Monday, 31 March 2014

I Mae, I will, I did

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a Woman Scream poetry event and was frankly inspired. I wanted to write something appropriate, but feminist poetry from a male perspective... would it go horribly wrong? Hopefully not. Am I a feminist? Well, I'm a humanist pissed off at injustice and exploitation, so that's a yes I guess. Anyhow, some fellow poets who were there on the night are fans of silver screen goddesses, and that's something I can relate to, so having passed through a brief and informal editing period (thanks Angela and Carrie), here's what I produced. Hope you like it.

Diamond Lil

In sepia days,
Kardashians were still
Armenian migrants, workers,
not orange and shrill,
silver gelatin and celluloid reigned supreme,
Photoshop, silicone and carotene
were just bad dreams
and Mae West was Queen.
All satin hourglass,
mink and bat-wings,
she could cause a commotion,
a trouser-motion
in any fellow’s slacks
with regal quips about chaps
and bad girls teasing,
life being pleasing,
coming up and seeing,
being a sex-symbol
where anything went,
but those weapons were aimed
at freeing sisters from bit-part dead-ends
as baby-machines and housework slaves
to get their own space on screen,
not just vehicles for romantic leads.
Pushing boundaries, she’s
jailed for penning a play
deemed corrupting to youth,
banned for supporting
the rights of gay men,
spreading truth in a wicked age,
and buys a whole building
just so she could let her
black lover through the door,
up-front and centre-stage
while the US wallowed in its racist ways,
stampeding towards censorship
of supposed obscenity.
But real women don’t need to be good,
and Mary Jane had more colour
in her monochrome domain
than any modern Z-list mayfly,
Towie clones gasping their last
in ranks of talent-vacuum
spray-tan vans –
way back then,
She had class.

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