International Recognition of Gender Diversity Week

Nicole Maines transgender superheroPerhaps to celebrate Supergirl’s latest addition, a transgender superhero played by transgender actress Nicole Maines, this week has been declared the very first international Recognition of Gender Diversity week. Inspired by this, here is an assortment of poems.

in praise of bell curves
we cry for normality
no deviation!

the waves crash today…
this teacup violence stirs
a tempest of hate

a misogynist?
I do not draw boundaries
between sand castles

keeping to my lane
I pen verse with bitter ink
amidst salty seas

Radical? Don’t make me laugh! So-called ‘feminists’
Obsessing over genitals endlessly, as if flesh were all!
Gatekeeping woman’s country – with ignorance:
Devil take ’em, and all who follow…

the penis is cursed!
they cry for its removal –
but not like that…

their choice is cruel:
the altar or the pyre…
your choice is simpler

such fear of the knife!
if it were reversible
would you celebrate?

let’s strip the rainbow
of one colour at a time
leaving only tears

mark my words with care:
one taste of diversity
will corrupt for life!

he says he’s a she
though I never saw before
nor anyone else

these professionals
invented diagnoses
to soothe parents’ guilt
the signs that were hid too well
they say never existed

there’s no valid age
for a child’s self-assessment!
they’ll die too young

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when all lies burning

when all lies burning
will those who sold our country
still wave their receipts?

trump will come again
to wade through the cold ashes
of british conceit

weigh anchor, europe!
the british ship sails no more
save to the locker

may in the crow’s nest
a ouija guides her fingers
to a greener shore

with saruman’s tongue
jacob twists a fragile truth
while the shire is stripped

listen not to may
she trumps herself in the house
while the boys play bridge

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Would you dare tell the god of the underworld that his planet no longer merits the title ‘planet’?


who denies pluto

will surely answer for it

when darkness is all

© Francis James Franklin 2018

Francis James Franklin has a contrary sense of humour and a passion for writing; his blog is littered with irreverent poetry, fantastic fiction and miscellaneous musings. Discover more at Alina Meridon.

I concur with this haiku’s sentiments. How can we, as mere humans, define the universe around us when really, we know nothing …

This haiku is part of our Celestial Bodies theme!

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Sweet Aphrodite…
Many thanks to Freya as always for selecting my haiku for her blog!


venus enchants all

her twilight song bewitching –

who could judge Paris?

© Francis James Franklin 2018

Francis James Franklin has a contrary sense of humour and a passion for writing; his blog is littered with irreverent poetry, fantastic fiction and miscellaneous musings. Discover more at Alina Meridon.

This haiku I had to include with its inverse reflection on Paris and judgement!

This haiku is part of our Celestial Bodies theme!

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I learned calculus on my knees, summing kisses to infinity as I explored the areas under her curves. I was sin to her cos as we coiled forever, one about the other, two bodies in orbital motion whispering tangents in each other’s ears beneath a canopy of stars. The differential equation of love a transcendental, defying analytical expression.

such poetry lies
there is no derivation
of absolute truth

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

It’s a long time since a vampire book caught my eye. It’s difficult these days to find genre novels that are well written, thoughtful and original. Even rarer to find a YA-category novel with a female protagonist that isn’t primarily angsty romance.

Which is not to say Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (published 2013) is without romance. It even has an HFN ending. But the romance is not central to the plot, and there’s no clichéd love triangle or idolisation of unhealthy behaviours. If anything, one purpose of the story is to expose the seductive glamour of vampires as an abusive fiction.

Tana, our heroine, is seventeen, an accidental sole survivor of a massacre. She’s not a Chosen One and has no special powers, but she shares a trait common to many heroes: a stubborn determination to do what is right, even in the face of mortal terror.

Immortal terror too, of course. The story is set in a world where vampire infection is rife, and where whole cities have been walled around. These are the Coldtowns of the title – although the first part of the title, The Coldest Girl in … is misleading and probably just for effect. (How many titles start with The Girl …?) The lives of the dead and undead within these enclaves are glamourised Reality-TV-style and broadcast to the world, luring in a steady stream of wannabe vampires with their fresh, warm, human blood.

If the basic plot is a wild, roller-coaster ride (I read the second half in one sitting), the book’s unifying theme is death, where life is warm and death is cold. Vampiric infection is perceived as a creeping cold. The vampires themselves are not the evil of demonic possession, but rather once-humans cursed with – and corrupted by – abnormal lust and power.

There are also some nice historical touches, with scenes in Paris, Vienna and Russia. In many ways, this is a very traditional vampire tale, but with a modern approach, a thriller with elements of both horror and romance.

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This is Devin Jones

Kristen Conrad’s This is Devin Jones, published 2016, has many parallels with Die Hard, the plot centering on a hostage scenario where an out-of-jurisdiction cop must take out the bad guys and save the day. There’s even an exploding rooftop.

Here, however, the setting is a Hollywood awards ceremony and the hostages are world-famous actors, one of whom is the drop dead gorgeous ex of our hero – our hero being a super-hot cop in designer dress and heels, as capable with her gun as with her kick-ass self-defence.

Which is all perhaps a little clichéd and derivative, but it’s also good fun and there’s a dash of lesbian romance to sweeten it.

The need to change and make up names is a little distracting, and there are one or two minor continuity errors. Also, it’s a little too easy in the end; Bruce Willis had to run barefoot across glass, after all.

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