Jane Eaton Hamilton

"At the bottom of the box is hope." – Ellis Avery.

Tag: Canada

Celebrations of Womxn on IWD 2018

In Canada, a woman other than Queen Elizabeth II is finally on our currency in a $10 bill that will go into circulation later this year. Not quite certain of why we can’t replace all the men all at once and for as long as women have been excluded, but I guess it’s a first step. Read all about Viola Desmond, the Black Nova Scotian jailed for sitting in the white section of a movie theatre years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat, here:

Viola Desmond, Canadian hero

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For decades, I read the Globe and Mail daily, and when I turned to the obit section, I would see that in Canada only white heterosexual men ever died, and I’d always breathe a sigh of relief. If they kept on being the only Canadians succumbing, well then, the rest of us might live long enough to see equality. Hope the Globe sees fit to do exactly what the Times is doing:

At the NY Times, obits have been dominated by white men–as selectors, as subjects. Today, they unveil a new column, Overlooked, to redress the problem. I’ve reprinted the introduction here. Follow the links as the stories are fascinating and well worth your investment of time.

Overlooked

Obituary writing is more about life than death: the last word, a testament to a human contribution.

Yet who gets remembered — and how — inherently involves judgment. To look back at the obituary archives can, therefore, be a stark lesson in how society valued various achievements and achievers.

Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones; even in the last two years, just over one in five of our subjects were female.

Charlotte Brontë wrote “Jane Eyre”; Emily Warren Roebling oversaw construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband fell ill; Madhubala transfixed Bollywood; Ida B. Wells campaigned against lynching. Yet all of their deaths went unremarked in our pages, until now.

Below you’ll find obituaries for these and others who left indelible marks but were nonetheless overlooked. We’ll be adding to this collection each week, as Overlooked becomes a regular feature in the obituaries section, and expanding our lens beyond women.

You can use this form to nominate candidates for future “Overlooked” obits. Read an essay from our obituaries editor about how he approaches subjects and learn more about how the project came to be.”

Edie and Thea–marriage and disability

Edie and Thea, a movie still

A lot of you know I was one of the litigants who sued Canada’s federal government in 2000 for the right to marry my queer, long-term partner. I’m not a big booster of marriage in general, given its roots in female ownership, and some of its current reflections of same, but I found it offensive that a group of people had been systematically excluded from a civic right available to the rest of the population. I worked with lawyers barb findlay and Kathleen Lahey toward our ultimate success June 8, 2003 and was fortunate to be sitting in the Supreme Court of Canada when Beverly McLaughlin’s court changed our constitution to reflect the new, inclusive law.

Until 2003, you didn’t have the right in Canada, if you were queer, to decide whether or not to marry. We’ve had the right to make up our own minds about marriage for 14 years less a week now.

Heterosexuals changed their minds about us, recognizing our humanity because they recognized the similarity of our vows. Hets spoke marriage and so we began to have a dialogue toward reconciliation and safety.

Why that matters, still, is that we can’t be entirely safe without allies. We can’t fight the battles ahead, which I fear may start grim and devolve, without having each other’s strength and courage to lean on. There are a lot of incidents mentioned in the news now where a straight person stopped an attack we couldn’t stop.

While recognizing that marriage is a flawed institution that evolves in contemporary but still flawed ways, I believe that, all in all, marriage has nevertheless been a great plus for my community. Yes, we got corporatized and gawd knows our Pride marches got taken over by big business and the various arms of the military. But we can stop participating in where that’s gone. We can make our own community Pride again, particularly in support of BLM. We can wrest Pride away from the forces which overtook it and say, again goddammit, This is ours.

People in the community still diss the litigants for ruining queer culture (many of the people who lobbed this charge at us then took advantage of equality to get married themselves). But I watched the magic of visibility unfold as I attended a rash of friends’ weddings, then witnessed for couples from Israel, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, the US, New Zealand, the UK, France, countries in Africa and more.

One of the couples who availed themselves of Canada’s changing marriage laws was Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer, a longterm couple from the US, memorialized in an eponymous movie. I wanted to mention them not because their love was long, or solemnized at its end by marriage, but actually because Thea, one of the two, was from her forties disabled, using various canes and then a wheelchair, and the movie was filmed entirely from this later vantage point, making it a study of love and disability, valuable for people with disabilities and the people who love/care for them.

People may know that I am in and out of wheelchairs, and utilize scooters and walkers. I have thought a lot about whether my disability is a burden (my wife left our marriage declaring that life with disabled me was “1/4 of a life”) and I have decided that no, it isn’t. That the part of me that believes it is is the shamed part that the able-bodied seek to disempower, who finds different to be lesser. I am not lesser. I am not less intelligent. I am not less kick-ass. I am not less talented and skilled as a writer.

I am just not always able to get to the podium, is all, because you able-bodied people insist on repeatedly making that a hard thing for we disabled people. Even today this happened again, for readers and audience in Toronto, though replacing the inaccessible venue only took two hours in the end. (But does the new choice have a safe enough ramp? “Nothing without us,” is part of CripCanLit’s pledge. Please invite us into the discussion before you choose your venues.) Read Nine Phrases Allies Can Say When Called Out Instead of Getting Defensive.

But not to get distracted. My point here is that the person who gave my ex-wife 1/4 of a marriage–if indeed that’s what I had–was not me, but in fact the woman who perceived it as such. Witness how Edie handled it instead.

The movie Edie and Thea shows how to love completely and endearingly while loving someone seriously disabled. And I admired it, and the two of them and the filmmakers, for giving all of us a template on how to do this.

 

CWILA: Canadian Women in the Literary Arts

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“CWILA (Canadian Women in the Literary Arts) is an inclusive national literary organization for people who share feminist values and see the importance of strong and active female perspectives and presences within the Canadian literary landscape.”

What is the story for 2015? After months of counts and compilations by hard-working volunteers, the counts have been released here.

Thank you to CWILA.

The Preludes to Assaults

Feel free to share. Note this essay and my other essays on violence are collected here at the site on my page: On Violence.

#gomeshi #ghomeshi #ibelievelucy #IStandWithLucy #BillCosby #hairextensions #truthmatters #rapeculture #cndjustice

Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted]. I don’t know you very well, but I know this: one night in early 2004, after I’d been awarded a writing prize in Ottawa, you followed me to a side room annexed to the main hall, where I’d gone to get away from the crowds, and while my (then) wife was in the bathroom or off getting another drink, I’m not sure, you put your hand on me. That hand. One of the very hands that is being discussed in court this week. You closed the distance between us and you massaged my shoulder/neck while talking to me about how I needed to relieve the stress of my big win. Eventually my (then) wife returned, you dropped your hand (that hand), and we smiled politely and “uh-huh’d” while you bashed the Rockies, BC and, in particular, Vancouver.

You didn’t ask me if you could massage me. I guess you assumed you could touch me. The way men, the entitled 50%, have always assumed they could access women’s bodies at will. You were a star, and your status helped me to tamp down my resistance. I don’t know why the hell you picked me, as I had just been on stage thanking my (then) wife; I was obviously queer and out and significantly older. Maybe I was just the only woman alone during that function? I do know that a number of other men, and people elsewhere on the gender spectrum, have previously in my life singled me out for non-respectful interactions. The truth is, I did not step back, Jian Gomeshi, you [redacted], and I excoriate myself for that now. I should value myself more.

I was taught to be polite. I was taught to smile and nod and always, always be friendly. I was told that friendliness could get me out of pinches, even save my life, and indeed, through the years, this mostly proved to be true. Doing what men tell you to do is just a good idea. Not doing what they tell you to do can be disastrous.

I wish it weren’t so, because they would be illuminating, but stats for close calls don’t exist. The binds we’ve escaped because of our own instinct or intelligence or cunning remain undocumented.

Let me talk about what you touching me was and was not, Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted]. Because you had followed me and waited until I was alone to approach, what you did was strange and mildly unsettling. I felt a sense of disquiet. But given my sexual orientation and marital status, I also didn’t take what you did particularly seriously. That night I stayed up with another Canadian literary luminary getting drunk and laughing until 4 a.m. He certainly didn’t massage me and I’ve never written a post about his bad behaviour, nor would I. Guess why? There wasn’t any.

Okay, Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted], I get that what you did to me was not a charge-able assault, or, arguably, even an assault. I didn’t take it as one, then, and I don’t now. But I’m going to tell you what it was. It was the something else that so many of us experience 1000 times a year as Canadian people assigned female at birth, and trans–and let’s name it for what I now believe it was: the prelude to a potential assault.

The preludes to potential assaults are these: language or behaviour or touching that create in their  targets vague senses of unease that we “get over” as the day or week wears on. There is so much of this kind of crap slung in women’s directions in the average day that often we don’t even bother mentioning an encounter. We don’t tell our spouse. We don’t tell our employer. We don’t call a friend. Because these little infractions against our sovereignty, these thousands of small infractions, intended to train us to patriarchy, are par for the course. But we all understand what they’re actually telling us: they’re actually reminding us about what could happen.

If, say, we get uppity. If, say, we say no. If, say, we fight back. If, say, he woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

A year before you massaged my back, Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted], you allegedly hurt Lucy de Coutere. And there were alleged other victims, too. With that same hand you extended to me. With that very same hand you used to caress me. If the allegations are true, you wrapped that hand around victims’ throats and choked them. If the allegations are true, you used one of your hands to slap and punch your victims.

But guess what, Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted], let me tell you something about society. There are lingering effects to minor harrassment. Harrassment is a bridge built of a substance called continuum that Canadian women walk over every day of our lives from the day we are pushed into our pink worlds to the day we close our eyes the last time. And on that bridge are guys, nice guys, scum nozzles, and turds rolled in sprinkles. On that bridge of spectrums are guys (and some others) with their hands out, fingers waggling. Guys demanding we pay the toll. We’ll let you cross, they say, but only if you’ll smile. Only if you’ll give us a little kiss. Only if you’ll stop a minute and chat. Only if you’ll go home with us. If you want an “A.” If you want that promotion. Only if you get scared, because we appreciate scared. Only if we get to bash you in the head, throttle you, rape you and leave you for dead.

They say, We know you like it. They say, You asked for it.

You know what this mountain of harassment (and worse) does to the harried? It makes us queasy. It makes us question our interpretations. It makes us question our importance. It makes us scared to go out at night. Nervous to walk our own streets. Careful to lock our windows. It makes us tamp ourselves down.

It does all that because it’s meant to do all that. That’s exactly what it’s for.

The truth is, we aren’t fully enfranchised members of society, Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted].

This all has a name, this systemic oppression. It’s called misogyny, and in Canada we need an inquiry* to untangle its octopedal arms so we can root it the hell out of our country, and unfasten our institutions from it. Imagine the productivity here if all our population was equally enfranchised. Not 50%, or 60%, or 80%, but 100%?

Really, Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted], I want you to stop and think about that. I want you to imagine a different world, a world where one class of people can’t get away with (allegedly) treating another class of people violently.

Because right now, in part because of you, Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted], we people who’ve experienced violence are triggered. We are not just thinking about your behaviour, and your lawyer’s behaviour, we are thinking of so many other times in our lives where someone else has behaved badly, where someone didn’t respect and honour us.

Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted], this is all coming back up for us, all at once, until it pools like another Canadian ocean under that bridge men have been having us walk, tying us together across the country in one collective wave. We are thinking about times someone followed us onto the bridge. Times we were groped. Times we were pressured. Times we were coerced. Times we were held against our will. Times we had brusies. Times we were battered. Times we were raped.

This collective will says, We are mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.* Pretty soon, if we have our way, you guys with your baitings and assaults are all going to tumble off that bridge and drown in a big cold ocean of women rising up.

Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted], ours is a world that celebrates the male. You know what else is part of our oppressive system? Not letting women drive, or vote, or own property, or go out without male accompaniment. Saying that girls are not good at math, giving girls passive toys, not letting women go to unversity, glass ceilings, few female politicians, women earning less than men for work of equal value, women bearing the brunt of child-rearing and housework, women who perpetuate stereotypes even as they obtain jobs where they could change them.

All that stuff we call sexism? That is just misogyny written in semen. Men like you built the world. You built it to work for you. And it works for you most of the time.

We are mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore.*

Some men are up in arms this week, cautioning Canadian women to calm the fuck down. Don’t get your sweet little heads all in a tizzy, they say, in Canada we have something called due process. This is supposed to happen to complainants in court. Ultimately, it protects all of us.

In Canada, during due process, victims get psychologically battered, and we, the potentially violated, are standing upright while court is in session, quite out of order, and questioning that. We are saying This is not okay. This is an abridgement of Canadian values and Charter freedoms.

We are saying to the survivors of spectrum violence and to the brave, fierce women in court: We believe you and we stand with you and our support will never waver.

Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted], isn’t this quite the amazing system men have developed for themselves over the centuries? This system where women are achingly vulnerable, taught from a young age to submit, while the other half of the population (and a few strays from our side) takes advantage? Because let’s face it, what our patriarchy requires more than convictions, and we all know it, is an intact status quo.

So Jian Ghomeshi, you [redacted], thanks for the back rub. But just so’s you know: I’m an anti-fan.

 

 

*A Canadian inquiry on misogyny is the idea of barbara findlay, QC

*adapted from “Network,” the movie

Canada is Raping You

This talk talks about violence as a men’s issue and I recommend it highly: Jackson Katz’s Ted Talk

If you are trying to understand abusive minds, I recommend this book highly, whether your abuser is a man, a woman or someone on the continuum: Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft

Here is a very good blog post about this situation: Bone, Broth and Breastmilk

For people worrying about due process, this article, citing rape conviction stats in Canada: 1 in 1000:

What’s Really on Trial in the Jian Ghomeshi Case by Anne Kingston

The Oracle of Chappell Street

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École polytechnique, Dec 6, 1989, in memory

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Geneviève Bergeron
Hélène Colgan
Nathalie Croteau
Barbara Daigneault
Anne-Marie Edward
Anne-Marie Lemay
Maud Haviernick
Maryse Laganière
Maryse Leclair
Sonia Pelletier
Michèle Richard
Annie St-Arneault
Annie Turcotte
Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz

Get Published!

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sketch: Jane Eaton Hamilton 2007

Descant, one of Canada’s best and oldest litmags, has compiled a great list of 90+ places to publish in Canada. Thank you, Descant.

Descant

The Lista Rock and Hard Place

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You’d have to have lived under a rock not to have noticed the article on Canadaland by Canada’s Michael Lista. The poet, reviewer and editor takes a hard look at Scott Griffin’s empire in his article “The Shock Absorber, The Griffin Poetry Prize’s Ties to a Saudi Arms Deal,” about where the endowment fund for the Griffin came from.

What is a poet to do with the information? Not submit one’s books? Decline the award if it’s offered?

What of the country’s other prizes?

Or our own RRSPs/investments?

Perhaps it’s stirred up just a teeny, tiny bit of reaction.

The Shock Absorber

Canadian writers’ residencies

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Canadians, go here to find a comprehensive list:

Writers’ Trust

 

A Few Questions About Writing

by Jane Eaton Hamilton on July 14, 2014

 

My colleague Julie Paul asked me to take part in a blog tour in the lit community across Canada; I was tagged by Aaron Shepard.  Recently, I was tagged by Cornelia Hoogland.

I am to answer these four questions and tag two other Canlit writers. I don’t know who I’m tagging yet because I dropped this ball, but when I do, I’ll come back here and add them.

What am I working on?

I stopped writing for 8 years, and came back to it just 3.5 years ago.

Most immediately, after an April month trying out NaPoMo for size (that is to say, write a poem a day for National Poetry Month, which I found exceedingly challenging), I decided to try a 31-day mini-novel. I set a goal of 1000 words a day, which brought me to a very concise romance novel by June’s end. Sometimes I battled to get out words until 3 in the morning, but infrequently they were done by 1 pm.

These occasional month-long exercises are what I am doing instead of what I’d call really writing. My capacity for real writing has been stretched very thin by illness for the past 3.5 years. I have little energy, and little ability to concentrate, so writing comes in fits and starts often with long long pauses. Ending points seem to help—I think I can I think I can I think I can for only 30 days before I can let myself drop (and drop the ball).

Have been pottering with a novel, but I don’t even have a second draft yet.

I haven’t challenged myself to write a full-length short story since I’ve been back, but I think it’s a reasonable next goal. Once I do that, I’ll conclude I’m back in the game.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Everyone’s writing is idiosyncratic, but beyond that, I don’t know the answer to this question. Once Linda Spalding called my stories “crisp and clean, tender and dangerous.” I’ve always loved her description and would love to write stories that fit it.

I write mostly queer literature—maybe that’s a difference, at least from the mainstream.

 Why do I write what I do?

I write what interests me. Age is a good thing; one of its many prizes is the freedom from caring so much what others think or the marketplace needs.

I am a very personal writer, but I am hardly a memoirist despite having published a memoir. In both poetry and fiction, I am writing fictively, assembling and connecting originally non-connecting materials. It works like those memory trays we used to pass at children’s birthday parties in the 1960s covered by linen napkins. The 30-second reveal: an egg, a lighter, a piece of chalk, an address book, a piece of toast, some white string, a bobby pin, three cat’s eye marbles, four jacks, a hockey logo, a candle stub, five buttons. Write down what you remember. Assembling stories or poems is a matter of taking materials that never before fitted together and building associations between them.

For instance, in writing “Smiley,” the CBC/Canada Writes winning story, I wanted to spend time with weaver birds in South Africa’s Namaqualand. I had spent time there with photographer Freeman Patterson photographing wildflowers, but as on most group travel ventures, I found my interests were elsewhere—in this case I sat under trees colonized by hundreds of weaver birds, where I could watch and photograph their antic lives up close. More recently, I read an article Jonathan Franzen wrote for the National Geographic about the plight of songbirds in the Mediterranean; the article has been collapsing the possibilities of my heart every day since. So without conscious thought—or at least without conscious censoring–I conflated those two very separate truths, songbird deaths and thriving weaver birds, though in reality they happen a continent apart. Beyond that, I started with an image of a mother that was loosely-drawn from Charles Schultz, the powerful voice in the background of Charlie Brown’s life. When our mothers disapprove of us, they do seem as huge and strong as wooly mammoths.

Did I tell a real story? Yes and no. When I was younger than this child, in the mid 1960s, before there were LGBT role models, I insisted I was a boy. When I was my character’s age, I bound my nascent breasts with strips from a torn bedsheet during overnights, believing the pressure at night would push the nasty things back in. I made promises to God to stop stealing sugar. Our bathroom didn’t have a lock, so I was always putting the binder on at bedtime, and taking it off in the morning, terrified I’d get caught. So that fragment of the story is more or less true, although my family never found out.

In the story, the little boy experiences a first love, and affixes pendulous bird nests to his genitals as testicles. This isn’t from personal experience, but interestingly, a couple days after I finished the piece, I remembered finding an oriole nest as a little girl, and hatching exactly this scheme for myself—but I hadn’t remembered this even during writing, and I didn’t go through with it.

Even though this story is about a little trans guy, to me it’s just as much a testament to human spirit because of how Jake manages to close the terrifying distance that keeps him from his mother (and therefore her power over him intact). It touched me when his mom finally saw he was a boy and set out to help, rather than hinder.

How does my writing process work?

My favourite of my stories to write are highly voice-driven, such as ‘Hunger’ in my collection Hunger or ‘Too Young Boys’ in my collection July Nights or ‘Cripples’ or ‘Easter’ in my fledgling story collection. They’re a hoot because as a writer I’m just chasing along as someone gregarious takes over my page. Inevitably, these are women I wouldn’t much care for in real life, but as characters they’re lively and flawed, very interesting to work with.

Process, though, depends very much on genre.

When I write novels, I set word limits per day and am very disciplined about reaching them.

If I’m writing a full-length story, and have a very compelling character who is unfolding the narrative well, I’ll try to write it through, full-length and weak, in one sitting (generally a 10-12-hour day). If I am writing a story that doesn’t arrive fully-fledged, I’ll write and tweak for a month or so. I often can’t figure out stories, though, can’t make them yield, in which case I might not come back to one for years.

If I’m writing poetry, my process is all over the place—sometimes it involves long days, but other times I’ll just quickly jot a line I want to come back to at some point.

Non-fiction is the hardest for me. I have no talent for it. I always strive to lift it out of the mundane, but this is for some reason nearly impossible for me.

My editing process is rigorous, but even there, process varies—some pieces go to an outside editor before initial submission, while others don’t. Periodical or anthology editors have their own two cents to add. The important thing for me is to be open to editing (which is easy for me). Editors in my lengthy experience don’t wreck mss. Editors fix them. Editors are artists with large marble boulders, chinking away until they find the statue—the statue I carved—inside.

 

.   Links in the Literary Procession   .

 

 

Going Santa Fe

This is a repeat post because many people have been looking up the original:

In the 90s, I wrote a long poem called Going Santa Fe.  This was a term referring to a straight woman who had become lesbian.  I entered it into a contest; it won first prize at the League of Canadian Poets Chapbook Contest judged by bill bissett (now my gay son) and was published by them as a chapbook, cover artwork by Claire Kujundzic.

Although Canada won our battle for same-sex marriage rights over ten years ago (I was a litigant in our case and we won June 2003), the US is still mired in discussions about what is still in your country, unbelievably, a contentious topic.  So I thought reprinting the poem here might be of assistance to people grappling with how to understand it:

Going Santa Fe

“The Lesbian is one of the least known members of our culture.  Less is known about her–and less accurately–than about the Newfoundland dog.”

-Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love, Sappho Was a Right-on Woman, 1972

“During the 1920s and 1930s…a woman who had switched her sexual preference was said to have ‘gone Santa Fe.’”

-Jeffrey Hogrefe, O’Keeffe, 1992

1)

When I started loving women

I thought I was falling through a roof

a tumble through shingle and beam and plaster

back into innocence

The truth is, I was nine.  The first

girl I fell for wore a yellow dress

simple as sunshine–

I didn’t need innocence at all

I never, ever had a crush

on one of my gym teachers

You want to know

my history with men?

The first boy was called Teddy

I liked him because my

best chum told me to

I took my cues where I found them

I mimicked my friends

Do:  hair, nails.  Feel: giggly

 

For me, dating men was

a lot like bowling

a pleasant diversion

I felt nothing in particular

I was blank as a bowling ball

racketing the gutter

The truth is

I was raised by heterosexual parents

a man, a woman

The truth is I

didn’t have a rocky

childhood

The truth is, heterosexuals

are some of my

best friends

2)

“Cancer

When the moon, Uranus, and Pluto

do their planetary thing

you want girls who come

like frothy milkshakes

Gay Pride weekend you will be

showing cleavage in a black jumpsuit

and tossing girls in the air

like pancakes.”

–Girlfriends magazine May/June ‘95

3)

Generally, I say, the sex is better

It’s the sex straight women

are always quoted as

saying they want

4)

“It’s just like heterosexual sex, only we don’t have to fake the orgasm.”

-Suzanne Westenhoefer, Girls Next Door, Into the Heart of Lesbian America, Lindsey van Gelder and Pamela Robin Brandt, Simon and Schuster, 1996, page 102

5)

lez be friends

6)

I was sometimes the crowbar

married women used to extricate themselves

from their husbands

For instance

there was a business meeting

at a university in the east

I took a married woman back to my room

where she drank sherry from my belly button

In the morning she thought she was leaving me

but the door she opened was into the closet

7)

Do you realize

lesbians in the closet

are hiding from

you?

8)

Heterosexual Questionnaire

What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

Most child molesters are heterosexuals.  Do you consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexuals?  To heterosexual teachers, in particular?

Is it possible that your heterosexuality steams from a neurotic fear of people of the same sex?  Perhaps you just need a positive gay experience.

-Family Values, Two Moms and Their Sons, by Phyllis Burke, Random House, 1993, page 83 (Queer Nation)

9)

Every straight friend my lover and I

confided in found it necessary

to tell at least three trusted friends

who found it news enough that they

told at least two trusted friends

who vowed to keep it

absolutely private

10)

One of my married lovers said

But couldn’t you

teach a man to touch you

the way a woman does?

Pretend that I could.

Then what?

11)

No one asks my friend Grace

when she sleeps with men

whether she hates women

12)

When I left my first lover

I was as bruised

as if I was straight–

that heartbroken

13)

“…lesbians have not, as a rule, turned to women because of a terrible experience with a man.  ‘If that’s all it took,’ goes one of stand-up comic Suzanne Westenhoefer’s classic lines, ‘there wouldn’t be any straight women left in America.’”

–Girls Next Door, page 90

14)

My wife’s in Toronto with her Lesbian Lover,

he said.

Not immune to the power

of the phrase Lesbian Lover

I could feel myself

beginning to swell, to grow

to one hundred feet, a giantess

able to squash happy family heterosexuals

with a single footstep

15)

When I first touched

my lover

I believed I was giving

birth to myself

that sweet occasion

that celebration

Soon, I called her beloved

honey, angel, sweetheart

She was a woman

her back arching

just so

She walked Spanish banks

a serene silhouette

Our past her, the ocean

tossed and heaved her flanks

16)

I love her I love her

17)

“At one point we were facing each other.  Nic suddenly leaned over and started kissing me.  My first reaction?  It was Nicole, but it felt strange.  I thought, I don’t feel disgusted or upset, but can I really let myself enjoy this?  Am I going to be uptight?  Am I going to break away now?  And then I thought, No, I’m not going to do that.  I’m going to let my feelings lead me…see how it goes…

Nicole pulled back and looked into my eyes.  I said. “I don’t know how to do this.  I don’t know how…”

I was in a state of shock.  But the shock wasn’t strong enough to make me stop…”

-Faye D. Resnick. Nicole Brown Simpson:  The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted, 1994

18)

“The pressure to test out heterosexuality is intense, [but] ‘how will you know until you’ve tried both?’ is advice that’s rarely given to straight kids.”

-Girls Next Door, page 84

19)

When you meet gay and lesbian people:  Hints for the Heterosexual

do not run screaming from the room

if you must back away, do so slowly

do not assume they are attracted to you

do not assume they are not attracted to you

do not expect them to be as excited about meeting

a heterosexual as you may be about meeting a gay person

do not immediately start talking about your partner

to make it clear you are straight

-postcard, Dan Kaufman graphics

20)

Q:  What do lesbians do on the second date?

A:  Rent a U-Haul

-common lesbian joke

21)

Well, as long as you’re discreet

 

            What you do in the

            privacy of your bedroom

            is none of my business

            (I guess)

 

but isn’t it

I don’t know

sort of

boring?  sort of…

gross?

 

            Really, I’d be a lesbian too

            if it weren’t for Bob

 

Did you read the lesbian poem cycle

in my book?

I mean, Susie and I didn’t do anything

but I was in love with her

 

            What do you mean

            you’re not attracted to me?

22)

“Not even a good ironing can make me straight.”

-from an Elizabeth Gorelik photograph

23)

Tell us something about lesbians

We have short fingernails

24)

Why do heterosexuals

have a life

while homosexuals

only get a

lifestyle?

25)

I am a woman

I dream of tenderness in a cool morning bed

26)

Listen

Can I ask you something?

Will you open the book again

re-write the song?  Or travel

down the road you live on

slowly, inviting us along?

27)

“Hate is not a family value.”

-message on a bumper sticker

28)

make lists:

Lesbians Who Anthropomorphize Their Pets

Lesbian Coiffures

Lesbians I Love

Famous Lesbians

29)

Chastity Bono

Melissa Etheridge

Candace Gingrich

Janis Ian

kd lang

Ellen DeGeneres

Elspeth Cameron?

30)

Books by the side of a lesbian bed:

Shelter, by Jayne Anne Phillips

She’s Come Undone, by Wally Lamb

Anna Kerenina, by Leo Tolstoy

The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams

i live in music, by ntozake shange

Stones by the River, by Ursula Hegi

31)

But what do lesbians do?

32)

In a Toronto bookstore, my friend Janis and I

thumbed through the Rubyfruit catalogue of sex toys

and she said, They’re what?  I thought

they were candles.

33)

The truth is the sex involves

the usual suspects

34)

But which one of you is the man?

The truth is that is lesbian couples

both partners are women

That’s why they call us lesbians

35)

With this ring, I thee wed

(Finally)

36)

I can’t even think straight

–message on a tee shirt

37)

Is that a lesbian

or a garment bag?

38)

“Aries

Aries lesbians whoopee

at night with such force that

car alarms go off

Summer solstice brings

a girl habit you might

not be able to kick.”

-Girlfriends magazine, May/June 1995

39)

What if I fell in love with a

woman from Nashville

and Immigration wouldn’t

allow me into the US?

40)

Gayby Boom

41)

Auntie Joy’s adopting Sarah and Meghann, I said.

They’re going to be your real cousins.

What were they before? asked our niece.

Fakes?

 

42)

“My mother came out of the closet and all I got was this crummy tee shirt.”

43)

At the IVF clinic

in Vancouver, lesbians

wanting insemination

were turned away

This was called

nondiscriminatory

44)

Our favorite coffee shop

refuses to carry the local

gay newspaper because

it’s a family place

45)

“Last year we reported that Sharon Bottoms had finally gained legal custody of her young son, Tyler.  But sadly, Bottoms’ fight wasn’t over.  On April 21 a divided Virginia Court of Appeals ruled 4-3 in favor of awarding custody to Bottoms’ mother, Kay.  The majority opinion argued that Tyler could be condemned by society if raised by lesbian mothers.”

-Curve magazine, August 1995

46)

“I couldn’t help but think that she’s fifty-four years old and had been dating that woman for twelve years–isn’t that sick?” a man who killed an Oregon lesbian couple in 1995 indignantly explained to the San Francisco Examiner.  “That’s someone’s grandma, for God’s sake…Lesbo grandmas, what a thing, huh?”

-Girls Next Door, page, 14

47)

Once someone called me up

anonymously

and in the harsh voice

of an obscene caller said

Do you know you’re living

with a lesbian?

48)

Imagine love being shameful

Can you?

Imagine loving your boyfriend

and hiding it, so that you

can’t wear your wedding ring out

of the house, so that you can’t

tell the other teachers

at work, so that you have to deflect

questions about why you

aren’t married

Say

I haven’t met the right guy

Say, Yet

 

Spurn your boyfriend out loud

a few times each week:

Chris?  Oh, we’re just friends

When he goes to kiss you

on the corner, pull away

glance around furtively

deny him

for instance to your mother and father

so that, at Christmas, you go home

alone

Peel potatoes and stare

at the turkey baster, say

I’m dating someone, but he’s…

think fast, say

...already married

If somebody finds out imagine how

you could lose

your job

your housing

your life

49)

When it came time to

rent a house

my first girlfriend dressed

in sensible shoes

and a heavy iron cross

We told the landlord

she was a man

The truth is she and I

never held hands

in the town in which

we lived for five years

because what if someone

took offense and we

were two women

in a house

in the country

at night

50)

Pretend your husband

is a woman

Does anything change for you

now that you’re lesbian?

Pretend

just for the moment

that someone figures it out

say for argument’s sake

your baker, your dentist, your mother

your massage therapist

Would anything happen?

Choose just one person

say What is the worst thing I could

tell you about myself?

 

You have cancer.

Worse.

You killed someone.

Worse.

51)

Excuse me, sir, were you aware

this is the woman’s washroom?

 

Anne?  That’s a funny name

for a man

When my gal and I signed up

for dance classes, the clerk said,

Your partner’s name?

and I said, Joy

and she said, Joey?

and I said, Joy

and she said, Joe?

and I said, Joy

and she said, John?

and I said, Joy

and she frowned and wrote Jeff down

shaking her head

At class several women

refused to dance with us
52)

Imagine love being dangerous

Outside the community centre

near my home

some teenage

boys

pelted a woman

with snowballs and stones

She looked the type

Dyke, they hissed

At a Bread Garden on Denman Street

Joy and I stared at each other

stupid with love

until a man growled, Goddamned lezzies

Which one’s on top?

The truth is that we scuttled away

when he wasn’t looking

trying to fade into the storefronts

across the street

Watching our backs

yearning for the soft

insides of closets

53)

In Iran, a group of lesbians and gay men

who admitted they loved

people of their same gender

were given a choice:

stoning, or a plunge from a cliff

All ten chose to die

in flight

54)

abomination

a sin against God

sodomite

pervert

invert

 

woman with immature sexuality

(all she needs is one good…)

55)

“We don’t want [the Lesbian Camp Sisterspirit] here for the simple reason of…  It’s a known fact that all your violent crime comes from homosexuals.”

-Jones County deputy sheriff Myron Holified, Mobile Register, Mississippi, Feb. 27/94

The women

found a dead puppy

dressed in menstrual pads

spilled over their mailbox

56)

In Oregon, they narrowly averted

a plebiscite against us.  In Colorado, they

passed a law against us.  In Ontario, they voted

against our equality

57)

“In its 1989 ‘Gay in America’ report, the San Francisco Examiner calculated the cost to a hypothetical employee of its own who was in a legally unrecognized gay relationship, and compared the costs facing a legally married straight employee.  Both staffers were fifty years old, and both earned $40,000 a year.  In total, the report found that partners of gay Examiner employees who had worked for ten years would receive $55, 890 less in benefits than straight employees’ legally married spouses, and, if they outlived their gay partners by ten years, would lose $8000 in pension payments.”

-Girls Next Door

58)

Sometimes I long to

feel exotic and

dangerous, but

what always strikes me

is that I am as

ordinary as pie

that bland

As a lesbian

I brush my teeth

twice a day

As a lesbian

I clean my kitchen floor

once a week

As a lesbian

I pay my VISA bill

once a month

boring as soap

59)

My mother made me a lesbian

If I give her the wool

will she make me one too?

60)

Differences between you and me:

You are five foot six

I am five foot three

You have green eyes

I have blue eyes

You are thirty-four

I am forty-one

You live on Gladstone

I live on Arbutus

I don’t get a kinked neck

kissing my partner

61)

You committed a homosexual act.

 

I did not.

Elton John is a homosexual act.

62)

 

Tell me something about lesbians

We are famous for potlucks

Tell me something real

I am trying to tell you

she and I are the same thing

I am trying

to tell you I am a woman

she is a woman

the same thing

as you, just

two people uniting

netting love from the

marine heavens

We comfort each other

when the sky churns like a cauldron

grey foam

Wouldn’t you wish this pleasure

on anyone?

63)

The truth is I grew the

tub of nodding sunflowers

And the bowl of chicken

on the harvest table?  I cooked

it.  And the quilt you lie on?  I sewed it

And the book in your hands?  I wrote it

And the baby’s cheek?  I kissed it

Ms Foundation for Women blog

On June 10, 2013, it will be ten years since Canadians won the right to same-sex marriage.  I wrote a short piece on queer marriage in Canada for the Ms Foundation for Women blog recently, which can be found here:

Foundation for Women

Going Santa Fe

In the 90s, I wrote a long poem called Going Santa Fe.  This was a term referring to a straight woman who had become lesbian.  I entered it into a contest; it won first prize at the League of Canadian Poets Chapbook Contest judged by bill bissett (who later became my “gay son”) and was published by them as a chapbook, cover artwork by Claire Kujundzic.

Although Canada won our battle for same-sex marriage rights over ten years ago (I was a litigant in our case and we won June 2003), the US is still mired in discussions about what is still in your country, unbelievably, a contentious topic.  So I thought reprinting the poem here might be of assistance to people grappling with how to understand it:

Going Santa Fe

“The Lesbian is one of the least known members of our culture.  Less is known about her–and less accurately–than about the Newfoundland dog.”

-Sidney Abbott and Barbara Love, Sappho Was a Right-on Woman, 1972

“During the 1920s and 1930s…a woman who had switched her sexual preference was said to have ‘gone Santa Fe.’”

-Jeffrey Hogrefe, O’Keeffe, 1992

1)

When I started loving women

I thought I was falling through a roof

a tumble through shingle and beam and plaster

back into innocence

The truth is, I was nine.  The first

girl I fell for wore a yellow dress

simple as sunshine–

I didn’t need innocence at all

I never, ever had a crush

on one of my gym teachers

You want to know

my history with men?

The first boy was called Teddy

I liked him because my

best chum told me to

I took my cues where I found them

I mimicked my friends

Do:  hair, nails.  Feel: giggly

 

For me, dating men was

a lot like bowling

a pleasant diversion

I felt nothing in particular

I was blank as a bowling ball

racketing the gutter

The truth is

I was raised by heterosexual parents

a man, a woman

The truth is I

didn’t have a rocky

childhood

The truth is, heterosexuals

are some of my

best friends

2)

Cancer

When the moon, Uranus, and Pluto

do their planetary thing

you want girls who come

like frothy milkshakes

Gay Pride weekend you will be

showing cleavage in a black jumpsuit

and tossing girls in the air

like pancakes.”

Girlfriends magazine May/June ‘95

3)

Generally, I say, the sex is better

It’s the sex straight women

are always quoted as

saying they want

4)

“It’s just like heterosexual sex, only we don’t have to fake the orgasm.”

-Suzanne Westenhoefer, Girls Next Door, Into the Heart of Lesbian America, Lindsey van Gelder and Pamela Robin Brandt, Simon and Schuster, 1996, page 102

5)

lez be friends

6)

I was sometimes the crowbar

married women used to extricate themselves

from their husbands

For instance

there was a business meeting

at a university in the east

I took a married woman back to my room

where she drank sherry from my belly button

In the morning she thought she was leaving me

but the door she opened was into the closet

7)

Do you realize

lesbians in the closet

are hiding from

you?

8)

 

Heterosexual Questionnaire

What do you think caused your heterosexuality?

Most child molesters are heterosexuals.  Do you consider it safe to expose your children to heterosexuals?  To heterosexual teachers, in particular?

Is it possible that your heterosexuality steams from a neurotic fear of people of the same sex?  Perhaps you just need a positive gay experience.

Family Values, Two Moms and Their Sons, by Phyllis Burke, Random House, 1993, page 83 (Queer Nation)

9)

Every straight friend my lover and I

confided in found it necessary

to tell at least three trusted friends

who found it news enough that they

told at least two trusted friends

who vowed to keep it

absolutely private

10)

One of my married lovers said

But couldn’t you

teach a man to touch you

the way a woman does?

Pretend that I could.

Then what?

11)

No one asks my friend Grace

when she sleeps with men

whether she hates women

12)

When I left my first lover

I was as bruised

as if I was straight–

that heartbroken

13)

“…lesbians have not, as a rule, turned to women because of a terrible experience with a man.  ‘If that’s all it took,’ goes one of stand-up comic Suzanne Westenhoefer’s classic lines, ‘there wouldn’t be any straight women left in America.’”

Girls Next Door, page 90

14)

My wife’s in Toronto with her Lesbian Lover,

he said.

Not immune to the power

of the phrase Lesbian Lover

I could feel myself

beginning to swell, to grow

to one hundred feet, a giantess

able to squash happy family heterosexuals

with a single footstep

15)

When I first touched

my lover

I believed I was giving

birth to myself

that sweet occasion

that celebration

Soon, I called her beloved

honey, angel, sweetheart

She was a woman

her back arching

just so

She walked Spanish banks

a serene silhouette

Our past her, the ocean

tossed and heaved her flanks

16)

I love her I love her

17)

“At one point we were facing each other.  Nic suddenly leaned over and started kissing me.  My first reaction?  It was Nicole, but it felt strange.  I thought, I don’t feel disgusted or upset, but can I really let myself enjoy this?  Am I going to be uptight?  Am I going to break away now?  And then I thought, No, I’m not going to do that.  I’m going to let my feelings lead me…see how it goes…

Nicole pulled back and looked into my eyes.  I said. “I don’t know how to do this.  I don’t know how…”

I was in a state of shock.  But the shock wasn’t strong enough to make me stop…”

-Faye D. Resnick. Nicole Brown Simpson:  The Private Diary of a Life Interrupted, 1994

18)

“The pressure to test out heterosexuality is intense, [but] ‘how will you know until you’ve tried both?’ is advice that’s rarely given to straight kids.”

Girls Next Door, page 84

19)

When you meet gay and lesbian people:  Hints for the Heterosexual

 

do not run screaming from the room

if you must back away, do so slowly

do not assume they are attracted to you

do not assume they are not attracted to you

do not expect them to be as excited about meeting

a heterosexual as you may be about meeting a gay person

do not immediately start talking about your partner

to make it clear you are straight

-postcard, Dan Kaufman graphics

20)

Q:  What do lesbians do on the second date?

A:  Rent a U-Haul

-common lesbian joke

21)

Well, as long as you’re discreet

 

            What you do in the

            privacy of your bedroom

            is none of my business

            (I guess)

 

but isn’t it

I don’t know

sort of

boring?  sort of…

gross?

 

            Really, I’d be a lesbian too

            if it weren’t for Bob

 

Did you read the lesbian poem cycle

in my book?

I mean, Susie and I didn’t do anything

but I was in love with her

 

            What do you mean

            you’re not attracted to me?

22)

“Not even a good ironing can make me straight.”

-from an Elizabeth Gorelik photograph

23)

Tell us something about lesbians

We have short fingernails

24)

Why do heterosexuals

have a life

while homosexuals

only get a

lifestyle?

25)

I am a woman

I dream of tenderness in a cool morning bed

26)

Listen

Can I ask you something?

Will you open the book again

re-write the song?  Or travel

down the road you live on

slowly, inviting us along?

27)

“Hate is not a family value.”

-message on a bumper sticker

28)

make lists:

Lesbians Who Anthropomorphize Their Pets

 

Lesbian Coiffures

 

Lesbians I Love

 

Famous Lesbians

29)

Chastity Bono

Melissa Etheridge

Candace Gingrich

Janis Ian

kd lang

Ellen DeGeneres

Elspeth Cameron?

30)

Books by the side of a lesbian bed:

Shelter, by Jayne Anne Phillips

She’s Come Undone, by Wally Lamb

Anna Kerenina, by Leo Tolstoy

The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams

i live in music, by ntozake shange

Stones by the River, by Ursula Hegi

31)

But what do lesbians do?

32)

In a Toronto bookstore, my friend Janis and I

thumbed through the Rubyfruit catalogue of sex toys

and she said, They’re what?  I thought

they were candles.

33)

The truth is the sex involves

the usual suspects

34)

But which one of you is the man?

The truth is that is lesbian couples

both partners are women

That’s why they call us lesbians

35)

With this ring, I thee wed

(Finally)

36)

I can’t even think straight

–message on a tee shirt

37)

Is that a lesbian

or a garment bag?

38)

Aries

Aries lesbians whoopee

at night with such force that

car alarms go off

Summer solstice brings

a girl habit you might

not be able to kick.”

Girlfriends magazine, May/June 1995

39)

What if I fell in love with a

woman from Nashville

and Immigration wouldn’t

allow me into the US?

40)

Gayby Boom

41)

Auntie Joy’s adopting Sarah and Meghann, I said.

They’re going to be your real cousins.

What were they before? asked our niece.

Fakes?

 

42)

“My mother came out of the closet and all I got was this crummy tee shirt.”

43)

At the IVF clinic

in Vancouver, lesbians

wanting insemination

were turned away

This was called

nondiscriminatory

44)

Our favorite coffee shop

refuses to carry the local

gay newspaper because

it’s a family place

45)

“Last year we reported that Sharon Bottoms had finally gained legal custody of her young son, Tyler.  But sadly, Bottoms’ fight wasn’t over.  On April 21 a divided Virginia Court of Appeals ruled 4-3 in favor of awarding custody to Bottoms’ mother, Kay.  The majority opinion argued that Tyler could be condemned by society if raised by lesbian mothers.”

Curve magazine, August 1995

46)

“I couldn’t help but think that she’s fifty-four years old and had been dating that woman for twelve years–isn’t that sick?” a man who killed an Oregon lesbian couple in 1995 indignantly explained to the San Francisco Examiner.  “That’s someone’s grandma, for God’s sake…Lesbo grandmas, what a thing, huh?”

Girls Next Door, page, 14

47)

Once someone called me up

anonymously

and in the harsh voice

of an obscene caller said

Do you know you’re living

with a lesbian?

48)

Imagine love being shameful

Can you?

Imagine loving your boyfriend

and hiding it, so that you

can’t wear your wedding ring out

of the house, so that you can’t

tell the other teachers

at work, so that you have to deflect

questions about why you

aren’t married

Say

I haven’t met the right guy

Say, Yet

 

Spurn your boyfriend out loud

a few times each week:

Chris?  Oh, we’re just friends

When he goes to kiss you

on the corner, pull away

glance around furtively

deny him

for instance to your mother and father

so that, at Christmas, you go home

alone

Peel potatoes and stare

at the turkey baster, say

I’m dating someone, but he’s…

think fast, say

...already married

If somebody finds out imagine how

you could lose

your job

your housing

your life

49)

When it came time to

rent a house

my first girlfriend dressed

in sensible shoes

and a heavy iron cross

We told the landlord

she was a man

The truth is she and I

never held hands

in the town in which

we lived for five years

because what if someone

took offense and we

were two women

in a house

in the country

at night

50)

Pretend your husband

is a woman

Does anything change for you

now that you’re lesbian?

Pretend

just for the moment

that someone figures it out

say for argument’s sake

your baker, your dentist, your mother

your massage therapist

Would anything happen?

Choose just one person

say What is the worst thing I could

tell you about myself?

 

You have cancer.

Worse.

You killed someone.

Worse.

51)

Excuse me, sir, were you aware

this is the woman’s washroom?

 

Anne?  That’s a funny name

for a man

When my gal and I signed up

for dance classes, the clerk said,

Your partner’s name?

and I said, Joy

and she said, Joey?

and I said, Joy

and she said, Joe?

and I said, Joy

and she said, John?

and I said, Joy

and she frowned and wrote Jeff down

shaking her head

At class several women

refused to dance with us
52)

Imagine love being dangerous

Outside the community centre

near my home

some teenage

boys

pelted a woman

with snowballs and stones

She looked the type

Dyke, they hissed

At a Bread Garden on Denman Street

Joy and I stared at each other

stupid with love

until a man growled, Goddamned lezzies

Which one’s on top?

The truth is that we scuttled away

when he wasn’t looking

trying to fade into the storefronts

across the street

Watching our backs

yearning for the soft

insides of closets

53)

In Iran, a group of lesbians and gay men

who admitted they loved

people of their same gender

were given a choice:

stoning, or a plunge from a cliff

All ten chose to die

in flight

54)

abomination

a sin against God

sodomite

pervert

invert

 

woman with immature sexuality

(all she needs is one good…)

55)

“We don’t want [the Lesbian Camp Sisterspirit] here for the simple reason of…  It’s a known fact that all your violent crime comes from homosexuals.”

-Jones County deputy sheriff Myron Holified, Mobile Register, Mississippi, Feb. 27/94

The women

found a dead puppy

dressed in menstrual pads

spilled over their mailbox

56)

In Oregon, they narrowly averted

a plebiscite against us.  In Colorado, they

passed a law against us.  In Ontario, they voted

against our equality

57)

“In its 1989 ‘Gay in America’ report, the San Francisco Examiner calculated the cost to a hypothetical employee of its own who was in a legally unrecognized gay relationship, and compared the costs facing a legally married straight employee.  Both staffers were fifty years old, and both earned $40,000 a year.  In total, the report found that partners of gay Examiner employees who had worked for ten years would receive $55, 890 less in benefits than straight employees’ legally married spouses, and, if they outlived their gay partners by ten years, would lose $8000 in pension payments.”

Girls Next Door

58)

Sometimes I long to

feel exotic and

dangerous, but

what always strikes me

is that I am as

ordinary as pie

that bland

As a lesbian

I brush my teeth

twice a day

As a lesbian

I clean my kitchen floor

once a week

As a lesbian

I pay my VISA bill

once a month

boring as soap

59)

My mother made me a lesbian

If I give her the wool

will she make me one too?

60)

Differences between you and me:

You are five foot six

I am five foot three

You have green eyes

I have blue eyes

You are thirty-four

I am forty-one

You live on Gladstone

I live on Arbutus

I don’t get a kinked neck

kissing my partner

61)

You committed a homosexual act.

 

I did not.

Elton John is a homosexual act.

62)

 

Tell me something about lesbians

We are famous for potlucks

Tell me something real

I am trying to tell you

she and I are the same thing

I am trying

to tell you I am a woman

she is a woman

the same thing

as you, just

two people uniting

netting love from the

marine heavens

We comfort each other

when the sky churns like a cauldron

grey foam

Wouldn’t you wish this pleasure

on anyone?

63)

The truth is I grew the

tub of nodding sunflowers

And the bowl of chicken

on the harvest table?  I cooked

it.  And the quilt you lie on?  I sewed it

And the book in your hands?  I wrote it

And the baby’s cheek?  I kissed it

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