On the movement of bodies, or, the transgender celestial

I have a poem in the latest issue of Voiceworks, #111, Riff. This poem is a lot of things: a love letter, an exercise in surreality, and a conversation between binary and nonbinary forms of trans identity. It draws on ancient Sumerian, Greek, and Egyptian astronomical theories, including those of Anaxagoras, Anaximander, Aristotle, Empedocles, Thales, and Ptolemy.

You can buy the issue here.


 

my body is a disc floating on an endless ocean

gently orbiting the distant island of your body

 

daylight reigns over my body and night over

your body black and absent of suns or stars

 

you are an immense vault studded with tiny

points of perfect light in which i am enclosed

 

the surface of my skin is much colder than

yours which is formed out of blazing metal

 

your body is a binary system while my body

continues to resist all binary classification

 

i am growing into a great old oak tree whose

questing branches twine around and into you

 

my body is no longer capable of sustaining life

and yet is still capable of sustaining your body

 

i retain my own field of gravity which is several

times heavier than the lighter gravity you exude

 

i am suspended in endless space watching you

plummet inevitably into a vast and infinite void

 

your body is a chariot wheel of mist-shrouded

fire encircling the hollow cylinder of my body

 

my body revolves not around the sun as initially

thought but in fact revolves around your body

 

the death of my body approaches rapidly but i

have every hope that your body will live forever

 

i am constructed from four elements while you

are formed of a single fifth and mythic element

 

you are a quintessence of luminiferous aether and

i simply consist of classical earth air water and fire

 

your existence is a scientific marvel while i am

considered to be a mathematical impossibility

 

my body is doubted by philosophers of antiquity

whose texts questioned the veracity of your body

 

unbeknown to many my body is not a flawless

sphere like yours but rather very slightly elliptical

 

MELANCHOLIA

I have a blackout poem out in Streetcake Magazine today!

It uses the text of Robert Burton’s Last Will and Testament, contained in the front matter of The Anatomy of Melancholy, What it is: With all the Kinds, Causes, Symptomes, Prognostickes, and Several Cures of it. In Three Maine Partitions with their several Sections, Members, and Subsections. Philosophically, Medicinally, Historically, Opened and Cut Up, first published 1621.

The poem and its transcription are reproduced below.

 

melancholia


 

Cui vitam dedit et mortem

Melancholia

 

Azure                   a crescent

death,                 following

casualties to which our life is subject

our                   unsettled states

have

perfect

adventure     of which I am ignorant

First

whensoever

I make

Legacies out of

specified

life                             Lady

if he be not

of the Ground                 I give

equally

other

days                                                                   I

long   to

bestow

purpose

to the

grave

perpetual

 

to redeem

my

remembrance

I desire

to be

where she is buried

besides                         I die

till then

 

LOVECRY/BATTLESONG

Recently one of my poems was a finalist in the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities’ Pen2Paper disability-focussed creative writing contest. I have reproduced the text of the poem here.

To my crip siblings, crip lovers, & crip mentors, to Laura Hershey and to Stella Young.

LOVECRY/BATTLESONG

To the crips I love and who love me in return
from a distance or intimately close during
long nights where neither of us can sleep for pain
waiting for morning and the pain that morning brings
I am here for you.

To the crips who have been crips for longer
than I have been on this earth and who
welcomed me with open hearts and fire
of loving purpose in ancient battle
I am here for you.

To the crips who taught me power
comes from pride and pride comes from practicing
until you are proud (and that you don’t get proud
by being shit: you get proud by practicing)
I am here for you.

To the crips who do not know that they are crips
but know only that they hurt that their bones ache
that their muscles are heavy and that their eyes sting
in sunlight after another unhelpful appointment
I am here for you.

To the crips institutionalised and imprisoned
whose first crime was living and continuing to live
abused and neglected in homes that are not homes
trapped not in their bodies but by bar and mortar
I am here for you.

To the crips who sleep overnight
in desk chairs and wheelchairs
in the offices of politicians bedecked with banners
reading FREE OUR PEOPLE
I am here for you.

To the crips that have houses but not homes
or homes but not houses or neither home nor house
forced to live on the kindness and sideways glances
of strangers on public transport
I am here for you.

To the crips whose lands have been stolen
whose waters have been stolen
whose children have been stolen and whose lives
continue to be stolen
I am here for you.

To the crips who dislocate their hips
doing full service sex work to pay for medical bills
incurred from dislocating their hips
while doing full service sex work
I am here for you.

To the crips fighting to love each other
and to have their love recognised on equal terms
with all who are in love without penalty or price
or public stigma or getting bashed on street corners
I am here for you.

To the crips fighting to love themselves
after being unloved by those who should have loved them
or after being hurt by those who professed their love
but only when it was convenient
I am here for you.

To the crips who are drowning
in cold oceans seeking refuge or drowning
on dry land as their lungs fill with fluid
while emergency registrars do not watch
I am here for you.

To the crips who are burning
who have burnt out and from the ashes
are rising again charcoaled and brittle
and bold and battle-hardened
I am here for you.

To the crips who died
after living and loving and fighting
and then falling
to be remembered with love and fight
I am here for you.

To the crips who aren’t dead yet
living and fighting and fighting to live
and loving each other and fighting
for each other
I am here for you.

To the young crips, the old crips, the
queer crips, the trans crips, the brown crips,
the black crips, the proud crips, the tired crips,
the warrior crips, the poet crips, the dead and alive crips,
I think of you
I love and fight for you
I am here for you.

UNSPOKEN WORDS: a festival of writing

[image description: collaged text in pink orange & white on purple background, UNSPOKEN WORDS June 3-4 RED RATTLER: performances/workshops/panels/open mic reading space]

oh gosh there has been so much happening lately & i have so little time to think let alone to write anything about any of it. i am running desperately late on a numberof important projects (including salvaging my Honours degree – i have just yesterday managed to get access to Dragon dictation software which i am very much hoping will help with the writing of long essays with dislocated wrists part of that!!)

most recently neglected: my appearance in a series of panels & lectures on at UNSPOKEN WORDS, a festival of stories. the sunday evening session (including a poetry reading from myself) was Auslan interpreted by the excellent Auslan Stage Left. i am quite proud of the accessibility guide i helped develop which is available here.

the program is available here & lists the incredible lineup of artists and panels, including Hani Abdile, Evelyn Araluen, Maryam Azam, Stephany Basia, the Black and Deadly Women’s Poetry Circle, Emily Crocker, Winnie Dunn,  Stelly Gappasauress, Isaac Green, Dan Hogan and Stacey Teague of Subbed In, Lizzy Jarrett, Gabrielle Journey Jones, Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, Fayroze Lutta, Paige Phillips, Poesifika, Candy Royalle, Sea, Ella Skilbeck-Porter, Effy Marie Smith, Margarita Tenser, Thelma Thomas aka MC Trey, Bron Watkins, and Joseph Zane. the festival was MC’d and organised by Emma Rose Smith.

i ran 1 solo lecture, was on 2 joint panels, & read some of my poetry in the evening.

defining-ourselves-for-ourselves

[image description: white text on pink and blue background. PANEL – DEFINING OURSELVES FOR OURSELVES]

Defining Ourselves for Ourselves

Maryam Azam, Winnie Dunn, Robin M. Eames

11:15am – 12:15pm, main stage

Can we define ourselves by writing ourselves? We write ourselves, in whatever way possible for our individual needs, so as to create alternatives to single narratives. We need to see ourselves represented by people like us. Too many stories filter the whole world of experience through the gaze of abled cishet white people. This panel discusses the resistant power of telling our own stories, through the symbolic dialogue between living, visibility and text. We ask if and how we can write despite and beyond the dominating gaze of dual invisibility/hypervisibility that often occurs around politicised bodies.

CRIPPING THE LITERARY

[image description: white text on yellow and blue background. LECTURE – CRIPPING THE LITERARY: FINDING CRIP CULTURE]

Cripping the Literary: Finding Crip Culture, Learning Crip Language
Robin M. Eames

2:30 – 3:00pm, main stage

A fifth of Australians are disabled. So where the fuck are they? Are they at your poetry events? Are you reading their work? Are you listening to their communities? Are you fighting alongside them for their civil rights? If not, why? How do we change that? How can a gig, or space, or culture, be accessible (or not)? What are we overlooking? Why aren’t wheelchair users coming to our non-wheelchair-accessible events? How does disabled culture & community even manifest itself? For few answers & more questions, come to this lecture by Robin M. Eames, a disabled queertrans warrior poet who is only mostly dead.

queering-poetry

[image description: white text on pink and blue background. PANEL – QUEERING POETRY: WRITING OURSELVES INTO EXISTENCE]

Queering Poetry: Writing Ourselves Into Existence

Margarita Tenser, Isaac Green, Robin M. Eames

5:00 – 5:45pm, main stage

Three trans, queer, & disabled panellists speak about queering poetry, trans retrohistories, art & intersectional identity, living in ill-fitting worlds & bodies, finding ourselves in stories not made with us in mind, and writing ourselves back into the narratives.

unfinished-business-1

[image description: white text on pink and yellow background. PERFORMANCES – UNFINISHED BUSINESS]

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Doors open (and dinner served) from 6:30, performances start 6:45. Main stage.

Hani Abdile, Winnie Dunn, Isaac Green, Robin M. Eames, Lorin Elizabeth, Dan Hogan, Elizabeth Jarrett, Gabrielle Journey Jones, Ella Skilbeck-Porter, Margarita Tenser, Auslan Stage Left

Come one and all to the biggest session of Unspoken Words! Hosted by the wonderful Lorin Elizabeth, this night will feature poetry readings by Winnie Dunn, Isaac Green, Robin M. Eames, Dan Hogan, Elizabeth Jarrett, Gabrielle Journey Jones, Ella Skilbeck-Porter and Margarita Tenser.

Hani Abdile will then present Absent Souls: A conversation with imprisoned souls. This new performance will be accompanied by a Q&A session and Hani’s performance of her own poetry.

This session will feature live Auslan interpretation thanks to Auslan Stage Left!

Dinner will be available thanks to Parliament on King, the social enterprise caterer. Beautiful food made with love. Proceeds from the catering are reinvested into hospitality training programs for locals with asylum seeker / refugee backgrounds at the King St café.

poster
[image description: event poster with a not-quite-complete list of artists, in the style of the featured image of this blog post, described above]

the festival was held at the Red Rattler Theatre, on the stolen lands of the Gadigal Wangal peoples of the Eora nation. sovereignty has never been ceded. always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

i really can’t emphasise enough how utterly awed, delighted, & proud i felt to be sharing a stage with such powerful & beautiful artists, & to have the chance to listen to their words. we did something really special last weekend & it gives me hope.