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Live poetry

  • Posted on January 18, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Red Roaster: Brighton and Hove Stanza of the Poetry SocietyLast night was wonderful hassle. Leaving work early to get home so I could get something to eat before going out to Brighton. I wasn’t feeling too well, rather wobbly in fact, but determined, and couldn’t decide if soup would keep me going or the final spag bol decision would finish me off. Then parking near enough to walk to the Red Roaster without getting frozen on the way back. Gawping at what I had forgotten about Brighton parking: you need 6 pound coins if you want to stay even slightly over one hour, and it was 6:50pm until free parking at 8. I risked it, hoping some jobsworth wasn’t taking delight in a last patrol at 7:55. I’m sure I wasn’t looking my best either.

But once there and warming up, and talking with friends from the Brighton and Hove Stanza of the Poetry Society, I was at home. That was except when I was feeling faint and hoping I wouldn’t embarrass myself by keeling over. I actually relish the opportunity to read my poetry. You can only read it one way, so you lose the neat, deliberate ambiguity of the written word (‘peeling is a tearing … all lies in pieces after tears’ – Cooking with onions; ‘With intent I listen/ there is no rhythm in the rain’ – Intent is an image under canvas). The compensation is that you show how it feels and runs.

What a lovely evening; consistent but very varied poetry, all to a really high standard, and very individual. All as worthy of publication as the big names, in my opinion. But what touched me most was the number of people who made a point of coming to me to say how much, or why, they had enjoyed my pieces. Yes, I had been open in explaining the origin of some of my work in being transsexual. I’d rather people heard the words than spent time trying to work out my gender, and it is the heartbeat of much of what I write, even when it isn’t explicit. So to learn that I had evoked deep feelings of childbirth in a mum of two, felt almost an honour. There’s something quite moving about your words reaching some deep place in another, not because you’ve thrust your words on them, but because someone has just received them and taken them in, where they have resonated. That’s much more of a meeting than a handshake and hello.

Writing for me is an imperative, even though I do it all day as a job too. Cooking with onions was a line in my head ten days ago, when I woke up one morning, and evolved in my mind on the journey to work, where I captured enough on paper to remind me later, and the allusions multiplied. That’s how it is, and somehow it really works.

Here are the poems I read, in case you were there and want to read them again, or missed them:

I hope you like them.

Christmas card

  • Posted on December 20, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I want this card filled.
I want it empty. Just my name.

A Christmas Valentine.
My heart. In a folded page.


First Fathers’ Day

  • Posted on June 17, 2012 at 7:58 am
This poem celebrates those who find a way to be both trans* and a parent. It is based on something I heard last year, which was lovely. This year is my first such day, and I hope one day I might read it as my own.

I couldn’t find a card
so I drew this flower instead
and wondered if we should
switch to Mothers’ Day.

No. You’re Dad, this is yours and
I never knew your breasts.
Which I still can’t understand
but I do like your dress.

Shall we go out then?
It’s your day, not any day
and I still love you and nothing
changes me from daughter.

Let’s just remember I’m your girl.
Let’s play Daughter’s Day to celebrate
the one who fathered, nurtured, cared
and loved me into who I am.

That’s what we are.
What we always shall be.
Here, I bought you this necklace.
It’s very pretty, don’t you think?

2012 © Andie Davidson

See also:

Prague spring, 2011

  • Posted on May 9, 2012 at 1:35 pm

In spring 2011, a burial was unearthed, of a male interred as a female, and was promptly billed by the press as ‘WTF? First Gay Caveman!’. In all likelihood the person was transgendered, accepted, even revered as in so many ancestral cultures.

The 1968 Prague Spring was a period of rapid political liberalisation . . .

Five thousand years, layering
this on that, of change on chance
to be dug, this day, these

crouched bones face – respected
male bones placed, inflected
by pots, not knives – east

away from warrior west, in the
suburbs of Prague-to-be: a woman
who is not a man, for

five thousand years, in which
we have learned to write with
fast fingers, blog and fear.

One grave, one loved person, and
five thousand years – from clay tablet
to wired world – in a waste of words.

Not gay. No cave. No vestments.
Just acceptance lost this spring,
in Prague, pressed, and buried.

2012 © Andie Davidson

Published in Realisations.

This is the hand

  • Posted on April 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm
This poem is reflecting continuity and change, versatility and curiosity, selfhood and identity. Hands that reach out can be held or let go. Our hands are the stories of our lives … This is a Brief History of Mine.

This is the hand
that curled around the enormity
of a finger outstretched in wonder
at my tiny, perfect, nails.

This is the hand
that pointed to nipples in the bath
asking: ‘mummy what are these for?’
no – not for anything.

This is the hand
that stool-high stirred a cake, that sat
gritty, dirty, mixing cement for a wall –
distinguishing neither.

This is the hand
that learned the pen, figure and script,
to describe, shooting high: ‘I know, miss!’
too often to answer.

This is the hand
that dressed a paper doll and made a dart,
that sprayed the scent and built with bricks
high enough to fall.

This is the hand
that curled around my enormity
not knowing what it was for or why,
and was afraid.

This is the hand
that wrote songs, found what it was
to touch another, know resonance,
strike a chord.

This is the hand
that painted pictures with film,
with brush, and the brush of filmy
sensuous things.

This is the hand
that built from wood, that sewed, sawed
ironed, mended with iron – and delved
the stinking drain.

This is the hand
that held a bucket of blood – loved, willed
that everything would be alright again,
but limp with fear.

This is the hand
that held the finger of the boy
as long as my forearm, in wonder
at his tiny perfect nails.

This is the hand
that made cakes into cars and, blackened
with grease, made cars go a little longer
earnings eased.

This is the hand
that every day turned mind into money
and money into memories, memories
into bonds.

This is the hand
that gave you your first orgasm,
breaking out of my closing preserve,
ending its cheat.

This is the hand
instrument of the heart, that curls now
around this new enormity, outstretched
and is empty.

This is the hand
that stirred, that moved, that made –
that unnamed, but always female, has
become inappropriate.

This is the hand.
That waves.
That drowns.

2012 © Andie Davidson