Out on a dike

Out on a dike phr. [mid 19-C] (US) going out in one's best clothes. [DIKED DOWN] I'm out as a dyke, occasionally out with a dyke. What I do when I'm out on a dike can become your business once I write about it here.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Gay Yet Wistful

After looking for a poem last night (indirectly reminded of it by one of the other writers on the course), I now have a copy of Verse and Worse: A Private Collection by Arnold Silcock sitting next to me. It's unfair to put books away once they're off the shelves. They need to lie around and be contemplated for a while, especially if they haven't been taken from the shelves for some time.

The poem wasn't in there, but there are some amazing chapter headings that you could probably only find in an anthology first published in 1952. These days, given such titles, you'd expect a very different collection of verse. I certainly would.

Grave Shades from the Churchyard Gaze On Gay Graves that the Churchyard Shades
This reminds me of my trip to Père Lachaise Cemetery (Cimetière du Père Lachaise) in Paris in 1991, particularly searching for the graves of Gertrude Stein, Alice B Toklas and Oscar Wilde. Interestingly, Alice B Toklas is not considered 'famous' enough to be listed on the virtual celebrity grave tour. Trust me, her grave is next to Stein's. I couldn't find a photo I'd taken of the graves, but here's one of me in Paris on the day in question, suitably dressed for a day of grave-searching.

Gay Yet Wistful
Plenty of reasons to be Gay Yet Wistful, not only where love is unrequited. [Pause here: can't you hear the extended GYW sigh?] I can really picture this working as an American bumpersticker, complete with rainbow flag.

Queer People - He on Him and Her: She on Her and Him In Jingle, Verse and Prayer, or Epitaph and Hymn
Very queer indeed.

Then, in the chapter called Old School Books, you'll find 'Personal Hygiene for Pussies'. Not surprisingly, penned by Anon.

My old school books were never like this. But then again, yes, they probably were. Some would say this was the time when language was innocent, before all those 'queer people' ruined such beautiful words as 'gay'. And before Mrs Slocombe discovered her pussy, no doubt. Yeah, right! At least Arnold sent his 'private collection' out into the world.

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