Poem #9

 I do not speak subtext anymore 
 No longer do I wrangle with the entangled communication 
 If you have something to say, just say it 
 
 However unkind. 
 I promise not to mind more for your honesty 
 
 But don’t try to blind me with your offensive defensibility 
 The trick you stick with is the cruelest of slights 
 The slow trickle of truth from a sewn mouth
The barbed knife, 
Insidious insinuation device 
 
Regardless the work is all mine, to refuse to find the hidden messages 
 To change my ears and the way that I hear things 
 And what I take to heart. 
 
 A place of limited space must not have an open gate policy 
 
 I must finally learn that all must earn their time 
For a kingdom of carefully crafted kindness  

Goodbye 2010-2019

I always feel a pressure to say something at this time of year, I spend all year using words in a particular order to sum it all up and come to conclusions. This is harder than other years as we approach an entire new decade, we need to put the last one finally to rest.

Well for the good and the bad, I do feel like I’m ready to say to goodbye to it.

Goodbye to a decade long career in one seemingly inalterable duo form, to its beauty, to the success of it, to the power it had, to the dissonance of that and his resentment, to his thanklessness, to its positivity vacuum, its growing toxicity, to how painful it had become to sustain. It will never be undone. That work is there forever. A testament to talent and hard work, to my strength and endurance; and proof that however hard the lesson I can learn it. Sometimes the winning move is to give up playing entirely and leave the table with your head held high, in the knowledge you did all you could with what you had.

And so let it be buried at Sea

And any time we truly find the answers they’ll have concluded us

This year I began my new decade early by recording and releasing ‘In All Weather’ as a solo artist again. Brave and true as I have always been, prepared for failure but pleased to fly. That is how I intend to continue.

You know me, always got plenty of ideas, always planning a few moves ahead. So I have some small and some big plans ready for next year, professionally and personally, I’m excited to try them all out…

“Underestimate Josienne Clarke at your peril.” – No Depression Magazine

From now on it’s nothing but Poise, Poetry & Pride for me

Anything else can do one. Be nice or be gone, art is not a competitive sport, my love is not finite but it is precious and you can’t have it if you don’t acknowledge its value.

And finally… my Resolution with the poise of poetry and the pride to share it with you even though it’s rubbish

#Poem 9
I do not speak subtext anymore 
No longer do I wrangle with the entangled communication 
If you have something to say, just say it 

However unkind. 
I promise not to mind more for your honesty 

But don’t try to blind me with your offensive defensibility 
The trick you stick with is the cruelest of slights 
The slow trickle of truth from a sewn mouth
The barbed knife,

Insidious insinuation device

Regardless the work is all mine, to refuse to find the hidden messages 
To change my ears and the way that I hear things 
And what I take to heart. 

A place of limited space must not have an open gate policy 

I must finally learn that all must earn their time

For a kingdom of carefully crafted kindness 

Poem #8

The Monologue 

The deafening silence 

The absence 

The one and only echo in your lonely chamber 

The slow creeping of regret 

The cold sweat 

The restless night 

The sight of it slithering over the brow of the hill 

The still of the sound 

The downs

The reflection 

The dissection of every word exchanged 

The change that is necessary 

The scale of it 

The futile fight 

The missed moment 

The opportunity skipped over 

The clipping of wings

The sound of it singing 

The words endlessly ringing in 

The begin again 

The end 

it will be as if you never existed…

I spent the afternoon rescuing these rare Formication Cd’s. Some of which is here on Spotify the red ‘Icons for a New Religion’ jewel case you can see isn’t on there so it was worth saving. Once these are gone it could all but disappear. Formication is the electronic industrial noise duo of my Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft formed in 2003

I had to individually wipe the dust and mud!?! off between 50-100 copies. They had been shoved in an attic or garage, some dank corner somewhere. Hidden away like a guilty or inconvenient truth. Alec had let them be and he needs to change that.

If you love someone you should take care of the things they care about. Artistic endeavour is so often a difficult one for those that do not make things to appreciate and handle with care. But your dreams are your dreams and you’re entitled to them however unprofitable and time consuming they may be.

These creations are no less a documentation of your life and times than a collection of photographs would be.

You get what you’re willing to accept in life, some people always seem come out of things on top, none of their dreams ever end up in the garage, and that’s because they will not accept less than that. They’ve got an idea of what they’re worth. So if you allow your dreams to be consigned to the basement you carry some responsibility for whether or not they ever happen.

If you neglect things they will perish and may leave you forever.

Poem #7 Notes on the Indestructible

If I cry in public

Will you believe me then?

Is the onus on me to display my vulnerability ?

Must I wear it like a badge ?

If I make myself small and weak am I then deserving of care ?

Is it the rough skin on my palms?

Is it hard to believe that words of pain are truthful from a mouth that speaks them with such assurance ?

I practice them you know

I don’t sing songs I’ve just written for fear that my crying will crush them

and I’ll never get them out

You have to pull yourself together

Or you would fall apart in front of their eyes

It is learned poise, a pretend

Strength as an artifice I made

That now I cannot end

‘If I Didn’t Mind’ – The Reasons That I Do Mind And Why I Need To…

If you’re the kind of person that just likes to listen and decide for yourself what a song is about, or you don’t care about lyrics and you don’t care to know, then I suggest you don’t read on. This is for those of you who pour over lyric books and have questions about “why this line says this”.

My intention here is to provide a bit of wider context for this song but it’s not for the faint hearted…

 Lyrics:

You’ve got your problems
But I’m the one that needs to change
You’re so angry
But I’m the one that’s acting strangely
You don’t speak clearly
But I’m not hearing you right
And I’m the only person fighting in this fight

 
It would all be fine
If I didn’t mind
Everything would be alright
If I didn’t mind
If I just didn’t mind
 
You say you’ve got feelings
But you don’t want to talk
You’ll only concede
When you know I’m gonna walk
I’ve never known frustration like this in my life
Cos only you use silence like others use a knife
 
It would all be fine
If I didn’t mind
Everything would be alright
If I didn’t mind
If I just didn’t mind
 
You won’t give me words that I could use to feel ok
You’d rather swallow them all than give any away
I know you’re going to starve me until I waste away
You’ve always pushed me further to try to make me stay
 
It would all be fine
If I didn’t mind
Everything would be alright
If I didn’t mind
If I just didn’t mind

This song is about emotional and psychological abuse by gaslighting and passive aggression. It’s about the distortion of reality and how the blame is shifted on to the victim silently and seemingly imperceptibly. Realising this is key to escaping it and being able to articulate clearly what it is that’s happening goes some way to resolving it internally.

The nature of passive aggression is such that its difficulty to pinpoint gives it a deniability. Complaining about the virtually imperceptible micro-aggressions makes you look crazy, as each one taken on their own looks innocuous. And you cannot prove the absence of something, the absence of kindness, approval or encouragement.

It is a slow death by a thousand slights, a crushing, cloying, cold and suffocating strangling in silence.

You’re led to believe that your response to this behaviour is the issue, that your reaction comes from nowhere, an anger with no basis in the other persons action.

I thought for a good few years that I must be negative, paranoid, too highly strung and with an anger management problem. It turned out as soon as I ceased interacting with this person my anger and confusion receded and has all but disappeared now he isn’t in my life.

This song is my documentation of a toxic and dysfunctional dynamic. To redefine the hijacked narrative because its power is its silence.

Lyrically it started life as a poem I began to write as an attempt to explain what was happening to me, the first line I had for this song came from this section of the poem

I have tried to leave this house 
So many times
I have nudged every window 
Climbed down the drainpipe 
Only to find you in the garden brandishing a silent knife 
Ready to twist my words to mince
 

The image of the ‘silent knife’ became – ‘Only you use silence like others use a knife’ . The rest grew out from there. The title/chorus ‘If I Didn’t Mind’ hinges on the idea that it is my reaction being characterised as the only problem. My attempt to refute muttered slights, or confront disparaging subtext was seen as confrontational, combative trouble making. Many times being accused of making something out of nothing but it didn’t feel like nothing to me, it wasn’t nothing to me, it wasn’t meant to be nothing to me, it was specifically intended to hurt me. To wound me and erode my confidence so I wouldn’t be strong enough to leave. The verse is made up of pairs of conflicting statements which encapsulates the psychological technique of gaslighting, where the antagonist projects their bad behaviour, anger and deception onto the protagonist invisibly.

You don’t speak clearly but I’m not hearing you right…’

My hope in writing this song was that I could define what was happening to me. I could give a concrete reality to myself amidst all the mythology I was being made complicit in. To take a mirror to my gaslighter and say “this is what you’re doing to me, it’s real, I can see it, I can explain it, so now it exists and you cannot convince me that it doesn’t anymore, fuck you, goodbye.”

So I did warn you! Thanks for making it this far, sorry it’s been a bit heavy but you know, it was. Don’t worry about me though I’m ok now, I lived to tell the tale and that’s what I’m doing.

If you’ve enjoyed this wider context I’ll be releasing a lyric book with extra info for each song (not all as dark as this one) with the ‘In All Weather’ album. It will be available to preorder on Bandcamp soon. Preorder the album here

Poem #6

Held like an unexploded bomb

At full arms stretch

a threat that must be neutralised

Restrained, Contained

A wild cat in need of neutering

A small unknowable thing

At both the centre and the edge of it all

The burning episcentre and a bit part player in the story of your own life

Unsure if you’re the factory floor

Or the silent partner haunting the halls at the top of the tower

Like a bad tempered Repunzal

After countless calls to let down her hair

she cuts it all off

Content to cocoon in her seclusion

This is a coffin or a chrysalis

For eithers sake

a prison break of sorts