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

Archive for February, 2017

day twenty eight


We stand up for the lookout


Joining hands, heart, spirit and voice

we danced on the tip of a cruise missile

demanding decommissioning of nuclear weapons

we frustrated authority by being leaderless, articulate, non violent protestors


circling the base a thousand women strong



Abseiling angels in DM’s

we upturned the Lords’ apple cart

appealing to Queenie’s assumed better nature

flat top suffragettes

we chained ourselves to her front gate

gnawing wretching at rotten section 28

eventually spitting it back to the gutter

where it came from and where it belonged


marching ten thousand queers strong



Spirals of freedom, cultivating womyn’s lands,

women in tune with nature’s cycles, peace, fairness and love

connecting linking rejecting violence against women

malevolent misogyny patronising patriarchy


rising up a million women strong



Forever weaving our web

forever spiraling

forever resisting

Gung-ho leadership invading Iraq

Wherever we started we still come from that place


Hush! Put your ear to the conche and you can hear the demands of the Greenham echoing through the years

“We want better.” “Not in my name” “We want better.” “Not in my name” “We want better.” “Not in my name”


protesting millions of people strong




Fiona Thomson, Margate

day twenty seven


When I was eight, I had a doll for Christmas. She was a big smiling baby with curly nylon hair and a mouth that opened and closed. Best of all, when you pressed her belly button, she spoke. There was a flap in her back into which you could put small plastic records like miniature vinyl discs, so that she could say things like ‘tickle me mummy!’ or sing nursery rhymes. I liked the doll. I liked changing the records. There was even a white one which made her sing Christmas songs. I never wanted a baby. I never had one. Instead I got a seven year old boy who pissed himself and bit his arms when he was angry. He tore his t shirt with his teeth when we said no, wiped his shit carefully on the bedroom window and never stood still. He also peered deeply into our eyes as if to understand what was in there and reached across the dinner table to say firmly ‘you love me’. He gave us his pleasures and happiness at full volume, screaming with joy at the swimming pool, eating sausages and chocolate fingers at parties till he was sick and laughing at bedtime stories till his face was red and tears fell. And if I had known when I had that doll the rising tide of love for this boy, if I had known how I would hang over his bed at night to breathe the smell of him, how I would hold the things he drew at school like precious artefacts perfect in their beauty and full of meaning, the places I would go as I followed after him never standing still but running into life. If I had known I would not have asked for the doll. I would have asked for something else. A bumper book of tips for children who did not start as a smiling baby. A kit for decoding messages of desperation, signals of confusion. Something to strengthen my legs for running. As it turns out though, the things my mum and dad gave me, at Christmas and between, seem to have been enough.




Del, Wales

day twenty six

Hogmanay, Blairmore, 2014

By Sheila McWattie, submitted by Jill, Sheila’s sister



half-gasps. flickers give rise to half-

breaths; recognition. a passing.

lips drying at the thought of almost-gone.

who knows? this one was odd; quick;

often too busy. ticking off appointments.

the sudden was the best: Carol Ann

Duffy on the train. Lesley from America.

Venice lunch close to the Rialto bridge.

Scottish heritage bringing pearly tears

en route to Portavadie……will ye no come

back again?


remembering / discovering deep peace.

happy. rapture. from that bank of stillness

deep down: the more stock up, the

more is available……..


five pens in my leather bag: a good omen.

catching my breath at what I don’t yet

know. where? who? what? how?

when? all we can do is breathe.

all we can lose is gone.

all we can cherish is here.

all we can see is now……..

(and) all we can know is love.

day twenty five


By Maj


I was bullied as a child

Taunted with names as so many are

But I learned to bully back

Learned the sweet thrill

Of pinching soft nipples too hard


I grew with the power to wound

Attractive to the weak and the teary

I loved myself powerful and

It seemed I was loved in return

But some people still spurned me


Why those others attracted me

More than those who liked me

I could not fathom

A perverse wanting of what you’ve not got

Or perhaps in your heart you just know


The self-assured ran from my company

They could see how I always talked about me

How I never admitted to any flaw

How I could never let my hair down

And just naked be me.


Finally I was forced to explore

That the discerning knew more than I did

Knew what I was up to, the tricks

Saw through the gifts and cajolery

Were too wise for spider lies


So I let it go and with it went

All the glorious swag my blag had bought

I had to learn to simply be nice

To be fussy in choosing friends

To be only easily hurt


Now when people try to bully me

I bare my teeth, but I understand

Why they chose this niche

That the journey home is hard and long and often cold

But every fighting dog, one day gets old.





day twenty four




Ninety woven minutes

spread out before me

in seconds of slow shuffling

and jabbing twists of

gnarled and pointed legs.


The She-Spider held a rhythm in her

like the egg holds the growing yolk,

and her side-shuffle stretch,

with her precision and balance,

were the harmonies that soothed

the aching gnaw of my clumpy

human-ness, crouched as I was,

knees bent and calf muscles cramped.


It was a vast yarn of a task,

easily twenty four inches across.

A chasm to fill with unknown fibres.

Mad and mysterious sticky silk

that she spun and pulled and held

in her translucent but speckle-brushed



Eight twisted pins!

The central pair a smaller, dumpy couple,

a balance,

the flawless fulcrum.


She danced her bulbous arse

from tightrope to tightrope.

Almost vulgar, as she trailed

the liquidy, fluidy substance

of her insides. Shameless.


And heavy with a hunger

for insect juice

and sex.


And the spiral shrunk.

And her rhythm came in shorter bursts.

And she blustered on.

And she laughed and I laughed

and her scrunched and opaque dance’s legs

wove on and upped the pace.

And her web, now almost whole,

quivered in the quilted sunset breezes…

Almost there,

almost there,

and done.


And she gobbled a glob of the

fluffy white spun silk centre

and she stretched herself,

centred herself,

eased herself and her philosophies

in the spin of quietness.


And I left her there,

waiting, hungry, alone,

and the night opened up

like a book.



Renée McAlister, Brighton






















day twenty three



As we walk across the field,

the low winter sun shines slantwise

cutting flashes and sparkles off the flat white snow.

It creaks beneath my feet but beyond that is a deep silence.

I realise I can’t hear the river and as we approach, I see that it has frozen over.

In the shallows every ripple and eddy has been etched in ice, a fantasy of Winter.

My heart is warm with wonder.

Whilst behind me, the dog kangaroos in and out of the soft drifted snow,

snorting with joy.



day twenty two

Thyroid normal


“thyroid normal, B12 normal, so no problems there”
“However, you are considered menopausal if the FSH level is above 30..and yours is 99”
“Oh right so that’s a yes then”

99, fucking 99, it’s meaningless to me.

“Er, what exactly does 99 mean?”
“It means your pituitary is flogging your ovaries to death trying to get them to ovulate”

Inward image: ovaries lying in flogged heap refusing to get up saying “fuck off! You tip that toxic blue shit in for months then expect to get a rise from us? You can forget it”

Snow falls fast through the orange glow, tear stained tracks wind into the dark.
Nauseous taxi ride home with no solid ground, I drift away, distracted from rushing slippery gloom.
In my mind I’m fucking you on the floor, desperation and anger, unholy fragments of pain and desire, not careful or cautious, driven loss looms overhead weighted like the clouds.

Cafe comfort with random spillages and restless rhetoric
“What I need is rough sex and a holiday, any order, mind you don’t know who’d have me now I’m gonadless?
“You’re still cute though”
“Yeah cute and balding”
“Doesn’t show you know, ‘sept a bit at the back”
“No I don’t mean there”
” oh right..really”
“Yeah nearer the gonads”

May result in gonadal failure- years back I thought gonads was only a bloke thing, you know, loins for girding, all on the outside, vulnerable where you can see them, see them working or not, kick them if need be. Ovaries, you can feel them, feel them working but not really see them.

All in my mind, I see you, curve and sweat and breath, some place oceanic I was lost in and lost in and lost in anenomes and water pulsating with me.

Sometimes all I’m left with is the facts of it, I’m here you’re gone, we both hurt, thyroid normal FSH 99.

JJ 3.2.09

day twenty one


by Majikle


Things have changed since

Van Limburgstirumplein last saw us

Cycling around her

I sit to sip overpriced coffee

Hoping I can still see

Your cheeks puff

Up front on a giant homemade bike

Me with my

Over stuffed rucksack

Dangling from the back

Two foreign girls

Escaping our governments

Looking for life lasting love

And finding it

In each other’s

Secret world faces

Ellyott, my lover is

Several inches shorter than even me

But three times as strong

Astute jockey always pushing through

What else can a dyke woman do?

Over tram tracks

Careful never to get stuck

The number ten

To Javaplein

Which too has been

Reclaimed from the squatters

Renovated and rebranded

Reblended into Amsterdam green

These days’ dykes are not so strange

Everybody is somewhere

On the queer spectrum range

Integration is the new normal

As everyone assimilates our fists

And to be fair our old enemy capitalism

Never needed homophobia as an excuse

To kick anyone where it hurts most

We, like the Moroccans have been priced out

Way beyond the railway tracks

Unless we have money

When we are welcome

To spend in the sunset lit square

Nice bikes sitting upright tidy in their racks

Adorn the advertising pumping station

As if it has always been

Like this there

Not filled with junkies their gums burned bare

The Kemperstraat stands far too quiet

Without her graffiti minded sluts

Near the Avondwinkel in

Need of more than

A lick of paint

The number of bridges getting smaller

As the city council carts

All homeless looking damaged bikes away

The cries of freedom from restraint

Have all grown faint

But the pigeons circle

The square indifferently

Just the same


day twenty


The prayer cushion felt rough through Kathleen’s stockings. A fine bead of sweat broke and trickled down the back of Sam’s neck. They were kneeling near the back of the draughty church as the priest led the flock in a language dead to the world.

Kathleen’s God-fearing Irish family would not entertain the idea of her marrying a Protestant. Get shot of him! It’ll be a practicing Catholic or nothing. Joke really, given that she’d been hanging out in Gracey’s Tearoom with Rose Gilfillan every Sunday from about the age of fourteen, ever since Father Murphy had probed for all the ins and outs of the sinful thoughts Rose had confessed to having about Bernard McKinney, behind the black curtain.

Sam embraced the Catholic faith to be with the woman he loved and was to be confirmed this morning.

– Are you sure you want to go through with this? Kathleen whispered.

He attempted a reassuring smile which she saw through to the lost look in his eyes.

– Because you don’t have to, you know. She linked her arm through his.

What choice have I got Kathleen? Your family.

– We could walk out of here right now and first thing tomorrow down the registry office and arrange a day.

– You’re serious, my god, you crazy woman. He squeezed her hand and his whole handsome face smiled. Kathleen had not seen Sam smile like this in weeks, which made her laugh which made him laugh. Waves of love washed over them.

– Sssshhhhh. They looked across at the woman in the fox fur stoll in the pew opposite. She tutted, turning her head and the fox’s back to the priest.


Sam stroked Kathleen’s cheek and she wiped a tear from his eye.

Sunshine beamed through the stained glass and their path was bathed in purple, red and green as they walked up the aisle together.

They giggled their way across the graveyard and Kathleen automatically crossed herself.


Fiona Thomson, Margate.

day nineteen


By Majikle


The white rose

you gave me

the day I left you

in our gypsy wagon

is rusting at the petal tips.

Cells of mortal memories

Are always called to this.

You wanted our developing

To end when I pushed

You away

And now you want me

To return

Because I’ve got your back

But plucked it was

By your fair hand and

I’m not sure I understand

How our soft start

Accelerated already to this?