I spent Pride weekend at Glad Day readings–sorry, did you think I’d be dancing and going to parades?  This is me we’re talking about–and buying books.  Highly indulgent: just the way it’s supposed to be.

It’s also supposed to be an inversion ritual, so I tried to invert my hermetic self a little.  One of the Saturday night readings was Staceyann Chin.  She’s not the sort of author I’d usually pick up, thus making her perfect inversion.  I happily puddle-hopped to Glad Day and settled myself in an acoustically-awesome seat (at the front of the room so I can read the author’s lips if necessary, in front of the speaker so everything’s loud, with the people all on the side of the hearing ear).  I knew from YouTube videos that she has a rather forceful voice, and I didn’t foresee any auditory difficulties.

Ms. Chin saw difficulties: apparently, microphones cramp her style; apparently, being in front of her audience cramps her style.  Despite several hints from the organisers, Ms. Chin went Luddite and moved to the middle of the centre aisle, so half the audience got to watch her back throughout the performance.

It was one of those situations where, once I figured out what was going on, I would have had to stalk across a whole row of people, push past the performer, and disturb the entire audience to get out of the room.  I heard about a third of her performance, mostly “FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!” when she was making a point.  By the time the reading was over, I was livid.

I couldn’t hear her.

But I can adjust my earphones so I can hear music: after the reading, I did just that, and I turned the music up LOUD.

I can also walk, so I did that until the rain and wind got to be too much (’round about Christie Station).

I can also write, so I did that, too.  A poem–because Ms. Chin is a poet.  Here is my poem for Staceyann Chin:


I want to fuck
the way we did when we believed
Staceyann Chin

A day of sacrosanct inversion
a day of shimmering spectra
and ecstasy

The priestess is escorted to the apse
the congregation openly admires
the in flagrante vestments
the divine countenance

She turns to the congregation
raises her face, her hands
towards empyrean
The mortals gasp
moan quietly
deep in ragged breasts
this communion

The gift of the body—
the staff of life—
is a vulgar communion
They taste the anticipation of
this rare gift of blood
her beatified voice
her exalted words

She dismisses her attendants
sparkling light follows her
as she retraces her steps
returns to the centre of the nave
rocking the boat

and recites the Word in Latin
an oh-so-much-nobler language
meant to separate
the enlightened wheat
from the chaff

The people do not understand the Word

The church mouse
trapped up by the altar rail
longs for the sounds of common tongues instead
of the droning and burbling
punctuated only by the frequent
chiming and clanging
from behind him
sneak attacks that serve
to incite the mouse
to hatred
and to judgment
and to wallow in a brief daydream
about being a rat

The mouse watches the gift of blood
trickle stickily down the carpeted stairs
into the defiled streets
and waste itself in the gutter
in search of some
worthy deity

The mouse breathes
the common gift of the body
will come to him
when he needs it

One response to “Communion

  1. Pingback: Let’s Have a Chat About Accessibility and Being Hard of Hearing | The English Major's Blog

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