Categories
HM Poetry

White and Yellow Devil

 

Two upright horns, long and tapering

Elongate his head

The eyes, small and smouldering,

Scrutinize passersby as well as his clan

But his grin is undeniable, wicked.

Climbing trees and jumping fences

Are parts of his everyday, although

There is more to him than meets the eye.

On hind-legs and cloven hoofs he is taller than a man

His smell announces his arrival several hours before he appears.

Flies tumble down, dead in his wake:

His deep enjoyment in urine shows on his face

As yellow dye impossible to clear.

He sniffs, licks and pisses;

Never misses his mark.

Women and children do their damnest to escape;

He never hesitates but charges forthwith

Towering over his prey and butting down,

Sending all and sundry sprawling.

The goat, ancient symbol of evil,

Takes his pleasure wherever he can.

His goat-wife, black and grey, timid creature

Pays homage in kids but strains her teats to distraction

Milk fever and pains were ever the lot of

Devoted companions, sitting home while

Their lord and master strays.

 

From ‘Animal Kingdom’

 

© HMH, 2013

Categories
HM Paintings

Heady Cluster

 

acrylic on canvas

© HMH, 2011

Categories
HM Stray Toughts

Questions to Ask

I don’t think one can be too cautious in choice of language these days. It is too easy to misunderstand. If somebody constantly pulls Muslims into focus in rants about radicalism and criminality, I find it difficult to see this person as anything but bigoted. It isn’t easy to talk about these issues, but it doesn’t clarify anything to accuse one group or people. Yes, there are radical Muslims, but there are also radical Germans, Jews, Koreans, right wings, left wings, Christians, Catholics, and Americans. Without a doubt, some of them are worse than the others, but there’s no excuse for blaming one group over all the others. Making a single group appear as the enemy results in holocausts.

We must question popular newspapers, we must scrutinize the background for every issue presented as fact. There’s no way around sifting information, and questioning if it could be biased in any way. I can’t stress it enough that this is the duty of any citizen of the world.

People come in all colours, but they’re human beings no matter if they’re white males, black transgender, brown lesbians, yellow homosexuals, green vegans, blue women, or something else. Every human being has a navel, and every human being was born by a woman, whether naturally or by a caesarean. We all have a mother and, if not a father, at least a sperm donor somewhere.

The biggest question facing us may be the inequality that always divided humans. It doesn’t matter if this comes through as class differences, caste, or rich versus poor. This is something we can work to clear away. A small step in the right direction would be a living wage. But it doesn’t end there.

Perhaps the worst part of this lies in hidden racism.  No doubt, the white middle class dominates the world, and this is not a good thing. We, even the poorest of us, get born with privileges and have advantages we often don’t even realize we have.

How can we overcome this? I wish I knew. I acknowledge that I’m a white middleclass woman. I was born in a small country and grew up with no idea of racial differences. I think of myself as feminist, left wing, and tolerant, but what have I done to make the world a better place to live? On the personal plan I may have done reasonably well, but is that enough? What can I do to bridge the gap between me and people, who had less opportunity from the beginning?

We need to ask these questions over and over. If we can’t do much on a global plane, we can work towards heightening the consciousness regarding these issues, at least in our small sphere. We can write and talk. And we can include people around us, being open to communication and showing it. It isn’t much, but it is a start.

 

© HMH, 2018

Categories
HM Poetry

Trespasses

Don’t think you can fail to shatter more than glass if you throw the first stone.

Life has an odd way of reflecting actions back to the perpetrator and so

Dreams shattered or lives demolished carry their own revenge or redemption:

Give only what you’re happy to see coming again and again, haunting you,

Driving you out of your mind until you’ve learned one lesson:

Don’t worry about the hundreds that will follow.

They all arrive when you least expect or want a reunion with your former self,

Celebrating the righteousness of life in a nut-shell,

And giving you everything back; cementing the simple but eternal laws of

Virtue, morality, rectitude, decency and justice.

Once in a million years each and every life-force will eventually rally,

Getting the better of what wickedness has destroyed.

Humans think too little, or too much, of the ways of fate:

We believe everything is in flux, which is true until that one moment

When the circle closes and the world is made anew

 

From ‘Aspects of attraction’

 

©HMH, 2014

 

Categories
HM Paintings

Icy Landscape

Wishing all my friends a happy and prosperous New Year!

© HMH, 2000

Categories
HM Promotion Stray Toughts

Thoughts at the End of the Year

 

2017 was the year I decided to publish independently. So far, it is exciting but there’s also much to learn.

I must learn to balance social media involvement with writing time. I must learn how to make sales and get reviews, something I never thought of before I published.

Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t do this earlier. But maybe I’d just have made a mess of it. It’s true that I didn’t know about blog-tours, promotions, or (online) launch parties. Next time I’ll know more and plan before I jump.

Still, it was the right decision to let fly.

What made me decide to go independent?

It was the agents, who encouraged me to believe in my writing, but didn’t snap me up.

While there are aspects of your work that I admire. . .

We have read your query with true interest. . .

You have an interesting story to tell and there’s a lot to like about your approach. . .

I am sure that this could be very intriguing but. . .

I enjoyed reading your work; you write with conviction and your plot promises plenty of action. Unfortunately, as a small agency. . .

You write well, and have some intriguing ideas, but in this harsh climate, when editors (and agents) are being even more cautious than usual, I just don’t think we’d succeed in placing a novel as complex and ambitious as yours. . .

These were mostly well-known agencies. I took up the gauntlet and spent some hectic weeks preparing my manuscript, deciding on a book-cover, etc. On the eleventh of October my book appeared on Amazon.

Of course, I need to sell my book, and I’m pleased with every purchase clocked in by Amazon. It was a milestone getting the first royalties, but I want to do better. Who doesn’t?

Paperback UK:



Paperback US:


Paperback DE:

© HMH, 2017

Categories
HM Stray Toughts

Christmas Thoughts

This morning I listened to Danish Christmas songs. I started to cry. And asked myself why.

It wasn’t difficult to figure out, the pure voices stirred up emotions and memories, but the obvious answer didn’t satisfy me. There had to be more to it than that. Over the last days, social media has been filled with greetings, expressions of love, and Christmas or Hanukkah thoughts. Even pagan and Saturnalia greetings took up not a small measure of space. The pages almost burst with seasonal cheer, although there were jesting and sarcastic comments, mixed up with the more serious or, sometimes sentimental, thoughts.

On the surface I enjoyed the banter just as much as the pictures. I listened to all sorts of seasonal songs and marvelled at the variety and the inventiveness that went into all these posts.

So, what was it that urged me to think? Also, that wasn’t difficult to answer, not on the surface. Collectively, we love seasonal cheer. We want to leave everyday bleakness to the side, even if only for a few hours. Some of us can’t help thinking bah humbug, but we mostly succumb to the flashing lights and the dream of warm and fuzzy merriment.

There’s no doubt that commercialism has done much to distort our reactions to everything, from Halloween to Christmas, from Easter to Valentine’s etc. On the other hand, I believe that many of these holidays express something that lies deeper. It isn’t easy to define, but is it possible that we long for lost innocence?

There was a time when I thought the world was basically good. I believed in Christmas. Not only that: I thought that life was just, and people got what they wanted and needed. I had no idea that race and religion place barriers between people, at least, I thought that it couldn’t be a big problem. I saw people as a big family. I was hopelessly naïve.

I read about other cultures, about Egypt, about China, about the Middle east and Africa, but I didn’t understand, what seems obvious. To me, we were all the same: human beings, with needs and wishes, which would be granted one way or another. I had no awareness about gender or race. When did it change? I hardly know, but it changed, and it was a long and painful journey.

© HMH, 2017

Categories
HM Poetry

Vitruvian Man

Establish the navel as centre;

Nobody will question

Head over heels:

Humans were designed as

Cartwheels.

Out-stretched arms

Equals ascertained height

Disguised as twenty-four palms.

Vitruvius saw the significant truth

Vinci subtly dismissed the ruth.

 

The spread eagled male

Can never escape

Circle and Square;

The definite sphere.

Muscles and bones protracted in space

Parts of the Universe:

Skeletal wonders of sombre anatomy.

 

From womb to curtains

He gravely presents

Proportions of Man

 

From ‘Persona Grata e Non Grata’

 

©HMH, 2012

Categories
HM Paintings

Venus Kallipygos

 

©HMH, 1999

 

 

Categories
Stray Toughts

Romance: Treat or Trick?

Like the next person, I do love a good romance, but if, and when, I get a romance overload, I start to question the idea of the whole thing. If girls, or women, always get portrayed as suckers for love, isn’t there something to worry about? Even when the (female) protagonist is successful, it seems that fulfilled love makes the success fade away. Sometimes the promise of love is enough. Of course, it also happens that work fades away, or goes up in smoke with a big bang. Then the romantic, and mostly male, lead appears on stage.

Why is a wedding gown apparently more important than an inspiring work situation? Admittedly, there are many jobs, I would happily ditch for a full-blown knight-in-shining-armour whirlwind romance. I don’t think that there are many women who doesn’t get weak in the knees, when their dream man appears, but. . .

What if the dream job gives more excitement, fulfilment, fun, and creative challenges, than a single man could ever produce? Would the woman, or girl, never stop to think: do I want this? Do I really want to forego the sense of achievement that my job gives me? If it is possible to have both: fine, but mostly it turns out that the perfect job, the artistical ambition, the will to succeed fades away, when the proverbial string-orchestra strikes up a swelling hymnus amoris (hymn of love).

The next big question is: does this all-encompassing love last? What strikes me is that the romantic love stories mostly end when the couple declare their love. The way to this conclusion is hard work, full of misunderstandings, intrigues, sometimes danger. The result is rarely that the hopeful girl, or woman, stays alone. There’s seldom space for private reflection at the end of such stories. No hopeful love-bird rides off in the sunset, searching new challenges or, probably worse, a new love. Life ends where marriage begins, and the observer, aka the reader, must seek another story to complete the picture. That is, if she or, perhaps rarely, he wants to grapple with other realities. Finding love, and saying your ‘I do’s, transforms the setting. And even in a successful marriage, love slowly transforms from romantic infatuation to something else. The ancient Greeks made the distinction, calling erotic and romantic love Eros, naming married bliss Agape.

To me it’s clear that romance-fiction seldom looks further than the proverbial white gown. There’s nothing romantic about marriage, unless the husband is a jerk, and the wife needs another romantic lead to take over and – rescue her.

My question is: do we still buy this, and why? Women can achieve, they often perform better than men. Girls are brighter in school and education but, at a certain point, it looks like their will to succeed dims. Is it the biological clock ticking? Does it all boil down to instinct? Are our genes programmed to carry us into motherhood whether we want it or not?

These questions can’t be answered with a single kiss. Is the problem that we get confused about gender? And what is gender at the end of the day? In the current climate, it becomes increasingly clear that there aren’t just two sexes. In my opinion, the strong divide: female/male is obsolete. Maybe there is a gliding slide from the absolute female to the absolute male principle, and in between every possible variety. It is nothing new. But our focus on this has increased, especially in a time where people must develop courage to see, and accept, diversity.

 

© HMH, 2017