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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Roz Kaveney's LiveJournal:

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    Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
    10:44 pm
    Just so you don't think I've forgotten all this...
    CATULLUS 106

    That pretty boy now dates an auctioneer.
    His price went up. To me, he's always dear.
    Friday, April 17th, 2015
    11:35 pm
    10:53 pm
    It's that scene in the showbiz movie where they're in the bar waiting for the first editions...
    First review of Tiny Pieces of Skull, from DIVA

    "‘Well-spoken cream-cake loving Annabelle meets beautiful but unreliable American Natasha and, in a memorably queasy scene, is soon convinced to get spur-of-the-moment breast implants under a local anaesthetic. Then she’s leaving London to visit Natasha in Chicago, where she discovers she must fend for herself, working on the bar scene alongside a supporting cast which includes includes neighbor Alexandra and her python Rudolph, bottle-blonde Nazi sadist Inga, numerous johns and dodgy cop Detective Bunckley, whose appearances carry a threatening edge. “Most of it happened, more or less,” notes Kaveney of events in this whip-smart novel, a portrait of late 70s trans street-life written in 1988 but never before published. How great that it has been now. It’s a story of friendships, flawed and genuine, and of self-determination and resilience, but one which doesn’t dip into sentimentality; Kaveney has a superb gift for dialogue, with her main characters wonderfully adept at trading cutting put-downs, charmingly delivered under a polite veneer. A sharp delight."
    Sunday, April 12th, 2015
    12:55 am
    My view on what should happen about the Hugos.
    This is also on my Facebook and I have tweeted it.

    I know some goog people are upset by my view of this.

    There is a story we all love - probably too much because it has become a cliche; the bad person over-reaches and falls down as a result. This sometimes actually happens - they invade Russia, they forge the One Ring, they start believing Austerity works.

    We may be at that moment.There appears - I so hope that it's not the case, somehow - that fixing the Hugo nominations with slates was legal in the sense that no one ever thought of making a rule about it. However, even in private organizations that have their own rules and never thought to make certain things illegal, it seems to me that there are some things which no court would disagree with even if they are formally absent from the articles of incorporation, association and what not.

    If something is voted for by an organization's membership, the organization has a duty of care to ensure that the ballot box is not stuffed, that the voters are not personated and so on; that's kind of implicit to the process of voting.

    It seems to me that threatening that if the vote does not go the way you want, or goes a way you do not want, you will engage in a conspiracy to ensure that all future votes are subverted, is an attempt to fix the vote to menaces. Anyone who does that should not just be disqualified from voting - they should have their candidature disallowed. Theodore Beale has threatened that, should No Award win in a serious number of categories against his candidates, he will ensure that all future Hugo votes are subverted by Gamergate, the Rabids and any other Nazis he finds hanging around on street corners.

    That is, it strikes me, an attempt to influence how the Hugo vote comes out, by menaces.

    His nominations should be accordingly disqualified as should any nomination in which he has a financial interest. Anything published by Castalia, which he owns and edits, for one thing. And a look should be taken at other small presses on the ballot.

    This does nothing about the Sads - thus far they have not broken, though they have bent, the rules.

    I would suggest that the Con Committee pay atention to this suggestion.

    Thursday, April 9th, 2015
    12:47 am
    In spite of con crud
    SCRIPTURE 4

    Sometimes they whisper when I'm half asleep

    secrets. I know they're gone beyond recall

    yet drowsing...It coheres, I see it all.

    The high empyrean, the abyss deep,

    reasons for death and sin and love and pain

    why angel snores break crystals into dust

    why we should never question only trust.

    My foot cramps slightly, I awake again

    My dead and all that certainty is grit

    corner of eye that finger pokes. It stings.

    Sleep flees, takes with it all dream's wonder things

    Mind like the body needs a daily shit.

    Visions are heaven poison in our food

    fast us to fever, tears and sweat of blood.

    Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
    10:45 pm
    This is turning into yet another sequence
    SCRIPTURE 3

    Either know one vast maker. All that is,

    Might be, formed in an instant of fierce will.

    Light, words expanding ever or until

    Limit. A thought that's Theirs or Hers or His

    An Aleph greater than our mind could hold

    to try would blast. So never think you can.

    know laid down laws. With which our world began

    Coded in flesh. And constellations cold

    have not the shape we think. Perception made

    dragon crabclaw, sketched on dark field of sky.

    We make things, think them real, consoling lie.

    Or look on empty space and be afraid

    either a fiction or so vast a mind.

    We cannot think. There are no words to find.

    1:08 pm
    Another poem of cosmic pessimism
    SCRIPTURE 2

    Joy is a moment. Every moment ends.

    Time flickers past and most of it we waste.

    Nor can remember every peach's taste.

    Death takes away the laughter of our friends.

    Last more than bronze? Perhaps, but art will die

    all tongues are stilled last speaker in their grave.

    When houses burn, it is our child we save.

    Perhaps some years, but deathless is a lie.

    God too, but if there is, they do not care.

    Sparrows are just as precious as your verse.

    For conquerors oblivion is worse

    than losing. No one knows that they were there.

    These perect instants fragments of some whole

    that never came together to console.

    Monday, April 6th, 2015
    11:10 pm
    A sort of response to John C Wright's description of his vision of God
    SCRIPTURE

    No thing, or place, or time. Spark flickers dies.
    Gone universe. It lasted all our years
    comets fucks symphonies. Ended in tears.
    That end. Or aren't. We're dust, but dust that lies

    better than hopeless truth. Blood from a scratch
    chili on tongue. A single perfect line.
    Better than gods. One moment you were mine
    Live die. To live is dying – that's the catch,

    Contractual. Joy costs. These are the facts.
    No gods but those we made up in our head
    helped us to kill or love. They're just as dead.
    We will not be remembered for our acts.

    Stumble for meaning. If it's there, we're blind.
    A second's light. Make art and love. Be kind.
    1:42 am
    Not a post about the Hugos
    The crucial thing about John C. Wright is that he believes that he was saved from a fatal heat attack by direct divine intervention. He believes that he was redeemed from a life of atheistic blasphemy by God's smart answer to a snide mockery of prayer. He believes that he has had a series of visits by most of the figures of Christian mythology,

    Further " I entered the mind of God and saw the indescribable simplicity and complexity, love, humor and majesty of His thought, and I understood the joy beyond understanding and comprehended the underlying unity of all things, and the paradox of determinism and free will was made clear to me, as was the symphonic nature of prophecy. I was shown the structure of time and space."

    Now, that's a deal more of a vision than was vouchsafed to most of the great mystics - it leaves Julian of Norwich and Thomas Aquinas in the dust.

    I think we can assume that John C. Wright believes himself to be a bit special. Which the Jesuits who taught me taught me to consider spiritual pride.

    Apart from the question - why, if you have seen all this, would you want to be complicit in fixing the Hugos? - I am left with the snide mockery of atheists, and the following remark of Christ 'whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.'

    I just try to be polite, but then I am just an agnostic. Wright is supposed to be judging himself by a higher standard.

    His first couple of books were sort of promising but I didn't take to his later ones.
    Sunday, March 29th, 2015
    11:21 am
    REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG and GIRLTRASH ALL NIGHT LONG
    I need to think a bit longer about a couple of the films I've seen at BFI FLARE - the new Ozon film THE NEW GIRLFRIEND is a fascinating meditation on grief and on falling in love and on transition, and JAMIE MARKS IS DEAD is a very creepy ghost story about sexual obsession. Both films press my buttons in a variety of ways and I probably need to sit through them both again before I can get a handle on what I think.

    Not that the other two films - the two I most loved all festival - don't press my buttons too. The Nancy Kates documentary REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG hit home in all sorts of ways - as has to be the case for anyone of my age for whom Sontag was a role model. Without her ever having come explicitly out - and its not being utterly blindingly obvious later on that she was bi going on lesbian - it was impossible from the 60s onwards not to be a femme queer identified intellectual and not worship the ground she walked on. It was the utter avidity of Sontag's ambition that breathed off every page - she was one of the first intellectuals in the post-war era seriously to rate things in popular culture for their sheer passion. It's sad, in a way, that she never quite enjoyed the things she embraced ideologically as much as she might have done - all those years working doggedly through the canon because it was good for her left their mark - but she freed us a bit from the idea that the canon was everything and I am forced to be grateful to her for that.

    I loved the way that Kates doesn't soften anything - she raises the significant possibility that a lot of what Sontag actually produced was of variable quality - the film, the fiction, even the late fiction which garnered awards may not actually have been as important as she wanted them to be. AGAINST INTERPRETATION has worn well - especially, for me at least, the simple insight that criticism has to be about the sheer pleasure of text and not about decoding it. I read that essay as a teenager, and it pretty much set my career course.

    Her first brush with cancer and the Epidemic produced two of her best books SICKNESS AS METAPHOR and AIDS AND ITS METAPHORS. It's so important to decouple sickness from moral judgements and she managed to start that very important work in an era where people were only too anxious to blame misfortune on moral weakness.

    Sontag got to sleep with a lot of amazing women and men; I am not sure that she was exactly nice and seems to have had a filthy temper. I realize I am glad that I never met her because she is an extreme example of the difficult women of that generation and a half older than me that I tended to look up to - Caro Blackwood was about as impossible as I could stand.

    Crucially, Sontag lived a life of engagement with art and politics that I envy, and died unsure that anything she had done was all that important. We never get to know, is the point - and the fact someone with so much achieved had that unsureness is actually reassuring for those of us in late middle age.

    The quality of Nancy Kates' film is such that it made me think about all of these things rather than about the film itself - it put Sontag on screen and that is the important thing.


    GIRLTRASH ALL NIGHT LONG - what to say? As Emma from FLARE said, it's a musical! About Lesbians! With girls in vests! It's an addition to my canon of hysterically funny films that made me cry and laugh and feel guilty about having an innter teenager in my sixties. Two young women whose band has never quite made it get a chance to appear at a band slam - only an excon ex of one of them wants money and seizes their instruments, the younger sister of the other chooses this moment to come out and demand that they get her off with the woman of her dreams, the new girlfriend of another ex is also in the slam and is not nice about their music...And lies that get out of hand, and Daisy's fear that her bandmate Tyler might actually get off with her slightly naive sister and break her heart, and a quantity of stolen drugs, and the sister's awful straight sorority sisters, and...Oh gosh it made me laugh and the fact I loved it probably means I will never be as serious as Susan Sontag. Which is probably good for my poetry and certainly good for my capacity for happiness.


    Oh and Sontag was friends with the poet and critic Richard Howard, who likes my work...So maybe I get to have a good time and be a serious figure that serious figures respect anyway.

    All a bit personal and self-seeking - but really, catch these two movies.
    Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
    4:57 pm
    ANOTHER NIGHT AT FLARE
    MALA MALA is a series of happy accidents, of the sort that ends up being a rather better film than might have happened through deliberate intent. First time directors Dan Sickles and Antonio Massini took on the vast project of recording the trans community of Puerto Rico and were young enough and sweet-natured enough that they came across to the vulnerable people they were trying to talk to as trustworthy because utterly without guile. They were worried about not representing trans masculine people, but then Paxx not only dropped into their laps but turned, almost as they watched him, into as much of an activist as Ivana, who was one of the first people they talked to. During the months they were filming, a nascent activist scene moved on from just ensuring the safety of trans sex workers to agitating for trans inclusion in legislative change - in succeeding in bringing that change about and being able to take advantage of it. They were lucky in who they chose to concentrate on talking to - and just by being there filming were a sort of catalyst.

    I loved this film because it showed how much people leading dangerous lives on the street can look out for each other and move on from looking out for each other to actually doing stuff. It is a film that shows that successful political engagement does not have to mean respectability politics - except at the level of a bunch of people who mostly work street corners and bars, putting on team shirts over their miniskirts and hotpants. Above all Sickles and Massini had the sense to let well enough alone - to let a bunch of bright sassy young trans people tell their own stories and just be there with a camera.

    It made me happy.
    Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
    11:45 pm
    Two more nights at FLARE
    MIRCA was a perfectly OK, slightly worth set of discussions of gender and gender-queer in which a bunch of Berlin people and the Italian film maker played some pranks on people in the street and got the expected reactions of incredulity, giggles and hostility. It would have been better shorter, or if it had focussed on the most interesting person in it, Ocean, who was less into talking us through GQ1.01 and more into being quietly fabulous.

    I was much more taken with DRESSED AS A GIRL, which is a chronicle of the very theatrical, very glittery world of modern East London Drag - where the emphasis is less on passing and more on being theatrical and fabulous. These are Divine's children and also the Divine David's - very glittery, very sequinned and very very rude.

    Over the period covered, Amber decides to transition and does - and rebuilds her relationship with her father;Pia decides that the world is too full of misery for her to deserve to be happy; Julie makes a career of being a woman drag queen and is gruff and gorgeous. Johnny Woo - the ringmaster of all this - accepts that this is what he wants to do; Scottee moves from being a slobbering mess working out their issues in public to being a really accomplished performer by refining their schtick rather than abandoning the material; John Sizzle copes with ageing. (45? A mere child, dear...)

    I hadn't expected to like this film as much as I did - it's all about community and diversity and teamwork and kindness...

    PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL MONOGAMIST is a superior and intelligent version of that lesbian rom-com in which someone ditches their partner for a sense of possibility and pastures new, and LEARNS A VALUABLE LESSON. I found myself going -don't leave, just cheat - at various points, which is not at all what I think. I liked bits of it more than the whole - there's a wonderful cat funeral which turns into a bitchfest, and there is a scene when the mostly straight potential new girlfriend gets scared off by the heroine's family. I just didn't like the heroine much and liked her friends less - but sure, it was funny and real and I know some of those people and interactions.

    After that, I went to the DRESSED AS A GIRL afterparty at Atmos where I sat at the bar for ten minutes waiting to be served. Gay bars, where staff think their job is to cruise the hot fit white boys at the bar and ignore anyone they don't fancy - I really haven't missed you. I made no excuses, just left.
    Thursday, March 19th, 2015
    11:54 pm
    FIRST NIGHT OF THE FILM FESTIVAL
    I Am Michael

    An odd sad little film about a gay activist who, after a series of panic attacks that he mistakes for the onset of the heart disease that killed his father, returns to the Christianity of his mother and becomes an ex-gay married pastor. Ethically, this is potentially a problematic film because Michael Glatze, the real person on whom it is based, had no say in the production, having sold rights in his life story. As it is, he turns out to have rather enjoyed the film, and thinks it a fair-minded portrayal of what happened. Further, his phase of believing that to be gay is to be damned has passed - he has become critical of the particular approach to biblical literalism that he used to espouse.

    It's a subject that has always concerned me - how do you go on loving a friend who makes choices that you see as harming them, you and the community of which you're both part. It's relevant to some of the questions within the trans community - where a variety of ideological positions clash quite intensely...

    As it is, a rather greyly written film that gets leadenly obvious in places and is a little unfair in the way it shows belief as essentially about guilt and fear without much actual bliss or ecstasy. What makes it work is Zachary Quinto's simple quiet goodness as Bennet, Michael's ex, who loves him unconditionally and accepts that they are over. James Franco is excellent too, as Michael; he furrows his brow rather too much but his body language is extraordinar - as Michael works harder and harder at ceasing to have a gay identity his body seems to become heavier, his movements more leaden and solid. Emma Roberts has a goofy charm as the sweet Christian woman whom he marries - at the end, when he is nervous about his new congregation, she is just excited, like a child at Christmas and the start of her new life.

    A film that I cam to like after some real clunkiness along the way.
    11:05 am
    THE FULL FORM OF MY SHEILA JEFFREYS PIECE IN THE TLS
    Some time ago, I wrote a review of Sheila Jeffreys' anti-trans diatribe GENDER HURTS for the Times Literary Report. For a variety of perfectly good reasons, they have ended up publishing a somewhat abridged version in the print edition, and presumably eventually online.

    The deal I have struck with them is that I acknowledge they have published the abridged piece and blog this full version.


    GENDER HURTS by Sheila Jeffreys (Routledge 215 pp. )
    reviewed by Roz Kaveney

    There is a razor-thin but definite line to walk between scholarship worthy of trust and mere polemical advocacy. Since the start of her career as a historian of ideas – with particular emphasis on eg the Purity movements of the late Nineteenth Century – Sheila Jeffreys' scholarship has always been the handmaid of her political project. This is, and always has been, war on a patriarchy that she conceives of as a simple oppressive sex caste hierarchy, rather than a set of multiple oppressions deriving from a system of property relations. She has, for example, consistently argued that it is the duty of feminist women to choose celibacy, or a lesbianism based on political commitment rather than erotic preference, rather than sleep with the enemy. The deeply enclosed and focussed nature of her thinking has always obliged her to cherry-pick evidence and ignore nuance – famously, in Anticlimax, she treats Nabokov's Lolita as an unironic celebration of child abuse.

    For Jeffreys, the word 'gender' describes the ideology that sugar-coats sex caste oppression; accordingly, any idea, any practice, any personal preference or need that might question her simplistic position needs to be eradicated. In the course of her career, she has anathematized everything from high heels to tattooing to the work of Judith Butler as part of the war on women; it was inevitable that, sooner or later, she would concentrate her fire on gender theory and the trans community, if only because the existence of our complicated messy provisional endangered lives makes her world look untidy. Feminists whose work she admires – Janice Raymond, for example – have called for transexuality to be 'morally mandated out of existence; Jeffreys has called for trans medical care to be declared a human rights violation by international treaty. Nowhere do either of them show any awareness of, or interest in, the human rights of hundreds of trans women murdered each year, mostly in the Global South.

    Language is, for Jeffreys, something to be used carefully to deny the existence of choices of which she disapproves. For example, she uses 'prostitute' only as a passive transitive verb, because she is of the opinion that no sex worker has any autonomy. She refers to 'transgenderism' as if it were an ideology rather than a complex of needs and choices, and has turned 'transgender' into a verb. She prides herself on always using the pronouns she regards as correct rather than those trans people have chosen for themselves; she explains at length that this is a matter of principle, rather than mere childish rudeness. At the same time, she regards the adoption of the value-free term cis to denote anyone not trans as a vile and insulting piece of abuse.

    Jeffreys is very keen to deny personal animus, though her grasp of strict truth is often lacking. She talks of a conference she was to speak at being banned from the C onway Hall, rather than of its organizers having been reminded that they needed to observe the hall's regulations about hate speech and declined to do so. She cites this occasion as evidence of a 'McCarthyite' conspiracy to silence her, as she does the existence of a number of mildly successful trans journalists – all of whom mostly write on other matters. (Sheila Jeffreys remains, of course, a tenured academic in spite of this cabal.) She also denies that she is guilty of hate speech in spite of a passage in which she claims that the genitals of trans women who have had surgery stink.

    This passage is worth commenting on because she relies on a Dutch study of the bacterial flora of those private parts (Weyers 2000), but both distorts its results and fails to criticize its protocols. Tge Weyers study notes occasional unpleasant discharges in a fifth of its population – because it relies on literature for its comparison of flora, the study is mute on the frequency of such discharges in cis women. The protocol also asked its subjects not to wash their genitals for three days and did not consider the effect of this on the degree to which faecal bacteria were present – nor does Jeffreys. The study does, however notice that lesbian trans women had a flora closer to the cis norm – Jeffreys does not mention this correlation, for whatever reason.
    Some of Jeffreys' statements of fact are open to considerable question. She argues that the existence of transsexuals is a modern socially constructed phenomenon, ignoring all the evidence for similar groups in a variety of other cultures and periods. In the face of quite clear evidence to the contrary eg Pagan Kennedy's THE FIRST MAN-MADE MAN 2007, she argues that the development of trans medical care was driven by doctors rather than requests by trans people. Her accounts of problems caused by the presence of trans people in gender-segregated spaces rely excessively on the tabloid press and blog posts by her political allies – it would be interesting to read the opinion of Routledge's lawyers on whether some of these accounts are actionable; for a supposedly peer-reviewed book, GENDER HURTS' citations rely surprisingly heavily on newspaper accounts and blog posts.

    Jeffreys relies heavily on the argument from authority. She draws extensively on other 'radical' feminist writers – Mary Daly, Janice Raymond, Robin Morgan – though not on Andrea Dworkin, who happens not to have agreed with her colleagues on this issue. She cites the late Mary McIntosh's opinion from work published in the 1970s without noting that McIntosh changed her views on this and other matters. She cites extensively the negative views about transexuals held by psychiatrists like Ray Blanchard or Paul R. McHugh without ever mentioning eg McHugh's support for work-place discrimination against gay men and lesbians and opposition to female reproductive freedom.

    One of Jeffreys' standard positions is a sort of negative utilitarianism – everyone should refrain from any action or idea which might, in any circumstances, have a negative outcome. The very small proportion of trans people – about 2 per cent - who experience regret and choose retransition is used as an argument that no one should ever transition in the first place; the unhappiness of some partners of trans people about the un-chosen reconfiguring of their own sexual choices is taken as an argument that it is the partner who is being selfish. Because Jeffreys chooses to believe that transsexuality is exclusively a matter of changing socially constructed social roles, rather than primarily deriving from the dysphoric sense of wrong sexual embodiment that most trans people report, she can regard trans men as acting primarily out of a desire to trade up their social position and to abandon possible commitment to a lesbian feminist community – again, the imputation is that to do anything of which Sheila Jeffreys disapproves is to be either deluded or wickedly and wilfully selfish.

    She is particularly moralistic about the supportive parents of trans adolescents. Again, in the face of most evidence, Jeffreys chooses to believe that self-identification as trans comes over adults as a result of pornography, or as an insane reaction to patriarchy; accordingly, younger people cannot possibly know their own minds in this matter and are the victims of a reinvigorated eugenics movement. Of course, since Jeffreys believes that lesbianism is a freely chosen political identity, it is hard to see what such a movement could be trying to extirpate...In the real world, of course, the struggle for trans civil rights has included the right to family life in the face of eugenics laws in, say, until recently, Sweden that mandated sterilization and the destruction of genetic material. (Negotiation of the Gender Recognition Act in the UK had to sidestep an attempt to impose this as a condition.)

    Of course, Sheila Jeffreys is opposed to equal rights for trans people, because they enshrine in law, as she sees it, the possibility that not everyone agrees with her. She has stated elsewhere her confusion at the fact that the only people who spoke out against the GRA were right-wing conservatives like Lord Tebbit. GENDER HURTS is a trashy book masquerading as authoritative scholarship but it is not without its uses as an awful warning; yet again, a version of progressive, liberationist politics that is based on telling other people what to do finds itself up against the complicated realities of lived experience and in alliance with the police, the churches and the most reactionary and authoritarian of politicians.
    Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
    8:41 pm
    Something I have known for a few days
    PREGNANT

    Mirrors and windows both a sort of door
    Someone is coming through, but not quite yet.
    Dark clouds are some way off. We can forget
    them for we're centred here. There's nothing more
    than this. Smile hand cradle caress a curve
    that's just a promise; serious dark eyes
    knew this would happen it is no surprise
    from grief a joy that all of us deserve
    few of us get. A child whose birth's on show
    as few have been because there is no shame
    in naked or in public. Call its name
    wonder and marvel. And its fame will grow.
    Music and words and this most perfect art
    a human act in which we all take part.
    Thursday, March 12th, 2015
    11:34 pm
    This isn't adequate, but...
    FOR TERRY PRATCHETT

    We come to Skull at last. And Skull's a smile.
    Rewarmed next day, each tragedy's a farce.
    Kings fall, we all fall down. Prat-fall. On arse.
    Perfectly timed. Poised, elegant. With style.

    Rude noise. Best laughter comes from quiet rage
    channeled and weaponized. Always about
    something beyond the joke. He didn't shout
    wry quiet almost whisper. Rueful sage.

    Some things are never funny. In each book
    reduced their number. With a jest would name
    each foolish monster, when those monsters came
    from life and dream. Crush with a knowing look.

    His comic timing still his last best friend
    Prepared it earlier. Told us. The End.
    Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
    11:49 pm
    A protest poem not about sex and gender
    BRITISH MILITARY ADVISERS HAVE BEEN SENT TO UKRAINE

    Boots in the mud. Sweet smell that catches sour
    back of the throat. There was a churchyard here
    headstones bulldozed to rubble. And now we're
    back in the mire again. Assassin hour

    mistake cascade, the trains will run on time
    delivering to death the surplus young
    old statesmen speeches flickering their tongue
    fine words smeared broken walls with blood and grime

    I use old language. It's that time again
    Not make it new. For that would be a lie
    I am too old. It is the young who die
    gas-blistered shitting, screaming with the pain.

    Angel of death is back – this last I sing.
    I hear the beating of his broken wing.
    10:39 pm
    A Friend is Grieving Today
    FOR DEBS

    They're always gone, the ones who go away.
    The missing tooth that always catches crumbs.
    Each year the midnight of their absence comes
    Looms like a shroud and hangs about all day.

    Grinning each tooth a scythe that will divide
    You from your better memories. Nowhere
    Can you find solace. Venice? They're not there
    Nor can you wish that it was you that died

    For that would be to wish them all this pain
    That you can bear. Endure because you must
    Death weaponizes liptouch, longing, lust.
    This death's best jest. That they'll not come again.

    Grit tears our eyes the ashes that we toss
    At this day's funeral, at each night's loss
    Saturday, February 21st, 2015
    3:02 pm
    Sometimes someone says something and I have a poem
    FOR THE 107TH BIRTHDAY OF WYSTAN HUGH AUDEN

    I think you'd hate my work. You sat for hours
    alone with coffee or perhaps with tea.
    Grumpy face frowning, maybe not at me
    for watching. And we should have brought you flowers.

    We were your children some of us. A voice
    nuanced and whimsical that terrifies
    with morals. And at horror simply cries
    and sees significance in every choice

    rewrites rethinking endlessly. Work's done
    but never over. Tinker with each word.
    History's the thing that actually occurred
    As Ranke said. And yet you had such fun.

    Eliot the evil father we despise.
    Big brother Wystan, make us smart and wise.
    Friday, February 20th, 2015
    11:02 pm
    It's been a hard week and something has come loose
    PROPHET

    Shatter their idols. Melt the goddess down
    to coinage – you have hungry troops to pay.
    Sober and starving on a sacred day
    men's love is dearer to you than a crown.

    But not as dear as knowing whom to praise-
    you grope to him – it's him, you're sure – through mist
    of failed ideas. You've written down a list-
    writing is hard. Ideas and words will craze

    your mind if let. So let it rest a while.
    A hint of what he means smells like the rain
    perhaps he's simply when there is no pain.
    He's thunder anger, terrible his smile.

    You dread you've built him. Pray he sits alone
    unmade, dictates you true names from his throne.
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