luna_virgo: XVIII The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot (Default)

Of course I remember that day.
I could tell you, as everyone else does,
about how I found out, where I was
when I got the news.
I could make it all about me.
I could indulge in the
media's grief porn.


All the news stories,
all the flags at half-staff,
all the masturbatory Facebook posts
won't bring back
a single person who died that day,
or who died in our
national orgasm of revenge.


I don't think we will ever learn.
We are a country founded on
spilled blood, on violence,
on conquest. It's in us,
as a nation, as a people,
and it's rooted in our religion.
Do we have any right to complain
about radical Islam or any other
affront to human dignity when
we have committed centuries
of Christian terrorism ourselves?


Feminist poems

Sunday, January 24th, 2016 06:16 am
luna_virgo: XVIII The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot (Default)

When I was
in my twenties and bold,
I sat in my mother's car
discussing politics, and she said
"It's a man's world"
with a hard, almost gleeful
brittle smile.

I said
"Only cause you let it be".
She smirked,
and I hated her.
I couldn't get out
of that car fast enough.
I didn't know then
how easily a callus forms,
and how necessary it can be.

I hope my nieces get a better version
of the world,
of her, and of me.

Haiku for women who won't own it

When I hear you say
"I'm not a feminist, but
women are equal",

I think you're stupid.
What the fuck do you think that
word means anyway?
luna_virgo: XVIII The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot (Default)
I wrote this haiku when my stepmother died, but it seems very fitting today.

Milky Way

Sea of stars the dead
Must navigate, slipping
Beyond earthly forms.

Do they dissipate,
Blend into all, into one?
Or change entirely

Through some alchemy,
Sleight of hand and cosmic joke
Awaiting us there?
luna_virgo: (Boots)
(This poem is inspired by recent events and contains the uncensored n-word. I think it's pretty clear in context that I'm quoting and that I take a very harsh view of racism.)


How to sum it up simply,
the South? I can't.
It's neither the barefoot
cracker stereotype nor
the glorious rebellion
with mint juleps and happy slaves
that never existed.
It's heritage AND hate.
It's front porch swings
and bodies swinging in trees.
It's blackeyed peas and fried okra
from Africa, just like the cooks.
It's hearing my great-uncle
say the blessing at dinner and
then talk about "that nice
old nigger lady at the market".
(He thinks this is a compliment.)
It's two worlds side by side,
intertwined but never shared.
It's change that moves
as slow as the summer air.

That flag is what our ancestors
fought and died for, states' rights
and freedom from tyranny.
That flag is what was waved
in the faces of descendants
of our own tyranny,
our own aggression.
It's our history, our pride.
It's our defeat and our shame.
It's happy Dixieland memories
and white-robed cross-burning terror.
It's our blood-soaked history
come home to roost, and
like good Southerners we will
fry it up and eat it.
luna_virgo: XVIII The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot (Default)

Clothes unbound
long hair flowing
like wine I am
easy with my favors
and this offends you
but your abstinence
helps no one
least of all you
you are an angry
waiting to happen
just let go


Penance is also excess.
Purging is the mirror
of indulgence. Flesh
defines us, defines her,
sinner pouring freely
from her alabaster jar.
Mary so often painted
in a whore's carnival mask
next to virgin's mourning veil,
but she was there willing
to anoint alive or dead.

It's Spring

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 02:34 am
luna_virgo: XVIII The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot (Default)
Se Laisser

"the cities we are in love with however
as if with individuals
having a quiddity about them none can reduce to order
- Nathaniel Tarn

I hear the jazz siren song
of these rain-slick streets
smelling of garbage and booze,
festooned with stray beads,
each name with its own myth:
Royal, Bourbon, Decatur, Frenchmen.

I walk, endless walking.
So much to see and taste,
colors and music and food
and too little time to absorb
before I return to my
boring box of a life.

The secret to this city
is not to make plans.
Let it soak in and seduce you,
and go
where your feet take you.


The campus was unfinished.
A field and woods behind
the farthest dorm invited
nocturnal visits for sex or
weed-smoking or the kind of
self-absorbed stargazing that
feels important in college.
We wandered back there
to a building in progress,
just a frame so far.
He smoked a cigarette
in the dark as we leaned against
a beam, and said "I love you".
It felt right, there and then,
christening a new place.

Water again

Friday, February 20th, 2015 02:14 am
luna_virgo: XVIII The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot (Default)
Ace of Cups VII

Sometimes I think
my whole life can be
reduced to water
and its movements.
My heart murmur,
blood sloshing off rhythm.
The tornado that jumped
over me in '94,
warm updrafts, moist air.
Various leaks, floods,
flows, physical
and otherwise, real,
symbolic. Water,
my bane and my comfort.
luna_virgo: (Witch)
As a girl in Alabama in the 70’s and 80’s, I learned that the kitchen belonged to women, and vice versa. My mother and most women in my family were homemakers when I was very young (before divorces and the 80’s economy). Some of my earliest memories are of my mother, my aunts, and my grandmothers stirring on the stove or chopping on the counter.

Food preparation was strictly segregated. Women ruled the kitchen, men controlled the outdoor grill. This was unquestioned. Women brought out the prepared meat to be grilled and then retreated to make everything else in the meal. Men feigned ignorance at any indoor food prep more complicated than a sandwich. This was the division of labor, and it was set in stone.

Now of course as a child I was sometimes handed a spoon covered with cake batter, and I was sent out into the back yard every fall with paper grocery bags to gather the pecans that fell from our two trees so my mother could make cookies and pies. I was occasionally allowed to stir a pot or sprinkle a seasoning, but for the most part I wasn’t required to take part in cooking until I reached puberty. Then the training began for what was apparently my predestined role in life.

Mom tried to teach me to cook. She really did. But I had no interest, possibly because she always made it clear she didn't enjoy it much herself though it was expected of her, and possibly because I was a sulky teenager in the first throes of feminist rebellion against gender roles. It didn’t help that her cooking was incredibly bland like my Midwest Grandma's (unlike my paternal grandmother who specialized in deep-fried, deeply unhealthy but very tasty Southern food). I decided as a teenager that I was not put on this earth to cook for anybody, period, thank you very much. Of course, in a few years life threw some truth at me. Somebody’s got to make the food, or you don’t eat.

In my 20's, I was blessed to have a relationship with a man who enthusiastically made hand-tossed pizzas for a living, and then another with a woman who was a camping and fishing outdoor type who taught me to cook over a barbecue pit in our back yard. I learned that making food didn’t have to be gendered drudgery. Now that I live alone, I’m getting more adventurous about experimenting in the kitchen, because I don’t have to please anyone but myself. At the same time, as I get older, I’m getting more nostalgic for those old family recipes. I recently made salmon croquettes from my grandmother’s recipe, and it brought back powerful memories, as well as making me appreciate the time- and labor-intensive work she and all the women in my family did every day without praise or acknowledgement, because it was expected of them.

(posted on DailyKos)

Three new ones

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 12:15 am
luna_virgo: (Witch)

Your pale eyes, icy
like the snow on the mirror
you inhale, manic
glittering with fury
no affection can melt.

Your butch swagger
and smack talk, constantly
stirring your stick,
pointing your finger,
showing your ass.

Whiskey dope devil,
lying smooth and screaming foul,
you will never be welcomed
to my bed or my life
again. Be gone.


Constrained, I feel I'll
spontaneously combust,
sending a shower
of sparks like fireworks
and a brilliant burst of light
as I'm set ablaze.
Ardent, radiant,
consuming myself in a
luminous display.

Adam und Eva (Klimt)

He's an afterthought,
a background shadow,
a reversal of the canon.
She's disarmingly naked,
unashamed, awake
while he sleeps.
Pelts and flowers
frame her ruddy knees,
fair skin with hints of
veins beneath, imperfectly
sublime and aware.
luna_virgo: (Boots)
I haven't seen American Sniper, but on The Nightly Show tonight (so glad this show is a worthy successor to Colbert!), Larry Wilmore discussed the movie with his guests, one of whom was Nick Irving.

I had not heard of him before this show, but Nick Irving is a military sniper who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. On the show he said he doesn't look at "the aspect behind it as far as, you know, I'm gonna kill this guy. He's nothing but a target at that point."

I'm not trying to dehumanize him and his war experiences, because he went on to talk about PTSD and how he coped with it, but I don't understand how someone gets into that mindset in the first place. His answer for why he joined the military: "I saw the Twin Towers fall". Well, I saw that too, and it made me sad, horrified, and pissed off like everyone else, but it didn't make me want to sign up to kill people.

I don't understand war at all. I kind of understand violence on personal level. I don’t condone it, but I understand it. I understand being angry at another person and wanting to hurt them. Honestly, if you’re human, you’ve felt that at some point. Hopefully you didn’t give in to it, but we all know that feeling. And I understand violence in self-defense. What I don’t understand is the impersonality of war. The leaders of one nation or faction decide they want something another nation or faction has, or they want to prevent them from taking theirs, and they send their young people of fighting age out to kill the others of young fighting age, and whoever defends the territory or has the most people left alive wins. This is madness. This is calculating, machine-like insanity. And I think the root of it is to learn to see the “others”, however that is defined, as not human. This is the cause of most of the world’s evils: racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, etc. How does a person get there? How does a society get there? How do we not recognize when the people in power are encouraging us to get there for their own purposes?

I understand people in the military have a job to do, and they have to defend themselves (and many join the military from lack of other economic options), but in the world that I want to live in, the world we should live in, a sniper’s job wouldn't be necessary.

(posted on DailyKos)

Spring is brewing

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015 12:47 am
luna_virgo: (Witch)

In the dark months I sleep,
sinking down into myself.
But life will not be denied.
My grandmothers stir
with my hands the old
into the new, blending.
luna_virgo: (Witch)

January trees
rise like dark skeletons
from the fog, shrouded
as half-remembered dreams.
The mist is alive
with ghosts and bones
in this dead season.

(In the last two days I've watched Black Swan, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. This haiku is the result.)


A geisha, painted.
A queen in her finery.
A ballet dancer.

Each acting a role,
precisely costumed, movements
all choreographed.

Each in control yet
rigidly restrained by the
part that must be played.
luna_virgo: XVIII The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot (Default)
When I was in high school I took four years of dance class instead of PE. It was an alternative to the competitive, macho team sports that I was never good at. In my dance class there were a couple of girls who were real ballet dancers, taking lessons since childhood, unlike the rest of us clumsy amateurs. They could do splits, stand on their toes, and keep their balance far better than everyone else. I was incredibly jealous.

I am 5’1“. I reached this height in fifth grade. From that point on, I watched my friends continue to grow up as I only grew out. Destined as I was to remain short and thick, these graceful swans in my dance classes were just cruel examples to me of what I could never be. At the time, I didn’t realize that they probably had eating disorders. I just thought, why can’t I have a flat stomach like that, elegantly jutting hipbones, long thin limbs, blistered feet? Yes, I even envied them their gnarly dancer feet. Teenage me was dumb.

But dance class was a way of connecting with my body that I had never felt before. I was a sickly child, never encouraged to be physically active. Dancing (and the other physical activity I discovered in high school, sex) was a way to finally fully inhabit and enjoy my body, and it was accompanied by music, which along with reading was my constant companion and escape since early childhood.

So watching Black Swan brought all this back. My dance teacher, Mrs. Lindsay, shouting “Plie’! Plie’! Arms up, chest out!”. The focus on bathrooms - it was in high school that my panic disorder began, fleeing to the safe bathroom stall, intense self-scrutiny in mirrors. The ideal of perfection that was so painful as a teenager. The close shots echoing a narrow self-conscious view of the world.

I feel somewhat accomplished that I can look back now and see my former self with more kindness than judgment. I don’t ever want to go back to that teenage insecurity. But I would like to start dancing again.


Wednesday, December 24th, 2014 01:41 am
luna_virgo: (Boots)
Just a thought: Think long and hard before you get married, because after your divorce (and eventual remarriage), your kids (and their kids) will deal with multiple families at every holiday afterward for THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.

It's a REAL pain in the ass. Forever. Just something to think about.

Happy Holidays!

Two new poems

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 02:15 am
luna_virgo: Created by sockii, photo by Andy Summers (Lonely and scared)
Stripped & Fried

Here in the parking lot
in my car I sit
eating fried shrimp
from the greasy strip mall
restaurant that was too crowded
and I remember when
this parking lot on this side
of a carved-out hill was a forest
nothing but oak and pine
and I uselessly hate myself
for consuming the past.


I always remember you
running away.
In my mind I picture
you fidgeting, leaning
away as I talk, me
leaning forward, grasping
to keep you still
for once. Never worked.
I was never enough to keep
your attention unless
I spread my legs.
When we met you said
you wanted to corrupt me
and I agreed without
knowing, without understanding
that you really would, and
then you'd run away.
luna_virgo: (Boots)
I posted this on Facebook in response to a friend's post about gentrification in Nashville:
"I've been listening to NPR's series on gentrification this week, and thinking about how it's happening in Birmingham now, and how the reverse was happening when I was a teenager and my childhood home got robbed. And I am utterly flummoxed and pissed off that race seems to ALWAYS play a part in Southern politics."

I feel I should expand on this, and I don't know where to begin, so I'm just going to jump in. I grew up at 5220 Terrace Q, Birmingham, Alabama 35208. Two miles from the state fairgrounds. A "nice" neighborhood, where my friends and I could ride our bikes around without fear of being bothered. And we did ride far and wide, much farther than our parents gave us permission to, and we remained perfectly safe, because we could do that then.

Around the mid-80's, the neighborhood changed. A black family moved onto our block. That shouldn't have been a big deal, but it was, for some. That family didn't make any changes aside from repainting their house and putting white-painted rocks along the front walk. I remember riding my bike down the street and waving at them as they sat on the front porch. They waved back. No big deal. To me.

But even though that first black family was middle-class enough to afford that house on our block, white people panicked. People started moving, selling their houses for less than they were worth. This is how neighborhoods go downhill: people act stupid and sell for nothing because they are afraid of living near THE OTHERS.

Eventually, the house I grew up in was robbed. The robbers had apparently been watching the house and knew when no one would be home. It's an eerie feeling to walk into your bedroom and see your clothes dumped out of drawers into the floor. But it wouldn't have happened if the neighborhood hadn't descended economically because of the racist few. It was stupid to me then and it is still stupid now. I could probably buy the house I grew up in now for less than my car cost, because of racism/classism and people just being STUPID.

I'm still alive

Thursday, December 4th, 2014 01:45 am
luna_virgo: (Boots)
I subscribed to The Local Palate, a Southern foodie magazine. I'm too lazy right now to remember how to link by html, but I'm sure you can find it. Overall it's great, and my first issue has articles on drinking in Birmingham (which I already know quite a bit about) and eating in Austin (which I hope to be doing next year).

But there's a photo on page 33 with a description. It's a great photo of a cocktail with a sprig of rosemary, from Nightbell in Asheville, NC. Looks delicious. Unfortunately it's called "Your Word Against Mine". Now, this may not have been intended to have the connotations I immediately thought of, but seriously? An alcoholic beverage named "Your Word Against Mine"? Am I alone in thinking this is referring to alcohol-aided rape? As much as I like the mag and possibly the drink itself, I don't like the name.

I have not been poetic lately but I have been pondering some political posts inspired by current events. Gender and race issues, coming soon.
luna_virgo: XVIII The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot (Default)

Battle-scarred and perfumed,
blood and tears flowing
beneath my fair skin,
a lioness under
a soft pelt.


Monday, August 25th, 2014 11:58 pm
luna_virgo: XVIII The Moon, Victoria Regina Tarot (Default)
Mama Joyce

Waking up to the smell
of coffee, ham and biscuits,
gospel music on the radio
and your footsteps back and forth
from the kitchen to the table,
I knew I would always be
fed and loved at your house.
Picking peas, hanging laundry,
rocking grandchildren singing
in your strong clear voice,
you were the face and hands
of God's gentleness, the
country haven of my childhood.
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