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We meet in the silent whistling
Heads on pillow
Sleepy and narcotised by the heat
Exhausted by the adrenaline of novelty
You find me and we entwine
Like the cords of the vitis coignetiae in the garden downstairs
So easily friends, so swift. We lie lazy and childish
Drifting between half wakefulness and curiosity
I breath in your steady rhythm
Breathy desire becomes an invisible third stem
Twisting and navigating you to me
The windows are ajar and a storm brews outside
We let each other in and meet in the silent whistling.

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Step on me. Part II

In the 90s my eclectic taste in music continued but soul, hip hop and R&B became my staple. Mary J Blige’s What’s the 411? Snoop Dog’s Doggystyle. Joe’s Everything. I remember walking around the school playground with the crew, in-ear headphones shared between two. Tevin Campbell singing teenage love songs and long sighs over unrequited affections.

In college, after the braces came off, I embraced the club scene and partied as hard as I studied to The Fugees, BlackStreet, Faith Evans, Mariah ‘bad girl’ Carey, Missy Elliot, Aaliyah, The Notorious B.I.G. and others.

And then there was Jungle. Drum and base spoke through vibrations. Moved the body in a trance. The noise was an exorcism and I danced all night long.

Then neo soul arrived. Love Jones played fresh. I fell in love with Cassandra Williams and her Tupelo Honey became my lullaby.

Then, A levels over with I got on a plane across the Atlantic where an unexpected love, the one who I choose to get the deed over with, taught me about Jazz over a long fiery summer in New York. At last I was to have my Paula Danziger Remember Me to Harold Square romance years after first reading that novel.

I was schooled in the works of his favourite pianist South African Abdullah Ibrahim and, amongst others, Monk, Coltrane and Davis. And also a lesser know singer Sathima Bea Benjamin whose rendition of standards like A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square made the world disappear as we kissed and found each other in the darkness.

The following summer I made the same journey across the ocean and found other distractions. I see myself kissing a boy in the rain after a movie. Taking the subway to meet a guy in Colney Island. Waiting to meet Maxwell so he could sign my CD and I could take his picture at a record store in Times Square. The queue to him snaked and looped up down and around the building. New friends were made in the line. Afterwards over a late night pizza we came together and departed never to meet again. Life was full of possibility. I was fearless. And youth was delicious: I can still taste its sweet tangy zest on my tongue now.

Then I returned to London town where the intense sex and intoxicating bond between Deluded Dick and I began to hypnotise me. In the weeks before we parted to start our degrees love secretly seeped into my veins and tainted the blood that coursed throughout my body.

For the next 15 years music receded as life with a porn addicted drug taking drunk came into the fore. By the time we spilt my Spotify playlist seemed to be looking back at tracks rather than listening to the tunes of the present.

When I found myself stuck to the pavement struck down with grief, I summoned the same resolve that had helped me endure the marriage. Between tears that rocked and shook me. Made me as empty and as hollow and as light as the shell of a ground nut. Between the waves of sadness I danced. And danced. And sang and screamed lyrics to myself and to my children so that life became a karaoke disco. My playlist included: Janelle Monae (basically everything but mostly stuff from her current album), Katy Perry (Roar), K. Michelle (Can’t Raise a Man), Ciara (I’m Out), Rita Ora (album ORA Delux), Lorde (album Pure Heroine), AlunaGeorge (Attracting Flies and album Body Music). Lots of afrobeats. Lots of house and especially stuff released by Rinse FM. Some of my favourite tracks: Music Box (Royal T), Zinc (Goin In), P Money (Shutting Down), Brackles (Chasing Crazy, Go Ahead, Too Much, DPMO), Mapei (Don’t Wait).

Out of all of these it was Roar by Katy Perry that I would sing at bath time to my sons, though more so to myself. It spoke of me and was a call to overcome bullshit. To continue to be the woman I had always been and to not let some fool fool guy crush me. I sang about a lioness to my cubs and we roared together laughing and powerful. I was renewed.

Music has been a solace and an inspiration. It has and continues to heal me. I will not be stepped on any more. The creators will never know me but daily I thank them for their lessons and their gifts.

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Real life rom com

Romance sometime makes suckers and chumps out of us women. However, since splitting from Deluded Dick, aka the ex, I have begun to reconnect with the rom com/ chick flick. To be honest I was never one for romance and what I termed ‘girly shit’ which is probably why Deluded Dick got away with so much. Yes he’d make the occasional grand gesture but it was always undermined by his behaviour and his cheapness. While splashing the cash on booze, prostitutes, strippers, drugs and gadgetry he neglected to treat me to anything other than underwear: a gift from him to me that was really a gift for his dick. What a charmer. After years I pointed out his same old same old gift buying tactic and then began receiving… nothing. The most I got was the honour of selecting a Lovefilm DVD to watch with DD while he spent the length of the movie texting members of his dick appreciation society. I would sit, thoughts oscillating, shifting between ‘isn’t this cosy’ and ‘I can’t believe he is texting in front of me like I don’t know the score’. (Geez gotta work on my ishooos…)

But now good people, my eyes are wide open and yes I see that giving is an act of love and appreciation. Of thought and honour of the woman. Yes the woman. For surely buying a gift for your number one lady should not be the same as buying for your mum, or a mate, or a whore. No it should be about them specifically. A, dare I say it, romantic declaration of continued commitment. And so I think I have worked out what my expectation number ‘middle of the list’ will be: soon after things start to get serious expect a romantic token/ gesture that says ‘I think you’re awesome’ and expect it for the duration of the courtship/ relationship because lady…you are worth it.

Life doesn’t have to mirror a movie but I’d love to tingle inside and know that someone is giddy over me. I don’t want to be out there handing out the keys to my heart until I meet someone who is willing to do the same. Love is a two way street. Love loves reciprocation. I know that now and value the love I have to offer. It doesn’t come cheap and neither do I.

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