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…”
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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.

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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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

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…”

 

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)

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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Arab Hunchbacks

You’ve forever ruined
All Arab hunchbacks for me
Ziad by being
Completely sweet and strange and
Dead so I can’t stand seeing

Reminders of you
Today is my fifty-fifth
Birthday and I am
Happy leaving the metro
Until I see another

You were a marvel
And constantly surprising
And I thought a friend
Of such unique proportions
A companion ’til old age

You laughing—singing
It was my birthday party
Two years ago now
We didn’t know then it’d be
The second-last time we’d speak

AGG20160318
(for Ziad Ghaoui)

Ziad Ghaoui March 2014

Ziad Ghaoui March 2014 Photo by MIchael Leon

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…”
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Punchline: A Response to Li Qingzhao’s “Sand of Silk-Washing Brook”

The clouds drifting shift
The moonlight shakes the shadows
Of branches bare in May
I cast words at that bright stone
—not an echo of reply

We joked about who’d
Be the first of us to go
Well the joke’s on me
But no one here is laughing
—even the wind is wordless

I must keep my eyes
Fixed—frozen—a sideways glance
Is all it would take
To give the whole game away
—for pearls to fall in the dark

AGG20150504
(for ZG)

Tune: “Sand of Silk-Washing Brook”
Longing in the Boudoir
By Li Qingzhao①

A smile of happy recollection lights up her face
As she gently draws aside the curtain
Embroidered with blooming lotus,
And leans against the jewelled duck censer,
Her perfumed cheek on her hand, musing.
If she but rolls her eyes
She will immediately give herself away.

That first sweet meeting full of tenderest love!
She might as well send half a page
With endearing reproaches unburdening a pensive heart,
And have him come again
When the moon is moving the flower shadows.

①Translator’s note: This is one of the a-poems attributed to Li Qingzhao whose authenticity is questioned on the ground that the content is unworthy of a woman of her moral status. But it is included in many anthologies because the poet expresses her love boldly in defiance of the feudal shackles of her day and for some exquisite lines which bring out her inmost feelings in a lifelike way.

Translated by Jiaosheng Wang.

Depth Charge: The last line of Li Qingzhao’s poem “月移花影约重来/ When the moon is moving the flower shadows” alludes to a line from a novel by Tang Dynasty writer元稹/Yuan Zhen (779 –831), “The Biography of Xing Xing,” considered to be the first novel in Chinese to explore the inner  psychology of its characters: “待月西厢下,迎风户半开。拂墙花影动,疑是玉人来/I wait beneath the moonlight by the Western Chamber,  a door swings open in the breeze, brushing the wall flowers  the shadows shake, I mistake it for her approach.” Yuan Zhen’s most famous poems are three elegies he wrote to the memory of his dead wife. My poem was particularly influenced by Elegy II.

浣溪沙·李清照
绣面芙蓉一笑开,斜飞宝鸭衬香腮。眼波才动被人猜。
一面风情深有韵,半笺娇恨寄幽怀。月移花影约重来。

Huànxīshā·Lǐ Qīngzhào
Xiù miàn fúróng yīxiào kāi , xié fēi bǎo yā chèn xiāng sāi . Yǎnbō cái dòng bèi rén cāi.
Yīmiàn fēngqíng shēn yǒu yùn , bàn jiān jiāo hèn jì yōu huái . Yuè yí huāyǐng yuē chóng lái.

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

This Week in the House

This week the powerful,
The ones used to training weapons
On unknown others,
Had a gun turned on them.
In a panic they barricaded the doors,
Furiously tapped and tweeted
And dialed their cellphones,
Then fashioned stone-age spears
Out of snapped flagpoles,
As the Prime Minister hid in a closet.

In the end none of them died.
Who did die?
An average joe just doing his job
And a mad man with a sick mind
Poisoned by religion.

Just as earlier in the week
Another average joe doing his job
Was killed by a different mad man
With a sick mind poisoned
By the same religion,
But that was nowhere near
The man hiding in the closet
So, like who gives a fuck, right?

The man in the closet
Poked his head out,
Eventually,
Just long enough to squeak
“Not intimidated,”
Before he disappeared again
To plan how the people in power,
The people used to pointing the weapons
At unknown others,
Can feast on the corpses
Of the dead average joes,
Use the memory of them
To their own advantage.
It is a dusty, old parlour trick
And they know it well.
They know how to turn it
Into Parliamentary tricks
To produce even more laws
The will decrease the freedom
Of average joes just doing their jobs,
Laws that will do nothing to help
Mad men with sick minds
Poisoned by religion.

Instead they will build higher walls
And wider moats
Between them and the world,
And they will cast their suspicious glances
Upon average joes just doing their jobs,
Anyone of whom could be a mad man
With a sick mind poisoned by religion.

We will see only the ragged tips
Of their stone age spears
Protruding from the casements,
And every now and then
The man in the closet
Will venture out to squeak
About a democracy and a freedom
That does not exist,
Not even for him.

AGG20141024

Al Ziz / الزيز

What is the limit?
I am sure nobody knows.
But I assure you,
There’s room in our crowded hearts
For your gently fading ghost.

Last time I saw you:
You were in the Pride Parade,
And as you passed by,
I rushed in from the sidelines,
Surprising you with a hug.

I see you smiling,
I hear you laughing, I see
You walking away.
All of this really happened.
And will not happen again.

So rest with us now,
Memory’s a tricky thing,
And I would hold you
In my mind as in my arms,
Firmly, if for a short time.

AGG20140903
(In Memoriam Ziad Ghaoui)

Ziad Ghaoui March 2014

Ziad Ghaoui March 2014 Photo by MIchael Leon

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…”