Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Poem: Shame

As small children we were taught about it in baggy school uniforms and knee socks
and never wearing patent shoes lest the boys saw our underpants reflected in them.
We were taught about it at rare school dances,
where the nuns pushed us apart telling us, ‘leave room for the holy ghost’.

Later on we were taught about it in class with talk of a man and a woman,
being married and doing your duty, bearing children.
In not speaking about pleasure and desire they taught us about it,
leaving us confused, betrayed and alarmed at our own bodies.

We were taught it in girls disappearing from school once bumps began to show
and in scandal when one teacher was asked not to return.
In not talking about the diversity of sexuality they taught us about it
telling us lies about punishment and consequence.

In teaching us about it they took what was good and pure
and twisted and corrupted it until every longing was a perversity.
On our knees and confessing our impure thoughts in dark rooms
we were taught it, without their ever needing to say the word.

Later on, in trying to rebel against it we rediscovered it, deepened it
in the bottom of a bottle, a handful of pills or powder and bad decisions.
In being determined not to feel it we bargained our happiness against it,
driven by it we sacrificed ourselves to dirty dark rooms and misery.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Poem: Are you Happy?

Are you happy?
Have you lost yourself in this Americanised insensibility
demanding that it be a continuous state,
expecting to smile every moment of the day.

Do you measure everything by it
and desperately scramble for its attainment,
scorning that it is enough to be content.

What will the cost of achievement be,
did you shelf common sense and empathy,
swap the diverseness of experience for fantasy.

Did you forget that pursuit was the actual goal,
negate all thought in favour of soul
taking one part as the sum of the whole.

There is bliss beneath pain, did you forget
When you planned to go smiling from birth to death
As a pointless grinning marionette.

Go ahead and bask in your vacant glee
Feeling virtually nothing and calling it happy,
You have my grief, my heart and my absolute pity.