I Love-Hate a Parade

And I hate that now
When RBC Bank parades
In dark royal blue—
Your first march with them the last
I would see you alive—tears

At least we did kiss
And you walked away—laughing
As far as final
Memories go that’s not bad
Others have simply faded

Each year the minute
Of silence grows more crowded
Faces voices dimmed
A sea of strangers all lost
In their shared humanity

So Gay Pride leaves me
Light headed heavy hearted
Remembering all
Not just every disco
But all the funerals too

AGG20160820

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Blooming Point: A Short Conversation with a Nude Eighty-Year-Old Man

Grandfather sold cod to the Portuguese.
Later in life he lost his sight, they said
He had been struck by lightning while at sea,
Which seemed strange to me. After he was dead
I learned glaucoma was the real reason.
I guess lightning made sense enough back then,
When poetry stood in for medicine.
Nineteen fifty-four was my first time here,
It already had its reputation
And there was a sense of danger and fear.
If someone you knew saw you they knew why
You were here and, for a while, a Mountie
In full uniform would patrol, swooning
From the heat as we made out in the dunes.

AGG20160805

Depth Charge: Blooming Point is a spectacular beach on the north shore of Prince Edward Island and, for as long as I can remember, a section of it has been an unofficial nude beach. This summer after a conversation with an man in his 80s on the beach, I learned its history as a nudist beach was much longer than I had thought.

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Fuckin’ Right We Stole the Rainbow

Fuckin’ right we stole the rainbow
Because long before Orlando
We taught hatred how to laugh
And we showed pain how to dance
Fuckin’ right we stole the rainbow

But we’re not greedy and we’ll share
Naked clothed or in underwear
Polyamorous gender fluid
Let’s get down! Let’s fuckin’ do it!

Fuckin’ right we claimed full marriage
Because the way you’d disparage
Our relationships as lesser
We’ve rewritten the book of love
Fuckin’ right we claimed full marriage

But we’re not greedy and we’ll share
Naked clothed or in underwear
Polyamorous gender fluid
Let’s get down! Let’s fuckin’ do it!

Fuckin’ right we redefined gay
We didn’t like the way you’d say
Pansy faggot lezzie fruit
You turned queer into a sneer
Fuckin’ right we redefined gay

But we’re not greedy and we’ll share
Naked clothed or in underwear
Polyamorous gender fluid
Let’s get down! Let’s fuckin’ do it!

Fuckin’ right we’ve taken back pride
Because we no longer want to  hide
We refuse to play those sordid
Religious games of blame and shame
Fuckin’ right we’ve taken back pride

But we’re not greedy and we’ll share
Naked clothed or in underwear
Polyamorous gender fluid
Let’s get down! Let’s fuckin’ do it!

Fuckin’ right we stole the rainbow
Because long before Orlando
We taught hatred how to laugh
And we showed pain how to dance
Fuckin’ right we stole the rainbow

AGG20160725

Depth Charge: My visit home to Prince Edward Island this year coincided with PEI Pride 2016.  One of the events was a Poetry Slam organized by AIDS PEI and held at BEANZ Café. I threw together this rant the day before the event and presented it.

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Clarion

piercing the window
slicing the habitual
haze of a work day
his urgency returns me
this year’s first cicada song
 
AGG20160830
Revised AGG20160810

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Now missing forty-nine beats

After days of heat
The rain sizzles on the leaves
Here and there a drop
Eludes the green canopy
Joins with others on my cheek

Still my rage burns hot
For queers caught in the crossfire
Christianity
Islam hate terror and guns
America’s toxic mix

I excuse no one
I point ten fingers of blame
Pound both of my fists
And curse you all left and right
For the lives lost on that night

Our pulse continues
Pumping the red human blood
You still won’t accept
Equal in worth to your own—
Now missing forty-nine beats

AGG20160622

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In the Japanese Garden

Red on red on red
The red crabapple blossoms
Cover the courtyard
In the Japanese Garden
Rare respect for the fallen

White on black on white
The white crabapple blossoms
Float on dark waters
White letters on a black sheet
Writing this poem in reverse

AGG20160526

20160525 Crabapple blossoms in Japanese Garden stream cropped

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They don’t bloom for you and me

Sometime in the night
The apples and magnolias
Decided to bloom
And so now they are waiting
For the bees bats and beetles

AGG20160511

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Translation of Li Qingzhao’s “As if in a Dream Made: Don’t You Know?”

“As if in a Dream Made: Don’t You Know?”
by Li Qingzhao

Sudden winds scatter last night’s rain showers,
Heavy sleep failed to clear my head of wine.
I ask you as you’re rolling up the blinds,
But you say the crab apple is unchanged.

Don’t you know?
Don’t you know?

By now the foliage should be thick and green
With flowers blooming delicate and red.

Translated by AGG20160506.

Depth Charge:  As part of the “Our Tears Become a Language” project, I will be doing my own translation of 64 poems by, or attributed to, Li Qingzhao.

Chinese:
李清照·如梦令
昨夜雨疏风骤,浓睡不消残酒。试问卷帘人,却道海棠依旧。
知否?知否?应是绿肥红瘦。

Pinyin:
Li Qīngzhào·rú mèng lìng
Zuóyè yǔ shū fēng zhòu, nóng shuì bùxiāo cán jiǔ. Shì wènjuàn lián rén, què dào hǎitáng yījiù. Zhī fǒu? Zhī fǒu? Yīng shì lǜféi hóng shòu.

Word-by-word:
Li Qingzhao/as(if)/dream/to make (cause) something (to happen)
Yesterday/night/rain/scattered/wind/sudden, dense(heavy)/sleep/not/dissipate/remaining/wine (alcohol). Try/ask/scroll/screen/person, however/say/wild plum (海棠)/to be aware/as/before.
Know/or not? Know/or not?/Ought to/green/fat/red/thin.

Here is an earlier version of this poem.
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Unexaggerated

The news of your death
As unexaggerated
As it’s heartbreaking
Continues to ricochet
All around the Internet

Today a message
Months and months after the fact
Ambushed by fresh grief
Over what should be old wounds—
Sorrow keeps its own schedule

AGG20160505
(for Ziad Ghaoui d. 2014)

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Phallic and unbloomed

This year’s magnolias
Prolong ecstasy—edging
Phallic and unbloomed

AGG20160504

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To read Songs about Sex, Death & Cicadas by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

To read  as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the linke and select “Save link as…”

To read the chapbook Happy Birthday Hanafuda by Andrew Grimes Griffinjust click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”