A Menopause Monologue

“A cyclical shape/structure ( as opposed to linear Aristotelian male orgasm shape/structure) is a female shape/structure, like the Wheel of The Year, like the cyclical menstrual cycle.

What else?

This circular repetitive structure is ubiquitous in paganism – Wicca etc. Like the Maiden Mother Crone cycle, like the Wheel of The year. Paganism perceives life as cyclic, circular, repetitive, coming around again. Connecting with menstruation, and  menopause is the ending of that cyclic life structure.

Do you remember your last period?

Menopause is something that you only become aware of after it has happened.

Do you remember your last period?

Panos by Carina Úbeda

Panos by Carina Úbeda

Our culture makes menstruating women invisible – tampons conceal the blood, sanitize and…what is the word? …Sanitize and deny the existence of menstruation. So that when it ends nobody’s any the wiser.

During the last 3 or 4 years of my periods I consciously chose to use reusable sanitary towels which had to be washed and dried and folded between uses. There was a kind of flappy thing with press studs that popped into my knickers and the clean towel was tucked into this sling. I had to change the towels every time I bled – like every little flow or drop stained the towel. In order to cut down the mess and to stay hygienic  each towel  had to be soaked in water immediately after removing it – or they became permanently stained. They were made in a fluffy kind of brushed cotton, and off-white – they stained easily.

Because the towels had to be changed and soaked at every drop and drip it was difficult to leave the house, a job of work was impossible. I managed a bookshop at the time – a front-facing customer service role – and I couldn’t have just left the floor, gone to the loo, put the soiled towel into a bucket of salt water and left it in the staff toilet, so I arranged to stay home during my periods, I used my holiday allowance visiting ‘auntie’. This made it important, it made my periods  important, it made me aware of them , to respect the blood flow. I felt I got to know my body more in those few years, how my cycles and needs shifted, than at any other time. It was very empowering, very empowering. I made my cycle visible, acknowledged, not denied, not hidden.

Do you remember your last period?

What else?

Invisibility. Invisible if you’re pregnant, invisible if you’re a mother, invisible if you’re childless.

This is all fitting together. Invisibility, invisibility of periods, cyclic periods, cyclic structure, cyclic time, cyclic pagan-time, cyclic pagan-year.

Do you remember your last period?

Is Paganism feminist? It can be goddess-oriented, but I’m not sure it’s Feminist. Is goddess-worship the same as Feminist? Pagan feminists? Feminist pagans? I don’t know. Just because my Paganism is green, feminist, goddess, earth, animal welfare oriented, I don’t think most Pagans are. In fact, the vast majority of Pagans are…I don’t like this train of thought. Think something else.

What else?

Maiden Mother Crone

(chants) We all come from the Goddess and to her we shall return, like a drop of rain falling to the ocean. Hoof and horn, hoof and horn, all that dies shall be reborn. Corn and grain, corn and grain, all that falls shall rise again.

Cyclic.

We are a circle within a circle, with no beginning and never-ending.

Starhawk, obviously, Spiral Dance. Feminist Pagan Eco-Warrior, par for the course.

What else?

What else?

I remember my last period.

It was Lammas sunset seven years ago. I hadn’t had a period for over six months.

I was at a Pagan Ritual Camp with 200 or 300 other Pagans. It was the last night  of the camp and we had built the Wickerman , processed him through the fields and were taking him to the fire-pit to be burned and I remember passing the Priestess, Carol, skyclad under an Oak, welcoming the procession into the field and I felt SO happy, So fucking happy, so completely at one  with it all, In that place, in that ritual, in that time.

We were casting the circle, and they lit the Wickerman, and suddenly  I burst into tears, I couldn’t stop crying, couldn’t stop. I had to leave the ritual circle and go cry in my tent. I cried hard night long.  I cried a cosmic grief in the pain of the childless mother.

Next morning I woke up and there was blood in my knickers and I thought “Oh wow! That’s what that was all about”.

Lammas is the harvest  ritual, is about reaping what you sow, is about reward.

My reward that year was infertility, barrenness, I don’t like those words – I wish there were more positive words for childlessness.

What else?

Is it over yet?

Has time run out for this monologue?

Or is it just my time that has run.”

This piece was originally written during a week of theatre workshops with RashDash physical theatre group, and was subsequently performed with Scramble Ensemble -women’s theatre collective, on 6th September 2017 at J2 The Cambridge Junction.
The image is of Panos by Carina Úbeda, a chilean artist who created an installation with used cloth sanitary towels mounted in embroidery hoops, embroidered with solgans.

Bella Basura 2017

Poetry

Archive

Psychogeography

Jean Dark

The Short Answer Chapbook for sale here 

Advertisements

Dream Theme

A new ocassional Flash Fiction Series from Bella Basura

Dream Theme One

Weird Winter Wishes
Photo: Phil MFU
Cambridge 2012

In my dream about Thurston Moore it was night, I was up by the Co-op  convenience store roundabout and all around there was this strange snow piled everywhere, like great banks of crunchy white snow – it was like some scene from a movie.
So I took my coat off, laid it down and began sledding through tunnels in the snow on my coat. Suddenly Thurston Moore was beside me and we were streaming through these glistening snow tunnels on my coat, laughing, O we were laughing, really laughing.
Eventually as we’re approaching the telephone box at the end of my street we began to slow. And there are smears of brown on the pristine snow. I look down and it is dog shit and my coat sleeve is dragging in dog shit and Thurston Moore disappears.
And I have to walk home alone in a blizzard in my torn and dog shitted coat.

Bella Basura
April 2017

Links
The Short Answer Chapbook

Archive

Psychogeography

Jean Dark

The Short Answer Chapbook for sale here 

Bella Basura Live in March

Two performances for Bella Basura coming up this month…

Scarecrow Corner Springtime Benefit Gig, Cambridge
At The Devonshire Arms, 19th MarchScarecrow Corner S[ringtime Benefit Gig

Poetic Springs Bury St Edmunds

Poetic Springs, Bury St Edmunds
Anselm Community Centre, 23rd March

Limited copies of The Short Answer chapbook will be on sale at both events.

New Flash Fiction Story

Here is a new Flash Fiction, that I performed for the first time at the recent Scarecrow Corner Benefit at The Devonshire Arms a week or so ago.

Although it’s longer than my usual offerings, you must agree it is still pretty short!

Fairies Down The Plughole

I’ve only had head lice once. I think I caught them on a group walking holiday in Wales.
One afternoon towards the end  of the week, I chaperoned a lovely little 8 year old called Annie. Her mum, too tired,  or busy, or divorce-damaged, or desperate to wash her hair, pressganged me into taking Annie with me on a four hour guided ramble in the rugged North Wales mountains, around the stunning Cadar Idris, throne of Uther. A folkloric landscape of the poet, the madman, the dead man who are said to gather on the Idris summit in the dawn’s pale gloom. A mythic and magical and harsh place of legend.

It could have been an arduous trek, but I had the delightful company of Annie to smooth the day along. Annie loved fairies, Annie saw fairies everywhere, “look, fairy doors” she would say stopping at almost every tree stump, every cleft in the tangled woodland tree roots. Annie paused at every Oak, Ash and Thorn, paid homage to every bee, butterfly and dragonfly we saw “Look! Fairies” she would say.

And at the end of the long day she granted me fairies of my own. In a gesture of blessing She drew her fingers across her cherubic dark curls, she placed her hands onto the crown of my head and dipped our heads together until our foreheads touched, we paused and stared into each others eyes. “now you have fairies too” She said.

Later, around the campfire, Annie tucked up safe in her sleeping bag, I chatted with Annie’s Mum. I said “She’s a one for the fairies” Mum laughed, “yes, it’s fairies this and fairies that, she sees them everywhere, ‘look fairies’ she says, all the time. Even when I’m using the headlice shampoo, she’s like ‘Mummy, Look! Fairies’ and I say yes honey, wash them down the plughole”

Bella Basura
December 2016

More Flash Fictions

Archive

Psychogeography

Jean Dark

Strawberry Fair Scarecrow Corner

Dialogue For Two Sock Puppets

On The Other Hand
A Dialogue For Two Sock Puppets
by Bella Basura

Titus and Fuchsia - Superstar Sock Puppets. Bella Basura 2015

Titus and Fuchsia – Superstar Sock Puppets Bella Basura 2015

As she picked up the phone I knew she was in one of her moods, I felt her contrarian mode leeching from the mouthpiece even before she spoke.

It had always been like that, even when we were kids and had to share a room.
She contradicted me as a knee jerk reaction.

If I said “Barbie is best”. She would say “I prefer Sindy”.
If I said “I like stickle-bricks”. She would say “Lego is far superior”.
If I said “Black”
She would say “White”.

I knew she was going to cut up rough this morning when I phoned her.

I said “Terrible weather, seems to rain every afternoon”
She said “On the contrary, it is sunny in the morning”.
I said “And it’s the new moon, I always feel a lack of energy at the new moon”
She said “oh really! I find the opposite is true. I have far more energy at the full moon”
I said “So your energy drops at the new moon”
She says “No, it rises at the full moon”

I say “2 plus 2 is 4”
She says “wrong! 4 minus 2 is 2”
I say “right, right is right”
She says “you’re wrong, baby sister, wrong is wrong.
Wrong wrong wrongwrongwrong wrong”

Gallery

Bella Basura

Short Tale Shrew

Last month the short fiction  magazine Short Tale Shrew awarded this flash fiction an Honourable Mention and published it on their website.

Film Night At The Rebirth Convention
by Bella Basura.

The Delegates gathered, waiting for the ‘Samsara in Cinema’ event.
Ouspensky sat broodingly alone, contemplating Ivan Osokin.
A few rows behind him The Gautama and The Christ boisterously contrasted resurrection and soul-migration.
In a hot-tub, left of the screen, naked therapists  breath-worked their birth-traumas.
Classically reincarnated deities – Mithras, Persephone, Taliesin, Vishnu, Baldur –  sat rapt as the houselights dimmed.
The crowded auditorium hushed as the diminutive figure of the Dalai Lama edged onto the stage. “My favourite film” He said simply.
And the screen sprang into life, illuminating the film’s title “Groundhog Day”.

Soul Migration

Soul Migration – A self-portrait

More Flash Fiction

About Bella Basura

Archive

The Short Answer – a collection short stories in 100 words

bookshelf.jpg

A Poet In The Book Closet

“Take it” said the beautiful woman with the cherubic smile, leaning across the bare wood table, holding out a black ballpoint pen.
I barely knew where to look.
The musty, book-lined library backroom gloom seemed too perfect, paranoia perfect.
“Take it” she said smiling with radiant beneficence.
“And this” she pushed a wiro-bound notebook towards me.
I hesitated. Panic words unleashed into my head.
I’m silently rapping on honeytrap words, glancing at her, but keeping calm.
“Take them” She urged “Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with us”
Her hand gesture drew in the whole room
“We’re all poets here”

More Flash Fiction – The Short Answer a collection of short stories in 100 words.

About Bella Basura

Bella Basura
chronological archive

 

From The Short Answer

Majhanashoppinglist - Bella Basura 2016

Majhanashoppinglist
– Bella Basura 2016

The Tibetan Book of Home Economics

Thus, when I wander in Samsara in the realm of the wrathful food emporiums, the supermarkets of the bardo of eternal price confusion, may I not wander aimless to decide between one 200gm tube or two 100gm tubes of toothpaste. May Majhanashoppinglist and his consort Sensiblebugettingbhava go before me and carry me through the fearful towers of the checkouts. Thus, may I not be attracted by the bright flashing colours, shiny celophane, BOGOF and price slashing, but may the clear pure green light of the Exit shine before me and lead me to the eternal bliss of exiting the carpark.

Bella Basura
April 2016

Bella Basura’s  Collection of 100 word Flash Fictions – The Short Answer

Other images in my Gallery

Fish Mythology – Flash Fiction

Finally, I have managed to capture in words my tumultuous feelings around the death earlier this year of my one-time Hero, freak out to the Teenage Moon Dream oh yeah! – David Bowie. The piece is a 100 word Flash Fiction story, that has a specifically East-Anglian setting because I live in East-Anglia.The piece, Fish Mythology, is sub-titled “if David Bowie had been born an Eel instead”

 

Fish Mythology By Bella Basura

Eel Bowie-Fish

 Here Eel Bowie-Fish fell, brandy-drunk, face down in the Ouse.
Down where Bulrush buds waver in clear still water, beneath we writhing bottom-feeder shoals, we elvers and catfish, he deep under layers of earthy mud, dark dead debris.

Here in leaf-litter and rot lies the corpse of old Eel Bowie-Fish, who lead us to conquer the Isle of Ely, on the Fen he crawled on his fins, on the floodplain he walked on his tail, like a bishop, into the Cathedral, resplendent in his flowing robes.
But here lies Eel Bowie-Fish , decomposing in slow-motion undulations, while we pick his bones white.

Bella Basura’s in progress Flash Fiction Anthology – The Short Answer

Bella Basura
Feb. 2016