By Martine Mussies (Cyborg Mermaid)
For living on this planet, I pay “rent.” I contribute to the world
with my music, my research, my arts and crafts, my love and
friendship, and my writing. Although my name literally means
“Little Warrior,” due to my autism I cannot join my friends on
the barricades. Therefore, I raise my voice through my own—
soft and quiet—forms of resistance, to empower the misfits. On
my blog and for Bi Women Quarterly, I write academic essays,
auti-ethnographies, and various forms of poetry, such as #biku.
Poetry is often essential as a form of protest and communication
during times of crisis. Most poems of protest like Caged Bird
by Maya Angelou and Making Peace by Denise Levertov play
a crucial role in bringing to light the unknown or hidden grim
realities, raising awareness, and shaping cohesive fronts (Staeheli
and Mitchell, 2016).
My short poem, “Vampires of the Rainbow Plague,” was written
as a protest against the Polish anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments. Originally in Polish, but translated into English especially for BWQ,
this poem tells about the hatred around various Prides in Poland.
(See both languages below.) People were waving with their holy
books, wearing T-shirts with supposed imagery of Jesus Christ,
using all kinds of profanity I think Jesus himself would be very
much ashamed of.
The name refers to some often-quoted statements, by TV
producer Maciej Pawlicki (“vampires”) and archbishop Marek
Jędraszewski (“rainbow plague”), respectively. The pedals that
anti-LGBTQ+ demonstrators were twirling with are a similar
insult, for in Polish, the word “pedał” simply means a bike pedal,
but is used as a pejorative term for (mostly male) gays as well
(similar to “faggot”). I admit that my Polish is still very, very
basic. Yet, words symbolize worlds, and therefore, with short
poems like this one, I hope to inspire and encourage other
language-learning misfits to raise their voices as well. Writing
simple and quiet poems in a language you barely know might
seem inane, but somehow, for me, it is enough to get some of my
thoughts from my mind into yours: love is love, LGBTQ+ rights are human rights, and poetry is a powerful form of resistance.
Martine Mussies is a PhD candidate at Utrecht University, writing about the
Cyborg Mermaid. Besides her research, Martine is a professional musician.
Her other interests include autism, psychology, karate, iaido, King Alfred,
and science fiction.