When the green walking man
blinks and beeps, I feel a tug on the lead
like a phantom limb.
When the green walking man
blinks and beeps, I feel a tug on the lead
like a phantom limb.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not kidding.
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:
With 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 to New York in search of poetry that would grip you firmly round your heart, someone answered my call and gifted me Cheryl’s book Raw Air. It has been an absolute pleasure to meet Cheryl in person and to know that some flames keep burning bright.
A talented educator, Cheryl is also currently leading workshops on Zuihitsu, the Japanese poetic form of connected personal essays and fragmented ideas that typically respond to the author’s surroundings. It’s a form that appeals to a writer who bridges Trinidad and Queens, styles and forms, topics and nuances, and who we feel will be a beautiful complement to She Stole My Every Rock and Roll.
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.
“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:
The LESBIAN HEALTH ACTION GROUP Proudly present:
INTERNATIONAL LESBIAN DAY 2013
@ Riverside Receptions, New Farm
Sunday October 13th, 2013. 12pm til late.
Proudly Sponsored By:
LOTL : PINK SOFA : QLD PRIDE MAGAZINE : SCARLET
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)
Anu Sava (Nashville)
Kimberly J Lisle
Burlesque and OPEN MIC STAGE.
MC: DAVINA from 4ZZZ DYKES ON MYKES
Riverside Market Place
Kids Space on the lawn
The Great Wall Vagina
Lesbian Trivia – Cash prizes!
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.
QLD PRIDE MAGAZINE
4zzz Dykes on Mykes
Dykes on Bikes
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 email@example.com
Drifting back to sleep
eyelashes flutter on my shoulder
like Monarch wings.
I pull the dress off like a t-shirt
inside out over my head.
The performance is over,
and she’s fever crying.
Both of us barely dressed in bed
I sew her feet to my belly
where the black tight seams are left,
and stitch her sweaty head to my chest.
I cup her bottom in my hand -
pat, pat, pat her grumbles to bed.
I must be getting to that age now. My maternal grandparents are still kicking but slowing down. At 86 and 87 years of age (I think), they are doing the things they have done for the past thirty years: playing cards, making meals, painting the house, shoveling the driveway, doing the laundry albeit at a slower pace. My grandfather wonders how he’ll get his painting done if my grandmother keeps ending up in the hospital. He doesn’t stop although he did tell my mother that he’s retiring in two and a half years – when he’s 90. He’s bloody amazing. I hope to have half as much stamina as he does.
Most recently, he has swept a path in the driveway and made a chalk outline for my grandmother to follow as she uses her walker. The doctor told her she needs to get a bit of exercise every day to keep her heart healthy. She’s been reluctant to succumb to the walker, but alas, doctors orders persuaded her. Who can blame her for not wanting to depend on a walker? She still travels the three levels of her house and manages to keep a spic and span shine that I envy. I often channel her when I’m scrubbing the kitchen sink or cooking and ‘boiling it up good’.
It’s hard for me to hear about them aging and not be in Vermont to visit them regularly. So I guess I’m coping and connecting through poetry. Here’s a piece I imagine would come from my inimitable grandmother. (With a thanks to the Tuesday Poetry group for their feedback).
Medline Comfort Glide
When the time comes
my daughter tells me,
“It’s like choosing a bike.”
So I scan the row -
standard four wheels, handbag basket and easy-grip brakes.
A choice of Bazooka bubblegum pink, emerald green or navy blue -
each with a sparkling glossy paint.
I remember the last bike I had,
a Schwinn Traveller in eggplant purple -
its name etched in gold
with a spring-loaded wide leather seat.
I used to ride summer barefoot in Grand Isle,
feet pedal-pressed across the grassy field.
Soon, my great grandchildren will.
I look down the aisle at my other half -
furrowed brow and pursed lips,
he bear-grip tests the handbrakes of each walker
for their response, their durability.
I say, “I’ll go with the blue.
He may need it one day.”
September is a massive month of festivals – fringe and forefront. That means that this weekend is big for The Belles of Hell. If you care to join us, Eleanor and I will be hosting and sharing a bit of She Stole My Every Rock and Roll at the Pride Literary Evening this Friday at New Farm Library (details are below). We will be sharing the space with local authors and musicians. In a big town where the queer community seems scattered like Golden Cane seeds, it will be a moment where the community is joined in the celebration of words.
On Saturday, we will be sharing the whole story of She Stole in the Red Box at the State Library as part of the Brisbane Writers Festival. It is always a painful pleasure coming back to the story. First of all, there are a lot of goddamned poems to memorise, but secondly, it is a beautiful and heart-wrenching story that speaks to anyone who has been in love, out of love and the turbid run-off in between. We have rehearsed and performed this story more times than I can count and each time, I feel it fresh. So if you have a moment and would like to hear a story, come on down to New Farm Library on Friday night or the State Library on Saturday. We’d love to see you there.
Details are below:
Come and join some of Brisbane’s loveliest bent writers, musicians and performers as they show their support for the 2013 Brisbane Pride Festival, Friday 6 September, from 5.30pm at New Farm Library for some LGBTIQ literary goodness. Bookings are essential – please phone (07) 3403 8888 to reserve your place!
With feature writer sets from Tamara Pearce, David Hardy and James Bryant and music from Pascalle Burton/The Stress of Leisure and Nigel Kimber it’s a perfect Pride Festival “pre-dinner think”.
For those who missed it, or for the hopeless romantics still left in the room, please come along to this free event. All are welcome, no tickets required.
About the show:
She Stole My Every Rock and Roll is a forty minute roll the in hey, did you say love? A tough tale of two women in, out and in between love, the show takes poetry like a fine glass of wine and throws down a quick shot of lust, followed by a hangover you won’t want to miss. If you think you don’t like poetry, that’s because you’ve never seen poetry like this.
On the drive home from Carina,
red roofs roll like ocean waves
between clumps of fig trees.
Rainbow Bay is calling.