I am the man your man could smell like

I don’t know how to use an eyelash curler, but I know how to shave.  I once had a ‘butch’ haircut.  I wear Old Spice.  I drive a truck.  I take fish off the hook for my wife.  I could be a dude, right?

The Anywhere Theatre Festival ticket sales are well underway.  Get your tickets to Shave and a Haircut here.  We are only performing for three nights.  Just in case you need a little persuasion, check out the promotional video.  It’s kinda cool.

Guest Post by Eleanor Jackson


If you have a few moments to read and contemplate today, please read this article by my fellow Belle of Hell, Eleanor Jackson. It is insightful, honest and hopeful. Performance poetry is not an easy genre to be a member of. It is the cause for much reflection as each time you step on stage and share your story, you ‘come out.’ Eleanor is one woman who steps on stage with confidence, grace, and intelligence. She is an inspiration to many. Gush. Gush.

Originally posted on Australian Women Writers Challenge:

I first heard Eleanor Jackson perform at the launch of Michelle Dicinoski’s  Ghost Wife at Avid Reader bookshop in Brisbane, where I was  mesmerised by her lyrical and powerful poetry.  As someone for whom, as she writes in her post below, visibility and performance are major – but ofted vexed – considerations, I was delighted when she agreed to be one of our guest writers for our focus on lesbian and queer women writers this month.

Eleanor J JacksonEleanor is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and radio broadcaster.  She is also the Poetry Editor for the online magazine, Peril Magazine, which considers and promotes Asian-Australia creative culture.  In her performance of Your Poem is Better than Mine, her line ‘The best thing about your poem is it does not tell me what to think’ could be seen as an expression of how every individual – lesbian, queer, straight, black, white, disabled…

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Short back and sides

The Belles of Hell, comprised of Eleanor Jackson and myself, attended the launch of the Anywhere Theatre Festival last night at the Fox Hotel in Brisbane. With a glass of champagne upon arrival, it was easy to settle in and soak up the atmosphere and excitement.  The Festival received three years of government funding to continue running, which is exciting.  The Belles of Hell are performing for the third time this year, and it is the festival’s fourth year in existence.  If you are not familiar with it, the concept is cool.  It is theatre anywhere but a theatre.  We have performed in a record shop, on a back deck and this year, we will performing at HQ Male Grooming.

Why a barbershop you might ask?  The show is called Shave and a Haircut. Eleanor and I will be continuing our poetic dialogue to discover what it means to be a man through research, interviews and looking at our own histories.  After all, we are not women without men and men are not men without women.  It is particularly interesting for us as queer women who feel a bit more free from the confines of what it means to be a traditional woman.  What does it mean to be a traditional woman?  My daughter got a dose of it today as we sifted through pajamas on sale at Aldi.  The pink and purple striped size 2 were marked ‘Girl’.  The blue and red striped pajamas were marked ‘Boy’.  So we got one of each.  I loved blue as a kid.  I also loved boys.  My preferences were ‘fluid’.  I hope Lenni learns that a girl can rock blue.

Eleanor and I have been grappling with the show’s intent.  What does it mean to be a man, and what are we trying to shed light on through our poetry?  It may be as simple as recognizing that we are men as well as women because of the male influences we have had in our lives.  And that is not because we are women who sometimes love women.  It is our womanhood that loves women.  Just as it is our masculinity that loves men.  What we hope to do with our poetry is to ‘move the culture forward’ as expressed by NYC caberet performer, Taylor Mac.  I believe he has fully embraced the transcendentalist spirit that recognizes the genius within.  Mac balks at conformity and moves forward with his true identity.  I am sure it is not an easy road, but he does it with colour, flair and confidence.

Remember when it was so hot?

This is how I burned the heat and lonliness -
I watched her blow bubbles
in the small ocean in the palm of my hands.

The south-east sun wilted the coriander, basil, us.
So we sat on the white tile floor,
begged shower drops to quench our skin.

I watched droplets ski jump off her lashes.
Her eyes were Olympic.
I didn’t watch them on TV.
Russians hate the gays.
And there is nothing in this house but smoking loneliness.

The next morning, I threw his bed over the deck railing.
I’d clean the shit up later.
The ocean was calling.

Fingal was turquoise and dangerous.
The dog tasted his first sip of Pacific salt.
We squeezed it all in before sixteen weeks.
We carried the girls in, forever babies on our hips.

I held onto hers.
She held onto mine.
We kangaroo jumped over Kamikaze waves,
bath warm, but they shivered smiles,
so we swapped back and headed to shore
before the next round rolled in.

The Big Apple


We did it. The Belles of Hell have officially performed in New York, New York.  We took on the Polar Vortex, side-stepped frostbite and warmed a couple of places with our words.  Eleanor and I had the fortunate opportunity to perform She Stole My Every Rock and Roll at Bluestockings and Chosen Family at Poets House.  Both events were surreal.  First of all, what were the chances that both Eleanor and I would be in America at the same time and secondly, we performed in NEW YORK.  We were warmly received by both audiences and opened by the unique and talented work of Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, A. Rawlings and Shira E. Please check out their work.  I was especially blown away by Shira’s adeptness for metaphor.  She made it seem as easy as breathing.  How I envy!  It gives me something to strive for.


Back in Brisbane, I’ve got a couple of projects simmering.  The first is a continued performance of Hugging the Yellow Line, which I launched at the Queensland Poetry Festival last year.  I have the fortunate opportunity to perform a bit of it again at Riverbend Books in Bulimba on February 25th.  Check out the QPF newsletter for details and an excerpt from the story . The second project is the massive undertaking of another Belles of Hell show for the Anywhere Theater Festival.  Titled, Shave and a Haircut, Eleanor and I are exploring what it means to be a man.  Please, if you call yourself a man, tell me why.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Shoot me an email at betsyturcot@y7mail.com.  I’m not kidding.



look out – she knows zuihitsu


It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. Let’s not check the last post date. I had a bit of a hectic end to the year as most people did, and now I am in the safe haven (otherwise known as ice globe) that is Vermont, USA. My partner and I took our daughter to Vermont for her first ‘white’ Christmas. We had snow for the first two days that we were here, and then the snow turned to an ice rink. One, big, giant, state-wide ice-rink. The weather has been atrocious. I’m not going to lie. I’m pretty happy with my decision to live in Australia. We did embrace the weather today by strapping on ice cleats, putting the baby in the back-pack and taking a walk through the woods. Yes. Ice cleats.

Luckily for me, my Belles of Hell co-hort is in America as well. We are gearing up for two performances coming up this week in the Big Apple. We will be performing She Stole My Every Rock and Roll and Chosen Family. Eleanor has posted about Cheryl Boyce-Taylor who will be performing with us on Thursday, January 16 at Bluestockings Bookstore. I’m more excited to hear Cheryl perform than I am to perform myself, but I will happily tell the rock-n-roll roller-coaster again. So if any of my five blog followers live in NYC, please come and check us out. We’d love to see you there.

Originally posted on eleanor j jackson:

Cheryl Boyce TaylorWith warmest excitement, I’m thrilled to introduce to you to Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, poet, and founder of The Calypso Muse Reading Series, and The Glitter Pomegranate Performance Series who will be featuring alongside Betsy Turcot and I at Different Different But Same, this coming Thursday. Her poems have been published in ALOUD: Voices From the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Bowery Women, Making the Trees Shiver, The Mom Egg, and upcoming in Adrienne and The Encyclopedia Project. The author of three collections of poetry, Raw Air, Night When Moon Follows and Convincing the Body, she earned an MFA in poetry from Stonecoast: University of Southern Maine, and has taught poetry at: Urban WordNYC, Bowery Poetry Club, Poets & Writers, and Poets House.

Cheryl’s writing is strong, earthy, authentically vernacular, filled with a deep love of language, and not afraid to speak its mind. I first came across Cheryl’s work over ten years ago, when I trekked…

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It must be aliens

IMG_3695There is on this street
a tangled beauty, overgrown holy,
a possum in rigamortis. At 11 pm,
a cannon boom, meteoric light.
It wakes the baby.
We thought for sure -
it must be aliens.

There is on this street
a Marlboro painter with lung cancer.
He doesn’t smoke anymore.
Doesn’t threaten our dog.
He’s killed a bikie’s dog, you know?
Doesn’t play Celine Dion anymore either.

The unmarked 18-wheeler rolls in,
compression brakes at 11 am.
With a trash bag hand
he picks up the possum by its tail.
I stop looking.
I know now who takes them away.

Get your pride on

“We’re here! We’re queer! Get used to it!”

Okay – there probably won’t be any of these cheers on Sunday at International Lesbian Day, but there will be poetry, music, coffee, market stalls and workshops. And a beautiful day in the sun in New Farm at Riverside Receptions. I will be doing my part by sharing a bit of Hugging the Yellow Line at 1 pm on the main stage. Details of the event are below:


@ Riverside Receptions, New Farm
Sunday October 13th, 2013. 12pm til late.

Proudly Sponsored By:
City Lickers & The Wickham Hotel

Over 500 lesbians and their family and friends celebrated last year so we are upping the anti in 2013 to create the BIGGEST International Lesbian Day EVER at a BRAND NEW VENUE right on the Brisbane River.

Showcasing the BEST of BRISBANE’S Queer Talent:

Nikkolaine Martin’s Blue Honey
Lucinda Shaw (Silver Sircus, ISIS)
Julia Rose
Kristy Apps
Anu Sava (Nashville)

Betsy Turcot

Kimberly J Lisle

DJ Mikey
DJ Arsee

Burlesque and OPEN MIC STAGE.


Riverside Market Place
Kids Space on the lawn
Food Available
Coffee Stall
The Great Wall Vagina
Discussion Forums
Lesbian Trivia – Cash prizes!
Relaxation Activities
FeMail Dating Box from Pink Sofa
Craft & Zine Workshops
Lucky Door Prizes

$10/$7 concession/ under 13 yrs Gold Coin
(100% of the door proceeds to Lesbian Health Action Group)

ALL WELCOME in Support of our Vibrant Lesbian Community

This event is for women who are attracted to other women, no matter what label you use to identify yourself! Their family, partners, friends and children are also encouraged to come along. Lesbian-friendly transgender people, men and straight people are more than welcome to celebrate this day with us.

Sponsored By

Suppported By:
4zzz Dykes on Mykes
Dykes on Bikes
Healthy Communities
Charlie’s Fruit Market

This is an 18+ event. Minors are welcome accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

For more information www.qahc.org.au/ILD

Contact Sally Morris on (07) 3017 1777 or smorris@qahc.org.au