JORDIE ALBISTON

Jordie Albiston is the author of four poetry collections, the most recent
being The Fall. She studied flute at the Victorian College of the Arts
before turning to writing. Her poetry has been widely published in
Australia and overseas, and she has performed her work on radio and
international television. Her first collection Nervous Arcs received first
prize in the Mary Gilmore Award, second prize in the Anne Elder Award,
and was short listed for the NSW Premier's Award. The Hanging of
Jean Lee
was adapted for stage and is being made into an opera. She
completed a PhD in literature in 1995.






Six Villain-elles

Eve

I am she so hungry for knowledge she ate it:
Gobbled it up as though it were fruit on a tree.
I needed to know and so got myself satiated.
My serpentine spouse was the only lover I mated
Though the Book preferred a man who mated me.
I am she so hungry for knowledge she ate it.
Was God delivered into a space I created?
Did Adams and apples fall out of me copiously?
I needed to know: I needed to be satiated.
The twisting of truths has made me infuriated:
It forces an image of luncheon for Members Only.
I am she so hungry for knowledge she ate it.
I told Jehovah His stories were nauseating
And asked Him why He behaved so snakily.
I needed to know and got myself satiated.
As the pages have turned His issue has depreciated
And shrunk and shrunk to a tiny 'i' in my library.
I am she so hungry for knowledge she ate it.
I needed to know and I got myself satiated.


Medea

I control the stars the moon and the sun.
My chariot is drawn by unearthly horses.
Against my breasts I hold my little ones.
Listen well to your worldly spouse now Jason:
Hear me tell how your river currently courses
For I control the stars and moon and sun.
You have the Fleece from which Gold may be spun
And a wife for words and other intercoursing.
Against her breast she holds your little ones.
The first will keep you Corinth's richest man:
The last will keep your marriage from divorcing
As sure as shine the stars and moon and sun.
These are jewels your royal heart has won
And they shall remain, if you reinforce it.
(Between my breasts I hold our little ones.)
Just make sure you do not come undone
Or let yourself become beset by forces
Such as that which rules the moon and sun
Or holds against its breast your little ones.


Mary Magdalene

Jesus, Sweet, I am your sacred whore.
I have in me from one to seven devils:
Lord, Dear Baby, do you know the score?
All men love me, yet you love me more
And dream of slipping in among my evils.
Jesus, Sweet, I am your sacred whore.
I'm counting on you Sugar to explore
My gospel body, and for you to revel.
Lord, Dear Baby, would you like to score?
Find your blinded way to my dark door
And lay yourself beside me so we're level:
Jesus, Sweet, I am your sacred whore.
Cast your halo off into the bedstraw.
Get thrown into biblical upheaval.
Lord, Dear Baby, I am yours to score.
I have entire testaments in store
So kiss me here, and make my hair dishevelled.
O Jesus, Sweet, I am your sacred whore.
Lord, Dear Baby, don't you want to score?


Artemisia Gentileschi

I paint revenge, and paint revenge again.
Art in me has got to be for something.
Let my brushes stroke the hearts of men.
Agostino Tassi forced my hand
And then was forced to pay for all his raping.
I paint revenge, and venge my taint again.
Though he tore the light from my raw linen
Yet I hear the brush and canvas sing:
Let our oils strike at the hearts of men.
Tassi was my teacher, and my father's friend.
They call me Femme Forte because of him.
I paint revenge, and paint revenge again.
Caesar's spirit breathes inside this woman
And guides this woman in her image-making.
Let my brush strike out the hearts of men.
My art is honoured by the King of Spain
The Medici clan, and King Charles in London.
I paint revenge, and paint revenge again.
Let my brushes stroke the hearts of men.


Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Locked inside this room I've lost my mind
And looking from above, I know I'm strangled.
It is these walls, and their mad design.
The yellow pattern patterns me in kind:
Its pretty lines have got me all entangled.
Locked within this room I've lost my mind.
I hear a baby scratching for my time.
It catches me from all outrageous angles.
These walls cry also, in their sad design.
Doctor John has noted what was mine:
He puts it in his notebook with a pencil.
Lost inside this room I've locked my mind.
I am forbid, myself, to write a line:
He says the paper and the pen but mangle.
To me, it is these walls and their design.
Doctor John says writing has been found
To etch the nerves, and to make them jangle.
But locked inside this room I know my mind
Is stretched from wall to wall by such designs.


Amelia Earhart

The soul desires to announce her solo flight
Away from the world, and all its worldly antics.
Call it a gamble upon the infinite.
Inside the girl, the queen bee gathers height
And dreams of wings transclucent and gigantic.
The soul decides to announce her solo flight.
The human heart and heaven yearn to unite
Above the earth, and all its earthly semantics.
Call it a ramble along the infinite.
Inside the woman, the first moth seeks the light
And wonders why the darkness seemed romantic.
The soul requires to announce her solo flight.
Flying alone is the remedy to every plight
And the cure to living lies above the Atlantic:
Call it a preamble to the infinite.
Label me Lady Lindbergh or Madame Wright:
Soaring in solitude is how this daughter managed it.
The soul will never denounce her solo flight
Or gamble her chances upon the ground, the finite.




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