Salome Starfire

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Archive for the month “October, 2012”

Dead tree talking

Tomes to tombs? Surely this is not the way of the future? I have recently lovingly packed away all my books with extra cloves and may chang oil in air-tight containers so that I will return and collect them once I have moved into a big house. But I’m worried about all those books that have become electronic and then all the electricity running out and then there, somewhere, lying in a shed are piles of rotting books. Libraries barely carry enough books nowadays–I mean paper terrible tree destroying paper!!!!!

I think I might be able to find the complete works of Jonathon Carrol but I am unfortunately naive. Don’t get me wrong, I officially belong to four different libraries, two university libraries, one state library, and the council libraries scattered through-out the Sahara.
However I can’t help but feel that the books are disappearing and re-appearing in electronic form and I am now just a Luddite who needs to get with the times. I don’t as yet own a kindle, and yet I wonder is that what kindle means?  books of a paper body and ink press should be used for kindling? Are we talking Farenheit 451? ahhhh!!!

And as for my beloved poetry books and the state of poetry. Well there’s lots of different forms of poetry but fuck I just love reading, actually reading a poem, instead of sometimes being subjected to the rampant and viral contagion that is spoken-word poetry and slams. I mean just because you can perform doesn’t make it poetry and vice-verca. So much poetry and not any poetry. So many words spoken with not an editing pause in site. I have become bored to death by spoken-word magic tricks of dancing monkeys and beautiful girls brandishing woks and feathers and tattoos at me with the dead carcass of Sexton or Rimbaud swinging from the Bosch construction that was once their lips. Your passion and sex does not make it poetry. It might help (or hinder )  I do not wish to discredit or invalidate the great spoken-word poetry I’ve attended or missed or seen on-line because it certainly has an important and vital part to play.  It does bring poetry to the people, it does bring the quicken the blood. But I also suggest a return to the poetry of the page, without the glitter and the costumes and the bonus points and the fruit and the clapping. Oh the clapping.

That was the decision I made after reading my poetry at QPF this year. I don’t do spoken-word poetry anymore, you can if you wish read it from the paper or from my website at your own discretion in your own time. I have finished a manuscript and I will get it published one day. I am also currently working on a new book of poems. My dearest intentions are for publication. I am currently editing fellow poets work and enjoying this process immensely.  And I will keep performing as a musician and an installation artist.  I have dedicated much of  my life and passion to poetry, reading it, studying it, breathing it, writing it and in no way wish to imply that there should be no spoken-word poetry or slams. But rather this is a call to arms for the written word, this is just a call out to the poets that don’t perform their work, that let their work perform itself on the page.  It is just as valid, and I thank you for all your time in editing, thinking about the lay-out of your work, the look, the font, the re-editing, the presentation.
Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in spoken-word poetry–the loud, the passionate, the hip-hop pauses, the clever, and the dear diary entries, and all I want is your book. I want you to sit near me, maybe even disappear for half an hour so I can read it with some wine–give me the space to enjoy it, loathe it, accept it, just read it.


Fifteen decibels (in memory of my beloved cousin Adnan)

time is gone. and time returns. you,

with your telescopic glasses,

the most gentlest Karachi boy

with soft words and I

wondered at your fragility

in this city of blood and motorbikes

a division of time– mandarin pieces

kept in your clean warm hands

and a shalwar made out of Kashmiri snow

melting with it over time,

your voice is fifteen decibels

10819.62 km

I wanted to protect you with my fierceness

I became a giantess

and you the meaning of gentle

I think of whispering to calm the nerves

you the conduit

10819.62 km away from me

might as well be the distance from

here to Mars

but just as well for one moment

it is the distance from fingertip to pressure point on the keyboard

heart to brain

brain to fingers

but how are you dead?

I have no proof!

give me a word, a glance.

Did I know in the fragility of your voice

when I was a girl without your words,

the distance and the time that was metered out?

No…I don’t know a thing

I am just caught up in the greenery

in the art and the music,

listening for love in the morning.

Love…when it doubt groom

My beautiful Babooshka

Well that’s what my cats do anyway. They are in doubt of something, so they pause briefly then commence grooming. I watch my cats for clues to their rituals. I marvel at their beauty. And then I start thinking about beauty and love and the other and lovers and having love and deserving love and what this all means. After having a conversation with a beautiful friend of mine, she touched upon the subject of unrequited love, and I immediately identified. Oh David Johansen, (no not from New York Dolls—but that would have been more realistic maybe) but my major crush on this person in primary school. A ridiculous crush, because to be honest, I wouldn’t know what to do with him if I had the chance. And despite setting up my or helping my girlfriends get together with him (Dear Hecate, I think I was even acting as a Priest(ess) in some strange marriage rituals in grade 5, I lusted like a priest after the groom. How I pined, how I dreamt those dreams of young girls caught in a fix of an image, in a school uniform, in the heat of the day, practicing hand ball, looking and hoping for his gaze.

I wanted his gaze to fall on me long enough that he would see my shiver in ecstasy. I wanted him to notice me and realise that I wasnt Karla Aston, I wasn’t Helen Price, or Tabatha Tate in all their sporting horse leg caucasian beauty, but something other and maybe he would see the other and realise I was this essentially different creature that could be loved and seen as beautiful.

And this one goes out to all women who don’t feel good enough for their partners, or future partners, lesbian, straight, transgender, transsexual, liminal.  I can’t help but tell you how beautiful you are. Don’t you see it? In your scars, those small lines of healed over flesh, that puckering translucency, in your wrinkles and bumps like road maps of adventures that mannequin fantasy blow job porn dolls don’t get to have. Oh they have fantasies, but they are never from within them–they sold out their dreams and desires to the void. You move with your own style, it is yours, with it’s hiccups and false starts and flights of fancy, you move with your own grace, it is yours that you inhabit not like a thought inside a body of skin and bones, but a feeling living through the blood and the skin and the hairs of your being. And your clothes are perfectly suited to you, the way you wear what you wear with comfort and ease.

Your beauty is in the work that you do when you don’t think it’s work, in the stomping feet on a dance floor, in the fixing of your bicycle, in the tuning of your guitar, in the sewing of your dress that keeps coming undone, in the songs you sing in the shower when no-one is listening, and guess what, you do sound fucking great.  I want this wind outside to sweep away one fear from your brow for just a moment and in that moment you are doing everything you love or being in love with yourself in the way a flower opens, in the way a building stands tall against the sky, in the way the strings of your guitar bite into your fingers. I want this wind that whips through trees I can only imagine outside like old crones, or Beardsley etchings, to wipe the grief from your finger tips and that place between the bottom of your throat and the middle of your chest….that ache that catches you when you are half asleep or washing dishes without your glasses on so everything looks like it’s melting in the water and nothing gets clean. I want the velvet breeze of the night to smooth the tired muscles in your back and in your hips that have held you together in contortions over unrequited love, so that you can move with grace to do the things you love to do, to ride your bike and sing and write and watch the lights sway above you.

You are not a value, you are not a sum, you are not parts, or the sum of your parts. You are not a wrench, not a wretch, nor are you hammer or a tin of spam.You are not a product, you are not an appendage or a half, you are not what you suspect you are in your saddest thoughts. Look to the apple core, look to the flower, look to the swaying grass and the bending buildings, look to the glistening bicycle in the rain that casts a shadow of your silhouette on the city footpaths. Look to the boots covered in mud, the tangle of hair in your brush, the tea-stained pages of a beloved book, the scribbles of genius poetry you have made that no-one else will ever read.
If anything these are the moments of work, of movement that run with your beauty far further than all the street lights down the street and all the strange faces at art gallery openings, and all the lost  moments in elevators.

I am infinitely grateful to my Wise Children

Am I a ruthless mother? Can I claim to be one, as I look over books that I have loved and cared for and tended tenderly buttons.

I look at all the books I am selling and feel sadness but great joy, for each one has been regarded with some form of passion of new eve. I am a personality of literary references, I am more than a tale of two titties, and I feel as if Burning my Boats was a Parable of the Sower. Perhaps it is a Moral Disorder? Or maybe it is merely The Crystal World shattering on the ground and I am left  in Possession of Mythologies, maybe this Brave new World is not a world where I am brave but as is The Nature of Monsters I must look into The Tiger’s eye and build a new Babel Tower of Books.  Maybe a Room of One’s own isn’t enough,  maybe I should travel to The Island of The Colour Blind and from The Holy Mountain see The Anatomy of the Artist.

But it is The Curious Room, where I can find Portable Kristevas and Portraits of the Artist as a Young man, there I might find solace in the Nightingale and the Rose and cry loudly and wish I could write to make you cry. I will take Chekhov for a walk to get him away from his family enough to buy him a drink and a good meal, I will convince Angela Carter to come to Nights at the Circus with me and hopefully there we will listen to the Bell Jar whilst we drink in the Gospels of Mary.  My wise children you make me wiser and brighter. My loyal friends who I have clutched when friends were merciless in their forgetfulness and when two dollars couldn’t get me a bus ride anywhere as good as through the streets of Bleak House. It was Bleak but not nearly so bleak as a world where I never met you, never felt your rustling limbs, never took those journeys far into the night beyond the urge to pee and drink water.

My wise children, I hitchhiked a ride to galaxies you can’t find on the net, I’ve laid down next to the syphilitic form of Charles Baudelaire going on and on about beautiful spanish women who die–you’re such a smelly bastard. I’ve read Rimbaud–you liar, you treacherous nasty fucker who killed wild things in Africa because you killed your own wild thing way too young. But I read you and let you fall to the floor, a pile of books about me, unkempt hair that only friends know how to brush and they are far away. Joanna Russ who showed me the other world of fabulous gender-bending women who were wild hat eand free and complicated. All the confusion that came with a god damn Speculum of the Other Woman, all the anthologies of forgotten poets, all the fierce words of Millet, Butler, Firestone. And when I fell down the Rabbit Hole, it was Brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

But like Farenheit 451, I take the books into me. They are inside me, easily more than a thousand novels. They have become silver threads that extend beyond me, like lightning, like cities of the red night, like Ozone itself.

To all the writers I am letting go of, I will find you again. To all the stories, some of you are such bastardly horrible things that circumvented and sabotaged my mind in gloriously unpredictable ways, and some of you made me inclined to believe I had discovered new vistas of being, of knowing the world, my flesh, and yours. I soaked up thousands of years, thousands of stories and sometimes when I am not so down and sad I feel like I ride a Chariot and I am blue like Krishna, or I ride a sand worm and bring forth rains from the sky. All the rooms I visited in Perec, Oh Mr Perec thank you!!  All the lives and all the chairs and footprints and all the babies born and all those people dying and the wallpaper fading and the streets beneath. Ahh glory to the book. For literature is my temple.  I am simply so grateful to all those courageous/spoilt/rich/poor/bastardly/mean/egocentric/kindly/far-seeing/visionary writers who wrote, some work not even getting published in their life times.  Thank you.

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