on!’ And who gets turned on by hearing other people moan in sex? not my host a look of stranglement  as we cocked our heads in the corridor after getting out the lift 400 Japanese people came over to Brazil in 1908 on a boat called Kasatu Maru and they had Portuguese lessons on the boat. The nine month old and the 18 month old didn’t exactly hit it off, after a few hours he would start crying every time she came near. And even 6 months pregnant she was one of the last to leave the bar, standing in the middle of the street and gesticulating as is her way. And she would shout ‘ Mine! Mine!’ whenever he picked up one of her toys but she didn’t shout ‘Imagine a world where no one had to be a domestic maid.’. One mother said to the other ‘We’ve only had sex four times since the birth’ , the other one said with eyebrows like speech marks ‘That doesn’t surprise me’. 130 people died on the roads on Christmas day and a family of 5 died in a road accident in Ponta Grossa, Parana, the day we arrived in Ponta Grossa, Parana. It’s five years since Cassia Eller’s overdose and there were clips on TV of her boisterous and dykey, managing to appear loud-mouthed even on stage where most people seem tame and overwhelmed. It wasn’t Cassia Eller who said Maids of Brazil unite although I’m sure she at least thought it or made up a song about it in the shower or in the middle of a smoke. And my body screamed ‘Feed me fried food! Feed me fried food!’. And in the end, the two mums played with the children separately because children under a certain age just can’t share. We cooked too much rice which the dogs ate after we’d been at it for two days. It wasn’t the dogs who said Imagine a world where no one had to be a maid.  The old lady in the shop seemed a bit bonkers but it was that she was speaking a mixture of Japanese and Portuguese and didn’t care who understood what. The Capoeira group has just been fined 20,000 reais for noise pollution which they won’t have to pay because they’re not a registered organisation.  The nightingale marvelled the baby.  The Chontaquiro puts cooked food on the heap whereas I’d read that you don’t. And anarchists proceed in life as if the state, the police, all central authorities don’t exist. The book of photographs by women said ‘There is nothing in nature that can’t be taken as a sign of both mortality and invigoration’. The Landless Movement’s history book for children tells a story of suspense about agricultural history. I couldn’t put it down. The book says we occupy empty land to have something to negotiate with. The Landless movement have a magic touch as once they occupy land, everyone suddenly gets very interested in it, even though no-one cared about it before. 80% of births in Brazil end in caesareans in the private sector although the rate is lower in the public sector. The Kaxarari said that’s the public hospital in Curitiba where women up until recently gave birth squatting.A little worm buried into my foot and the Mandauaca at the foot clinic in the centre of Rio cut it out with a scalpel asking me why I didn’t have a caesarean at the birth of my son. I asked for a café gelado in the Odeon and the waiter asked if I meant ‘iced coffee’, the TV commercial actress urged me to buy ‘professional clean’ toothpaste and people in Rio Grande do Norte are complaining with love at the Cashew tree which is the biggest in the world but it gets in the way of their cars. What to do what to do. It could have been the cashew nut tree who said Imagine a world where no-one had to be a maid. Maids free yourselves! You’re worth more than what you’re getting – because that’s the kind of attitude the biggest cashew nut tree in the world would have. The Chontaquiro was excited because Gurnot Minke was coming to Brazil to do a course in ecological architecture and what’s special about Minke is that his cone houses are pleasing to look at and they don’t use concrete which is the big challenge when it comes to eco-building.  Dorcelina Folador was assassinated in October 1999 because she was part of the Landless workers movement and the name Dorcelina Folador was given to the first women only occupation of land in Engenho Gutimba, Pernambuco in April 2000 at the exact moment when the state was masturbating itself over the 500 year anniversary of Brazil. The Folha de Sao Paulo listed the 36 towns quoted by the government as destroying the largest areas in the Amazon, mainly to grow soya and to graze cattle so I reckon the ‘Meat is Crime’ graffiti on the lamppost in Avenida Jabaquara in Sao Paulo, just outside the Japanese grocery store with the crazy old lady was part of that report but the editors decided there wasn’t room so it got shifted out to the lamppost. Maybe not, but Meat is Crime in this context because chopping down trees is. The whole world thinks so, it’s not just me. But my body was screaming Feed me fried chicken Give me beef beef beef! Most wood is illegal says a governmental organisation.  Friends are ecosystems families are monocultures friends are monocultures families are ecosystems. Domestic help is what then?! There were holes in Parana on the BR116 from Curitiba to Sao Paulo and travelling on that road was like playing Monaco in the amusement arcade in Herne Bay as a kid. Except I paid 20p a go to play that cos it was fun and then addictive and the BR116 was just a way of getting from say, London to Manchester, a boring old A-B road enlivened by moonsized craters, sleep-deprived truck drivers, mountaineous drops on the other side of a flimsy barrier, and a rule that says you must not stay in one lane you have to visit them all.  The federal government is holding off repairing it before they privatise it and then whoever buys it will put up toll booths charging 10 reais every 10 miles and repair it, probably in that order. There is no buyer as yet and meanwhile, people are dying. I did mentally text the spirit of dangerous motorways to protect us and it obviously worked. The Poyanawa has given himself a holiday task to watch all 10 series of Friends. The cars in the fast lane in Sao Paulo move over to the left to allow the motoqueiros space to zoom past. No one seems to inhale lança perfume, ether from a rag anymore – where is Loló? Who livened up carnival in my grandmother’s day ? The rain left puddles of blood in the red clay and according to the film Elite Squad the problem of gang violence and police torture in Rio is caused by the middle class students who like to have a smoke. The boy at the playground balanced in the middle of the see-saw and the Waiwai remembered doing that as a boy, and the police gunfire training squad situated 100m from the playground in Santa Teresa accompanied as percussion. The negative Gemini is too easily swayed by others, the positive is spatially and environmentally aware and flowers in harmony with each location. And the motoqueiros show solidarity with each other by kicking the wing mirror of a car that has not allowed space for the motoqueiro in front. Noone rides pushbikes in Sao Paulo but I imagine a Critical Mass bike ride ‘being the traffic’ there.  No one in the Sunday morning street market in Tupa has ever seen an episode of Friends or listened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. My body screamed Fatty food feed me fatty food!  And two men played table tennis without the table in the street and there was a skeleton and a convict dancing beside them and this was pre-carnival in Curitiba where the pre is it. We travelled 700 miles for a cup of coffee because my body was screaming ‘caffeine, caffeine I want caffeine. Give me beer beer beer beer beef!’  The Chontaquiro talked about building a relationship with houses, about caring for them, about seeing which plank of wood is being chomped by creatures, which fence is sinking, about feeling when it’s time to turn the compost. By crude process of elimination, it could have been the compost heap who said Imagine a world where noone had to be a maid, Because someone said it. Someone must have said it.

6.        Make decisions that relate to all other decisions in a project so one area isn’t working against another        Anarcho-feminist project:To get playboy products out of schools to get schools into play to make ducks out of boysCorporation educationnormalising theravage of women’s bodies / spiritKids get used to the brand name & start desiring itChomsky writes the basicprinciple of the systemis to not articulate the political agenda.Articulated it is obviousnot articulated it is unspokena veil’s breadth from breath.A dictatorship states the agendaand orders you to follow itA dictatorship allows you to say nothe US rules the world       women’s bodies are to be used to entice seduce glamorize. selldebate is encouraged only withinthe maim of that assumptiondebate gives the handpress of freedomand girls sport playboy pencil casesto put their strawberry rubbers inCorporation ration couponsHumour fleece                      

7.        Maximum contemplation, minimum action      Breaking down travel undoing travel falling into old habits travel fortifying bad habits travel decomposing travel becoming smaller travel a many-handed now travel km pass travel I pass through them travel they through me travel  food travel climate expression travel I can’t remain the same travel Like compost travel like a journey travel food scraps travel transformation travel lost the egg plot travel ego throw turned into body, turns taken in bodies, ends up in bodies, bodies end as in end. Kundalini, capoeira, diary writing, chemotherapy, hysterectomy, arguments amongst friends, drug injection, sticky nicotine patches, the progestogen only pill, insulin, easily swayed, hot water bottles to drain the pus, GSOH, sugar caves   “I’ve lost sight of the person I was when we left on dec 18th” demands of the journey, looking after the baby, packing unpacking changing nappies sleeping so the baby sleeps, the moleza that Florianópolis created, the sun and sea of booze and fried food eating while waiting for action because the para-site remains    I ate because I was tired                   when the eggshelllands on the compostheap it doesn’t know whatit’s going to become northe heat it will become part of in order tonot rot 

8.        If you can see something needs doing, give yourself permission to do it  this is the shape of my journey                       We as plastic people never rot but need at least another heaped tablespoonrun the risk of being declared a witch not here to work but to be worked upon You’re at the bottom of the slide what happens next?run the risk declare yourself a witchhere to shirkand run around in playgroundsMy quick quick snap step sharp end friendGet neither better nor worse as you get older but more yourself junk the e-lite             

Thanks to Gagged (South Wales Anarchist Newsletter Dec 07), Jed Rasula’s This Compost, conversations with friends, Brazil (mostra tua cara) & Goia for giving me space to write

characters out in their thousands is a book of tensions between the entrapment and resistance of individuals in contemporary consumer and corporate culture. “Mc pit-a-list self endearing its ugly head” materializes subjectivities that support, uphold, and accept the objectives of neoliberal culture. “sudden change to whatever” tries to map out possibilities for forcing lapses in this inscription, possibilities for temporary re-inscriptions of subjectivity.

But how can a poem itself be such a lapse? Could it be by requiring the kind of attention that resists a commercial culture, a commercial culture thriving on and demanding manifestations of frenzied concepts of pseudo-culture and the attention-deficient subjectivities they generate? Could it be by presenting itself as a long-range collaborative project? Could it be by insisting upon multiple subject positions to resist the dominant culture’s smoothing over of difference? Could it be by denaturalizing history to attempt to undo the airbrushing out of History’s alternate currents, its objectors and residues? Could it be by consisting of fragments of anecdotes, stories and text, passed on by fellow writers and resisters? Could it be in processing my ‘database’ of linguistic experiences, associations, reflections and intuitions through everyday texts such as newspapers or gas bills to start examining inscription into the system? Could it be by refusing to oversimplify? Refusing to pacify? Could it be in manifesting disgust?

Much of the text is concerned with protest, and indeed a protest is a manifestation of disgust, as it can also be a temporary lapse in the daily drudgery of the competition of Western democracy. Protests that figure here range from 1930’s Scotland through to Brazil 1968 and onto recent protests against the G8 at Genoa 2001and Scotland 2005, where this text was first performed on the streets of Edinburgh .

Download  An audio file of this poem is available on follow the links to Ceri Buck


A collaboration between the Golden Oldies and SHRAVIKA SATSANG MANDAL group, Year 12 students from Haberdasher Aske’s Hatcham College, the Museum in Docklands, the Women’s Library, Rachel Warrington and Ceri Buck.

Come and see our film and zines Saturday 8th March – International Women’s Day

There will also be talks from writer of Hero, the toughest girl in London Catherine Johnson, poetry from Dorothea Smartt and Joanna Ingham from the Women’s Library

1.30 – 3pm FREE, the Museum in Docklands

I want to tell you about this project I’ve been working on over the last month. We’ve been based mainly at the Museum in Docklands and we called it Women Making History. The people involved have been women from a group of elder women from the Caribbean (the Golden Oldies) and a group of elder Asian women from East Africa (SHRAVIKA SATSANG MANDAL). We’ve also been with a group of teenage women from a school in New Cross. The main focus of the project has been to tackle the question of how experiences of women have been represented in history, and especially in relation to the Museum in Docklands itself. Interesting in most of the galleries there are hardly any women evident in photos and text. However, in the Sugar and Slavery exhibition there are more women and they seem to be women who campaigned against slavery, both of African and European origin. Now, the way we went about tackling this project was to ask the elders what they were doing at the time of the photos depicted in the galleries and the responses were really insightful. Most women at the time of the Docklands at War exhibition were in the Caribbean or East Africa and the Ugandan women and the woman from Zanzibar recollect having to black out windows because of German plane expeditions, and all women talk of food shortages because of the war … suffering that is little heard of in the cosy wartime nostalgia stories from the British mainland. Some women were shocked at the lack of representation of Black and Asian men also. One woman asked ‘Where are they?’ Who was doing all the work in the docks at this time? Of course there were Black men here’ (and this is a theme that Catherine Johnson covers in her book Hero, the toughest girl in London, an action-packed story of a young mixed race woman’s struggle to find her father, an escaped slave, in late 18th century London). Apart from tackling this issue of representation, the women have also been writing and speaking their own stories and we’re putting all of this material into a zine. We had a trip to the Women’s Library, Old Castle Street, Aldgate to look at their collection of objects, books and zines. We chose to make a zine, alongside the film that is also being produced, for a variety of reasons related to its inclusive form – anything and everything goes in zineland; great for attempting to represent the messy, chaotic and non-linear of women’s time. See more below.

The most pleasurable thing of all has been sharing stories, food and time together to get to know other women from different communities and different generations. It really has been that simple. Get a mixed bunch of women together in a space and wonderful things happen. I feel privileged to have been there

The purposes of the zine are many and various:

In it you will find representations of our lives through objects that we have chosen because they are special to us. You will find our evaluation of whose experience isn’t represented in the museum You will find words from discussions about what it means to be a woman in our culture in terms of:

• Having a baby,

• Seeing images of women used to sell, advertise, glamorize,

We see images of women used to sell, advertise, entice, glamorize and symbolise. We never see ourselves (some comments were …)

‘None of the women here is old, everyone is active and engaged, interesting and involved. The media puts any woman over a certain age into a corner and ignores them or misrepresents them. There is no representation of the woman here.’ ‘

Women are sacked for looking older. They need to look like the trophy wife. Men are considered to be better as they get older’ ‘As a woman, I am very successful at selling things, like my pepper sauce, peanut drops, coconut cakes. I feel I am better at this because I am a woman. I can relate to people as a woman and that helps too. I feel very proud because I raise money for the project I work with, not for my own pocket.’ (this young woman is 90, sorry, but I have to divulge that!)

‘The media misrepresents people and gender roles to make money, not to be honest. There is a lack of race representation.’

• Being mis or under represented as women,

• Doing housework, • Getting older,

• Female friendship and sisterhood

You will find stories about who we are, how we know each other, how we maintain our communities and how we have come to be here.

You will find the answer to the question ‘How do I want to represent myself?’

You will find evidence of the above collected in this zine.

Zines are a perfect home for our experiences because zines are about living joyfully who we are without concession to pressures from outside. Zines are a space for creativity, for urgent live-giving messages of support to friends and to oneself, a space for angry rants and practical how-to sharing of information, knowledge and wisdom. Zines are distributed across networks of friends and groups, often free of charge. Zines are made for the love of it, not as commercial venture. Zines are a space where the logic of the market does not figure.

Through these images and words, we invite you to make a significant leap away from evaluating achievements based on the best … the most … the tallest … the loudest, the first to reach Everest, the fastest car to drive the earth, the first to reach the Americas …. And into an appreciation of women’s time, of the relational, the small-scale, the domestic, the inclusive. In this sense, we are inviting you to ‘think differently and think small’ by producing something together that needs to be handled, given a close read and that can be taken back to your home. Museum in Docklands, West India Quay, E14 4AL (at the end of the quayside, after the row of restaurants, opposite the floating church) West India Quay DLR (2 mins) or Canary Wharf DLR / Jubilee line (10 mins)