take me by the hem, the hand

Art, Not Apart Festival

We are here in the place of the new
the wood clean and splinter free, the sun shining silken up above.
There’s four and twenty ladies fair
sewing at the silk but

I’ve got my whole head headed south into my mouth
into my meek and mild shriek of panic –
is that my head going up?
There is the square

there is a hundred gentlemen and women, some with child and some
who bear the joy of giving out the baby’s name
the baby that we birth right here:
we are art but not apart.

I am linked a thousand hands in yours
calligraphic ink is sinking into me like fangs.
What makes this harm? The little heart I have,
within there, is the sound of chatter and choice

the colour of loving and living –
have you come to buy my wares?
If you were not a wild shade, I’d rock you
all the winter’s nights and all the summer’s days.

This is a summer day, a day when I can feel the sun in my eyes
I can feel you in my arms
I can hear your fear and all the changeling wild wolf feeling
hold me tight and fear me not with my name in your mouth

come amongst us go among you and – oh – just come and go.
Are we men of might or means? What does it
mean to be a man?
Upon some futile plinth you can have the loves I loved for you

all my seams are unravelling, all my roses are pulled,
but you come to me after it all and thank me for that
momentary recollection of that “you” in the song that the singer sings to
the you that is yours and yours alone

yours that you have loved that I have never even known.
For there are a thousand screams
Just as there are a thousand laughs, a thousands sighs
just as the individual sexual sounds of every lover are unique.

But the most eviscerating scream you can emit is that which comes
when you admit that you have indulged in hope.
All other screams should rightly cede to weeping
for they are just the speed traps

along the roads we walk to wakes:
and still, we love.

——

Generously, I was able to take part in the Art, Not Apart Festival this past weekend, a challenging, beautiful, joyful, breaking celebration of art in many forms with many faces. I had a song stuck in my head the whole day, and a rising falling element of panic attack and heart swollen love joy skittle-gasm. I felt the sounds of screaming in the everyday at some points, and in other places I was – literally – moved to tears by the kindness and light hearted feeling of people.

DJ Thought Fox vs MC Lady Lazarus felt slain and pulled apart to be in the Palace Cinema space, beautifully assisted by Paul who made the things just come together in the lush electric cinema. Then I told the very best story I know, which reminds me always that I feel drunk on sentiment and hungover on reality. That’s what I call a festival, a celebration in favour of the gods, in favour of the food and flavour.

PS Sylvia, I know you spell it with a “y”, so don’t be coming down and haunting me in bed, with your black booted fascists, okay?

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.

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