POEM: The apple (for Alan Turing)

The apple lies in your hand, round and sweet. It is all

the forbidden fruit that you have ever tasted: The loves,

the pleasures, the stolen joys. There is no hiding from

the one who walks in the garden in the cool of the evening.

There is no offering you can make to your god, your

country, to atone for what you are.

 

The apple lies in your hand, the bitter apple of

self-knowledge. In another time, another place,

it might be the apple of Iduna, whose fruit gives

life to the gods. It might be an apple from

the Hesperides, the gift of Hera to Zeus, or

that apple which Eris tossed, designated for

the fairest. You have known your fairest and

lost him. You have lost all the immortality

in your veins. It might be the apple that was

given to True Thomas, or was that bread

and wine? He lay with the Faerie Queen and

gained the gift of prophecy. You have taken

the fruit unbidden and it will give you only death.

 

The apple lies in your hand, heavy as all your

memories. With a last gesture of defiance,

you put it to your teeth and bite.

 

(For Alan Turing, computer scientist, homosexual, who died on this day in 1954, possibly of suicide. His codebreaking skills helped the Allies win World War II; after the war, he was arrested and chemically castrated for being a homosexual. Written in 2015.)

 

Advertisements

POEM: For Juno, on the Calends of her month

juno-sospita
Juno Sospites by Lykeia

I approach you, Dea Juno, Juno Regina: I see you

standing over me with queenly mien. Queen of heaven,

queen of gods, sovereign lady, you preside in state

on the Capitoline Hill with Jupiter and Minerva,

your husband and his daughter. Like Hera in Hellas,

you own the peacock as your bird; the stars are your eyes,

the rainbow your handmaid, the clouds your veil.

 

I come closer, and you are Juno Moneta, Juno Curitis.

Wrapped in the aegis, you advise the sacred king

and wield your spear in defense of the people.

Under your protection auguries are issued, coins

are minted, and you become the giver and preserver

of wealth. Records, too, are in your storehouse,

for it is memory that advises and counsels us at need.

 

I come closer to find Juno Sospita, Juno at Lanuvium,

mistress of fauns, she who purifies with whips.

Under your direction the Luperci hound but do not harm;

pain and laughter drive out the winter’s filth.

Juno Seispes Mater Regina, Savior, Mother, Queen,

your temple is a grove, and as Juno Caprotinae

you bring together slave women and free in revels

and accept the sacrifice of the lusty goat.

 

If I approach closer still, I see you as Juno Lucina,

she who brings to light, the midwife who helps

the birthing mother, who opens the doors of the womb

that the child may journey from dark to light.

You are our helper in the deepest pain, in the hardest

labour, in the most daring task: Bringing life to light,

bringing children from our bodies. Protectress

of marriage, of children, of matrons, you still

remind us that our sovereignty is our own.

 

At last I come face to face with you, great goddess,

and find your face to be a mirror of my own.

For my own inner deity, guardian spirit, better self

is also called juno. Or should I say that my face

is the mirror to yours, and if I look at you, Savior,

Mother, Queen, Wife, Adviser, Purifier, Defender,

I may become all this as well? Therefore I look to you,

Juno Dea, Juno Regina; I bow to you, great goddess,

divine matron, heavenly sovereign; I praise you,

glorious Juno, of peacock, spear, and cloud.

 

(Originally written 1/30/2015, for an agon in the goddess’ honor sponsored by Galina Krasskova)

POEM: Lemuria III

The dead children are walking
I hear their scuffling footsteps
The dead children are walking
Victims of the father
Victims of the mother
The dead children are walking
Infants and toddlers shaken to death
Babies and children starved and beaten
The dead children are walking
The gay and trans children bullied to suicide
The girls raped by their fathers
The dead children are walking
The boys sent off to war
The black boys dead in a war at home
Shot by the father’s police
The dead children are walking
Those who died in concentration camps
In Germany, Austria, Poland
In Texas USA
The dead children are walking
I spit beans at them
Go home, children
There is peace for you
in the realm of the dead
There is no peace here

POEM: Lemuria II

There’s someone crying in the kitchen
I have heard that voice before
Someone shouting in the kitchen,
banging the pots and pans, brooding
over the lighted burners, the boiling pots.
Someone, something is in the kitchen
the ghosts of dead mothers, mother martyrs,
martyred mothers, the mothers who expect help
without asking for it, the mothers who smoke cigarettes
in their children’s faces, the mothers who flirt with
their daughter’s boyfriends. Someone is crying
in the living room, hunched in the corner of the sofa,
on the phone with a friend saying how awful
everything is, unfaithful husband, ungrateful child,
no money for jewelry, no time for herself.
Someone, something is clutching at me,
a cigarette in one ghostly hand. I spit beans at you!
Let the ghosts of unloving mothers be forever gone,
silent in Asphodel. Shut up, mother, you’re dead.

POEM: Lemuria I

The family ghosts are quiet; they behave themselves.
It is the ghosts of old regimes that creak so loudly on the stair.
The father of all fathers, patriarchy, walks these halls.
“I am man, I am father, I am king,” he mumbles ceaselessly
under his breath. “I am white, I am rich, I am powerful.
Whatever is not me is less than me, less than human,
fit only to serve my will, my whim. Give me more wives,
more gold, more power! Give me more servants to carry my weight!”
Like Hamlet’s father’s ghost, he wants to be avenged, that is,
perpetuated. Instead I spit beans at him. Let the ghosts
of old kings, old fathers, begone! Let the white man ghost
be laid to rest, never trouble his women, his children,
his servants. Let the rest of the world breathe free, stand up,
unhaunted, undaunted, walking freely in the light of day.

POEM: The Last Revelation of Julian of Norwich

800px-statue_of_dame_julian
Statue of Julian by David Holgate, Norwich Cathedral

And he showed me a little thing, a book,

scarce larger than the span of my hand,

and it was all I had writ.

My great book of his Showings,

wrote by me with so much labour,

lo, it was gone, as if it had never been.

And our Lord said,

Fret not, for I shall put you away like wine;

I shall hide you in my cellar; I shall keep you

even until last, until your even-Christians

be never so thirsty. And then

I will pour you out, I will crack open

the little hazelnut, and many shall drink

from your book, a multitude shall feast

on the meat of the nut. Wilt thou wait?

Yea, Lord, said I,

if such be thy will, then will I wait,

and all be well.

 

And I closed my eyes, which had gazed so long

on his blessed image, and stepped through

his wounded side into paradise.

 

(January 1999, February 2013)

POEM: A prayer to Antinous Belenos

O Antinous Belenos,
lord of this day, friend of Flora,
lady of the white track,
hunter who with your lover
Hadrian the wise and prudent
brought down the terrible boar:
hear our prayer and hunt the boar
that still rages among us;
the boar that feasts on women,
the boar that charges same-sex love,
the boar that tramples trans folk,
the boar that fears and hates Eros.
Hunt down the terrifying boar
that always threatens lovers,
that gores and gashes any kind of love
that is not restriction and repression,
hierarchy and domination,
the master and his property.
Hunt down the boar of hatred,
O mighty Antinous Belenos,
so that all lovers may love
free of fear and free of chains.