Uncanny Stranger

By Stevie Heaven

My parents were identity thieves.

I am a ghost story: haunted by the familial triad and its organised crimes. I am a misopater, an Electra complex, I am full of nature, anulled by nurture. I am from outer space, a turn-men-to-spaghetti black hole, and I have mysteries to solve.

I got stranded in this strange galaxy. Floating, lawless, anti-mattered, jumbled by time. With goldfish bowl around head and astronaut pen in bloodied hand.

I am writing myself out of the page.

I am a pickpocket, a magpie, collecting fragments and vignettes to tell this story:

I had one absent father, until I had two. Yes. Stuck in the family church, daddy. Like a tom cat pissing on your ancient pew.

Once, I was a silent film, until I got a B-movie overhaul. I grew up punk. I was riot grrrl. I killed the capitals and cancelled the grammar. Wrote with spit and storm, or nail and hammer. A one-woman swarm, a feminine clamour.

I was fire and fury, screamed into the dark night. Stayed underground and savage. Vowed to fight the good fight.

Then, shibari-bound by domestic trudge. End of a reign. A single mother – alone, with repetitive strain brain. Flatlining, tumbleweed, hanging from ropes. My zombie mind fought with my hopeless pen.

‘Back to the canon, escape to the halls,’ that goddam bugle called.

A womankind ghetto: in morpheme, in manifesto. I was body-snatched by that French mother Hélène Cixous. She was my Schindler, I was her Jew.

Lit up in goddess silk, she shot-put me to the skies, reformed into pieces: exploded, magicked, beautified.

She whispered to me as siren in sea salt squall.

‘By writing her self, woman will return to the body which has been more than confiscated from her, which has been turned into the uncanny stranger on display.’

Her self/my self/her self/my self. 

This got me off the ground. In the slouch, in the ditch, a holy jump start – words kicked my butt, kissed my feet, hotwired my own broken heart.

My self was modelled on madness maths. The algebra of misplaced men. WHY? = absent fathers + deadly lovers. Bereavements by disease, murder, suicide: an education in loss, time and time again.

She who death-camped herself in the oven – Ms Plath – has an every-woman-adores-a-fascist theory. ‘The boot in the face, the brute/Brute heart of a brute like you.’ As subtle as an H-bomb. But maybe the brute’s boot rings a little bit true.

You see: I got gangbanged by Lucifer’s friends. The servants, the butler, the groom. What staff!  Unravelled by those men. Death in the doorway, sprawled on the floor. Stalked by dead men and tyrants. A maniac corps.

Destiny maths: our days are numbered. Scarred with Gregorian dates and Edvard Munch clock faces. And one person’s life-changing second is just another’s tying of shoe.

Before her secret came out, I knew who I was. I had lineage. Bloodline. Stories of clan and tribe.

Then, out of the blue, one numbered day:

My mother was John the Revelator. She overturned history, told me to ignore what I knew. ‘Donor’, she told me. And there it was: a new world view.

Received/rejected. Wanted/unwanted. Forever caught in a binary of confusion. Part of a dyadic conspiracy I can never solve. An equation with two contradictory answers.

This story I am trying to tell.

It’s not called abandonment. A gift. But I ask you now, a gift to whom? If I am a gift (for mother), I am given away (by father). This is what I say: I was a gift, made to give away. A cattle market, a cotton field – bred as a slave.

I am the uncanny stranger. Confiscated from my body.