As we lay down in the blood of strangers

As we lay down in the blood of strangers, 
Our tired bones made from the dust of stars, 
It would be so easy to just give in 
To despair, refuse to rise up again. 
 
Weary of television’s nightly dose 
Of horror and fear and murder, we want 
To hide away in some safe hole until 
It passes like a nightmare on parade. 
 
But this life is not a dream, it is real, 
As real as bullets, as bombs, as sirens, 
And we need to wake up, open our eyes, 
To dry our tears with the ashes of the dead. 
 
Our fears are as useless as our prayers, which 
Imagined god would we offer them to? 
The god of the killers and of the killed 
Is one and the same and his name is shit. 
 
This fictitious god who breeds hate too real 
For me and the all men I’ve ever loved 
Fades to nothing before the power felt 
As I lay down in a stranger’s warm arms. 
 
AGG20151116 
 
Depth Charge: The title of this poem is a slight modification of a line from an essay written by Isobel Bowdery, a survivor of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Nov 13, 2015.

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…”
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Monkey No Aware #29— God and Racism

lacrimae rerum by Andrew Grimes Griffin“Racism is real in the same way God is real. They are both constructs invented to torture, enslave and dehumanize our fellow humans.  They persist because they are useful to those in power, those who wish to maintain—or increase—their power over others, those who need fictitious differences to mask real inequalities, inequities that they benefit from.”
– AGG20141016

 

To see all the Monkey No Aware posts, click on the Monkey No Aware tag below.

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…”

A Response to a Fourth Li Qingzhao “Sand of Silk-Washing Brook”

Windows open all day long,
Birdsong laced with lilac scent,
Free to follow my own thoughts,
Sudden thunder—speeds the dark.

The rain drums out sharp warnings,
Car tires whisper and hiss,
Lightning extends bright fingers,
Distant sirens—approaching.

AGG20140526

Depth Charge: The gentle melancholy over the passing of all things in the original is replaced by a much more ominous foreboding in the response poem. Perhaps that is why a Biblical reference crept in, if it is paranoia you are looking for, you can’t beat the Abrahamic religions and killjoys like Isaiah and Paul.

Tune: “Sand of Silk-Washing Brook”
Late Spring
by Li Qingzhao

A small courtyard, an idle window:
The mellow tints of spring.
Double blinds unfurled:
A room deep in shadow.
Upstairs, silently,
Someone plucking a jade zither.

Clouds emerging from far-off peaks
Hasten the fall of dusk.
A soft breeze blowing rain
Dallies with light shade
Pear blossoms already past their bloom—
I’m afraid one can’t keep them from fading.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

李清照·浣溪沙
小院闲窗春色深,重帘未卷影沉沉。倚楼无语理瑶琴。
远岫出云催薄暮,细风吹雨弄轻阴。梨花欲谢恐难禁。

李清照·浣溪沙
小院閒窗春色深,重簾未卷影沉沉。倚樓無語理瑤琴。
遠岫出雲催薄暮,細風吹雨弄輕陰。梨花欲謝恐難禁。

Lǐqīngzhào · huànxīshā·
Xiǎo yuàn xián chuāng chūnsè shēn, zhòng lián wèi juǎn yǐng chénchén. Yǐ lóu wúyǔ lǐ yáo qín.
Yuǎn xiù chū yún cuī bómù, xì fēng chuī yǔ nòng qīng yīn. Líhuā yù xiè kǒng nán jìn.

Li Qingzhao Wash/stream/sand
Small/courtyard/to stay idle/window/spring/colour/dark, double/curtains/not/rolled-up/shadow/submerge/submerge. Lean on/building/without/words/to handle/jade/zither. Distant/mountain peak/

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

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…”

I’ve wrestled angels

Study for Jacob Wrestling the Angel 1876  Léon Joseph-Florentine Bonnat Detail

Study for Jacob Wrestling the Angel 1876 Léon Joseph-Florentine Bonnat Detail

I’ve wrestled angels
X    My entire adult life
X    So I’ve seen many
Beautiful hard cocks but not
A single feather—not one
X    Angels like me seem
X    To be the earthbound fallen
Dust of long-dead stars

AGG20140129

Depth Charge: Another experiment in Mirrored Tanka (5-7-5-7-7-5-7-5). This poem was sparked after reading Le Combat avec l’ange/The Combat with the Angel by Jacques Prévert.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

Why two men fucking

A Reason to Rise_20140113

For the life of me
x    It’s incomprehensible
x        Why two men fucking
x             Is seen as something shameful
x             Not viewed like the rising sun
x        Natural and bright
x   A sight to heat our red blood
A reason to rise

AGG20140114

Depth Charge: Over the past several months, various nations around the globe have been harshly criminalizing homosexuality: India’s top court re-criminalized it after it had been legalized; Uganda (Subsequently, Uganda’s president refused to pass the law, but remains homophobic.) and Nigeria in Africa passed draconian anti-gay laws, and Russia’s insane anti-gay propaganda law continues to send a message that it is open season on gays and lesbians in that country.  In all cases, conservative religious forces – Christian, Muslim, Hindu and/or Sikh – both within and outside of the countries concerned are major supporters of anti-gay legislation.

For those who are into the writing process, this is another experiment in Mirrored Tanka (5-7-5-7-7-5-7-5) and references section 28 of Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself where he describes, amongst other things, masturbating.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

The Piping Plover

Brackley Beach_20130803

The Piping Plover

objects in motion
objects at rest

I
steps are taken
if you are walking

on the beach at sunset
a bird with a broken wing

the piping plover
is small and secretive

just above the high tide mark
it thought hunger had drawn

your feet to its nest
sought to lure you away

by faking injury
it could not know

you are only feeling pity
or perversity

in the knowledge
that backtracking is impossible

II
Independent Thought

foxes, gulls, and crows
take their toll
with the necessary haughtiness
of scavengers denying
dependence

they have tricked many

III
Sunday School

the fear of           repeating
the dread of        mistakes

a creeping thing   delivered
a living thing          unto Thy Hands

IV
Menaced

the classic broken wing display
was tried without success

on the playground
children about suffering

instinctively know
and never turn away

V
Mistaking Motion for Purpose

as an experiment

Mary Jane, John
Susie, Laurie
Peter and me

piled into my wagon
at the top
of the hill

by rocking rocking
slowly slowly
the wagon started

rolling rolling
faster faster
Stop! It’s much too late!

a tangle of legs
and arms in the ditch
and someone screaming

Let’s do it again!
Let’s do it again!
Let’s do it again!

VI
There are No Lessons to be Learned

we traced outlines
of our hands and feet
the teacher told us

We are The Hands and Feet of God
in the schoolyard
we knew this to be true

throw out both arms
spin faster spin
fall to the ground

you will feel the earth
turning

VII
unless steps are taken
the piping plover will become extinct
unless steps are not taken

AGG21031106 (Redux of 1989 original)

Depth Charge: This is a slightly cleaned up version of a poem cycle from 1989.  I still like its treatment of emergent sexuality in a religiously hostile environment and the various ploys, mostly ineffectual, that can be used to protect oneself. Ultimately, in a decidedly Daoist twist, inaction can often prove more effective than action. Amid the Biblical allusions and natural history references, there is also a rather obvious and deliberate misquotation of Musee des Beaux Arts by W.H. Auden.

Meanwhile stars die silently

Blessed Virgin Mary giving fascist salute 2

What’s this attraction
Childish impossible gods
Exert over us?
Meanwhile stars die silently
Their passing left unremarked

AGG20131026

Depth Charge: I consider this poem to be a descendant of The long-dead stars though nameless and part of a continuing reverie on Oscar Wilde’s assertion that humans will believe the impossible before the improbable. As for the creepy photo accompanying this poem, it stands in front of the Carmelite Convent here in Montreal. The gates are usually locked, but every once and awhile we are permitted a peep.

To see all the tanka on this blog, click here.

A new chapbook, as close as the clouds by Andrew Grimes Griffin, is available for free reading online and/or download.

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…”

Insistent scalpels—trace scars

red bleeding heart of jesus

Six-year-old boy—they
Sliced open your chest—to mend
Your young beating heart
Decades later hand and tongue—
Insistent scalpels—trace scars

AGG20130926
(for Frenchman Chris)

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…”