Ornamental Vagina

Sitting on that see-saw between science(of fiction) and fiction(of science), switching gears, switching frames. It not only feels good, it feels right:

i. Make up (verb): to invent, to create.

ii. Make up (verb): to embellish, to enhance.

iii. Make up (verb): to reconcile, put together again, to re-member.

iv. Make-up (noun): components, elements, constituents

To learn is to make up…?

I think of the language games young children so delight in when learning to read and write. The type we find cute for a time, before we decide to talk such nonsense out of them, so they learn to do it right. Pity. It is precisely this type of play that is characteristic of one of my favourite writers. She makes up. And I, now adult –  head full of jargon I’m constantly questioning –  listen, admire and learn:

i want to live without words

call him pink torpedo

he imagined himself & he was lady dagger lizard lobster apple-headed melon baster x-rated cannon supreme
& he loved the gutted hamster
& he wore the velvet glove

i want to live where everyone is alive
i want to live where there are so many people, where night trembles, where busy streets fall away as we move closer
i want to live where we lose it, off our faces in some garden, climbing to a place where none are more silent than us
i want dumb flesh to speak louder
i want that cunny-catcher bending light over the twisted sheets
i want you muffled and incoherent beside me
i want to live where nothing dies


i imagined you & you were lady dagger lizard lobster apple-headed melon baster x-rated
bed in my room
& you shed old skin
& you wished new lies
& you kissed hot tears
& i do i do
i kiss the moving closer
where bad days bleed on the sheets
where bad dreams bleed from these my arms, these my fingers, these my eyes
where good days cling damp to the skin
where good dreams spread on the mattress
where good days cling damp to the skin under soft & ridiculous lips
& i feed my eyes
& i wish vodka morning
& i kiss the colour of laughter

& i don’t care why you are, i just want to go too far. i just want to get in your head & show you what goes unsaid

(from Ornamental Vagina, by Penny Goring)

Speaks to the child in me. The scientist in me. The artist in me. The woman in me. The me in the tree. It looks good from up here. I do and I do and I don’t care either. Cos sometimes we think so hard we think ourselves into the wrong places. Let go. Fly.

00-12-20 swimmers

None or a brilliant one

Whitney blue red body July 2014SAM_1029


the human face is my fiercest nightmare, there are layers and layers, I’m afraid to work my way through them, there are dungeons full of secrets in the psyche


we bleed

we are revolutionary

we run through wet streets

we masturbate

we talk about it

we drink out of the same glasses

we fuck each other

we are three, we are four

we are five and two

we are full of colours

we are old blue pale photographs

we moan

we learn

we are together

we are separate

for there is none or a brilliant one

our hips bounce

we slide into lives

we are erudite libertines on everlasting oil paintings


swim in our seas, swim in our seas


(adapted from Seraphic Addiction, the first independent publication by one of my former creative writing students, Laura Gentile. Painting, Untitled, (copyright © 2014), by L.W. Eden, who says of the piece: ‘My painting is about the body and its Sinneswahrnehmungen. That’s why I drew it with my hands – not with a brush  or with some other tool –  and that’s also why I didn’t opt for realistic colours. It’s not about real appearance  – whatever that means – and more about the perception of your own body’.)

Have a break… or a broken neck?

Foto 1



New home. Settling in nicely. Love the view: 16 acres bordering onto a nature reserve. If this ain’t the perfect writer’s retreat I don’t know what is.

In bed with Faulkner, Spinoza & Derrida taking turns. Guess I like my males dead??? Does that mean I love spam?



Finished re-reading Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun. Nancy must hang for murdering Temple’s 6-month-old baby. Visiting Nancy on the night before her execution, Temple asks:
What kind of God is it that has to blackmail His customers with the whole world’s grief and ruin?
Nancy’s reply?

‘He don’t want you to suffer. He don’t like suffering neither. But He can’t help himself.’

Read it again: ‘He can’t help himself’…

Take the time to think about that…

I once thought I would kill a man; tower over his dead body and sing A-men. It would have sent me to jail but I didn’t mind. At least I’d have my peace n quiet. And time for my pen, a pen to people my world with faces that do not turn away when I show mine:

‘only in that forcible carceration does man find the idleness in which to compose, in the gross and simple terms of his gross and simple lusts and yearnings, the gross and simple recapitulations of his gross and simple heart.’ (Faulkner).

Reason came to my rescue, so he’s still alive. The view’s better in any case and I can take my breaks when I like.

Feeling enlivened/enlightened; light both in the sense of weight/less and optical matter. Weight matters. Optics matter. Matter matters. Matters matter. And how you tell tales tells tales. Time to put new – and older – insights into practice. I guess my break’s over now.

Naked Rebel (Rocking Summer Romances) by Anita Philmar

Naked Rebel

A spy that prefers to work alone, Nick Royster’s assignment is turned upside down when his superiors sends him a personal companion. Not appreciating the need to watch someone else’s back, he attends a dinner of Salsar’s inner group. Only to learn; he has to sacrifice Rane to get the information he needs to end the war.

Rane knows the importance of winning. Her family slaughtered by Salsar, this is her homeland and she plans to do whatever it takes to win her people’s freedom.

With everything on the line, can these two have any future together or does love and war equal heartache?



“I know it’s not much, but its home.” At least for the last few months it’d been. Once he’d reached the rank of top miner, it’d taken less than a year to make head foreman. Yet, he still didn’t know the location of Nustru’s purification plant.

“Nice.” A muffled voice rang through his small two room unit.

He glanced around at the bare walls. She couldn’t be serious.

Yes, he didn’t have to live in a tent, but the place wasn’t a proper home for a woman either. An ugly brown couch stood right by the door while a yellow counter with a cooler and stove occupied the opposite wall. The doorway to the back led to a tiny bathroom and an even smaller bedroom.

Not willing to argue about how she never should have been sent here, Nick walked over and looked inside the cooler. “Would you like something to drink?”

“That would be great,” she whispered through her veil.

Nick grabbed a protein drink and turned to see her struggling with the hood covering her head. He set down her drink and stepped to her side. The black cloak covering her really did its job. He couldn’t see any part of her except her small hands.

“Let’s see, how can we free you from this contraption?” He fingered the rough fabric covering her shoulders and lifted the lip of the cloth running along her biceps.

She stepped back and lowered her head.

He pulled. The hood fell away, revealing her reddish-gold hair.

A loud rip preceded a soft feminine scent, which filled the room. The cloak covering her body tore into long strips and crumbled to the floor at her feet.

A bullet of lust shot straight to his loins at the spectacular view. Full, creamy breasts covered by a skimpy piece of pink lace led to a narrow waist. Another strip hung on her curvy hips and restricted his view of her luscious center. A dark stain on her panties made him wonder if she was already wet with need.




For once, I, Tatar, man of many words, thought I’d keep out of this presentation of a new Rocking Summer Romance so you can make your own mind up without knowing beforehand what was going through mine. What I will tell you though, is: redhead. The woman who took my virginity:

Cup it… squeeze it… not so hard… kiss it (she halfwhispered)… if you pull on it with your tongue, it’ll feel like, let me show you… Do you know any Latin terms, she asked me. I hardly heard a word of what she was saying I was so bloody nervous. I’ll teach you one, she said. No, I’ll teach you two…

Had a soft spot for redheads ever since, so: Rane, rebellious, redhead, (naked…), of whom I’m told you will do ‘whatever it takes to save your people’, what else am I going to find out about you?


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Lady Elinor’s Escape (Rocking Summer Romances) by Linda McLaughlin



Linda McLaughlin. A woman of many faces. Here she’ll treat us to some historical romance. Elsewhere, writing under the name of Lyndi Lamont, she co-writes ‘steamy to erotic romance’ with Lyn O’Farrell. Yeah, you heard me. With her good girl’s face on she can be pleasantly improper. Lady Elinor can’t make up her mind how much she wants to wait. And her abusive aunt’s probably uptight cos she’s not getting it anymore (if she ever did). Linda tells me she’s bipolar, there’s nothing wrong with her that a little lithium in the water wouldn’t cure. The aunt, of course, not Linda. Some Greek philosopher it was who said there isn’t a thing a good rodgering can’t put straight. Good man!

Lady Elinor. Here’s her dilemma:

‘Lady Elinor Ashworth always longed for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive aunt, she finds more than she bargained for. Elinor fears her aunt who is irrational and dangerous, threatening Elinor and anyone she associates with. When she encounters an inquisitive gentleman, she accepts his help, but fearing for his safety, hides her identity by pretending to be a seamstress. She resists his every attempt to draw her out, all the while fighting her attraction to him.

There are too many women in barrister Stephen Chaplin’s life, but he has never been able to turn his back on a damsel in distress. The younger son of a baronet is a rescuer of troubled females, an unusual vocation fueled guilt over his failure to save the woman he loved from her brutal husband. He cannot help falling in love with his secretive seamstress, but to his dismay, the truth of her background reveals Stephen as the ineligible party.’


“Would you like to take a walk? There is a remarkable view of the city from the top of the hill, but do not forget your bonnet. You do not wish to get freckles on that lovely complexion.” He playfully touched the tip of her nose with one finger.

She laughed and donned the straw hat, but left her gloves on the blanket. “I never freckle.”

He moved closer to tie the ribbons under her chin. The brush of his hands on her neck sent shivers through her.

“We do not want your hat to blow off. It can be windy on the hill.”

He stood and held out his hand to help her up. She was acutely aware of the warmth of his bare hand enfolding hers. It was quite improper but also quite pleasant. Fingers linked, they trudged up the hill.

“Oh,” Elinor gasped softly when they reached the top. London lay before her, viewed through a slight haze. Nevertheless, she could see the spires of the city’s many churches. The sheer size and scope of the panorama comforted her. Surely, in such a large city, Aunt Sarah would not find her.

“Worth the walk, is it not?” Stephen Chaplin said as he let go her hand and stood behind her. He put one hand on her shoulder and used the other one to point out various landmarks. “There is St. Paul’s. Do you see the dome?”

“Yes,” she whispered, acutely aware of his closeness. The heat of his body seemed to envelope her and she breathed in his scent, a combination of soap and musk. She had to force herself to concentrate on what he was saying.

“That is the City, and over there,” his arm swept to the right, “is Westminster and Mayfair. And in the distance, you can see the hills of Kent.”

She looked past the city and saw the faint outline of hills. Turning around, she smiled up at him. “It is a lovely view. How can I thank you for such a pleasant day?”

His gaze grew more intense and he leaned toward her. Was he going to kiss her? Should she let him? Of course not, her head answered, but her heart sped up and she leaned toward him.

Then he blinked and abruptly drew back. “There is no need to thank me. It has been my pleasure. Now we had best return. Madame Latour will be wondering what has happened to you.”

Oddly disappointed, Elinor let him lead her back down the hill. For just a second she had thought he might kiss her. Had wanted him to kiss her. She sighed. What was wrong with her? Under the circumstances, it would be beyond the pale for her to lead him on. After all, she would only be in London a short time, just until her father sent for her. She needed to concentrate on getting word to him about her predicament.

Before she lost all sense of the propriety demanded of the daughter of an earl.



All form and propriety it was back in those days. Playing the waiting game. Talk about making life hard for yourself. But I love reads like this one. You get to see how ingenious people can be. Women in particular. The cunning behind the beauty. Stiff upper lips will melt, believe me!


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in silence



You need not fear me anymore


Or rather,

you need not fear her anymore:.

for she has gone

she won’t

trouble you from now on:

I have put her back to where she was

before you came along.



I thought there would be


for her

in my life


I realize now that there still isn’t

if I am to continue

the life I lead now


Better keep her under lock





as though I am

talking about some

hideous monster

doesn’t it:


horribly dangerous that


seems able to cope with

and not

that I am talking about


natural; something

as innocent

as curious…


Something legitimate



back home she goes

where we can both live

safe from harm.


If only

it would not cost me

so much


to keep her

in her



Never have I been so


in all my life –


in the middle

of the day so that my only option

was to lay down

my head


close my eyes to

such insuperable




Until my mind walked the

bridge between my


and the

effort I expended daily to


the Woman

in me.


And there I was

fearing another pregnancy!


In a sense, I am;

with child, though she will

never be born;

never grow to be strong



or the source of pleasure to my eye…


My secret she will forever remain –

my Jew in the attic:

I look in from time

to time –

she may stay

provided she keeps a




And when no-one’s about, I stay

a little longer –

move a little closer;

strike up a conversation

which is always amazing


Why, I ask myself

why should anyone fear

something so wonderful;

why should she

have to



And in moments of intense


I refuse to hide her:


I let her come



And she may live:


On paper.



(from The Red Room. Illustration: In Silence, by Naomi Brosnan)

“Reality”? Offstage

Having finished Coetzee’s Age of Iron, my intertextual feelers now doing overtime: I establish links to Toibin’s Testament of Mary, his The Master, to Derrida, to Hegel and to more scholars/writers than I need mention here as I pursue the link to history (history…) as gendered narration. History. Memory. Life. Death. Re-member. Forget…

Another side step to take a closer look at the tender underbelly of our thoughts and deeds: shadows clot, giving contour to the light, qualifying (resisting?) Reason:

the undecidable is not a clean break it is a quick leap between two opposing possibilities but that touch (Cixous, 2004:11)

the subtle fabric of textuality tenders its thinking network, holding the lips of the wound together by means of signifying subterfuges (op.cit., p111)

I return to history; to slippages, to subterfuges, to the stories that got away and like Coetzee, I must ask: who holds the camera?

I allow it to change hands:

‘I tell myself my grandfather, who died six years before I was born, was a good husband and father. I tell myself I visited my grandmother during the last three years of her life. I ask her if her name was changed to Julia in the 1940s. I ask her if she really hates dad or just resents him for trying to finish the house. I ask her how she survived the death of her first born. I tell her how beautiful she looks in those photographs with the white gloves matching the purse. Were those shoes red? What colour was your dress?
I imagine grandmother and I are sitting in her living room next to the kitchen. A huge wooden table stands in the middle of the room, almost touching the hip-high cupboards. The wood of the furniture is dark and smooth; the morning sun drowns the room in light and heat and makes the cupboards shine. The portrait of André, her husband, hangs on the wall next to the old television set with its two antennae trying to reach the ceiling.
The sofa is not covered with an old blanket and the radiator does not stand next to it to keep her warm in winter. The corner of the room is not filled with a mountain of clothes which have not been ironed or washed in a decade. There is no bread crust under the table fighting with dust balls to occupy the last red tiles in the room. Millions of dust particles do not dance before my eyes in a ray of sun. It does not smell of rotten food and dampness; the heavy green velvet curtains are not loaded with nicotine. There is tea on the table, a delicate teapot and matching cups with golden rims. The air is filled with the sweet scent of cookies baking in the oven. My grandmother opens the lid of the teapot and I can smell peppermint escaping in thin threads of fume.
I talk to her and ask her how she met her husband, how they fell in love. I ask her how she survived the war and how she managed to cope with her husband’s cancer. Did she miss him much? I ask her if she feels alone. I ask her to forgive me for not having visited her in her new flat. I ask her – many things.’


Not Coetzee, not Toibin. Not a Nobel Prize winner but one of my creative writing students – Sophie Gitzinger –  exploring the underbelly of history, facts, identity, of time, of the concepts that push and shove around a higher order (if such it is), and about which we artists and scientists (love to?) bicker. I learn a lot from my students. I learn a lot from so many who purport to have little to say. You’re wrong. And I love pointing that out to you!


(photo by Joan Barbara Simon, copyright 2013)

under my skin: The Nothing Caper by Amy Jo Sprague

Someone once said of me: ‘this is writing from which I stand back in admiration’. Now it’s time for me to pass on the compliment:


‘It came in the night. We were all sleeping in the creaky house and I woke to it lifting my sheets; it made my nightgown bleed. My doll saw it all so I ripped out her eyes the next morning before breakfast. Then it started coming in my dreams, and I thought a monster was asleep beneath my bed, gathering my things. On the scratchy carpet where the sun comes in, it branded my skin with its tongue, so I gave it my voice. Mother and father swallowed it up.
They found me in corners and closets and they didn’t hear their words running from my mouth. I didn’t know so I swallowed the words whole; they fed me spoonfuls of aches that echoed deep into my belly, burning my insides until it dulled.
I began to sweat them out my pores like a broken fever. I washed and raked my skin when I saw them in the mirror. They curdled and clotted the mainstreams of my heart as I took their pieces and ate them. I choked and spewed out a doll that didn’t have eyes. Her messy dress had burned away so they stitched her a new one and kept it inside, and I ran away, hungry.’


The Nothing Caper, by  Amy Jo Sprague




I want to do to you
as the sunlight to the soles of the leaves
as the night to our sighs
before joy inebriates us to sleep.

I want to do to you
as birdsong, tossed recklessly to the arms of the sky
as the brook to the pebbles’ moss
furled at her feet.

I want to do to you
as the forgotten strand of hair to the skin
as the horizon laced to our deepest wish
galloping, galloping.

I want to do to you
as the murderous downpour to the
new-born petal
as the meteor
searing the flesh
of the violet night
as the beast to the virgin…

I am the thunder to your stars
I am the blossom
I am the rock.

I am the silence of your heartbeat
stilled by the temple of our love.

I am the fire to your fears
I am the church-bell to your devout ears.

I am the bud
thrusting to life
in your sunshine.

I am that moment:
frozen green.

I am the valet to your needs.

I am you, you are me
in a pyre, the debris of our limbs
fanned by our blessed mournful cries.

I am the musk to your rose
pining my name when I have
drinking my smell as it hovers
on in a languid mist
over your golden cornfield.

I am the joyous fly
in your silken

I am ocean
I am language
I the vagabond
scouring your territory
for I want to do to you:

as the butterfly to the heart of the child

as the salt to the pearls in her sea

as the candle to the night

as sunlight to Bernstein.


(from The Red Room)