Silence Exile and Crumpets|
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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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|Monday, August 19th, 2013|
|ECHOES FOR JOHN HOLLANDER
There are things death can't take – the song of birds
whose notes cut short continue. Always born.
Passion's blood rose with danger as its thorn.
Millennia wear brass: we hand on words
like runners in a race against the years.
They change remain the same grow richer still
each time they change their tongue. Somehow we fill
meaning so full of echo that our tears
our loves remain when eyes and heart are gone
to dust. And cuckoos call their double note
the same, and there's that tightness in our throat,
ache in our head that Sappho knew. All one.
Master, you told us this. Your thoughts were sound.
We hear you still, a voice from under ground.
|Friday, July 19th, 2013|
|ON THE PASSING OF 'MARRIAGE EQUALITY'
We won't be silenced. There's a case for tact,
more for ignoring it. They'll say 'not yet'
tell us to wait, be sure they'll not forget.
The laws they are proposing are just packed
with such good things, although they leave us out.
There are not many of us, and the hate
some feel for us, gets stressed in each debate.
So don't be selfish, demonstrate or shout
outside, or weep. It's really for the best
we wait our turn. Again. Patient and mild
we stand, and they talk to us like a child.
Then turn their back and bitch with all the rest.
How our sick acts give sleepless fever nights
to proper people. Fuck our human rights.
|Monday, July 15th, 2013|
|THE POET TO HER YOUNG COMRADES 11
You do the things that only you can do,
be useful, kind in unexpected ways
to sisters and to comrades. When malaise
creeps over you, accept it's like the flu
you are allowed to spend a few days sick
a few days off your game. Recovery
is sometimes slow, never obligatory.
You learn doubt's shape. It fits, a sudden click,
part of analysis, that's never done
always in progress. Brick on brick gets placed.
Each momentary problem that you've faced
part of the process. Always try to shun
the simple lying versions leaders sell
that silence stories only you can tell
|THE POET TO HER YOUNG COMRADES 10
It's almost sexual, that sort of rush.
A meeting listens to you. Feel their hearts
your hand upon their strings. That's how it starts.
You get addicted to that breathy hush
in meetings when you speak. Like good cocaine
it makes you briefly sharper than you are.
Words race round corners as you'd drive a car
hand brutal on the wheel. And it's your brain
whose tyres you burn, but also it's a cause.
That's more important than soliloquys,
or disagreement sobbing on its knees.
It is the people's struggle, and not yours
Beware of leading. Easy to enjoy
the ride. The revolution's not your toy.
|Friday, July 12th, 2013|
|THE POET IN HER SIXTY FIFTH YEAR
I count my years. Like coins that I would spend.
And neither hoard nor waste. My drooping purse
like ageing flesh goes slowly bad to worse
Yet nothing seems quite ready for the end.
Most days are bright as stones. Wrapped in gold wire.
My glory friends dance round me. Word by word
they come to me so lush, sometimes absurd
this flood of language. Some day I will tire
but this was not that day. Spice, pizza, sun.
Protection racket hiss of urban geese.
Bustle of market. There's a sort of peace
that goes with crowds. I feel I've just begun
to love this world, this work. My heart won't break
to leave if I am bold, live wide awake.
|THE POET TO HER YOUNG COMRADES 9
So many fights we can't afford to lose
so fight we must. With blood upon our hands
perhaps. Important each one understands
it is the fight, but not the blood, we choose.
Fight that's our dialectic changed to will
we do not fight to win, perhaps to save
some fragments of what Money would enslave.
Freedom and love. I do not want to kill
Reluctance has a price we might not pay
but others. Pox and ignorance and ash.
Unending brutal tyranny of cash.
Perhaps it does not matter what I say.
Blood answers me and sneers. Intoxicates
Kills innocents, yet throws down nightmare states.
|Thursday, July 11th, 2013|
|ON THE NAMING OF AN ASTEROID AFTER IAIN BANKS
Stone through and through, it turns around the sun
every four years or so. It never had a name
before, and, named, it still goes round the same
unaltered. But our gazing has begun.
We do not pray. He would not want us to.
He'd mock perhaps, simmer in quiet rage.
His views set down quite clearly on each page.
To mourn him, we should read. It's what we do
to keep him in our minds. It's piety.
Authors still live, while read. We hear their voice.
This asteroid gives us a further choice
we speak his name aloud, watching the sky.
A better toast than whisky drunk in bars.
'Take him and cut him out in little stars...'
|Monday, July 1st, 2013|
|The Other Flash Poem from Eastercon
Murder at the Convention
The guest of honour blew up on the stage
quite silently. Emerald flames that smelled
of parsley burst. A centaur's sex call belled
over the intercom. A sudden rage
caused bloodshed in the artroom. Canvas tore
and sculptures crumbled. It was hell in there.
The cosplay elf with her vermilion hair
burst from her corset.Embers all aglow
still won the Clarke and Nebula.The vote
based less on sympathy than on our fear
that he'd reach out though ash, through death could tear
and take each con attender by the throat
and each of us would choke.grow pale and fall.
Convention murder happens to us all.
|This is one of the flash pieces from Eastercon
Snow falling slowly and the music died
in slow diminuendo. Giant flakes
as white as skulls echo that slowly breaks
like waves or snowdrifts. And she sat and cried
icicles on her lashes, broken strings
taut round her hands. The snow fell without sound
and sheets of music lay upon the ground
now blank as snow. It is the silence brings
A sense of death from cold. The music loud
for one last second a cacophony
containing ends of every symphony
In one last chord. And overhead a cloud
Dark as the end of music. And her death
was silent and as white as frozen breath.
Not bad for five minute improvisation...
|THE POET TO HER YOUNG COMRADES 8
We might well lose. Our enemies are smart.
They have the guns and money. And the power.
Do not assume that this is not their hour
to gloat, stamp on each face and break each heart
that cares and weeping sees the world decay
music and kindness. They won't understand
why victory seems to crumble in their hand.
We'll die in pain. And quite soon so will they,
Our only consolation that we told them so
Cold comfort of correct analysis
inadeqately argued. Synthesis
Perhaps the last sad true thing that they'll know.
Death's dialectic. Ashes of our brains
Mingle with theirs. Hot winds sweep empty plains.
|POEM ON THE OCCASION OF MY CANONIZATION
Goddess of chance and fortune, hear my plea.
Let me not hate, and put into my sock
Feathers not lead. I'll delicately mock
More often than I'll smite an enemy.
Because they are such fools – though vicious too.
And goddess, always keep me on my toes.
Save me from smugness. Years ago I chose
to see respectability as flu
It stops you breathing. After all these years
I'll take what small successes come my way.
And so I'm here. At Pride, also the day
I do my Paltrow, smiling through the tears.
Honoured to be, thanks to my friends, and Luck,
The Patron Saint of Things That Rhyme With Fuck
|Sunday, June 23rd, 2013|
|THE POET TO HER YOUNG COMRADES 7
It's you instruct me. All I do is tell
you what I've learned. Perhaps I summarize.
You need to know what I've seen through your eyes
that we can use. My generation fell
Comfort seduced us. This time they'll use fear
to break you into bits, devour you whole.
Each of us has a kapo in their soul
to do their work. And some will disappear
At random, just to keep you on your toes.
I'm old and toothless. I will write things down
you've told me, hold your words here, when you drown.
They are not quite as smart as they suppose
Some of us whom they thought they'd bought and sold
find something left of rebel when we're old.
|Saturday, June 22nd, 2013|
|THE POET TO HER YOUNG COMRADES 6
How do you love in hiding? On the run?
When every hour is precious, how begin
to talk of love? When there's a war to win,
your deepest intimate a well-cleaned gun
For hours you practice taking it apart
putting it back together. You can't learn
lovers like that; you've not the time to burn
learning the way to stimulate each part
take them to bits, then snap them into place.
Guns only ever talk to those they kill;
you have a need for conversation still,
or heart grows steel. It's there in your cold face
Worst tyrants sometimes from best comrades made.
So risk it, fall in love, at least get laid.
|Friday, June 21st, 2013|
|THE POET TO HER YOUNG COMRADES 5 - FOR LAURIE
We quarrel, often. And of course it's true
and rarely trivial. We'll get it right
although it means we sit up half the night
in rooms, on twitter. Such a shame that you
will not accept you're wrong. As obstinate
as Trotsky, though no ice pick to the head
occurs. Because we do not want you dead
just very sorry, dialectic's weight
heavy upon your chest. Then you confess
quite insincerely, but we do not care.
What once was solid melted into air.
The question's time-expired, well more or less.
Just mentioned briefly in some final bitch
when fascists shoot us all in some deep ditch.
|Sunday, June 16th, 2013|
|FOR PUSSY RIOT
THE POET TO HER YOUNG COMRADES 4
To fight the tyrants we give up our name
become the rebel only. Spend each night
on different couch. No life except the fight
we fade dissolve. And so become the same
Anonymous as roses. Change our voice
to electronic buzz. A pastel vest
padded or binding hides or fakes a breast
The world has left us very little choice
Masked save for eyes and mouth, witness and speak
And have no fear of death, because no life.
The policeman's gun, the state assassin's knife
All power theirs. Our options are so weak
Save to refuse to serve, refuse to cry,
refuse to live and dying, never die.
|Saturday, June 15th, 2013|
|This is going to be my speech next week at Dyke March London
SESTINA - ON DYKES
Eighty six, summer, my first year of dykes
even the ones who hated me were cool
and women loving me was more like bliss
than I'd expected. I had had no hope
I thought I never would have sex again
Then found the girl who stared into my eyes
And liked me, kissed me gentle on the eyes
then on a shoulder blade. The thing with dykes
the thing that makes me fall again
each time. That makes my love run hot again, then cool
is that each time I find myself in hope
that this will be the right one this one bliss
And every woman that I love is bliss
and bliss the ones who stare hate in their eyes
they never will forgive, but we can hope
and love as sisters all those sister dykes
The passion of their hate will never cool
But I'll forgive them time and time again
Up on this platform I will say again
that women loving women is all bliss
Who else they love, what else they were, it's cool
Because I look down, see love in your eyes
the love that brings you here as sister dykes
sometimes in pain and sorrow, also hope
There is a joy in disappointed hope
it's joy deferred, that time and time again
brings us to love. The reason why all dykes
are so few beds apart is all that bliss
and even disappointment in her eyes
that it did not work out, is often cool
I learned in 86 that love when cool
has its own heat of memory and hope
sisters and friends, the laughter in your eyes
We love, we break up, dance, in love again
It is the circle dance, dizzy in bliss
that makes us love forgive seek other dykes
Passion that's never cool warms up again
Dance of despair and hope, and heat and bliss
Loving and hostile stares, fuck it, we're dykes.
|Monday, June 10th, 2013|
|A second poem for Iain
Sky porridge grey. No sun. Along the quay
a skittish wind bites cold face, aching head.
loose pages blow like gulls, cannot be read
because not written. There's a sort of glee
in so much sadness. It's the rictus grin
grief's ache puts on each face, that and the cold.
We mourn him not as we'd have mourned him old
complete and done. We mourn the might-have-been
One handshake more, one joke, or one last book,
We'd squeeze them out of him, like drops of blood
if we could keep him, selfishly, we would.
Remember how he smiled pained, one last look
Farewell as he worked expert his last room.
One crow road feather for hearse horse's plume.
|Wednesday, June 5th, 2013|
A shattered glass that mends itself again
from fragments that reflect a thousand times,
cut to the bone. It's breaking in my rhymes
slowly it topples,flies apart in pain
The window on my soul, glass poured from heart
filled with itself and blood. Its motion slow
as love's beginning and its end. We know
happiness evanesces. At the start
of each new love it swells to one great chord
then falls away in fragments, dissonance.
Our feet grow tired, and stumble. It's a dance
of changing partners. Is its own reward.
Heart breaks and breaks again. I love so much
because it breaks, stabbed deep by each girl's touch.
|Thursday, May 30th, 2013|
|In memory of Jack Vance
A trickster's sprezzatura, snap-brim cap
with phoenix feather, that can pick sharp teeth
write villanelles. His scimitar's curved sheath
Neat-oiled for quick despatch. Always a gap
between rogue's execution and desire
through which adventures fall a bright cascade.
It is the player, not the game, who's played.
A ukelele plinks. Lamenting choir
of dragon, demon, deodand and grue.
The last rich embers of dark velvet sun
An ending unavoidable as Chun.
Whose eyeball cloak awaits such rogues as you
and me. The gentleman has gone elsewhere.
Words laid on his dead eyes to pay his fare.
|Saturday, May 25th, 2013|
|The Poet to her young comrades 3
These are the worst of times that I have known.
I'd like to say they'll pass, yet fear to lie.
It's probable that some of you will die
before all this is done. Will die alone
in exile or in prison, slowly starve
die from diseases we know how to cure
be left to die from them because too poor.
Worse yet, know while you live your every breath
is stolen from those poorer. Make them count
each angry moment, live write fuck and dance.
You cannot choose your time. So take each chance
to live. Remember me. Give good account
of who I was. And make the bastards pay
who kill our world, our lives, our brief lost day.