Ilka Scobie

   Cockette  

Angels of light and gorgeous ghosts  

Illuminate this sacred space

There is Rumi weaving compassionate fables  

Fresh-faced queens cavort on stage

as Agosto embodies white robed wisdom

 

Hibiscus, forever young, hovers above the Rose window  Pleased and amused at the evening’s entertainment  

But his friends look so old!  

Some even toothless

And all his girlfriends have tragic haircuts  

 

What of the mythical magical wand  

---the talisman passed from trickster to diva  

from shaman’s hand to rent boy’s toy

 

A fairytale of glued-on glitter 

Recreational drug stupor and  

The heady perfume of casual sex

None of this enchantment could halt a plague  

Tonight the virus of love transforms

 

 

RUMI

Wherever you have landed 

wasp waisted and sapphire eyed 

I hope you are understood

and treasured

treated with gentle caution.

You travel with false pretense 

expecting those who touch your world 

to realize the delicacy of your spirit 

and the inertia of your flesh.

 

You are Odalisque

abounding in her charms

you have brothers on the Bowery 

who, lacking your nobility

are stripped to street honesty.

Your beauty becomes boring

I would shatter your reality

Take you to Benares

and feed you from a garden 

Strip you of cigarettes and coffee 

to sing like a nightingale

You as Rumi, I as Lami

repairing a broken god




 

 AND THEN THERE WAS X

On April 9 Prince Philip and Earl Simmons DMX died

One became a prince by marrying a queen 

One rapped himself to King of the scene 

“The first gentleman of the land”

Spawned a decaying monarchy

A Ruff Ryder hip hopped, locked up, heart stopped 

Phillip’s fame was merely royal consort

Earl’s fame birthed a new name

One lived a long, luxurious decadent reign

One died too soon and blazed too much pain





 

 Poetry Prince

Gone is the Poetry Prince,

with whom I once shared a bed. 

Eulogized in self same chapel 

as baby baptism, seventy years ago

How I examined my inebriated prize

Wild pewter curls, discombobulated rap 

Stanza spinner who begat free verse flood 

Junkie, drunk, pioneer unrepentant punk

In that promiscuous winter of my young womanhood 

he remains etched upon an erotic map

that taught me to claim pleasure,

to not confuse it with love

That sometimes, sharing flesh is

easier than emotions. To live with no regrets

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

 

The dead deserve their well-earned rest 

Those who soared closely to the sun proudly bear singed feather-wings

Inner space pioneers deserve accolades 

Why censor a fully lived soul?

The truth brings freedom

Which, in itself, can be fearsome 

Like flames shooting from the apex

of widely opened legs

Arduous repression of reality yields

a sadly sanitized history

that trivializes the beauties,

the artists, the junkies and fools

Get over that long-nurtured pain 

Imperfection’s wide matrix,

even more awesome than fantasy

A flower dies beneath fear’s killing frost

​​

Mother Tongue 2

 

How to make this post-pandemic world

bow before your fierce young beauty 

Herald your untamed possibilities

We meet at the congested intersection

where art bisects education

In my class you write poems and learn to listen

Together a common language is forged 

A mother tongue of survival

Because of the students, I believe 

Change is propitious, courage possible 

And love can heal broken hearts.



 

Diss

 

Smash the ancestral home

Scurry away with your treasures

Bicker over bills paid with unearned money

Does all that self=involvement spark joy?

O the welcoming wet oceanic wall

that separates church and liberty

Only the truly dedicated set sail

Like most who cling to sanctimony

your choice is always the narrowest path

 

I have learned to love with a cautious heart 

Where I come from, your manipulation

is as amateur as your saccharine smile 

This entitled abuse is exactly the cliche I expected

And as the greedy heirs fight and moan

A gorgeous child stomps a tomato plant

smashing hard green fruit

Beneath parent and servant’s indulgent gaze




 

A Model Moment

 

Dear Dead Girl - because it seems you never 

Achieved aware/enlightened womanhood

You’ve become a myth written in guilt and fantasy, 

Your glitter sanitized

Your spirit erased,

to be replaced with a dull mirror of denial

Poor girl, whose frozen beauty

stylized as an unsmiling visage

adorned by dark, enormous,

and sadly unfocused eyes

In name of love, they have clipped your wings 

buried you deep in a vault

with strangers who resent your stolen corpse

Far from the land of your birth

Far from what you loved on earth

A free spirit unseen for her fragile worth

Native New Yorker Ilka Scobie is a poet who teaches in the public school system. She writes about art for London Artlyst and recently co-curated a group show ART AM 3 in Soncino, Italy. Featured artists included Tano Festa, Mario Schifano, Ugo Rondinone, John Giorno, Rita Barros and Elisabeth Kley along with forty other contemporary Italian and American artists. Her recent poems have appeared in Urban Grafitti, Vanitas and Poetry in Performance. She is also a deputy editor of LiveMag, a New York based literary magazine.