by Gabrielle Everall
The male academic says I must refuse the end of the world, but people have already died. When I watch the sea, when I watch the tide, I sing. I am singing. I am singing a song of death. I lure old white men to their demise. There has been much death. I am here to guide the dead. Will the old white men make it to heaven? Demeter gave me wings so I could travel through this hell. I am singing a song of death caused by the virus. An angry trickster of a Goddess, She always goes straight for the balls. My song is bittersweet, making old white male bodies fatigued They say my song of disease is ‘the forerunner of death and corruption.’ All my life, I have been in lockdown. But I swim through the wire mesh into the ocean with the rising tide. Can I go outside? Can I wear a mask? Can I catch public transport? Can I walk? Can I run? Can I exercise? Can I touch? Can I kiss? Can I fuck? Could I ever? I swim, I swim, I swim. What does the history of literature mean if it is the end of the world? If you give me an inch, I will take a mile. I am forbidden from travelling more than two miles from my home. I am sick of the omnipresence of the pandemic. I am glad I have to wear a mask so no one will see my face. Hiding everything behind masks. Why can’t I face this ‘reality’? Why am I so self-absorbed? Why do I laugh in the face of death? Somehow Demeter became Dementia. My mother has Dementia She lives in the West Her sun sets on the other side of my world The borders are closed I cannot see my mother. Let me cross the borders So I can see my mother So I can speak to my mother So I can embrace my mother My mother is the ocean The earth has had enough I swim, I swim, I swim The tide is rising. It is a Bolshevik tide. A red tide. A feminist tide, drowning old white men. Goodbye Boris Johnson. Goodbye Peter Dutton. Goodbye Donald Trump. A tide is crashing against the rocks like the global market economy. The stiff suits of businessmen half-soaked through, waist high in water. The flood brings disease, but I like self-isolation. There is good reason to self-isolate. So many assholes to isolate from. The more events cancelled, the more secretly relieved I felt. I first spied the apocalypse when I saw a line of masked people lined up outside Royal Melbourne Hospital. We can no longer use the libraries. We can no longer borrow books. Where are the books? I commit the crime of scratching my nose and wiping my eyes. The feminist disease is nature’s way of saying, slow down, take care of yourself and look at what’s happening around you. The Mother Feminist Goddess Virus rocks the Patriarchy A society that forbids women from having sexual pleasure Isn’t that the definition of Patriarchy? That constructs sadistic technologies of grooming and deportment That turns women against each other Patriarchy succeeds in never letting me fuck The Mother Feminist Goddess Virus smashes the Patriarchy Now I have the pleasure of the ocean and it will rise I swim I swim I swim I swim The Patriarchal catch-cry in Victoria is ‘staying apart keeps us together’. Patriarchy always keeps women at arm’s length. 1.5 metres, a wingspan, my wingspan. Like a warrior, I am prepared to die if it means the end of this Patriarchal hell hole.
The threat of the apocalypse that covid represents can topple the patriarchy. Goodbye Donald Trump.The Australasian Association Writing Program’s call for papers was on the theme of ‘rising tides’. I needed provoking to write during the stagnancy of covid. I wrote a short piece called ‘The feminist tide’ that got published in Meniscus. I added this piece to ‘Siren Song’. A siren can be a subversive figureas she guides the old white men to their demise. My friend would joke that covid was a goddess virus.
Gabrielle Everall is a Melbourne based poet and writer. She has published two books of poetry and completed a PhD in Creative Writing.
One paragraph from ‘Siren Song’ has previously been published in Meniscus 2020.