Rude Limericks

I wrote some rude limericks while pretending to be Dorothy Parker. I posted them on my friend Thomas’ Facebook page but he didn’t react and nor did anyone else. No likes, no nothing. So am posting them here.

Ribald Limericks by ‘Dorothy Parker’

  1. A monarchist Lass About Town

Was famous for not going down.

When a chap flopped it out,

She’d claim with a shout

“I’d only do that for the Crown!”

 

  1. In contemplation of love’s bitter dregs,

I measure my sorrows in kegs,­­

And I rue every day

I didn’t make the shits pay

Whenever I opened my legs.

 

  1. A lady poet’s lines were so glum

They elicited advice from a chum –

“My dear, all you need

Is to be rimmed at some speed –

Such pleasure’s to be had at the bum!”

 

  1. When one comely young man I espy

I wish If only his partner were I

But with my God damn luck,

When it comes to a fuck

His preference is, no doubt, for a guy.

 

Community and Bad Eggs

I’ve just come from performing in a theatre/dance/community production called SHORE in Narrm by Emily Johnson and Catalyst. Part of the inaugural First Nations Arts Festival at Arts House, Shore in Narrm was a very lovely, connected and gentle thing to be involved with. The production featured several events culminating in a public feast where everyone was to bring food to share. We were asked to bring a dish, something traditional we shared with our family of origin.

Bit tricky, this was, for me. Fish and chips? Friday was fish and chips night in my mostly non-Catholic family (only my grandfather and stepfather were RCs – both sexual abusers of children; now isn’t that a funny thing?) Fish and chips, however, is an expensive option these days when it comes to catering a feast. The sort of feast taking place here involved things like salted myrtle butter with wattle-seed damper, home-made dukkah created from home-grown, home-dried ingredients, possum and wallaby sausages (New Zealand possums; relax), couscous with garden nettles, all served on indigenous style platters made by local potters out of clay dug up in the area and fired in local kilns. Beverages included mulled ryberry and apple-juice and mint tea made from native mint plants.

In this kind of culinary company Watties Canned Spaghetti on toast wasn’t going to going to cut it, nor would supermarket mince pies and mashed spuds served with over-boiled cabbage and peas. Canned peaches and ice-cream was a family favourite and might been nice but the logistics of getting it there would be difficult to manage. Also, round where I live in Melbourne’s inner north it’s hard to find canned peaches with the traditional ratio of added cane sugar to fruit: 87%/13%.

Ice-cream was already being supplied by Emily Johnson. There was much talk about Emily’s ice-cream which was to be made following a traditional Alaskan recipe. (It seems incongruous that people surrounded by ice and snow would invent an ice-cream but there you go.) This ice-cream, a favourite of her family’s, as she tells it, is usually made with seal blubber. Or fish oil.  Word spread fast and as you might imagine there was a fair bit of anticipation. Emily spoke at the feast and explained that after much experimentation and several telephone conversations between Australia and Alaska, she devised a modified version of the ice-cream using vegetable oil. Pomegranates, another departure from tradition, I assume, were also involved. (I can report that the ice-cream was perfectly tasty, if unusual.)

What could I bring to the feast? Boiled eggs was a safe, although humble, bet. Then I remembered that my grandmother, or my mother, or someone, used to draw faces on boiled eggs when we were kids. I did that for my kids, at least once. I meant to, anyway.  So I boiled up nine eggs and got out my felt pens (which are called textas here), and drew faces on the eggs. I managed to crack one of the eggs by pressing too hard with something called a painty pen. (That’s what you get for owning a drawing implement with a name that’s one letter off the word ‘panty’.)

I had to think about the faces: not as simple as you might imagine. These were all eggs of colour, so avoiding any suggestion of racial stereotype was something to be aware of. Pretty girlie faces with red lips, round pink spots on cheeks and big spidery eyelashes would have been downright sexist and demeaning to women. Male-presenting faces would have been easy to do with beards and mustaches and bald pates but what a gender-heavy clutch of boiled eggs it would be if they were all blokes/trans-men. I didn’t imagine androgynous faces on eggs would be terribly fascinating and m-f transgender faces would have required, well,  pointing out, so that they wouldn’t be taken for ordinary girlie faces, and that was more work than decorated boiled eggs generally require. So I decided to do male- and female- presenting faces but make them generically old looking. There isn’t enough general representation of seniors out there and I do feel (somewhat) strongly about this. I drew wrinkled visages and called them ‘elder eggs’ although I had to hope that my old-faced brown eggs wouldn’t offend any actual elders, of which the afternoon would be graced by several.

Off I went with my eggs to the feasting. When we arrived we given a postcard to fill out with the ‘story’ behind our choice of dish, to be included in a zine about the feast. We were also given tiny hand-made clay holders which looked like small vulvas in which to put a card informing people what was in the dish. (The holders were made, as we heard later, by potters crushing balls of clay in their fists so each holder comprised a hand-print of its maker: a beautiful detail, you’ll agree, and a telling indication of the thoughtfulness given to the whole occasion.) Anyone could see that these were boiled eggs with faces drawn on them but in the spirit of joining in I filled out a card, anyway.  During lunch I sat at a table with my friend Susie who peeled an egg for her son while holding him on her lap. It’s quite tricky to peel a boiled egg with one hand while holding on to your child with the other but he insisted on her peeling it, no-one else. By the time she’d finished he decided he didn’t want it after all. Kids, eh?

Someone else had brought boiled eggs too but they were curried eggs. My eggs (indulge me here), were perhaps, a tad more interesting. And, as it happens, my boiled eggs were a bit different, as I found out this morning when I ate the egg I’d left behind, the one that been cracked on top. For starters the yolk had a grey ring around it which happens when you boil eggs for too long, rendering them flavourless. That was bad enough. Standing in my kitchen I ate the egg in an absent sort of way while talking to my son about the dramatic nature of an episode of Outlander we’d watched together the night before. Now here’s a thing – as a result of becoming so mindful during the whole SHORE experience over the last fortnight I was focused intently on our conversation. My son and I were experiencing such a nice moment of confluence and connection that I didn’t want to distract myself by noticing that the boiled egg tasted bad. Rather than disrupt my train of thought to register this I kept eating it. Whether this is a reflection of the over-feminised social conditioning of my upbringing, where I’m unwilling to interrupt a man, even mentally, while he’s making a point, even if that man is my own son, or (more likely), it’s an indication of my inability to pay attention to more than one thing at a time, I hesitate to venture, but I ate the whole egg and only afterwards thought ‘oh’.

‘Oh’ ‘s right. That egg reverberated sulphurously and explosively through my digestive system later in the day while I was at the library. I’m lucky that I live in a civilised place where public libraries include public toilets on the premises. Worse though, was the thought that all the other eggs might have been bad too and that my contribution to a positively perfect afternoon, where untold care had been taken and preparation undergone to create an experience of community and abundance, might have given some unlucky person (or people) a horrible dose of the squits.

 

 

Heather Rose

I started to read an article for the Guardian by writer Heather Rose, who’s just won the Stella Prize here in Australia. The article is an edited version of the speech Rose gave at the 2017 Stella prize presentation at Arts Centre in Melbourne on Tuesday: Some men are intimidated when women step into their magnificence. (I would suggest most men). Rose says this:

‘So what has it taken to find myself here? I can remember writing a poem at age six. It was about a rabbit that was shot and died. And then a terrible thing happened. I read the poem aloud to my father and he said, “You’re going to be a great writer.”’

I stopped reading here. What went through my mind was – ‘Heather Rose had a father. Not only did she have a father, she had a father who was around, at least around long enough for her to read a poem to. Hell, she had the sort of father she could actually approach with a poem, one she could even suggest reading her poem to on the understanding he would be interested and that he would listen!  There’s so much privilege here before you get to ‘and then a terrible thing happened,’ which gets my goat like nothing on earth. Not only did Rose have a father, one who was around, available, and who would listen to a six year old’s poetry, etc, her father then told her she was going to be ‘a great writer.’ And Heather Rose, all kudos and congratulations to her, describes this as ‘a terrible thing.’ These words make me feel alienated like you wouldn’t believe. Yes, I’m writing this in a fit of sour grapes. You betcha. Acidic dried up bitter little goat turds of grapes. Those five sentences tell us Rose  is someone who had an early experience of nurturing support for her intelligence and integrity from a man, one who cared. If the men who came later weren’t able to cherish Rose’s brilliance without being threatened, the really important one, the one who counted, had already done so. That sort of hand-up, at that age, my friends, is immeasurable.

Being a cabaret artiste

Oh, my, now I can add cabaret ‘artiste’ to the list of things I do, along with stand-up comic (more about that silly hat later).  Never ever thought I could sing. Chances are I’m deluded and actually can’t sing but Ella Filar is allowing me to sing in her show TA-BOO or Not TA-BOO?! The songs are terrific, melodic and tuneful. We open tomorrow night at the Butterfly Club in Melbourne’s cbd. I miss the South Melbourne Butterfly Club, but that’s probably because of all the flights of stairs you need to climb up to get to the green room in the new one. It was very nice and fun to sit down for the first time to do my make-up in front of a classic dressing room mirror – you know the ones with all the light bulbs around the frame? I want one at home.

Lawks but it’s fun hamming it up, being ludicrously over-the-top silly buggers seductive and mucking about on stage. Can’t wait to have an audience!

#2 Why do we do these things to kids?

On the train again. Three small girls are with their mother. Two of the sisters are twins and there’s an older one. They are exuberant but not noisy. They’re giggly and playful. They aren’t demanding a lot of attention but their mother, during the 20 minutes I observe them, admonishes them, tells them to be quiet, directs them to sit still, confines them and restrains them constantly. She spends the train journey telling them off, repeatedly, The girls are dressed in traditional feminine clothes. Their hair is in plaits with ribbons and there are ribbons on their shoes. All of them have their ears pierced. Why do little girls need to have their ears pierced, unless they’ve asked to have it done themselves?

A man on the seat opposite me says cosily ‘they’re at that age.’ ‘Yes,’ I say, loudly. ‘And they aren’t doing anything wrong!’ But their mother was doing a lot wrong. She was giving them clear messages about acceptable female behaviour. Messages like ‘keep yourself small’, ‘keep yourself nice,’ and keep yourself quiet.’ I’m not saying that we shouldn’t all be quiet on public transport; we should. But kids are kids and these girls weren’t being especially noisy, as I said. The extreme feminisation of these three children bothered me. I wanted to lean over and tell the mother to back off. But I didn’t. Mothers hate being given advice about how to raise their kids. (I certainly did. Do people offer fathers unasked for advice to the same extent, I wonder?)