Category Archives: poetry

Self-Censoring

I haven’t written much, lately.
The last poetry I wrote was for submissions to an anthology/zine/something out in BC (I have no idea if my work has been accepted or not, or whether the anthology is still happening, as the organizer/editor is dealing with Life Stuff and has other things on their plate right now. Time will tell).
I keep going “but I’m tired”, and knowing that’s not really what’s up.
I mean, yes, I have two (both part-time) jobs + occasional other paid work, my social media feed is a landscape of fear, panic, and calls-to-action that is somewhat less-frequently interrupted with Emergency Kittens and kink discussion than it was two weeks ago, and I’m not sleeping too well these days, but when “I’m tired” – and, more-so, “I’m just tired” starts showing up in my interior monologue, I know it means something more than that.
 
Starhawk, in Truth or Dare talks about the gate of the censor (the book is constructed loosely around the Descent of Innana). She says:
 

Notice when you are bored, when the dull fog of the Censor creeps in. Ask: What is not being said here? What am I not seeing/saying/doing? What do I want to do? What do I fear?

 
This is what “I’m just tired” generally means for me. It means I’m self-censoring. I’m “tired” of… what? From what?
So I ask myself: What is not being said here?
My answer comes back:
 
I don’t want to write a break-up album. I don’t want my queer-poly poetry collection to be all sad and wistful stuff about loss. I don’t want my chap-book of femme-poetry glosas to just be me spending more femme energy on a masc who broke my heart.
 
I miss writing. I miss making the time to write, and I miss generating creative work, but I also miss the ritual of sitting down in a coffee shop, dropping $5 for coffee and a lemon square, and creating for a couple of hours without distraction (meaning: without access to the internet, which I can technically do at home by sitting in the front room rather than on the couch; but also meaning: without the guilt/shame around taking time to Art when my living room and kitchen are untidy). I feel guilty for wanting to take that time, and for wanting to spend that money, when I could be working in the shop to help my wife’s business grow (aka: to help us pay our bills) or donating to Standing Rock or emailing my prime minister about repealing Bill C-51 (among other things). But mostly? Mostly, I’m just embarrassed to be still processing a heart-break that happened almost a year ago (meaning: more time has passed since breaking up than passed during the entire, short-lived relationship), and I want to find something else to speak-from-the-heart about that will contribute to the works I have in progress.
 
Ugh. Ages ago, I read a horoscope for myself that said my break-throughs were going to come from the artistic-output equivalent of singing “Bed of Roses” in a really heart-felt way, while drunk at a karaoke party. So maybe I need to write the damn break-up album and be done with it?
 
I don’t know. I’m working at a cegep tomorrow. If I arrive early enough, maybe I can sit myself in their school cafeteria and scribble something while I wait.

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Femme Dykes Write Glosas (Apparently)

So, apparently, when you’re a femme-dyke poet, you write Glosas. (Thanks, Amber Dawn. πŸ˜‰ )
 
Dorothy Chan has a poem featured at Matrix Magazine, written from the (theoretical) perspective of a Playboy Centrefold.
 
I find poems like this Interesting because, while there is a tonne of overlap between women who do sexwork and women who write poetry, as a professional naked person who has done plenty of this kind of modeling (albeit definitely not for those kind of excellent rates), I find myself wondering if Dorothy Chan has worked in this particular industry.
Maybe.
Maybe not.
(I admit to a suspicion of Not, but I’ve been wrong before, so hey).
 
So I decided to write a glosa using the last four lines of her featured poem.
I’d originally thought it would be one for “We Are All Jezebel” (a manuscript that I work on intermittently which looks at the intersection of femme, slut, and ho – as per Kathryn Payne’s essay in Brazen Femme) and talk about my own experience as a model doing glam nudes and boudoir shoots.
But that’s not how it worked out at all.
I actually wound up talking about hunger – hunger for food, hunger for sex, how food and sex and bound up together in my head andmy body in a way that has nothing to do with whipped cream and chocolate body paint and everything to do with being nurtured and fed on an emotional/heart level – about asexuality and eating disorders and needing to relearn “healthy eating habits” in my skin.
So it’s going to end up in “How to Cook a Heart” – the manuscript I work on much more frequently that explores queer polyamourous love & desire and the building of chosen family through the lens of local-seasonal food (growing it, cooking it, preserving it, sharing it, you name it…).
 
Here’s a sample of what I wrote today:
 

can almost taste her
the edge of memory burns
my tongue on her hip bone I sob
at a kiss
I’m allowed to crave
or am I? This sheath shows every flaw
I want to shrug off
let you have me like this
open
straps falling down, breasts out, bending my body over,

 
It’s a work in progress, as they say. πŸ˜‰
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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FIGURES: Impressions of a Professional Naked Girl (chapbook by me)

So, as-you-know-bob, I’m doing a reading with fabulous femme Amber Dawn Writes (home page) and bodaceous butch Kalyani Pandya (Daily Xtra article by Lukayo) this coming Saturday to celebrate the launch of Amber Dawn’s latest book, Where the Words End and My Body Begins. There will be a write-in during the show, and there will of course be merch. I mean, buy Amber’s books, clearly.
But there will also be this:
 

FIGURES: Inpressions of a Professional Naked Girl

FIGURES: Inpressions of a Professional Naked Girl


 
I’m rather chuffed about the whole situation.
It’s a limitted run of fifty (except that it’s currently a limitted run of forty-nine because the printshop and the other printshop and I Had A Miscommunication… But I’ll get it sorted out).
 
Anyway. That’s my wee bit of news. πŸ™‚
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Chapbook – Gone to Print!

So, my chapbook is at the print shop.
 
There was rigamarole, but it has (fingers crossed) (probably) passed.
As of Wednesday morning I should have a stack of fifty chapbooks with bright red covers (becuase I’m opting for stereotypical, apparently) to call my own and, y’know, hawk at my upcoming show, where it’ll be available for $5 at the Merch Table.
 
This wee, self-published collection of fifteen poems focuses on my work as a model, and touches on the places where that work overaps and intersects with different areas of the sex industry. It is mostly new work, written in the past year, though a few older pieces are included.
 
This isn’t my first chapbook, but it’s the first one I’ve made with either a colourful cover OR the sense to make mention of its Limited Edition nature. Here’s hoping that the reading goes well enough that people in attendence will want copies of their own to take home.
 
Fingers Crossed.
 
 
A.

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Book Launch with Amber Dawn! I’m In It! :-D

Hey, folks!
 
So I may or may not have mentioned this back in, like, February, when this scheme was first cooked up, BUT: I’m in a show! With Amber Fucking Dawn! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
Be still, my little femme literary heart! πŸ˜€
 
It’s a free show at 7:30pm, on Saturday, June 13th (so a week from this coming Saturday) at Venus Envy in Ottawa. The occasion is the launch of Amber Dawn’s quite awesome new book of Glosas – Where the Words End and My Body Begins – and there will be a sex-positive write-in (audience non-mandatory participation, essentially) during the show.
 
There will be love-letters to queerdom, poetry about queer history, femme identity, modeling, & sexwork, short stories told and read, and, as the flyer puts it, a whole lot of “sex, sass, humour, and healing”.
 
In short, you should all come.
 

FREE show ft Amber Dawn, Kalyani Pandya, and ME!
Saturday, June 13th, 2015
7:30pm – 9:30pm
Venus Envy (226 Bank St, Ottawa)

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Prose, Poetry, and Shifting Priorities

So, upon saying Yes to doing a show this coming June, I set The Novel aside (temporarily…) in order to focus on writing the raw material for what will, by the time the show rolls around, be a (hopefully) gorgeously-polished chapbook about my experiences as a Professional Naked Girl.
But I gathered up most of those poems yesterday and I’ve got about the right amount, plus a few extras. They still need to be worked on – some polished, some straight-up finished, some (probably) combined to make new, individual poems – but I’ve got enough stuff pulled together that I feel fairly safe bringing prose back onto the table, in some way at least.
To that end, there is this: WritingChallenge.org
Which comes with this handy little essay on Why 500 Words A Day Works for Me (and Might Work for You), which I’m just going to leave here for people to find and read. Go ahead. It’s handy stuff. πŸ™‚
 
Tonight is the VERSeFest Volunteers event, so I’ll be hanging about with other Awesome Poetry People this evening.
TTFN,
A.

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Show! (Long Time Coming, Not Here Yet)

A poet I admire asked me if I would like to read with her.
I said yes.
We are going to do a show together in the summer, possibly with a third poet.
We will be making zero money as the door-take will be going to a local non-profit – although she and the potential third poet will have books/chapbooks to sell – but it’s a show. I haven’t done a show in over a year at this point, so I’m quite looking forward to it.
 
And, hey. Now I have an external deadline by which to be finished one, ideally two, manuscript(s). So that’s a handy thing as well.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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PPO Insite Theatre Fundraiser – I’m Reading At It! (Friday, October 24th, 8pm – Cafe Nostalgica)

So I got an email from a friend the other day, asking if I’d be willing to perform some of my (tamer) erotic poetry and fiction at a fundraiser for the local Planned Parenthood this Friday the 24th (tomorrow). I’ve sent her a copy of my latest story – one that’s short enough to fit into my allotted time while still allowing me to include a few pieces of poetry as well – just to make sure that it’s okay for the intended audience.
I gather it’ll be a pretty vanilla crowd – though, if you’re kinky and interested in supporting Planned Parenthood Ottawa, I’d love to see you in the audience at Cafe Nostalgica (U of O Campus) at 8pm – so a story that includes choking, even self-choking, might wind up being a little too much. I sure hope not, though!
Beyond that, I’ll probably read “Teeth” (an oldy, but a goody) and a couple of short poems from my “Sweet and Sharp” chapbook. Whether or not I get paid is, alas, dependent on whether or not PPO meets their fundraising goal for the evening, but it still sounds like a fun gig, so I’m in. πŸ™‚

Tickets are $25 (available online and also from the PPO Office – 2197 Riverside, near Bank St) and include the reading, a burlesque performance (Bella Barecat) and admission to the evening’s dance party (ft DJ Caffrey). There will be prizes for best costume plus a photo booth as well.

Sexy Masquerade for PPO’s Insite Theatre
Cafe Nostalgica (601 Cumberland, U of O Campus)
Friday, October 24th
8pm-2am
Tickets $25 in advance

I’ll most likely be dolled up in my Lilith Gear. Hope to see you there, Ottawa/Gatineau Folks.

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Yet Another Project – National Poetry Month 2014

So, now that VERSeFest is over for another year, and National Poetry Month has officially begun, I find myself inspired (and also encouraged by my lovely wife) to get a full-length manuscript finished.
 
My plan – inspired, in a round-about way, by a poem called “Food” on the subject of microgastronomy – is to write two poems per day (maybe more, in some instances) following the months of the year and the foods that become (or are most) available during each month. So I have a poem called “Cabbage Water” that fits into January’s cycle, another one called “Rhubarb” that fits into June, and a third, “Coming”, that is for April. Just as a couple of examples.
 
I sat down, the other day, and came up with titles – this is a trick I learned in a poetry workshop, umpteen years ago – so that I’d have jumping-off points for all of the poems. Most of them are pretty clear, and having significant associations with the timing and the… foodways? economic realities? socio-seasonal activities?… that go along with each title, each item on this grocery list of a ToC, I have a pretty good idea of where these poems are likely to go. Writing about garlic mustard and necessity, serviceberries and unexpected abundance, bread and heart(h), river-thaw and hope.
 
They aren’t all about food. Some of them are about techniques, a few of them are about waiting, anticipation (April is made of waiting and anticipation, I-tell-you-what).
 
Anyway. We’ll see what happens.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Dream Interpretation

So… A very casual acquaintance of mine (one of the poets for VERSeFest, as it happens) had a dream about a mutual friend. The mutual friend tossed out a joking suggesting that people do Jungian dream interpretation in rhyming couplets.
So I did.
Just for the hell of it.
 
It’s pretty terrible, but I’m tossing it up here anyway. πŸ™‚
 
~*~
 
&nsp;
Over the Falls
 
Self and Other united in trust
But which is which and which must
leap and lead, which follow?
Tumbling freefall, stomachs hollow
fear and glee entwined
to free the mind
to choose a different path, no more a slave
to concrete and control, the rushing wave
will lead to deeper truth – let go
Let grow
the swelling current (flow
and gush of new creative force)
Renounce remorse
the uncaged heart frees all
Sometimes a fall
from such great height
engenders flight
 
 
~*~
 
So there you have it.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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