Posts Tagged ‘Poem’

Poem/sugar-gem girls

Posted: June 29, 2013 in Fly-By-Night
Tags: , , , ,

under the sun there are girls who wear

their hearts on wrists like confetti chains,

red and flaking away like stars;


as children they gave us


candy bracelets, necklaces, and we

would beautify ourselves in sweetness,

eat those sugar-gems, those jewels


until the hard enamel of girlhood cracked

our teeth like tortoiseshell, biting

down on the moon, our wrists


grown fat with blood, as pale or dark

as areolas under the harsh white light

of boys’ eyes, blinding as car headlamps;


we were does, our unantlered heads

lowered for combat, raw velvet scraped

into bleeding, butting against those sharp tines

those white knives, and we


would buckle at the knees, we would

string ourselves out on candy-wires,

our skin embossed


with eat me, drink me down, until

one by one,

they devoured


our sugar-gem selves; until

our empty, naked heartstrings bled


like cavities.

A poem inspired by this amazing tumblr of people reading on the subway.

underground books


hands more varied in colour than

the pages they turn pause,

spread into lectern-cradles for words


as open-edged as breath, whose authors span

cities, countries, centuries more

varied than the scintillant plumage of birds;


each face unguarded, caught engrossed

in worlds-that-are-worlds-that-are-not (that are nonetheless

temporarily more real than


the darkened tunnels their carriage crossed

before this; may each voyage bless

them – eye, heart, ear & tongue) – and


when they land, bookblinked & isolate

on concrete sands,

let them recede gently, like seafoam;


let them be slow to close the cover; let them be late

for work; let ink & stories stain our hands

like henna, honey, loam.

So, in keeping with the feminist themes of my previous two flarf poems (Is She A Whore? and Women Can’t Write), here is another. This one was inspired by Catherynne M. Valente’s excellent post on the Christopher Priest scandal, wherein she points out that women are not generally allowed to get as angry as men without suffering worse social consequences.

Angry Women Are

What to do when a woman is angry?
More than anything, it’s time that we answer.
Women usually get the message
that anger is unpleasant and unfeminine.
(Women are often ashamed.)


The angry women
are sitting in Encorpera cubicles across the nation,
seething with rage
that following feminist directives has turned them
into control freaks, looking for an alpha male.
(Anger is unacceptable.)


Angry women screech about equality,
and ensure it is only you
who may one day be drafted.
(Anger hurts a female candidate.)


An angry woman, a she-monster melding
images of Medea, the Furies, harpies – see,
other women hate her. They see her as a threat,
a great big husband-stealing threat
in a semi-permanent state of panic.
(She is rarely welcomed.)


Angry women are angry.
Since when were artists,
especially female artists, required
to prostrate themselves and allow
people to verbally ejaculate on them?
(Don’t be angry.)


Why do women feel so angry?
Angry women are powerful women.
Angry women are sharpenin’ their knives.
Welcome to the age of female rage.


Angry women are right here and
we’re not going anywhere.


Trigger warning: rape themes. 

Feminist anger happened today. I am sick of victims being blamed for rape. I am sick of victim-blamers moaning about how unfair it is that rape victims aren’t willing to rationally discuss the possibility that being raped was their fault, thereby forcing the blamer to conclude that it really was their fault, and all because people just won’t explain it properly. GAH.

So instead of screaming at the internet*, I decided to lapse into poetry.

This was the result:

A Woman Speaks

My sexuality is not
a red rag waved at a raging bull,
my breasts are not bread to be pulled apart
by your starving hands;
I am not responsible for the way your gaze
rakes over me like a plough through soil:

I am not here for you.

Being female is not
a challenge
a threat
or an act of lunacy
when committed before some miser of skin
who’d deny me the right
to deny his entry:

I am not meat or an unlocked door;
I am not treasure, I am not silk or porcelain;
I am not the sum of the things you want from me, stranger
who judges my shape like the hooves of livestock:

I owe you nothing.

I do not care
that you saw me pass on street or bridge
and thought that day I was just for you,
the flavour of girl you’d craved all week
like a boutique beer or ice-cream cone:
I am not your sweet; I am not your lost resolve.

My body is not a provocation.
My skin is not
the threat of aggression
that intimates violence, blood-knuckled and raw
as a gutted fish. My naked legs
are not a pair of middle fingers raised
to some vile enemy in whose lands I walk –
my arms, my thighs, my stomach, throat and mons
are all my soverign territory;

my clothes are not mouths that scream abuse
at passers-by, forcing some archaic choice
of redress or dishonour;

nor am I prey, a girl-made-doe
whose life is lived with the threat of jaws,
whose survival is luck, and whose gore-streaked death
is predicted by animal nature, Darwin
or some other magic eight-ball – listen!

My flesh and blood are not the Eucharist:
consuming me will not absolve
the act of consumption.
I am not Andromeda chained to the rock,
a virgin sacrifice sent to placate
the sea-wreathed serpent of demanding lust:

I am not a house
that begs to be broke-and-entered, and if you insist
on using your wants
to extrapolate mine,
then you only succeed
in destroying yourself.

I name you:

bull and beggar,
miser and thief – a covetous, angry,
superstitious fossil:

a self-made beast.



*There was still some screaming at the internet. Just less of it.

NASA's photo of Diwali Night fireworks in India

– reblogged from here.

Furious refugee groups have questioned how long the federal government will continue mandatory detention after the suicide of another refugee at Sydney’s Villawood Detention Centre.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul today slammed the government following the death this morning of the Tamil refugee known as Shooty to his friends.

The Immigration Department has confirmed the man was taken to hospital earlier today but died.

Citing poisoning as a possible cause of death, Mr Rintoul said a number of approaches had been made to DIAC to have Shooty released into community detention, but they had been unsuccessful.

He said the man’s failed bid to be released to attend a Hindu festival may have sparked his suicide.

– Patrick Lion, Refugee advocates slam mandatory detention after refugee suicide




The lights are lit

to welcome a goddess.


Good has won, and nations gleam

with rainbow lights

as evil is driven out by love

and families meet

and laughter is shared

and just for a night

the world is remade –

the stars are rivalled

by earthly brightness:

billions of hearts

and billions of candles

blaze like auroras

and banish the dark.

But elsewhere, as always,

evil endures.

The cell has no candles.

It punishes hearts

by denying them hope

until life is a box

without doors or space

and the whole world hangs

from the tip of a key

whose name is release

that is rarely spoken

and seldom used.

And into this dark

comes the rumour of light

that is called Diwali,

and all good things

are remembered again,


and the promise of love

is music in ears he thought were deaf;

and the promise of kin

is touch to a body long denied;

and the promise of free

is bread in the mouth starvation claimed –


but at the last, the man in the cell


Despair is his poison.

Darkness wins.

He swallows it down

and the lights go out,

for the key called release

fits a second door

whose name is death

and whose lock will open

even when cells

will not.

A billion candles

to welcome a goddess –

and yet we could not light one

to welcome a man.

– also posted here.

The dreadful ease with which a fire starts,

that match-head flick and short, sharp scratch

that brings the sparks like shrapnel shards

and sets the world ablaze.


We choke on smoke, the London sky a failing lung

consumptive with the greed and deeds

of men who run, and men with guns,

and humankind who, hungry, hunt,

and wanting, wreak


but do not speak

a language easy on the tongue.


When rhyme and reason mount the curb

and see their foes, and will not swerve,

and better men who stood to save the things they loved

are knocked instead to early graves

we ask ourselves where parents were –

what bridles checked might otherwise

have reined the rage and spared their lives –


when everything is going up in flames.


Elsewhere, a po-faced banker knots his tie

and strangles like a Tyburn son

in auto-erotic ecstasy; but then he kicks the chair away

and jerks and spasms in the throes

of sex and death and – look, who fucking knows?

But that’s the joy of double-dipping, chaps:

the money breaks, and and then its spenders snap.


And everyone is asking why,

as though some word or magic curse

could tell them how to steer away from worse.

But in the rubble, born and grown by greed

that burns both ways, and fear, and hurt, and need

Dame Trickledown is turning deadly tricks

for stolen gold


and newly-bloodied bricks.

Provoked by this news article.

Another flarf poem, this one dedicated to and inspired by the #YASaves conversation on Twitter.


I Believe In Stories


I believe in stories.

Sometimes I am asked

if telling a story is really any different

to sharing a book with a child.


As a child I heard many stories.

I believe in stories in a live-and-die kind of way,

to keep the living alive, and the dead.

Stories that live and breathe.

Stories that are fruitful and multiply. That create stories

within stories.


I trust in stories. Storytelling is hardwired into our brains:

it dictates how we think,

how we understand the world,

and how we make people free.


I believe

that Rapunzel let down her beautiful hair.

I believe in stories, because they reach

to something realer than real.


I still don’t know whether I believe

in saints, angels, or a God, but I believe in stories.

The world has enough dogma.


I believe that you can’t hate humankind

no matter how vile it’s become –

and, you know, I believe in stories. Many of us

would be a fool without them.