Now is the time of year when bees are wild
and eccentric. They fly fast and in cramped
loop-de-loops, dive-bomb clusters of conversants
in the bright, late-September out-of-doors.
I have found their dried husks in my clothes.
They are dervishes because they are dying,
one last sting, a warm place to squeeze
a drop of venom or of honey.
After the stroke we thought would be her last
my grandmother came back, reared back and slapped
a nurse across the face. Then she stood up,
walked outside, and lay down in the snow.
Two years later there is no other way
to say, we are waiting. She is silent, light
as an empty hive, and she is breathing.
A Brief for the Defense
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.
Do Not Be Ashamed
You will be walking some night
in the comfortable dark of your yard
and suddenly a great light will shine
round about you, and behind you
will be a wall you never saw before.
It will be clear to you suddenly
that you were about to escape,
and that you are guilty: you misread
the complex instructions, you are not
a member, you lost your card
or never had one. And you will know
that they have been there all along,
their eyes on your letters and books,
their hands in your pockets,
their ears wired to your bed.
Though you have done nothing shameful,
they will want you to be ashamed.
They will want you to kneel and weep
and say you should have been like them.
And once you say you are ashamed,
reading the page they hold out to you,
then such light as you have made
in your history will leave you.
They will no longer need to pursue you.
You will pursue them, begging forgiveness.
They will not forgive you.
There is no power against them.
It is only candor that is aloof from them,
only an inward clarity, unashamed,
that they cannot reach. Be ready.
When their light has picked you out
and their questions are asked, say to them:
"I am not ashamed." A sure horizon
will come around you. The heron will begin
his evening flight from the hilltop.
A break in the clouds. The blue
outline of the mountains.
Dark yellow of the fields.
Black river. What am I doing here,
lonely and filled with remorse?
I go on casually eating from the bowl
of raspberries. If I were dead,
I remind myself, I wouldn’t
be eating them. It’s not so simple.
It is that simple.
You Fit Into Me
you fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook
an open eye
you who once ached
with your own growing larger
absorbed by your own
When I danced,
When you broke,
And so it was lying down,
climbing the tiring stairs.
Your jaws. My bread.
what is left of you,
will be flensed of this marriage.
Angular wristbone’s arthritis,
cracked harp of ribcage,
blunt of heel,
opened bowl of the skull,
twin platters of pelvis—
each of you will leave me behind,
at last serene.
What did I know of your days,
I who held you all my life
inside my hands
and thought they were empty?
You who held me all my life
inside your hands
as a new mother holds
her own unblanketed child,
not thinking at all.
Low - Nothing But Heart
Saw them on Monday and they opened with this. So, so good.
Colin Stetson & Laurie Anderson - A Dream of Water
There were those who didnt run,
there were those who couldnt take it,
there were those who stayed in the city.
What was it? Where did it go?
There were those who laid their bodies down,
there were those who took our knifes,
there were those who kissed the grey skies.
There were those who only knew only the sound of their own voices,
there were those who knew the rules.
There were those who freed their bodies,
there were those who couldnt take it,
there were others on their own.
What was it? What was it?
There were strangers and conmen,
there were those who lived in the cross space,
there were people lighting candles,
there were people going crazy,
there were those who walked the beach.
What war is that? What war is that?
What time could this be?
My new ‘zine is done. It’s not actually about existentialism in any philosophical sense. It’s about the subjective experience of being a mixed person of colour with different national experiences. And, I guess in a way it touches on the existential loneliness of not ever really belonging anywhere, not just because you’re perhaps a weirdo, but even in the most basic sense - the reality of you.
Anyway, you can order it here:
It is $5, because it is full colour (painted actually) and photocopy costs are the devil. It also just took a long exhausting time to make, and so I’m not really looking to trade with it just yet.
I promise my next thing will NOT be in colour, for my wallet’s sake.
Also, I don’t think I know anyone in Montreal on Tumblr, but if you happen to be in town, I’m doing a craft fair with my friend. She’ll be selling her upcycled knittings and I’ll be selling mostly some cat comics.
We’ll be at :
Foire Printaniere - Samedi 31 Mai - 9h-16h.
Ecole Paul-Bruchest. 1310 St-Joseph Est.
First of all, fuck you. It’s always been like, you know, an irritating thing that you’d attempted to co-opt the language of feminism and other civil rights struggles to cloak your sexist ideas in bullshit like “Men’s Rights” and calling this sexist garbage “activism.” And for a long time, I think a lot of people like me were down with ignoring this shit because it was juvenile and stupid, but also because it seemed like this tactic was clearly the same as racists whining about why there isn’t White History Month, or homophobes trying to have a Straight Pride Parade, something that anyone with half a brain could see is transparently a way to prop up the bigotry of people who already control the balance of power in this world.
But this UC Santa Barbara killer brings up a way that this type of shit can affect people. Because, when you co-opt the rhetoric of revolution and struggle, it’s more than just “trolling” or some bullshit to make, you know, actual decent people angry. It’s language that can make a disturbed person think that defending bigotry is a legitimate struggle, that, in Rodger’s case, that owning and subjugating women is a cause worth killing and dying for. Because that’s what those words mean, you fucking garbage assholes, those words are for people who struggle from real oppression, to inspire people to sacrifice and never give up. The fact that straight white men have taken these words to rally around calcifying the bigotry that’s slipping from their fingers is truly disgusting, and now it’s more clear that it has fucking consequences.
Fuck you, you pieces of shit, fuck you.
Virginia Woolf, incested
though her childhood, wrote
that she imagined herself
growing up inside a grape.
Grapes are sealed and safe.
You wouldn’t quite float
in one; you’d sit locked
in enough moisture to keep
from drying out, the world
outside though gelid green.
Picture everyone’s edges
smudged. Picture everyone
a green as delicate
as a Ming celadon. Pic-
ture yourself a mollusk
with an unsegmented body
in a skin so tight and taut
that you’d be safe. You could
ruminate all night about
the difference between “taut”
and “tight,” “molest” and “incest.”
“Taut” means tightly-drawn,
high-strung. What is tight
is structured so as not to
permit passage of liquid
or gas, air, or light.