Within the Belly of a Snake

Hey guys! This one has been inpired by all the long journeys I often take between Edinburgh and London. Not quite sure why I have only just written a piece on this topic now but I suspect it has a lot to do with the fact that the last round of journey’s were quite bittersweet.

Hope you enjoy the piece anyway!

Within the Belly of a Snake

I find myself within
the belly of a great snake.
He grumbles and groans,
roars and moans,
like a storm upon a lake.

How strange it is the comfort here,
It’s warm and kind with him,
The destination’s known,
To journey, to roam,
He carries me safe within.

The snake twists along his narrow road,
And yet I hardly feel him move,
Yet as I turn and shift,
Restless and stiff
His journey is nought but smooth.

The weather will always phase him,
The years may pass quite slow,
But as long as he’s looked after,
As long as there’s no disaster
He will never be laid low.

How funny it is, I muse to myself,
That our differences are few,
We know deeply what is sorrow,
We never know what will come tomorrow
But joy is ever present too.

And when he leaves me at my stop,
I look him over, sweet and fond,
And though he’ll never know of me,
Though our parting is meant to be
The journey has made a bond.

I go on my merry way,
And really it’s for the best
Because after stations and stops,
after hills and their drops
The train can finally rest.

(Copyright, Chanel Martin Ramirez, 11/10/15. All rights reserved.)


A Letter from One Mother to Another

Dear Irresponsible Migrant Mother, What exactly were you thinking when you woke your children in the dead of the  night, picking up the baby still asleep?  Don’t you know how important it is for children to get enough sleep? They’ll be cranky during the day if they don’t sleep enough.  They won’t develop properly if […]


Poetry: Standing Still Through Summer

Believe me now my friends,
though not a tear was shed
parting was a sorrow
a wilted flower
falling fast
though standing still
under the gentle warmth of summer.

Though the sun was bright above
The winds blew harsh and
the rain was undecided.
Belongings a heavy weight upon myself.
The throngs of bodies
swarmed the streets
Flies upon the carrion of a holiday.

Well, my friends
it is not goodbye but
believe me when I say that
the journey home is long.
Keep yourselves safe and strong.
Summer blazes on
And we’ll be together soon.

(Copyright: Chanel Martin Ramirez, 06/06/2015. All rights reserved)

My daughter, Caitlyn Jenner, and Laverne Cox


As the mother of a young transgender child, my response to Caitlyn Jenner’s headline-grabbing announcement is a visceral one. Yes, I’m kind of put off by the hype. No, I’m not a big fan of celebrity culture or reality television. But when I look at the cover of Vanity Fair, and read the news articles that respectfully use Jenner’s new name and female pronouns, I’m overwhelmed by this new state of affairs, and by a world that might just be ready to accept my daughter. And that knocks me off my feet with awe and gratitude.

I called my friend Alice, a member of our support group whose trans daughter is a few years older than mine. “Did you see it?” I said. She knew what I was talking about.

“Of course,” she said. I could hear her shaking her head over the phone, as overcome as I was…

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You Don’t Have To Be Pretty – On YA Fiction And Beauty As A Priority

I have never, ever thought of this sort of thing before and it is truly eye-opening. For years I have been told that, as a young woman, I ‘deserve’ to feel beautiful and ‘comfortable in our own skin’, truly, this idea is lacking in substance. Why is society structured in such a way that it is so fixated on looks and then wonders why thousands of girls and women are low on self-confidence? Why focus on physical appearance at the cost of other characteristics and then condescendingly tell these thousands upon thousands of women and girls that their low self-confidence isn’t justifiable because we ‘deserve’ to feel good in our our own skin? That very same skin we are often pressured to change. Although it is certainly important to feel content with ourselves, it is also important to recognise the other attributes that a person can have such as bravery and intelligence.

I find myself now wondering why the society I live in seems to think it unbearable to focus on anything other than physical beauty.

The Belle Jar

“I’m not trying to be self-deprecating,” I say, “I just don’t get it. I’m younger. I’m not pretty. I –”

He laughs, a deep laugh that sounds like it came from deep inside him, and touches his lips to my temple.

“Don’t pretend,” I say breathily. “You know I’m not. I’m not ugly, but I am certainly not pretty.”

“Fine. You’re not pretty. So?” He kisses my cheek. “I like how you look. You’re deadly smart. You’re brave. And even though you found out about Marcus …” His voice softens. “You aren’t giving me that look. Like I’m a kicked puppy or something.”

“Well,” I say. “You’re not.”

Veronica Roth, Divergent

This handful of sentences, spoken by Divergent‘s protagonists Tris and Four, might be some of the most revolutionary words ever written in a young adult novel. In fact, they’re pretty incredible no matter what the genre…

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