1. Muslim Woman in Burqua, a religious attire which has been banned in numerous countries under the pretext of public safety.
2. Women in Grenoble protesting the banning of Muslim women wearing burkinis in public [photo courtesy of Citizen Alliance of Grenoble]
3. Poet circa late 80s
4. Yana Zhadanova, a member of the feminist protest group, FEMEN, who was prosecuted in French court for displaying her breasts in a public space. The court ruled that revealing breasts in public was only permissible as an act of protest.
5. Lesbian public display of affection. A recent survey in Ireland found that 6 out of 10 people from the LGBTQ community fear holding hands in public because of fear of assault.
Banning the Burqua
First performed at Thoor Ballylee Yeats Tower, Galway,
spoken word slam, October 2016
Bulgaria banned the Burqua, it’s
written in Stone. Paris
did too, in a month called September, but
I was too selfish to stand up and speak -
All I could think was how they banned me.
The Church banned me from the Eucharist
for failing to stay a Virgin. And Vogue
declared me undesirable for building a fortress
without their permission -
But the fat protected me from the unwanted attention
of Old Men who thought they owned me.
I was too frightened, frightened to speak.
I needed a Burqua to play hide but not seek.
The Catholic County who declared they were family
shunned my presence , they simply couldn’t
welcome a Queer like me, so with my baby
on my back I climbed Mountains and Swam Oceans, and
prayed to a god they had never encountered.
Then I was too angry, angry to speak
I needed a Burqua to play hide but not seek.
In the Office I was only permitted, to serve
coffee and teas and grapes that were pitted. Fraud
injustice and unethical conduct, they said were all beyond
a woman like me. I was rewarded for wearing lipstick,
and typing and trying to look pretty -
I needed the money, the money so I didn’t speak. I didn’t speak. I didn’t speak.
Now They tell I’m too old, to make
a useful contribution. To be graceful
and disappear without objection. I’m not
green enough, fresh enough a little too Butch
Enough – Enough - Enough
The wrinkles a witness of my Struggle and Age-
If they declare they wanted to ban it, again
I would stand up and speak.
The Burqua stays I would shout and
Seek to stand in front of your face, and
tell you that Women deserve a place, to hide,
to be whoever They need to be.
And then I’d say just for me -
It is none of your fucking business -
Ingólfr and the moon
the nordic sands swept over the fields of lava
surrounding a resplendent Blue Stilton,
Geysir and stars dancing around it, illuminating
its glorious beauty
the majestic veils of untouchable silk, blew in the wind
fish flying, the Ravens always failing to reach them.
Swooping through the lakes, searching for prey
imagining the great Sea of Tranquillity - still empty
irish thralls poured Hjӧrleifr, into
Þingvallavatn, site of the ancient parliament
folkloring the night the Blood moon ascended, and
haunted the skies for infinitude
Armstrong’s foot was the first to land into the crater
as the world looked up to the scenes of grey powder
but, it was Finnbogadóttir who truly led us,
she three times elected, now an Order of the Falcon
history insisted we learned of the twelve men, who landed There
but said nothing of the female dissidents
whose feet morphed into Gulf Streams for Reykjavik,
conquering something even greater than darkness.
Whatever is sold, whatever is told,
the beginning began with Ingólfr, the Royal Wolf
who swallowed the sky and its White Powdery Crescent
giving birth to a land of Ice, that is more sublime
than a thousand moons banded together.
Sedating the Silence
no grandfathers or cuckoos to mark the darkness
sprinkled with diamonds, just silence.
condemning seers to a visionless future, and
bequeathing broken boys, lessons of empathy
from mouths whose spines have strength for nothing
cobalt contraptions mined in dirt pits by hands attached to toddlers
distract from internal chest explosions with no space for a guilty conscience and
some man with a microphone talking shite about Covid-19 cheats who
behind the scenes are really doing good deeds.
kindness should be a leisurely activity not a goddamn crisis strategy
but if I said it out loud they might have me committed and the noise,
the noise of other lost minds might just send me over the edge completely.
I burrowed through the escape tunnel, brief encounters, queen sugar and home fires
but the critic the resister the damning the fearful kept perforating the silence.
caldwell’s suggestion of how to repurpose the heel of batch bread produced a giggle that hasn’t left
and feeney’s mini-diary entries made me remember other times when I functioned better and
became a ventriloquist when coleman who taught me all about terra nullius,
was swatting away sanctimonious vegans throwing my opinion across the oceans
to use her goddamn magnificent brain and write an essay about corporate meat factories
then told cyril that the love and grief they espoused for their wife earthed often and unexpectedly
and I couldn’t concentrate on the work that needed doing,
reading instead fahs burn it down! feminist manifestos for the revolution before
finding the brain to ring the physician and tell him all about the deadlines reaching
explaining I needed a magical potion to see me through the mission that was calling
he listened with care and explained how well I was doing
and found myself grateful for this recognition before taking a mental spa break
under the influence of Benzodiazepines and emerged glorious,
as Sarah Connor equipped with bazooka and batch bread, for the times we now live in.