Chloe Poems’ collection Adult Entertainment (Route, Glasshoughton, 2002) begins with a poem called The Effeminate. You could argue that from the same collection Autumn, about aging, and I Wanna Be Fucked By Jesus from the accompanying CD, about growing up homosexual, are better poems. But the statement of The Effeminate, of standing outside straight society, of not being a ‘real man’ [or woman], is applicable to anyone male or female, gay or straight who finds themself marginal, and particularly those who suffer at any time.

It’s been in the air a lot lately after a friend described santiago as effeminate - with a positive intention let it be said, it wasn’t a misguided insult. Having recently read Virginia Woolf, recently watched Gus Van Sant’s Last Days and Derek Jarman’s Caravaggio, spent a lot of time listening to The Smiths, and embarked on a script about the poet Shelley in which he’s explicitly bisexual and wears a frock throughout, effeminacy has been much in the air. And for someone who so loathes masculinity and men, effeminate feels like a worthwhile self-identification. It doesn’t specify a sexuality or gender, it doesn’t specify a mode of dress, it merely indicates a relationship to society. Or at least that’s how it felt.

And more, an approach to art. Dramatic and anachronistic, playful and selfish, with a personal integrity while attempting to reach out to a large audience, desparate to be understood while not caring too much if another rejection comes, happy and sad, showy and confessional... And of course by this stage the new definition has run far away from the original inspiration. It hasn’t superceded it though - go and track down Adult Entertainment for yourselves, and go see Chloe Poems live at least once in your life.

From The Effeminate by Chloe Poems

“The effeminate exists on many levels
He’s more than at home with the angels and devils
Of his ever complex ideology
He is genius and idiot spasmodically.”

From Chroma by Derek Jarman

“The child of fire is the child of disobedience. In revolt. The Promethean child steals the matches to strike a dangerous light in the dark. As he sets fire, he has wicked thoughts. He will not get caught. The fire dies down. In the red embers he becomes aware.”

From Shakespeare’s Sister by The Smiths

“Young bones groan
And the rocks below say :
"Throw your skinny body down, son !"

But I'm going to meet the one I love
So please don't stand in my way”

Oh for fuck’s sake, of course it’s self-dramatising.


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