Foul-mouthed Sweet People

As you’d say, “Fuckface,
You’ve been dead sixteen years now. ”
If you could know though
You would know—not forgotten
Still there are silent spaces

You once filled for us all with
Profanity and kindness

AGG20161101

Depth Charge: Written on the 16th Anniversary of Bob Read’s death.

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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…”

 

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

guoande seal script jpegTo 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 Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

 

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.

guoande seal script jpegTo 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 Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

 

Tested (While the Locust Tree Blooms): A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “A Weary Lovely Maiden”

An infection of flowers
Suddenly the locust tree
Breaks out in white blooms
From nowhere into thin air
Just as quickly fade

As an inflection of bees
Racing with the setting sun
All-female chorus
Of sex-trade workers buzzes
Death across flowers

Again I’m sitting
In the clinic waiting room
An HIV test
The drawing of blood and penance
This test–again–negative

All praise to the living ones
Who heard a different word
The future happened
Yesterday–tomorrow is
All about the past

Fever didn’t start
Just thirty-five years ago
Now we all know
Our flesh a kiss and a fuck
That’s all there is to a plague

Oh! And a virus
Born like all of us were from
A lesion of stars
Dust dying in ecstasy
Again again and again

AGG20150604

Tune: “A Weary Lovely Maiden”
When the Plums in the &ck Garden Burst into Bloom
by Li Qingzhao

Body slim as thin jade,
Branches with crimson halo.
Petals like snowflakes scattering,
A perfume that intoxicates.
I regret I again missed seeing you
In the first flush of this spring.
Here at my riverside lodge, I feel listless①
As the stream that glides away
In the wake of leisurely clouds.
I spend the clear long day
Idly leaning against the balustrade
With the kingfisher-green curtain rolled low.

My guests arrive. We burst into song as we fill our cups-
A melody that flows on quietly as a rippling stream,
Halts now and then like scudding clouds.
Let the southern branches of blossom
Be cut diligently when good to deck the hair with.
Wait; not till the mournful notes of a Tartar flute
Break out from the West Tower. 2

①The original Chinese translated literally is “a riverside tower in Chum, whi& means in effect a riverside lodge far away from home that revives nostalgic thoughts.
②”Fallinig Plum Blossoms” is a plaintive song played on a horizontal flute that reminded one of the transiency of spring. The poet Li Bai alluded to it in his “Hearing the Flute on Yellow Crane Tower.” The last line here is a pun on the song and the jarring Tartar flute.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

殢人娇 李清照
玉瘦香浓,檀深雪散。今年恨、探梅又晚。江楼楚馆,云闲水远。清昼永,凭栏翠帘低卷。
坐上客来,尊前酒满。歌声共、水流云断。南枝可插,更须频剪。莫直待西楼、数声羌管。

Tì rén jiāo  Lǐ Qīngzhào
Yù shòu xiāng nóng , tán shēnxuě sàn . Jīnnián hèn, tànméi yòu wǎn . Jiāng lóu chǔ guǎn , yún xián shuǐ yuǎn . Qīng zhòu yǒng, pínglán cuì lián dī juǎn.
Zuò shàng kè lái, zūn qián jiǔ mǎn . Gēshēng gòng, shuǐliú yún duàn. Nán zhī kě chā , gèng xū pín jiǎn. Mò zhídài xī lóu , shù shēng qiāng guǎn.

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 Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”

Geometries of Time (Farewell, 2014)

Some say that it’s an arrow straight flying,
Others a circle, a spiral spinning,
But I do not know which geometry
Could do the trick of squaring the circle
Of this past year, could connect its patterns:
An evening of pleasant sensations,
Walking through a world muted by soft snows
To fall deeply asleep in his warm arms,
Circuses, sex, dancing, salt-water swims,
Ferguson, the disappearance of Doug
And Ziad, perhaps a mad multiverse,
Invisible to our quickly fading
Eyes that scan such a limited spectrum,
Knowing but never seeing what’s to come.

AGG20141229

A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Bodhisattva’s Gold Headdress”

It is when the world’s erased,
Made blank by a winter storm,
It is then we know,
Beneath the soft, killing snow,
Seeds and eggs and cruel blooms
Plot their spring revanche.
It’s in January’s wind
We first hear the desperate,
Sad and lonely tune
The cicadas will sweetly sing
In the July heat at noon.
This is when we know.

We know happy is the corpse
The rain softly falls upon:
It was warm and wet,
Beading on your coffin dark,
Disappearing down into
The cold, hungry ground.
We cried and then laughed—a lot—
As long as we are breathing
Your love has not died,
Your world will not be erased,
Made blank by this awful plague.
This is what we know.

AGG20140722
(for Doug and Bob and Chris and Peter and Patrick and the countless others buried deep in our still beating hearts)

Tune: “Bodhisattva’s Gold Headdress”
Nostalgia

The honks of departing wild geese die away;
Only scattered clouds are lingering in an azure sky.
Outside the back-window snow falls thick and blinding,
Smoke from the incense burner rises straight and high.
My phoenix hairpin lurid under the candle’s glow;
From the hairpin pendants of figurine and flower designs
Swing languidly to and fro .

Bugles hasten the break of day,
As dawn stars fade i n the Milky Way.
Futile my search for the first blooms of spring:
A wintry chill to the west wind does cling.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

Here is all the ci/词 and responses to it on this blog.

李清照菩萨蛮
归鸿声断残云碧,背窗雪落炉烟直。烛底凤钗明,钗头人胜轻。
角声催晓漏,曙色回牛斗。春意看花难,西风留旧寒。

李清照菩薩蠻
歸鴻聲斷殘雲碧,背窗雪落爐煙直。燭底鳳釵明,釵頭人勝輕。
角聲催曉漏,曙色回牛斗。春意看花難,西風留舊寒。

Lǐ Qīngzhào Púsà mán
Guī hóng shēng duàn cán yún bì , bèi chuāng xuě luò lú yān zhí . Zhú dǐ fèng chāi míng , chāi tóu rén shèng qīng .
Jiǎo shēng cuī xiǎo lòu , shǔsè huí niú dǒu . Chūnyì kàn huā nán, xīfēng liú jiù hán.

Li Qingzhao Bodhisattva Barbarian

Return/goose/sound/break/spoil/cloud/jade-green, behind/window/snow/fall/stove/smoke/straight. Candle/end/phoenix/hairpin/bright, haipin/head/person/able to bear/light.
Horn/sound/urge/dawn/divulge, daybreak/colour/circle/ox(star)/dipper(star). Spring/thought/see/flower/difficult, west/find/remain/as of old/cold.

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…”

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What Possible Pleasures

Now that you are tightly held
By everyone’s final lover,
Leaving us to salt our own wounds
In each other’s wanting arms,
I know, I know you said we must
Get past the problems of today
For the enjoyment of tomorrow,
So please, please forgive us our tears
Because right now it is hard to see
What possible pleasures could be
Born of pain so sharp, so dear.

AGG20140618
(In Memoriam, Doug McColeman, 1962-2014)

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…”

AIDS is the Age of Christ

(A sonnet to the God of Plague)

Now AIDS is the age of Christ
When he was scourged, crucified;
It has been thirty-three years
Since our skins first bloomed bruises—

Passion purpled—pain blossomed,
We began to die too young,
No chance of resurrection,
In our modern fairytales,

And if now we have some pills,
And it doesn’t kill—so quickly,
There remains the terrible
Memory of that reaping,

We see shadows hint at spaces
Where entire lives could have been.

AGG20140602

Depth Charge: 1981 is generally considered to mark the beginning of the onslaught of AIDS in North America because that is the year cases first appeared in the gay communities of New York and San Francisco, although we now know that the virus was present much earlier. There has been an upsurge in interest in this period with the documentaries How to Survive a Plague and We Were Here, and the film The Dallas Buyers Club, and the made-for-tv movie The Normal Heart all being released in the past couple of years. Criticism has been leveled at some of these works that they leave out important parts of the story, but I think that is because that period in history and the issues are so painful and complex that any single effort to encapsulate them will fail. It is best to take them all to together, if you can bear to. It is especially harrowing watching these works because we are still living with this virus in our midst 33 years later. As for the title, 33 years is popularly held to be the age at which Jesus Christ was crucified.

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 Griffin just click on the link. To download a pdf, right click on the link and select “Save link as…”