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.

Stranger,
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

.

Diwali

.

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

remains.

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.

So, for reasons that have to do with how my brain works and are therefore largely inexplicable, I decided tonight to try my hand at flarf poetry. This is not something I’ve ever done before – it is, in fact, something I only learned about recently – so you’ll have to forgive me my small cheats at canonical practice. I have, for instance, spelled all the words correctly rather than leaving certain of them in their original state, because netspeak burns me and, on a non-pedantic note, because it makes the whole thing a bit more seamless; harder to see where the one quote segues into the next (or so I hope). I’ve kept references of all the sites from whence these lines came, but won’t post them here. I also typed the words in twice, picked and chose which bits to use: the first time without quotation marks, the second time with. I’ve put in a couple of full stops, colons and hyphons to shape the end-of-line grammar: but otherwise, the content is unadulterated.

Without further ado, then, here is the poem, titled after the words I typed into Google:

.

Is She A Whore

.

She’s a whore at fourteen, when she leaves the house

in a miniskirt, tights, and a low-cut T-shirt.

It’s her own fault

if someone grabs her in the park –

.

is she a whore,

who I’m trying to see as innocent?

.

Not only is she a whore, but I just don’t see

what guys find all that attractive

about her. Maybe

if she didn’t look so trashy and retarded…

.

Not only is she a whore whore, but she’s

an attention whore.

I wouldn’t call her a whore. She obviously

is troubled, genuinely seeking a

connection

.

(rapport & comfort)

.

This is the worst kind of whore

because she’s pissing on love and respect.

You get the picture.

She’s got that crazy, hyper, coked-up

look in her eyes, because she’s thin and has big boobs

and is young, meanwhile

you are old and/or fat and gross:

guys look at her and

she ALWAYS says hi to them.

.

Is she a whore? Proverbs tells us:

she naively embraces

evil, and knows nothing.

She promises understanding, but

gives nothing but lies; and why

does she convert 10-year-old followers

into mindless slut zombies?

.

She makes a living based on her looks

and her sexuality:

is she a whore for that?

.

Honestly, does anyone know?

I am concerned

that I need to lock up my boyfriend

and take all of my holey fishnets

off the washing line.

The damage begins with thought

And all flows out from there:

It’s not about brains or brawn

Or who has the greater care

When it comes to rocking a cradle;

Somewhere, somebody thought

That half of all children born

Across the face of the earth

Were less than the other half

If one day, they could give birth.

-

Strength doesn’t lead to intelligence,

But that’s where the fight ends up.

Inside, out and back again:

All of history’s well-heeled gents,

Passing the brandy, swilling the cup.

Surely the differences of flesh

Would matter less, or not at all,

If we understood what they really meant;

Two separate halves of a whole;

-

The having of thoughts, and their worth

Are disconnected from tasks

To which our bodies are suited:

That nude electricity, the driving spark

That fuels us – that is the point.

Peel off the candy-wrapper skins,

The weight that asks

We all be store-bought mannequins

And study the pilot-light:

Humanity, always sculpting fire,

Brave in the sentient night.

-

The directions we forbid ourselves

Through fear, not love

Are made in monstrous shapes:

We try to draw

A smile on the wreck of centuries

And make it a jackanapes

But even greasepaint rebels

At the push-and-shove.

We are not fools

To fix what was wrong before –

-

Now step aside, you ancients.

Open the door.



Note: The above was roughly inspired by this hideous article in today’s SMH, wherein columnist Bettina Arndt worries that Australia’s unmarried, female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, will corrupt the Youths Of Today with her de facto lifestyle. Clearly, I was not impressed.

Warning the First: This is what happens when I read about Twitter coverage of the Iranian election and start thinking about Little Brother, Serenity, The Gone-Away World and The X-Files in confluence. (With apologies to Cory Doctorow, Joss Whedon, Nick Harkaway and Chris Carter.)

Warning the Second: I am a giant geek.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

 

spooks in the machine

 

& in my head I hear them shouting -

Take it back! wrote Doctorow; & as the smoke

of bloody bombs and tiger-fires lights the way,

young fingers dance a typeset revolution, row on row, and say! –  

don’t updates sound like Mr Universe? You cannot stop the signal. 

True. Technology’s an everloving curse.

 

The youth are fighting back. From pens & swords

we battle guns & tweets; and shockingly the old wives’ mandate 

(tell it to the bees) has proven true:

the hivemind waits, a hydra craving news.

The truth is out there. All along the pipe of pipes,

we raise a cry: the The FOX is going up! 

& when we look and look again

there is no lie, no crawling, poor excuse to tell

that begs our ignorance of broken men,

the brimstone-charred apologists of hell.

 

Words thrive in spaces other norms refuse: they

grow like ivy, breed like mushrooms, eat the smart refuse

of dreams, & when the firewalls are trashed 

they revel in it: long live youth! whose busy thumbs in World War III

(should trenches ever come again, & schnapps, & soccer skirting bombs)

might save the Christmas Truce!