Of Heart and Things

heart in the rock

K. Barratt

The heart knows the rhythm of tides, the stomp of thunder, the twinkle of rain drops. The heart knows it all. Each note in the symphony of life, the hearts perceives it. To every empty space between words, to every sigh, the heart gives meaning. It is the master of beauty, of marvelling at specks of light over still rivers on a Sunday afternoon. Plumes, scales, fur, skin, the heart gilds and cherishes with its multicolour mind. Nothing is hidden from the heart. No truth is too great, no fact too irrelevant, no language too foreign for the understanding of the heart. The heart accepts it all, embraces it all, loves it all: the unlovable, the unacceptable, the untouchable, that no one dares to embrace -they too are part of the heart’s desires and endearment. In all there is, the heart finds its beat: slower, faster, moderate. In existence itself finds the heart its blood and it runs through everything as the current of life that it is. For all has a heart, a kernel, a core. And the heart dances within daisies and stars; within prima ballerinas and birthing nebulas. There is no difference to the heart between the swirling of galaxies and the circling of a roundabout full of kids. The heart beats and beats, dances and dances, sings and sings. As long as there is a wisp of life, the hearts thumps, and pulses and drums, like the first day, when it throbbed suddenly inside the womb of being. And it lived.




R in autumn close up 2a                                                                                        K. Barratt

To be thirteen again and cry over scuffed shoes. To laugh, wildly, at a friend’s joke and then cover your mouth, to hide the braces on your teeth. To be thirteen. To run with the pack, sometimes lead. To love and loath boys in the same minute, to pretend you don’t know that he’s looking at the back of the school bus. To hate the teacher, just because, and then to adore her when touched with a little of her grace, in a math test. To ignore your parents and then frown, because you have gotten your morning embrace. To speak nonstop with your bestie; to just want to be alone and mourn some unmentionable tragedy that no one understands. To adore the world. And find it a bore. To play cool, wanting not to be daft about life’s questions and answers. And deep down cross your fingers, and hope for happy-ever-afters. To be thirteen and have a heart like the sea. Innocence, walking with barrowed stilettos to school, only to change them fast as you reach the gate. To wanting to play with Barbie again and wishing to have all the money in the world, to buy everything in the girl section of Next. To be thirteen, once more. And to live it from afar, reflected in the brilliant beauty of your daughter’s eye.



K. Barratt

woman pill


At night, she pretended she was one of them. She

Did her oms and chants, anchored her feet behind

Her ears, shared the organic rice with pure, cold-pressed

Virgin oil and laughed, with them, about

The rest: the junk food eaters and murderous meat

Eaters; the zombies attached to I-phones and I-pads;

And the junkies getting high in the poison Big

Pharma had convinced them to buy, to be well,

To think well -oh poor dears, not seeing the truth

That only came from a dedicated life of oms and chants;

And cotton weaving and whale watching from a kayak.

And she would remember the whales watched

From a tourist catamaran. And the hamburger shared

With Mike when Mike was still around and she

Was part of ‘Jenny and Mike’, and there was no tombstone,

Somewhere, polluting the earth, saying ‘Mark’.

Mark with no Jenny. And on and on they spoke,

About all their wisdom, masters, gurus, shamans.

One even swore he had seen a fairy and no one doubted it.

Yet she dared not to confess about the gorilla

In the kitchen, the child in the corner, how she

Knew she belonged to another dimension, and

There was a planet where fish behaved like men

And they came and visit, some times,

Through the multi-plane hole behind

Her fridge door. She breathed deeply

With them, a communion of air, someone

Said, and she heard the noise in her head, the

Voices pulling left and right, and the anger

Raging, her heart pounding, like a giant

Drum in a slave galley, and all she wanted

was to scream that she wanted to go home,

Wherever home was; yell them out, to get out,

Shriek them out existence,

Tell them to go, that she knew not

their names, their words meant nothing

To her, nor did the hated green

Smoothies and raw nuts, and she just wanted to

Vanish, disappear, and find that quiet

Place inside of her, to which no prayer, no

Meditation, no gong bath or drumming session

Had ever taken her before.

She was sweating, panting, but not one noticed.

They were deep, inside  their holly, hallow selves.

She tipped top to the bathroom

And took her magic pot, her miracle

Pill, velvety white.

Swallow it.

And waited, until upside down became upside right.

She was out of the hole. She could breathe.

She could slither back to her place

And joint the meaningful silence,

Just in time. In time to smile, beatifically.

In time to adjust her saintly mask.

In time to lie, again, to lie because

She did not know what else to do,

Where else to go, who else to turned to.

And as they left, one of them commented

She had not finished her smoothie. She said she would

As she close the door. And then threw the

Green concoction down the drain.

The gorilla handed the cola as

He faded and she sat in front of the TV,

Drinking her coke, eating her chips,

Watching her game show, at peace.

Accepting herself completely just

As she was: a pill-popping nut

Case wanting to fly. Like an angel.

Like a saint.

And for today, that was okay.




Depression and Lice, Oh, My!




I can take the gloomy days marooned in my head like an abandoned boat house. I can deal with the eternal cloud hanging over my head that makes me Eeyore’s best friend. I have grown accustomed to the hurt: those sorts of imaginary heart attacks that turn my inner chamber into a maniac rock concert attended by punks, high on acid. I can deal with all that. I can find the lesson, the challenge, the opportunity. Like everyone keeps on reminding me, it is only in my mind: the fear, the terror, the claws grasping my throat, the electrocutions that kill me and bring me back to life again, time after time. I am even fashionable now. Depressed, anxious, somewhat paranoid, psychosomatic, suicidal. I am almost a super star in the making -just need to burn myself down after one or two top ten music hits and I’ll live forever.

But lice?


What? You didn’t think I had enough on my plate?

What else do you want from me?

I take my pills, like a good girl. Exercise at ten, meditate at three, do my CBT journal to use all my mind tools and ask myself, ad infinitum, if the world really hates me or if it just my opinion. I breathe in. I breathe out. I count to four, to ten, to one hundred and seven. I express my feelings, write them down, burn the pages and let them go -go, go, far away. I detach. I accept. I embrace my vulnerability. I ask for help. I humiliate myself as I’m held like half- drown kitten, shivering, screaming, trying to remind myself who I am, that I am, pretending, hoping, praying I will well someday, normal once more, human again, like Disney’s candle stick once said.

I try to be positive. I listen and listen to all this motivational talk, chats on how everyone and their cat have overcome far worse than this, so surely I, too, will reach the heights of triumph and someday give my Rocky speech, my Henry V on Saint Crispin’s day; be one of the happy few, who, old and grey, will look at their scars and smile with pride because I dared, and went for it, faced the foes, ten to one, and somehow, with the power of my mind and sheer will, I escaped the dungeons of my soul and pulled away the scales from my eyes. And I saw the light. And I was okay.

Not yet, though.

Someday, I tell myself.

I affirm myself.

Each day I get better and better.

Except that I don’t.

And then I find lice on my head.

And I know someone has it in for me. Above or below, someone is playing with me, laughing at me, watching me like a favourite soap opera where the damsel in distress never gets a happy end, because that’s not fun, you see. That’s so predictable. This is a radical approach. Or a classical one, perhaps (Ophelia, anyone?) Pain does not stop. Failure only sleeps a while, to make me put my guard down. Someone out there is the Lucy to my Charlie Brown, pulling the football away at each attempt. And I fall for it. Again and again.

I do rationalize this, of course.

We are talking about tiny insects, after all. Not the end of the world. No Syria, no car bomb, no famine. Just me. In the bathtub, watching them wiggle over my wet fingers. Me, of the eternal night. Me, living about phantoms no one sees. Me, choked in my own fear, beaten by all the dark possibilities that fly in my mind like a murder of crows. No biggie. Just two three, five little lice.

And I cry.