Poem for an Awful Inauguration

January 20, 2017

This Awful Inauguration day augurs so
dimly for us all, and we aren’t even in
the United States. The world awaits

uncertain of outcome, certain only that
meanness prevails of heart and intent.
We’ve dropped into the well of offal.

An Awful Inauguration day augurs well
for the unduly rich but poorly for poor
and dispossessed, for poor middle class.

This Awful Inauguration day augurs ill
for Obamacare, for the health of a nation,
for all illegal aliens and for alienated arts.

This Awful Inauguration day augurs dimly
for us all, and we aren’t even in the Year
of the vain Fire Rooster till January 28.

O weather vane, you parade your lies as
truth. You spin with the wind. You turn.
You twitter and trumpet trust topsy-turvy.

This Awful Inauguration day crows triumph
for the cock of the walk, king for a day, or
another four years. We withhold, withstand

his very dangerous flash in a very wide pan.
But we don’t withdraw. We march, we hold
on, hold to, truth as we know it. We refuse.

We are other. We are alien. We protest: these
Auguries of Inauguration are not innocent.

Penn Kemp

Love Hope Opt 11779840_10152952905252051_2078125788695655817_o

How we are (in)formed!

Listening to http://www.cbc.ca/radio/thesundayedition/farewell-to-2016-robert-harris-on-albums-that-changed-your-life-2nd-annual-shut-up-i-m-thinking-word-game-1.3906841/the-music-that-changed-your-world-episode-1-1.3906953.

Robert Harris’s choices are interesting, and all too telling!

The delicious Rosalind Russell sings, “Just throw your knowledge in his face… that’s the second way to lose a man…” And then George Gaynes sings for “his gentle girl, his quiet girl…” from On the Town, 1949. “We need no words./ She sees— she knows… Where is that special girl/Who is soft, soft as snow/ Somewhere /Somewhere, my quiet girl”.

Bernstein’s lyrics enforce the notion of ‘a gentle, quiet’ girl who is “a different kind of girl” from the “sharp, intellectual kind” usually picked. And so stereotypes are deeply embedded from childhood on… On the Town heralds in the ‘50’s!

Oh how things have changed… or not!

https://no1lyrics.com/song/one-hundred-easy-ways-483321
http://lyrics.wikia.com/wiki/Leonard_Bernstein:A_Quiet_Girl

“It happens over and over
I pick the sharp intellectual kind
Why couldn’t this time be different
Why couldn’t she – only be
Another kind – A different kind of girl

I love a quiet girl
I love a gentle girl”

Ah, the songs were out of context…I stand corrected, though I still question Robert Harris’s choices:)! “It was Betty Comden and Adolf Green who wrote the lyrics, Not Leonard! and if you watch the play, the hero changes his mind about the unquiet girl and gets Ruth! The song ends up being almost satirical in its proper setting.” Good to hear. 

Penn Winnipeg bear

Photo: Heidi Greco

Performing Women: an Anthology

performing-women-2016

Performing Women: Playwrights and Performance Poets is now for sale!

The anthology is available for $10+ shipping from The League of Canadian Poets, , 416-504-1657, info@poets.ca.  92pages. http://poets.ca/feministcaucus/

And as a copyscript for $12 from Playwrights Guild of Canada, 416-703-0201, sara@playwrightsguild.ca. http://www.playwrightsguild.ca/performing-women-playwrights-and-performance-poets

Contents


Introduction
Penn Kemp, Editor
 

Why Ducks, Anyway?
Kelly Jo Burke

Red Dresses Hang from the Trees and Towers: Red and Rapunzel are Missing

Cornelia Hoogland

Sounding the depth, the surface resounding
Penn Kemp

Zoomorphic Poetics (or, Why I Write So Many Poems About Wildlife)
Catherine Kidd

How does collaboration enhance performance poetry? The Intimate Power of Co-Creation
Susan McMaster

Spoken Word Poetry as Political Act
Sheri-D Wilson

News from the Feminist Caucus, by Anne Burke, http://poets.ca/feministcaucus
“The new printing of Performing Women: Playwrights and Performance Poets
is available from the League Office. I have posted a copy here of the complete list of titles in this popular series. A digital copy was sent to the Playwrights Guild of Canada, our partners for the joint panel at the 2016 Canadian Writers Summit. I came across some amazing interviews which a few of the contributors gave and provide web links here which you need to enter into your internet browser. Thank you to Kelley Jo Burke, Cornelia Hoogland, Penn Kemp, Catherine Kidd, Susan McMaster, and Sheri D Wilson!”
http://poets.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/NewsREVISEDOct2016from-the-Feminist-Caucus.pdf
Interviews with Featured Playwrights Q & A

http://www.playwrightsguild.ca/news/featured-playwright-q-penn-kemp
http://www.playwrightsguild.ca/news/featured-playwright-q-kelley-jo-burke
http://www.playwrightsguild.ca/news/featured-playwright-q-cornelia-hoogland

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

A poem for Lammas

The Tale and Trial of Tailtu

Here’s to Tailtu, foster mother to deity Lugh
whose day Lammas is. Tailtu prepared Ireland
for cultivation, clearcut demolishing all forest

so Lugh as Wind, as Lightning could open ways
to invention, new worlds of agriculture— laying
waste the trees to feed folk now at first harvest.

Tailtu lay down to die, exhausted. If she hadn’t
sacrificed herself, great Druid oak and ash groves
would still be flourishing to protect and teach us.

In her end is our beginning. Lughnasadh is called
Brón Trogain (Sorrow of Sorrows) to honour all
that’s gone before, all that dies so we may eat.

You can watch our Tales of Tailtu performance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg6PB6E9cHw. With Eugenia Catroppa, Lyre Alice Jameson, Angela Rawlings (on Skype) Natalie Zina Walschots.and Brian Walsh, Transac Club, Toronto.

Vocal Braidings.hmtb.front cover.200

Creative Age Festival 2016

My poem, “Double Vision“, celebrates the Creative Age Festival in London ON!

Photo: Kathy SmithPhoto by Kathy Smith

Double Vision, i

Age is the phase for integration as we enter
the violet sphere, embracing shadows in
whatever form they appear, welcoming all.
We wear our lives on our faces, to be read.

We have stood in bright glittering sunshine
long enough. We have given to the world
what the world required. Now we inquire
what we ourselves need to feel complete.

We enter understanding, standing under all
we have done, all we are. We rest in the full
spectrum of fulfilment, scanning the span of
a moment’s totality. Time out of time expands

to include our whole life, with its possibilities
realized or still potential, yet to be enacted,
expended to the rest remaining to us, doubling
to manifest or stay outstanding as life allows.

Now is when to remember just who we entered
this world to become. To gather, to recollect, to
recall, to weave into a basket of plenty and pass
our basket of us as bequest on, nest for the next.

None of our history is lost. It lives in the present
as presence. We are the legacy we leave and
that which we’ve received, stretching back over
generations. We hold in our palms the prints

of past, present and unknown epochs to come.
What brings us to wisdom, this transmission
of all we are? Our grandchildren might hear
what our offspring may not yet have learned.

For our wisdom to ripen, we need shelter, a
place that respects us so we may continue
to live the love that is antidote to fear, free
of want. Where we can reflect upon, reflect

back gleams of insight gleaned from living
well, unhampered. May we listen to our body.
Despite the indignities our flesh is heir to, we
attend to aches in organs hitherto unknown.

Photo by Marque SmithPhoto: Marque Smith

 Double Vision, ii

Now we understand why old folks walk as
they do, not from choice, but because knees
don’t bend and ankles tend to give way. We
see our parents in the mirror and marvel at

the flight of time, knowing that inside we feel
thirty or forty max., on good days. We know
the limits our younger selves blithely ignored,
growing up, growing over the lump in our heart.

As we enter elderhood, may we burn up rather
than rust away, till we are entirely retread, ready
for whatever awaits. Retired, may we try again,
treating ourselves as well we need be treated.

May our inner weather be sun-dappled no matter
what. May we recognize in the mirror the others
that we were, as we are. May we elders be seen
as lineage-holders, holding the mirror for the next

generation down the line and on. May we be heard.

Penn Kemp

This poem was  published in Cautionary Tales: Giving Voice to the Elders (2015) for the League of Canadian Poets Feminist Caucus Archives.  The original version of “Double Vision” was commissioned by Gina Barber for the Age Friendly London Report.  It was recorded by Dennis Siren on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B8DOIfinOs.

Photos are from Creative Age Festival 2015, in the London Public Library Rotary Garden.

Photo: Bernarda Norwood

Poem from Windsor Review: “Goldilocks Meets Alice in Huron County”

Goldilocks Meets Alice in Huron County

a dream poem

Rounding the yard at the end of the lane
looking for Alice Munro’s old home, I
knock on the first door. This house is much

too classically fancy to be hers. The next
cottage is too run-down. The third home
is just right so I open the door and walk in.

Frail Alice greets me seated, eager for any
excuse to dismiss the nurse at her side who is
inquiring about symptoms of spreading cancer.

“I’ll chat with you for a moment,” Alice sings out.

Around her is a grey circle of regulars waiting for
their meeting to begin. The leader, a middle-aged
minister, betrays but little impatience. As the ladies

distribute a pot-luck, Alice asks that I be included.
“We turn away no-one in need,” the minister replies
haughtily, regarding my girth. “I’m in no danger

of starving,” I respond laughing. One by one,
the folks check in with stories of countering
devastating depression. I look around in wonder

at the upright citizens of a small Souwesto town
whose truths Alice has been dealing for decades –
the forbears of her tales, the writer’s source, her

fare and sustenance and now their claim to pride.

Penn

This poem was first published in the gorgeous WINDSOR REVIEW: Special Alice Munro Issue.  It is from a manuscript in progress, DREAM SEQUINS.

8623a2f_003Photo: David Redding

Love where the Nights Are Twice As Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets

My poem “Dear Mentor/Tormentor” is published in Love where the Nights Are Twice As Long: Love Letters of Canadian Poets, http://gooselane.com/books.php?ean=9780864923844, from Goose Lane Editions.

The audio for this poem is up on http://wherethenights.tumblr.com/:
http://wherethenights.tumblr.com/post/109303073146/penn-kemp-1975-age-31-from-where-the-nights-are.

Poem: Men/Tor/Men/Tor

Dear Mentor/Tormentor

This One’s for you

O

Men
Tore

Tore
Men
Tore:

Men tore
My art

Not my heart,

Pull ease,
Pull lease.

I imp
Lore

You too

Cease and

Desist

De siring
To Con

Core

Mon coeur.

It’s not
For rent

For good
Nest Ache.

Till next we
Meet, we part,

Yr Penn pal.

Penn Kemp

JimkempMoth1967

snogging2014

Penn and Gavin now…:)