Paradise Mislaid

To Claudia (a French girl who had once been a boy – I met her when she was dancing professionally at a bar in Casablanca back in the 70s)

I had known and loved him when I was a man –
not macho-hairy, no, (and I had lovely eyes)
but the testosterone
still flirted with my bonny cheeks and chin –
and for him, for love of him, jumped ship on Paradise,
this ½G heaven for connoisseurs of the erotic,
of moulded flesh, and laughter, passion and pain;
and xillionaires.

At Immigration, I was tried and not found wanting –
there’s a certain something
only the soon-to-be-ex-male can bring to musilove –
and sent on through with a list of specialist clinics,
all on the house – SUN BANK Glinc (Solar United) –
and in thirty-one hours (our day here)
was out and wandering, crotch no longer cluttered,
and no-longer-wistfully wondering what outfits to buy,
what angel-hair, sundals, lotions and lucians,
atomic cosmetics and nuclear luminants,
mascellulages and …

with golden hair and lowered melanin
(I’d nearly gone for a silver aphro and dark blue
eyes and raised my melanin – would tomorrow – WOW!)
I floated and flowed on a cloud of Spartan Miss
with astrophire toe-rings and spinning-gold anklets
into a floating – gravitfree – palace
that caught my eye in second sunset.

Musilove’s fun
and I like it all, singing and dancing, laughing,
entrancing, regaling and loving them, some in the gardens,
some in the sun, some at night in the cool and the dark,
grok the silence of rooms
with their own pools and bars
and rollers and beds, some
the black stabbing light-beams and sound-beams and crowds
of the musilove caverns midday and midnight …

Liked it all.
Till he came. On leave from the ship.
He couldn’t afford very much – not ten minutes of me –
but he didn’t know it was me and after an hour or two
he didn’t know it was him any more, either,
or that I was doing the paying as well. He’s so old-fashioned
he’s earthly.

The only way I could get his attention –
back on the ship, that is, in the good old days –
was to sing – but not just for him! – to sob out
the old polite-ical songs of my home planet,
La Dorada, the songs of the mine-men,
little white mine-men (“voters” they called themselves),
all Sky and Sigh and Fly,
and Die,
and Sky again,
and if they were brought up and saw the sky, these voters,
they cowered and hid their faces and eyes, and it wasn’t
the sun they feared, it was night sky, feared it
and loved it, it comes up in all their songs … and so
do I, but the fear is awe, and I sing in the night
with my skin softly lit and the tips of my nails
aglow as I dance. Now. Then
I sat and sang with my guitar for him alone …

Most men, all the Bosses, the clients, all
the Besses that go for girls too, all the connoisseurs,
they all like the idea that we used to be boys, say boys
make the best girls, and the Besses
get the besst of both worlds as always (there is
no more conquered, broken male than one of us, ha ha)
though I’m so feminine they say they don’t believe me:
my voice – I mean it’s still hardly soprano – these big
fat Bosses say “Hi there” in piping electro-bird tones
and I say “Hi-eye” like an intergalactic cruiser’s
hydrogen-fog horn and they say they’ve had wives
with deeper voices than that, and it’s true, but … not him.
He thinks we’re all women, and that I especially am
all woman, and I wasn’t about to disillusion him.

He said that after me
he’d never be able to look at another woman.
And I heard later he’d meant it, palled up with
a ship-mate, sharing – his-and-his, not hers –
the same tiny cabin we had shared, but sharing it –
sharing and daring and caring at last. Ah well,
if I get too sick of love I can always have another op,
and join the mers.

The WillyBs

One should clearly keep clones caged. Not easy to say.
Not easy to do. They have a way of growing up,
becoming indistinguishable from oneself
at that age. Which of course is their point. You may

love them. Don’t. If you give them an hour, they’ll take over
your life. It won’t be just your heart, your eyes,
your hips that will be replaced. It will be you.

Temper mercy with sense. It was not as replacements
that they were created, brought into the world,
it was as spare parts. Parts. To be used as needed.

But will they understand that? WillyB-3 is
resentful still about his eye. His eye,
I ask you. I said, Willy, it was never your eye,
it is my eye; that eye you still have
is my eye: you are all me, all mine.

WillyB-4, who is minus most of his teeth
from my dental op and can’t talk properly –
and will probably provide me with my new liver
which will be the end of him, said – “I shink Mary’sh
right.” “Mary?” “Mary. She shaysh we are
people, shame ash her, shame ash you.”

“Listen, Willy. You know you are not people.
You have no name, no parents, no passport,
all you have is the codeword WillyB
linking you to me, and a number, you are
a clone, my fourth, like WillyB-1 and WillyB-
2 were, and these others are. That liver
is as much part of my body as this liver here is,
the body you think of as yours is as much
my body as this one I am at present using.

“What will happen when I need a brain?
That brain will be programmed with all my knowledge,
all my memories, all my feelings – your
few little thoughts – if they are your thoughts – will cease
to be like a ripple on a pond – my pond.”

Animan Inc (Revisited)

[You can find the original poem Animan Inc on this site HERE]

No one ever volunteered to be
a mangrel – who’d want to be a dog,
however human? Or be a mankey?
Anyway, mankeys are small,
they’re pets, they start as children.
And feeders and bleeders are convicts,
it’s a sentence: life as a feeder, or bleeder –
or as a manimal if you seem suitable
for mindless manual work.

But when they ask for mermen, mermaids,
queues form down the street, and in the park
crowds ebb and flow and surge
like a shoal of fish dreaming of the cool, green,
silent seas, of nakedness, of weightlessness,
of peace and quiet and beauty, fish out of water
dreaming of the world for which they were created.


Animan Inc.

“Man is so unspecialised
that he quite easily adapts
to niches ecological
that he has emptied or created:
sometimes minor surgical
adjustments are necessitated,
sometimes not … ”
                 (From Sweeney Jim)

Mermen, Mermaids:
Seamales working under water
flippered feet, webbed fingers, gills,
seagirls sequined from the hips down
dancing in tanks in the walls of nightclubs
or private homes.

panther black, tiger stripe,
cute pink-and-blue –
designed to please, of course,
but they can scratch.

on all fours – four paws, that is,
no thumbs or great toes
tails an option,
either docile household pets
(good with children, will pull prams)
or vicious (easily controlled)
for use as guards or as a butt
for the frustrated.

(known of course vulgarly as Wankies)
baby legs, long simian arms
developed in childhood to amuse
in circuses and zoos
and too as pets.

Feeders and bleeders:
Feeders passive, bovine, hooved,
enormous hormoned udders milked
thrice a day
(much better for babies);
males bled to keep the blood-banks full.

used for manual work
and kept in sheds.

Mer Jim

They even changed his mode of respiration
when they operated
restructuring for total adaptation
to aquatic life.

Mer Jim submerged
and when saturated moved
and his every motion
followed the dictates of the surgeon’s knife:
the sinuous locomotion,
the silence, justified the operation.

And they were all delighted by
the alteration,
especially his wife.