Queer Writers of Ireland published an anthology of poems called Green Carnations. In Oscar Wilde’s time gay men sometimes wore carnations died green to indicate that they were gay. It is an honour to get so many poems published in one anthology. Well done to the editor John Ennis for editing and publishing the anthology. Unfortunately the anthology is not available online but you can read the poems here.
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Jogging in the Sun
In this ice-cream weather
my shoes hit the ground,
feels like they are running under me.
Lampposts in a row move slowly.
My tongue is a dry field,
skin tingles as sweat covers my forehead.
Fear bubbles up in me. A jumble of worries
comes to mind. I keep this rhythm up,
release each thought with the pounding.
I take a sip from my bottle,
the magic of water
cools me from within.
This day all things are right
and in there proper order.
The sweats dries away as the sun beats on,
sparks flash on passing cars
and the traffic sings. My thirst slackens.
I feel the glitter of hope as I run home.
I drove a cute guy home.
I hoped he and I could start dating,
nothing happened. Near his house there was a church
with girls and boys in their holy communion dresses.
The snow of their clothes filled the estate.
I was exhausted and went home
In bed alone I slept fitfully for a few hours
remembering the white ballots spilling from the boxes,
the buzz of counting, trying not to miss a single tally.
I woke to hear the official result
and was too exhausted to even care.
Four months of solid canvassing.
Later that day I made it into Dublin Castle,
the nerve centre of celebration.
People were dancing on the streets,
laughing, crying, and singing.
My heart swelled with pride.
A man stood there, with his placard
demanding that gay people repent
and live a life according to the Bible.
A crowd surrounded him and chanted
“Love heals all.” He ran away.
In a bar met a lady.
She thanked me for all my dead legs, bleeding toes.
She could not have stomached asking people
to allow her to marry her girlfriend.
By night time I was with my friends
outside in the warm May night.
We lit white paper lanterns.
They floated up and away
into the dark Dublin sky under the wooly clouds.
to Ryuichi Okamoto
My Japanese boyfriend
said my skin was like origami paper.
The pressure of his hand was a jolt of electricity,
the frisson of skin on skin.
We held our tongues together,
shared semen on and in each other.
He wanted whiter skin.
I wanted different hair,
to change my skin to a darker shade.
In Japan I learned to slur the ‘l’s and ‘r’s.
I picked out words from the streets signs,
round my mouth to say them right,
‘exit’, ‘entrance’, ‘up’ and ‘down’.
I appreciated the sheen on a lacquer screen,
admired a traditional tea cup,
held a fan the right way.
I knew the local ways
and yet there was still a gap.
I missed the umbilical cord
to my motherland,
so loose it could unravel.
I wrote home,
felt the pressure of the pen
marking its message.
I folded the letter and posted it,
asking them to send news,
and without using its name
to spell out love.
St. Stephen’s Day
I meet my childhood friends in Charlie Mac’s Bar.
We exchange polite gestures.
I stand at the edge of the circle a little crowded out.
We talk of the latest match, who is engaged,
and the price of houses.
I am unanchored here.
Whether I would return here, break up with my boyfriend,
or settle down is simply beyond them.
I am a tourist in my own town.
I will find my family is elsewhere among those whom I do belong.
The Pressures of Love
for Ishmael Marquez
And then you and I slept naked.
Your chest against my back,
the hairs electrifying me,
your heat came into my body.
You played with my earlobe,
slid your arm under my arm
and stoked one of my shoulders,
drew your hand down my chest,
I felt your manhood against me.
There was no gap then.
kept your look
and the pressure of your body on mine.
The Rose Garden
We walked hand in hand though Inchicore
to the War Memorial Garden,
sunken beside the road.
The roses came up to our waste,
boxes and boxes arranged in a circle
divided by a central grass plane.
There was a stone wall and pillars,
a plaque said something like ‘remember’.
I recall your kisses, the way our lips met,
how we imprinted the grass with our bodies.
I placed my legs between yours
you held me in a tight embrace.
I smelled roses, cut grass
and dandelions. No birds sang
but they could have for all I knew.
My heart soared, floated above
and I saw the pattern of love
criss-crossed in the paths.