celebrating and creating our own LGBTQ+ history in honour of Sheila McWattie

day twenty nine

not supple

as it once was

holds inside the

elements of

all I ever was,

like a chattering

lunch-flavoured

fresh tomato-smelling

garlic-sweetened

city full of noisy

echoing spaces

 

this woman

would stand firm

beside the

crashing shore

and yell

with all her lungs

I am full

of life

I will not fail

 

the power

of this woman

lies deep

in her continuing

her shouting

singing

wild, indignant self…..

 

 

VJ,  71,  Herne Bay

 

 

Vision

From the dawn of time and life.

We see.

Or should I say we can see.

But do we see? Really…see?

Do we see the gentle smile of our mothers, hinting at pride, as we take our first steps? Do we notice the wince and the furrowed brow on our father’s face, as we ride our bike for the first time? Do we understand the pain and the fear etched across their faces as we walk through the door on our first day at school?

I obviously didn’t. I didn’t realise the wealth and range of emotion my parents went through. Not until, that is, I became a parent myself.

She came from a loveless pairing. But she was no less wanted, planned, as we both wanted children. I suppose there was some selfish, forlorn, abstract thought that a child may bring us closer together, rekindle some kind of fire that was long since reduced to little more than the charred remains of attraction. But that wasn’t to be. We split when she was six months old.

But even though the parents cared not for each other, we both fell in love afresh…

With her!

I remember holding her, seconds old, marvelling at her tiny hands and feet and a mess of blue and pink skin, a squished up little face, puffy eyes that weren’t fully open, and seeing the fear and confusion in her wee features. What must have been going through that tiny little head? From the safe, calm, comfort of the womb, out into the lights and noises and smells of a hospital theatre! A full frontal, intense assault on her senses.

She takes a few minutes to absorb it, no doubt bewildered by the urgency and the cacophony, with no references and no comprehension. Then she starts to cry. The sound absolutely pierces my heart to its very centre and in that moment, with every fibre of my being, I promise her that I will do everything in my power to protect her, to support her, to enable her.

And my love for her is, immediately, all encompassing.

It is at this very point I realise the depth of meaning of almost every single word that my parents have ever said to me.

I also know that I will go on to say all of those things that I promised never to say to my kids, when I was a kid myself!

I love you Heather!

I’m sorry, Mum and Dad!

 

Kelly Tonks, 40’ish

Folkestone

 

 

 

 

 

day twenty eight

We talk about vision

Let’s look into the prism

If we really are perfect reflections of The Light

When will we ever overcome our plight

 

 

Anon

Kent

 

 

 

Year end melancholic

 

Love and a blue black sky,

Blaze of white sharpens me here but not enough to care.

That post everything, every second is a new day of endings.

 

 

JJ, Brighton

 

 

day twenty seven

My beautiful husband son

Sonshine in rain

Black gold released stole and won

 

 

 

Jo Fraser, 56 London

day twenty six

We talk about vision

Let’s look into the prism

If we really are perfect reflections of The Light

When will we ever overcome our plight

 

 

 

 

Anon

Kent

 

day twenty five

These things I see

 

 

In my later years I have come to realise that regret is a torture I can live without. I try to fix

things where I can – one way or the other, or send it off into the universe with love, for my

flawed self and for the source of my regret. But for the record, to those who I owe it, I am

sorry.

I see memes online. ‘Things you would tell your younger self’. These memes always drag

me back to regrets. Don’t get fat is a recurring one which lingers despite best intentions to

eschew regret (the lament of an older, carb addicted woman). Obviously I would tell my

younger self ‘do not build things to be regretful about’ but what I really wish I could have

told me is that making active effort to see the lovely in all encounters because these are the

moments which enrich, sustain and endure.

Yes, it is true that two important loves in my life ended badly. I think all concerned took

time to recover but oh, that sweet, sweet eye contact we shared across the community

centre dance-floor. Her dark hair had a bounce to it and I was mesmerised. Whenever I

hear Nina Simone I see her dancing.

I was intimidated by the fierce, popular, arty, clever second so obviously I had to push her

away (sorry sure? Stupid, absolutely!) but she too, made me breathless with awe. Still

does. I am glad we became chums. She makes my life shiny.

The laughter, so much laughter, with friends who were once so vital in my life we called

each other sisters. In that way of the modern world we are linked on facebook and do not

laugh together so often but then… a great big smile comes into my heart as I write this

because that is where they will always live and memories of them are always full of

laughter.

It took a devastating loss to remind me about the preciousness of family and to properly see

how amazing my kin are. Talented, funny, quirky, gentle, hard, rounded and edged and I

cannot believe how lucky I am to be related to them. I mean really? They are as gorgeous

as the sun and as mad as a box of frogs. We stood together in our darkest of times and

helped each other keep upright. My gratitude for my family is boundless.

I fancy myself as a bit of a wordsmith but when it comes to my wife I am stumped. There

are not enough words of the right type to explain why when she holds my hand I become

superwoman. Why a wren sings louder, chocolate is smoother, broccoli is delicious,

delicious broccoli makes us both laugh, when she is by my side. She just is. Everything.

Technically, I am at this very moment, my younger self – so to advise, how I see it is this:

regret dumping is good and keep seeing the deliciousness of broccoli.

 

 

 

Lel Meleyal

Brighton

day twenty four

Women’s Land Lifer

 

 

You’re pouring your heart out

Whilst I’m eating my breakfast.

 

You are eating your breakfast.

 

My heart’s breaking it’s fast on you,

Pouring you into me.

 

The night before, a sex ox, lost inside her reckoning,

(Not cottoning on where sisters by birth really come from)

Has spread my inner wall with elixir from yours,

Lost in a fantasy of future women’s land babes, who

swim your come in freedom.

 

Lovers who came before wonder

Where on earth you picked me up from.

 

They chat on your walls as they

conjoin me in their ordinary supernatural bonds.

 

Tucking me in folds of their miracles,

Your feathered nest of lesbian idols have

Swooned me in love’s beguiling

Smoke, filling your cove.

 

Outside I pad softly, finding hearts in still life,

A thorn pricks a red globe,

Water shimmers surfaces in

Black lined up buckets against stone,

Rusts of red and green run into each other’s

Slithers on corrugated rolls of roof

Brazening out Welsh winters.

 

A strong hearted front door

Smiles broad for all those wild enough to make it up the track,

Migrants welcome here, the chipper sticker says above the latch.

 

Barns spill over bric a brac of sisterhood survival,

A pile of old tyres like 20th century wonders to behold,

 

The land’s myths and vintage seasons are flames

Like ghosts who linger and singe her open space,

 

Trodden paths of squelch and sunder for

Any woman to take a tearing swipe at, each time a couple make a go of it.

 

Remnants, attempts to manifest,

An open yard minus horses,

Memories of skin blooming in sunlight hover,

 

Planted feats of engineering in each well constructed structure,

Female brawn and ingenuity

In communal subsistence, healing;

 

Tools leaning against a wall, soon to be at work In the next woman’s hands.

 

It was the thumb where Gaia went wrong

We laugh, with gusto, crossing the path that leads me to your door

That lowly thumb, lethal.

 

And every breath I take and every step

Is somehow thick with aftermath.

Hearts suspended in mid air for time,

Love of their lives, like mine, you

Were their becoming, their crossing of their rubicon.

 

I look into the soft face of your ex

The second she found mine through a lense

Basked in rainbow rays,

Where she sits beside you,

Your gaze lost in your MacBook,

found photograph on mine.

 

I wish strength to her elbow,

Dare not even imagine the pain she must have endured as separation dawned,

Keenest of keening,

A day I could never wake up to.

 

I wish us power,

Pray for longevity for our young poly bed,

Your shot at settling down, the tilling of your soil With me and Red.

 

I pray for sound roots for all our sisters,

The tree of Women’s Land diaspora bracing all future storms in unions of

Tribal love.

 

 

 

 

 

Maria Andrews from London

day twenty three

A Winter Scene

The snow had fallen layer upon layer and the frozen street had become a dance floor for high spirited, smiley, happy, rosy red cheeked people who glided over the ice as if their feet were a brush and the ice a canvas.
Whirling and turning, twisting
and swirling, each round and round the other.
Sliding then bumping, laughing, emitting their long vaporised breaths.
Wriggling brightly coloured scarves appeared to take on life-forms of their own.
The old lady peered out of her window overlooking this scene.
Sixty five years earlier she had painted her picture with her feet on an earlier canvas of ice. Suddenly, time dissolved and she became part of the picture.

 

 

 

 

Jenny King

Deal

Kent

day twenty two

Jen loves sweet peas

 

 

There’s a home grown movie screening on our window sill

frame by frame by silent frame

generating

miniscule

movement.

 

Slow motion

 

Opening close up shot is my index finger

pressing 2 hard seeds deep into a small pot of dark compost

then filling in the dimples

with the love of an attentive mum tucking in her toddler.

 

Shot widens revealing seventeen pots more

a mix of black and terracotta

gathering with the expectancy of baby birds

warm in the nest

 

Zoom in and slow fade on my index finger

pressing 2 hard seeds deep into a…….

 

 

 

2 weeks later

 

pan of sprouting seeds

some tips like shiny youth burst towards the light

others already straggling green shoots of varying heights

 

 

4 weeks later

 

morning scene opens on my micro jungle of leafy green shoots

tracking shot follows me out to the garden

past deep purple swaying anemones

lantern fallen over through the night storm while we deeply slept

a pile of logs and kindling glowing in the sunrise

zoom in on my hands stripping back branches

to make a pile of small twigs

 

close

 

 

 5 weeks later

 

By popular demand there’s a re-run of the movie

 

 

 6 weeks later

 

opening wide shot of pots of greens wandering round the makeshift canes

while others stray

and  there’s a stirring in the earth of the newbies

 

 

 

I’m anticipating an absolute abundance of sweet peas

to plant out for you

many coloured blooms and particular delicate scent

bringing you pleasure

between May to September

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiona Thomson

59

Westgate, Kent

day twenty one

I cant find my glasses

I am packing

I am chucking

I am moving

and I cant find my glasses.

Rubbish bag Oh no!

recycling eek!

Left out and cleared out

by the clearance chaps???

I cant find me glasses

I cant see

Yet I can see

the wind dancing the beautiful

trees

that house the

music of the birds

every morning

sure don’t need glasses for that

 

 

Harriet MacDonald

The world

day twenty

Vision:

 

 

I’ve got cancer.

Apparently.

Am I meant to feel sick?

Cos I don’t

What does it mean?

Do you want me to act weak?

Cos I won’t.

Take me in, cut me.

Cut it out. I don’t need it.

That’s better.

Is it?

Can you feel cancer?

I didn’t.

Big Scar.

War Wound.

Yeah so what!

I’m tough me.

I love my Family.

Friends.

Pet dog. Guardian. Who Knew? Protector.

Journey.

Cold Head.

Ok, so let’s go wig shopping,

Nah! Fuck that, I’ll wear a beanie.

They give you a wig voucher.

Do they make a Dolly wig?

I’m gonna have hair like Dolly.

 

 

 

Butch Barbie, 58, Liverpool.