Two poems from Kirsten Irving’s poetry collection Hot Cockalorum, published in 2022 by Guillemot Press.
My sister, Ursa, is our beautiful leader. Her star power’s double
that of Orion, yet she still turns salsa when he talks to her.
We’ve been wearing these uniforms since ‘78; when Cannonade
began (originally Super Stellar Buttercup Girls): it’s all
bunches, knee socks, pleated minis; white knickers flashing,
bows pinned at our throats. And wow, we haven’t aged a day.
My calf-length purple hair still bounces; my legs are dolly,
cheeks are cheeky. Perky, creaseless, just like my teammates.
Each episode, the same hopeless villain pops up in smoke
to squawk his four-minute smacktalk song, during which
we don’t strike – and I just don’t know why – but wait, tits bobbing,
rainbow guns ready, to high-five, high-kick and end what never ends.
Another nun. The one from Obchodná, feeling the avocado like a skull?
The one from the castle, joking with her friend-nun? (Either one.)
Staré Mesto, Post Office 1. Glass cathedral. Arteries of people.
If you queue at ‘Prijem Listovych Zasielok’, a nun joins behind you.
Who sends the nuns? Here now at the crossing with its gavelling clicks
count three of them. Grey hairs that will not be pulled.
Cumil the sewer statue does not see the nuns.
That is just as well. We do not know how long we have now.
Write a postcard to “Patrick McGoohan …
’s Estate”. He’s dead. He’s dead. I forgot.
Nuns with gas. Nuns riding mopeds farting black smoke.
The light is going and they’re unfolding from taxis.
To the ballet, where they clap politely.
To the ice rink, where they glide like vacuums.
Their wimples are neat because they’re sewn to the skin.
Here is the band again.
If there’s love in the city, a boy will net and bag
every nun and stand them as a grey bouquet.
The hand on the rough green skin. Let’s see
what you are, how you taste, says the nun.