Sunday, October 2, 2011

Her

My fascination obsession

with motifs

of the woman I want

to paint

create figures

of her

multiple poses

as in Ingres’ Turkish Bath

her repeated body

playing

a canvas

in the lens of my eye

I see her

even when not present

a hallucination gift

trouble in paradise


Break


when words start to break

when “well-hello”

becomes “he-y”


when stanzas become lines

when lines become words


a letter

A

Adieu

Alicia Ristau


for adam

of the things I wish I’d said,
next to thank you, I’m sorry, and—why
one sentence sits apart
at a lonely table,
its face obscured.

it is not “I love you,”
though who can say if I did
it is not “keep faith,”
though I wish you had—
in something, anything
but what destroyed what
you loved best—
only yourself, your better dreams. but

I would not say “let me help”
those words must not be said between us.
I would not challenge again
your skill in verbal cuts;
the play has died within you, leaving
nothing
and I would not remind you.

my regrets are bittersweet and fan out like flames
but with you, I regret one thing only:
I did not tell you what treasure you held
and let you burn it all away, unsaid
if you wonder, know:
you held your dreams and
a fragment of my heart;
they are both blackened—
my heart will heal.

Alexandra Hughes

Bet on you

If I could travel time
Transcend reality today
I would return to the moment
I made my fatal mistake

If I could rewrite one song
To make the words more real
I would write dramatic melodies
To show you how I feel

If I could rewind this movie
Now a horror film
I’d erase the tapes that play
And take out all the thrills

If I could take back all my chips
And keep my poker face
Then I’d recant my bet on you
And avert this great mistake.

Forgiveness is Bliss

Everyone knows I’m stuck
On what you did to me
Old wounds have yet to heal
I still see you in my dreams.
But I want to forgive you
For all that you did
I’ve tried so many times
But I grow bitter instead.
If I could let go of this
Of all the dark shadows in my life
I would feel such bliss
In knowing I’ll be alright.
But I have to forgive you
For myself alone
Because any other reason
Would just leave a hole.
I need peace of mind
In knowing I did this
Just for myself this time
I crave that bliss.

Hate

I hate the way you ramble
But I hate than in me too
I hate the way you lie
But falsehoods tend to fly
I hate that you never call
But I haven’t at all
I hate the games you play
But that is just the way
I hate your stupid stories
But mine are also boring
I hate not knowing stuff
But I don’t say enough
I hate your parents already
And we’re not even going steady
I hate when you’re not here
But we were never really near
I hate not being the one
But I should know we’re done
And most of all I hate
Rejection to my face.

Let go

It’s been a month
It’s been a year
I’ve had my time
To shed these tears
I must let go
I must move on
I’ll make my way
In not too long
I don’t miss you
I just miss “us”
But now I’m free
Is that a plus?
I’m going now
To not look back
I need to get
My life on track
I’ll let you go
Let go of “us”
Live only for me
Feel the rush.

Testing the Water

I am a child
Running up to the water’s edge
But no farther
For I fear the ocean’s depths
As it stretches to the horizon
I panic.
What if I swim out too far?
Who will save me?
I inch my feet forward in the sand
Just enough to dampen my feet
As the next wave rolls in.
Yes, no, yes, no
Maybe a little,
For the water is cold,
And even on a hot summer’s day
It chills you to the core
I take three forced steps
Right, Left, Right…
I scamper sideways
As I feel the intruding object
Brush against my ankles
I see the seaweed and remember to breathe
I continue.
Up to my knees now,
The water is cloudy
I can no longer see my legs.
Should I continue, or dash towards shore
Towards safety
I press on,
Because Life is full of seaweed and sharks and
So many dangers,
Often inevitable.
So now, as an adult,
I take the plunge
Into life
And Love
And Loss
Knowing all the while
That potential heartache lay ahead
But knowing as well
That it is better to have tried and failed
Than to never have tried at all.
It’s time to wade into life.

Three strikes

I warned you not to break her
But you still made her cry
And even after all you’ve done
She still won’t say goodbye

I told you not to lie
But that was your first strike
I told you not to yell
But drugs became your life

I said to watch yourself
But you made careless mistakes
Your second strike was
Making her heart break

I warned you not to argue
But you control her every move
So there’s your third strike
And who became the fool?

Ready, Set, Scream

I can see it in your eyes
You can see it on my face
We can hardly even breathe
So Ready, Set, Scream

I know you want to
I can see your fists curl
I can see the tensing of your skin
So Ready, Set, Give In

I hate seeing you hurt
And I know you’re about to break
So take my hand and hold on tight
Ready, Set, Fight

I hate this room
You hate the noise
So let’s just get out of here
Ready, Set, Disappear

Leave everyone, leave everything
But first we’ll have our final words
Or maybe trust what the sun shall bring
Ready, Set, Scream

Amber Roberson

The Hydra of Female Desire within the Literary Tradition
by
Tanya Andrious

Throughout history women have been confined to the male perspective, not only with how men look at women but how women look at themselves. Women writers, especially in the early budding of the female literary tradition, barely touched the taboo topic of female desire and sexuality. The exploration of female sexual desire by women writers has evolved throughout the centuries, beginning first with Aphra Behn in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; Christina Rossetti in the nineteenth century, and ending with Andrienne Rich in the late twentieth century. All three authors, in their respective century, explore a female’s desire through different perspectives, revealing the different perceptions about women’s sexuality in the literary form.
The seventeenth and eighteenth century was not an easy time for women writers. They could easily be dismissed and ostracized by their peers if a literary topic was disliked. Women writers were thus indirectly controlled by men. However, as Susan Gubar and Sandra Gilbert mention, “Aphra Behn was England’s first professional woman writer” (The Norton Anthology 109) that took chances with her writing and began to put a dent into what was considered acceptable. She broke the first boundaries where some of her verses were “marked by an erotic honesty that scandalized many of her readers” (Norton 109). Unfortunately, consequences resulted from Behn’s bold foray into the exploration of female desire: The same literary circles that Behn frequented “…expected women to remain decently silent about their own desires” (110). Behn, however, saw nothing wrong with celebrating women enjoying their sexuality and her poem “The Willing Mistress” is a testament to her treatment of the topic.
Behn’s perception of female sexuality was not confined to the male perspective; her character neither suffers consequence or regret for enjoying her sexual exploitations. In fact, the Mistress describes her enjoyable, impending foray with a man by stating:
Amyntas led me to a grove,
Where All the trees did shade us;
The sun itself, though it had strove,
It could not have betrayed us
The place secured from human eyes (1-5).
There is anticipation in the Mistress’ voice as she describes the need for secrecy without regret. In fact, Behn writes each subsequent line by describing the Mistress’ increased gratification:
Down there we sat upon the moss,
And did begin to play
A thousand amorous tricks, to pass
The heat of all the day (9-12).
There is a sense of fun to be read in the lines, where the reader grasps the Mistress’ amplified arousal. A woman has needs, and as much as men in Behn’s century wanted to deny such truths, Behn tastefully expresses the needs of her female character:
A many kisses did he give
And I returned the same,
Which made me willing to receive
That which I dare not name (13-16).
Behn was unleashing Pandora’s Box by outwardly proclaiming a woman’s sexual experience and revealing that women’s desire is nothing to be ashamed of. The third stanza deals with give and take, where the Mistress is in control as much as the man:
On her that was already fired,
‘Twas easy to prevail.
He did but kiss and clasp me round,
Whilst those this thoughts expressed:
And laid me gently on the ground;
Ah who can guess the rest? (19-24).
A woman can be a sexual being, willing and wanting as lines 19 and 20 indicate. Women’s sexual desire should not be held as a disparagement but rather a positive aspect on the female experience. Although the Mistress’ explorations went without consequence, Behn however, did not. By bringing the topic of female desire out into the open Behn’s “reputation was to be obscured or defaced for centuries after her death” (110). Behn saw female desire through her own eyes, yet Christina Rossetti, in her poem “Goblin Market”, ends up viewing desire through the male lens.
Christina Rossetti brings us into the nineteenth century with her poem “Goblin Market,” where she offers readers a different slant on the perception of female desire. “Goblin Market” expresses a deeper journey of the female experience, where Rossetti “meditate[s] on the dangers of desire, especially the dangers of female desire” (Gubar 894). In contrast to Behn, Rossetti’s thoughts on female desire were influenced by the ideologies of the male literary tradition as well as male definitions of women. “Goblin Market” offers an enticing taste of a female’s attraction to her own desires and the consequences that come from following that desire.
“Goblin Market” begins simply enough: two innocent sisters overhearing the alluring call of Goblin men. The contrast and dilemma of the drama becomes apparent: “Laura bowed her head to hear, / Lizzie veiled her blushes” (34-5). Laura is at once attracted to the call, her desire evident. Yet her sister Lizzie is intent on preventing Laura from following through, stating: “We must not look at Goblin men” (42). Lizzie stresses the danger that Laura is toying with when it comes to the idea of not only contemplating but submitting to her female desire.
The form of the poem portrays Lizzie as the “conscience” and Laura the “desire,” waging battle between restraint and enjoyment of desire:
“Oh,” cried Lizzie, “Laura, Laura.
You should not peep at Goblin men,”
Lizzie covered up her eyes,
Covered close lest they should look:
Laura reared her glossy head (48-52).
The dilemma is nicely portrayed between Laura wanting to let go and Lizzie’s hard restraint. Rossetti’s indecisiveness and confusion shines through, unsure of which female image is the “right” one.
Rossetti continues to imply that female desire is wrong:
“No,” said Lizzie: “No, no, no:
Their offers should not charm us,
Their evil gifts would harm us” (64-66).
Rossetti chooses an interesting phrase in line 65 in regards to charm: it “should not” have an influence on them, meaning that there is something wrong about feeling attraction. However, Laura continues to become more ensnared in the game of desire: “Curious Laura chose to linger / Wondering at each merchant man” (69-70). Laura’s well of desire has sprung up inside her and she is without self-discipline. This side of the poem connects with Behn’s “The Willing Mistress,” where both Laura and the Mistress want only to succumb to the joy that awaits them. Yet, the entryway into the exploration of female desire depicts a difference between the two centuries, where Laura’s actions result in a penalty.
To be aware of consequence one must be warned, and Lizzie continues to educate Laura on the etiquette of behaving:
“Dear, you should not stay so late,
Twilight is not good for maidens;
Should not loiter in the glen
In the haunts of goblin men (145-8).
Rossetti gives the impression that Laura is in need of being saved from making a big mistake. To further enhance the loving reproach, Lizzie offers Laura an indirect experience to learn from: “Do you not remember Jeanie, / How she met them in the moonlight” (147-8). A brief reference is established before Lizzie fully embarks on the ramifications of Jeanie’s explorations and dives into the story:
But ever in the noonlight
She pined and pined away:
Sought them by night and day,
Found them no more, but dwindled and grew gray;
Then fell with the first snow,
While to this day no grass will grow
Where she lies low: (153-59).
Rossetti implies in lines 154-55 that to follow one’s desire can be addictive. Jeanie, for example, not only succumbed to her desire but could not cope with the thought of not ever satisfying her desire again. More importantly, Jeanie felt such an intense need for a refill that when her need could not be satisfied she ends up dying. Laura’s experience then begins to mirror that of Jeanie. As Laura’s cravings become more intense, she states:
“I ate and ate my fill,
Yet my mouth water still:
Tomorrow night I will
Buy more” (165-8).
Rossetti also implies in line 166 that not only does a woman have wants, but that they are not a one time deal; a woman’s desires are always existent.
Yet, the insistent need for fulfillment leaves Laura in a somewhat detached emotional state as she goes from innocent virgin to a desirous young woman and then to a slightly mad, near death young woman addicted to her female desire: “Laura in an absent dream, / One content, one sick in part” (211-12). Laura is saved from death by her sister’s selfless act, who ends up getting “goblin juice” and feeding “the fiery antidote” (559) to Laura. Rossetti offers a complex look at the female experience, one that is riddled with mixed images of female sexuality and the guilt that was so often connected with it. However, as the later twentieth century blew in, the male stronghold was beginning to lessen its grip as women writers were now making their own traditions born out of the female experience. This tradition continues with Adrienne Rich, who explores female sexuality from a broader perspective.
The advent of the later part of the twentieth century brought with it a large exploration of themes, where women writers began “exploring and dramatizing their national, economic, linguistic, regional, ethnic, religious, and political divergences along with their differing sexual preferences” (Gilbert 1616). Women writers no longer had to worry what men thought. Adrienne Rich was concerned with her own identity and experience, exploring a female’s desire through the lens of lesbianism. Just as Behn and Rossetti wrote of a woman’s enjoyment of her desire so too does Rich. Rich explores lesbian desire in a more descriptive manner that would have drawn more than gasps a few centuries ago.
Adrienne Rich, in her poem “The Floating Poem, Unnumbered,” delights the reader with a more upfront portrayal of female sexual desire. Gracious in her description, Rich expresses a woman’s positive portrayal of her enjoyment without guilt, reservation or consequence:
What ever happens with us, your body
Will haunt mine – tender, delicate
Your lovemaking (1-3).
The narrator is looking back at a past experience with fondness and the stronger the memory gets the more descriptive the poem becomes. Free from male reproach Rich is able to fully express her direct observations on the extent of a woman’s desire. The perception of a woman’s sexuality is no longer to be feared, as Rich’s poem indicates:
Your traveled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come –
the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue
has found there – (5-8).
Rich is explicitly exploring female desire by not only describing a “lady love” (1954) but addressing a “lady love.” Female desire has thus become more about women’s pleasure and enjoyment. The discovery about documenting women’s experiences now takes precedence and Rich is not shy in sharing this perspective with her reader. Lines 9-13 further illustrate this point:
the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth –
your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I had been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave – whatever happens, this is.
Rich explores in-depth the wants of a woman; that desire is nothing to be scared or ashamed of, regardless of gender. The narrator’s experience becomes a fond memory which Rich outwardly describes. Her poem is thus bold and courageous with its content, extending the female tradition into further depths.
Women’s experiences were often categorized through male definitions of what women should and should not be, and this penetrated the literary voice of female writers. Christina Rossetti’s “Goblin Market” is a testament to this. Change, however, can often be a balm that heals such confusion. The only way for women to know themselves is to also know each other and this can only be achieved if women make their voice known. Aphra Behn was the first to take such a step. Each century revealed a different voice that expressed feelings about the issue of female desire and what women themselves thought of it. To know the importance of what has been achieved can only be appreciated through the path that was taken. Behn took the first steps and allowed Rossetti to continue the tradition and bring us to get where we are at present; where Adrienne Rich has spiced up the freedom that women can now express without reservation.

Works Cited
Gilbert, M. Sandra and Gubar, Susan, ed. The Norton Anthology: Literature By Women.
2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.
Behn, Aphra. “The Willing Mistress.” Gilbert 111.
Rich, Adrienne. “The Floating Poem, Unnumbered.” Gilbert 1963.
Rossetti, Christina. “Goblin Market.” Gilbert 903-915.
Posted by record at 6:50 PM 0 comments
Thursday, January 13, 2011
"Alphabettica Thealogica"

Athena opens wide grey eyes to the beat of owl's wings
Blodeuedd, her body composed of exotic blooms, perfumes the air
Chang-O turns her regal back to the world, offering the drape of her deep-black peignoir to the night's darkness
Demeter garlands the chamber with sheaves of golden, shining wheat
Europa, in the form of a magnificent white cow, leaps over Chang-O bearing Zeus, her royal cup-bearer, on her pearlescent back as blood-red wine spills from her silver cup
Freya unleashes her cats, ruffling their blue-black fur with one elegant hand. She glances over her shoulder and into one of the many mirrors to see
Guinevere weaving a crown of white daisies,
Hecate combing her flowing silver hair as she toys with the locks of Heaven's gate,
Isis unfurling her protective wings over the bed, the many colors of her feathers reflecting in candlelight bounced off white silk sheets,
Juno, on her throne, fanned by the tails of a thousand peacocks, sipping ouzo,
Kuan Yin, tuning her telepathic compassionate radar to my frequency, sensing pain, and then discovering the razor sting is all part of sweet joy,
Lakshmi, her many hands throwing golden coins from her many Dolce & Gabbana handbags, whispering blessings of prosperity,
Medusa's serpents shed their skin as elegant peels of white chocolate; their mistress stirs them into my drink,
Nymphs drop the maroon leaves and pink blossoms of springtime plum trees from the rafters,
Oshun crosses oceans of time, and cultures, to pick up Lakshmi's chant and form a duet,
Pele's volcanoes spout benevolent, incensed pink smoke and rainbows of sparks,
Queen of heaven Inanna lifts Pele's sparks to the sky and transforms them into stars to decorate her temple,
and Rhiannon opens a pine chest to reveal an exquisite selection of riding crops.
Selene, my Goddess, all the minor deities Gather at your feet to worship, and my heart quivers to realize you've chosen me from all among the host who vie for your attention.

(inspired by VictoriaSelene Skye Deme and by Kris Waldherr's The Book of Goddesses)

"Moist Howlette: For Allen Ginsberg"

Sacred! Sacred! Sacred! My poet, my prophet, my Jewish saint and guru declares that all is sacred!
The world is divine! The soul is divine! The skin is sacred! The vulva is sacred! The tongue and cock and hand and asshole sacred!
Everybody’s sacred! Everywhere’s sacred! Every thing is sacred! Every day is an eternity! Every man and woman is an angel!
The sacred whore’s as holy as the seraphim! The sex worker is holy as you my soul are holy! The clitoral orgasm’s as sacred as the vaginal orgasm!
The keyboard is sacred the poem is sacred the voice is sacred the hearers and readers are sacred the ecstasy is sacred!
Holy Erin holy Allen holy Purrrrrrrrr holy Kathryn E holy Walt Whitman holy Joan Jett holy fuckers holy every human angel!
Sacred the vibrators! Sacred, the cock and the cock ring and the clit and the clit ring!
Sacred the groaning saxophone! Sacred the orgasm apocalypse! Sacred the womb scrotum balls peace & junk & drums!
Sacred the solitudes of men’s rooms and elevators! Sacred the strip clubs filled with the millions! Sacred the mysterious rivers of cum and pussy juice and blood and sweat and tears under the sheets!
Sacred the lesbian and the gay man! Sacred the bisexual! Sacred the straight feminist and sexual shepherds of rebellion!
Sacred forgiveness! Mercy! Charity! Faith! Love! Affection! Touch! Sacred! Ours! Bodies! Pain and pleasure! Magnanimity!
Sacred the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of Allen Ginsberg’s dear departed soul!

"Ode a Pete Wentz"

"Sugar, We're Going Down"
may be the only Fall Out Boy song I like
or know,
but I like things named after Simpsons characters,
and I like Pete Wentz.
When I first saw him in glossy magazines,
with Lindsay Lohan, or Ashlee Simpson,
or some other dishwater redhead,
I thought he was a lesbian,
Not a him,
But a hym,
a potential hersband for said starlet du jour.
His long-haired androgyny
and skinny legs are why
if I ever got him alone
I would like to bend him over,
pull those too-tight emo pants down
over his pasty, girlie ass
and take him from behind.
A strap-on should do nicely,
With a nice jelly dildo--
Red,
Silicone, not latex
(I have an allergy)
And, preferably, the kind that's a vibrator, too.
This has to be fun for us both.
I'm just a notch in your bedpost,
But you're just a few lines
In a dirty poem.
Erin O'Riordan

WHY DOES IT GOT TO BE LIKE THIS
I CAN’T FIND MYSELF IN THIS WORLD WIND
I DON’T KNOW WHERE I LOST ALL CONTROL
I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO BELIEVE ANYMORE
WHY DOES IT GOT TO BE LIKE THIS WHO AM I
I DON’T BELONG
I LOST MY LOVE
I DON’T TRUST ANYTHING
WHY DOES IT GOT TO BE LIKE THIS
I STOP CARING AND GIVING IN
I AM TIRED OF GIVING IT MY ALL
I AM NOT ME,MAD ABOUT EVERYTHING,DON’T KNOW WHY
WHY DOES IT GOT TO BE LIKE THIS
JEALOUS OVER EVERYTHING FEEELING OF UNFAITHFULLNESS IN MY MARRIAGE
SO SAD, LONELY AND ANGRY I HATE WHO I AM
WHY DOES IT GOT TO BE LIKE THIS

lashaun guel
Posted by record at 5:52 PM 0 comments
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Queer in the bible belt

Mindless chatter flows.....
outta of my homosexual mind

do you hear it?
do you hear the thoughts I be thinkin'?

do you see the images,
that I be poulluting the air with?

On a single day-
my obscenity will cover the smog of LA

but the people still be gaggin'
this not be on Johnny's balls neither
they be gaggin' at my thoughts
my own freedom of expression
my own version of true love
they be gaggin'
at me and my girl
holdin' hands

I could have been born with red hair
and freckles
I could have been born destined
to a 34DD
I could have been born to be
a movie star
I could have been born
wishing for a MBA
I could have been born with
some abnormality-
the only thing worse
for me
would have been to be born-
straight

My Number- Is like this

Liking girls isn't always as convenient
as liking boys
but sometimes it calms the heart
and seems less fragile
cause you both are so soft
you won't have to be wondering
if one of you will break
and the glue
that sticks to your insides
has already poured out

Yeah- I wish for simple things
like the love between two girls
me being one
her one too

but something came in between
the simple thing,
A boy
has screwed our equation
and now it is not equal to love
a boy has fucked
my number- on this occasion

Not A Pretty Girl

I once attempted to write a love poem
and I did write it
but why call it a love poem
I never even gave it to that girl

the girl whose phone number I got,
hung out with once,
smoked some weed with
and then I had decided,
she had made-
a bad impression

forget the fact that she likes Ani
forget the fact that night-
sitting on her couch,
she put in Not A Pretty Girl

hours earlier-
I had thought of buying a bottle of wine
so the two of us would believe-
we were intoxicated on each other

she wasn't even that pretty-
a blond
and I always state the fact loud;
that blonds aren't my type;
I am known to lie

I saw this girl once more
my hair was shorter
maybe she didn' think I was as cute-
as she once had
I did get her new number
I din't use that one either

Bethany Young