Aug 11, 2014

A Poem

by Courtney Bates-Hardy

I walk a stage, blinded
by the lights of dreams.

There is a notebook
in my hand, brim-filled,

No one picks up the scraps.

She is walking down
an aisle toward me
when she falls.

A snake slides
through a trap door.

            As I take my diploma,
            I am bitten by the reality
            of a job I don’t have,
            stumble with the notebook
            falling from my fingertips
            into a tiny hole,
            where it grows smaller
            and paler.

I follow her down, stepping
through empty space,
slithering over my skin.

The path is spiralling
and I’m not sure
if I’m falling or carrying
my body to the dark.

My hands are empty
but strips of paper fall
from my mouth.

Charon takes one
for the ferry,
asks for another
as a favor.
Cerberus chews the rest.

            I stand in front of a council of presidents,
            lacking the blank stares.
            No one asks me, snidely:


Hades listens, rapt,
Persephone’s tears stop.
 Tendrils of paper curl to the floor.

They speak     
and the condition is this:
walk away,
don’t look back,
you’ll be happy.

The journey back
is hard, like taking
singular steps up a mountain.

I think of Sisyphus
with his impossible boulder,
his unending task,
and know I am lost.

She is there, I can feel her.

            The light is above
            and I don’t want it.

And I turn,

because we all turn,
and walk back with her,
every time, over

and over.

Aug 7, 2014

A Dark Corner of the Internet

Today I went to a dark corner of the internet.

I started with the Fiji Mermaid.

And then read up on the Banff Merman.

Which led me to sirenomelia (not pictured, as it's a real medical condition). And then I read a bit of The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black, peppered with Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities (he owns a mermaid skeleton as well, although it's not pictured in the book). 

I finished by scanning through the Amazon view of Codex Seraphinianus

And now it's time to turn the lights back on.

Jun 20, 2014

Toronto and Progress

I'm back from a quick trip to Toronto, where I attended my brother's graduation (he's caught the grad student bug too and will be back next year to start his MA). It was my first time in Toronto and my first time in another province besides those immediately surrounding me. I've done far more travelling in the USA than I have in Canada, so I'm hoping to keep remedying that in the next few years. It does seem appropriate that we saw the "Canadian New York" after we visited New York City last least that's how I thought of it.

A few highlights:

-saw the Group of Seven paintings at the AGO

-stopped for a smoked meat sandwich and saw Adam Sandler having dinner with his friends and family

-went to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

-ate AMAZING food thanks to my brother's inside knowledge

-replaced my stolen CDs with some awesome soundtracks at Sonic Boom

-got a tour and demo at Coach House Books

-watched Jodorowsky's Dune at Hot Docs

And now it's back to real life! I'm nearly finished ('nearly' is relative maybe) a major edit of the poems in my thesis. I'm hoping to submit the whole thing to my committee in September so I'm chopping my way to the finish line.

I found out shortly before I left for Toronto that three of my poems will feature in Room Magazine's Geek Girl issue, 37.3. I'm really excited about this one because it's the most poems I've ever had in a literary mag and it's a GEEK GIRL issue! I also heard back from On Spec (a very cool speculative fiction mag that I've been trying to get into for a while) and they would like to publish one of my poems as well. I'm nervously crossing my fingers (and wishing on a couple stars) over a submission to the Fairy Tale Review's contest and I'm holding off on further submissions until I finish these edits. I gotta say, I love editing other people's work but I get awfully stubborn about editing my own!

Jun 12, 2014

On Maleficent

"The victim is always morally superior to the master...that is why there have been so few notoriously wicked women in comparison to the number of notoriously wicked men; our victim status ensures that we rarely have the opportunity. Virtue is thrust upon us."

"In common speech, a 'bad boy' may be a thief, or a drunkard, or a liar, and not necessarily just a womaniser. But a 'bad girl' always contains the meaning of a sexually active girl...When, against her will, she is [raped], she knows she remains good because she does not feel pleasure."

" if, now she is no longer a virgin, her chastity can still exist in the form of frigidity. She seems almost a monster of the fear of sexuality."

Quotes from Angela Carter's Sadeian Woman

May 3, 2014

Why I'm Angry About Gwen Stacy

I saw Amazing Spider-Man 2 tonight. And I’m mad. (spoilers ahead)
Gwen Stacy’s death was handled poorly. So poorly, in fact, that I would like to put her second-in-line for the Women in Refrigerators crown.
But let’s back up a bit. 
Gwen Stacy is set up as a smart (valedictorian) recent high school graduate, with a job at Oscorp, and a scholarship to Oxford. She and Parker are having relationship problems because Peter still feels tied to his promise to her dad to keep her out of his work. However, they keep talking, and Gwen becomes one of the few girlfriends who hears the inner workings of a superhero’s mind and actually helps him defeat a villain (without Gwen, Peter would have been fried, actually). 
Did Gwen Stacy have to die? I would argue that no, Gwen Stacy did not have to die. It’s a movie; they can do whatever the fuck they want! 
What pisses me off the most is that the solution was there the whole time. She didn’t have to die; she could have gone to England! Like a normal person does after high school when they’re super smart with a scholarship to study in England! 
Now here’s what DID happen: the majority of the movie is spent setting up and dealing with Electro, who is pretty much a sad, lonely, low-threat villain. Harry shows up, as a sidenote. We’re not really sure why he and Peter are still friends, or even what they’re like as friends, since they spend most of their time trying to keep stiff upper lips over their dead dads (or, in Peter’s case, his dead dad, dead uncle, and girlfriend’s dead dad). Once Electro is defeated (with Gwen’s help, btw), the Green Goblin shows up (oh, yeah, Harry turns into the Green Goblin, did you miss that?) out of fucking NOWHERE and decides that Peter has betrayed him, therefore, he’s going to kill Gwen Stacy.
What. the. fuck. I’m sorry, Harry, I lost you. You’re going to kill Gwen Stacy why again? Your character isn’t well-developed enough for anyone to figure it out. I gueeeesss that Goblin juice really did a number on your moral centre and all but…really? You’re going to just kill off the random girl you met in the elevator earlier on, just because she’s kinda sorta in a complicated relationship with Peter? Whaaaat.
At this point, I was shaking my head in the theater. I was still hoping that they weren’t going to do it. And then she falls. There’s an audible gasp and cringe in the theater.
Peter drops to the ground beside her and starts jostling her around (my inside voice is screaming, DON’T MOVE HER, YOU’VE GOT TO STABILIZE HER SPINE, CHECK HER PULSE, CALL THE AMBULANCE, or, or…SOMETHING!). He cries. Cut to the funeral scene (typical). Cut to Peter sitting by the grave (also typical). 
Then we get this awkward flipping through the seasons as Peter stands by the grave. It looks horrible and it does nothing to cool the burning rage in my chest.
Spider-Man then takes a break apparently. Because he’s sad. But he hears the news on the tv and he cries with his aunt and then puts Gwen Stacy’s pictures away (the audience is not ready for this; there’s still sniffling in the theater). 
And then it’s all fine again?
So Spider-Man goes out to fight a robot. Yay, robot fight?
Oh, what’s that you’re feeling? Just the slap across your face from the makers of Spider-Man 2. What, you had feelings for a character you knew was going to die? Well, fuck that, there’s a robot fight! (there’s still sniffling and clearing of throats in the theater)
Goddammit. This movie even made me angry at that poor bullied kid who stands up to the robot because all I could think about was the smart, bad-ass woman who just DIED because someone decided that women NEEDED to see MORE smart, bad-ass women getting killed JUST for being smart and bad-ass and in a real-talk relationship with a superhero.
Fuck. that. Gwen Stacy deserves better.