Publication Date: 24 March 2023
Your Turn to Speak! gathers classical lovers into a room and encourages them to speak one by one. Zeus, Hera, Patroclus, Achilles, Aphrodite and Medea take to the stage and forge their dramatic monologues, while Sappho broods and whispers fragmented asides from the front row of the stalls. Together, they dissect the DNA of the love poem, in all its tragedy and comedy. Ultimately, we readers may begin to hear our own voices speak through the actors. Their masks reveal themselves as mirrors.
“With this brilliantly disquieting book, the stage is set for a writing spectacle so subversive and outré that every word uttered threatens / promises to bring down the house! Your Turn to Speak! by Lady Red Ego arrives right on cue “at great personal cost, to deliver this message” and in so doing thrillingly dismantles and disarms patriarchal violences as they echo around the theatron of poetry from Ancient Greece to now. I don’t know of anyone writing poetry as daringly gladiatorial and discombobulating as this. Listen up.” —Colin Herd
“This playful collection contains a symphony of voices, and all have different stories to tell. Lady Red Ego daringly extends poetic form by giving her work the appearance of a play and filling it with wit. Given how exciting it is to read on the page, I’d love to see it on stage!” —Xie Jinhao
Your Turn to Speak! by Lady Red Ego
I suppose every marriage has its secrets.
But these things take their toll. He
seems only to love me from the shadows.
Darling, are you a man or are you made of
fear, the cold glass sphere that warns you
against touching? I see your fingerprints.
I am not a doll, my body will hold
that ache you impregnate and make
it tangible. What I would do to just
taste you. I have imagined your smile,
held that golden arch in my spine
and began to climb that slow, strange ascent
into pragma. Heaven is a place where I
meet your eyes in conversation. You must
know I love you, from my cadence,
my small shifts and habits, the way I
cover my mouth when I eat. We cannot
go on like this, suspending tenderness
She is too bright to look at.
My wings are not made of wax,
but they melt. I have learned well
from Icarus, who didn’t understand
hubris, or how to swim. Curiosity
is a cup you can drown in.
She loves that I care. It hardly matters
what face I wear.
I saw you with her.
You two only need time,
that shackle that winds
around my ankles. Your arrows
fall close, but mine fly forever
through trees and over mountains.
Maybe one day there will be a valley,
filling as the ice melts. I will be in that
blue lagoon, letting my breath go.
Filling also. I have evolved gills. It is
the only way I know how to
weather rejection, that unspoken
neglect of budding bulbs. Some flowers
don’t bother to wilt and instead return
to the deep underground caverns of
themselves. Our future is that flower;
I open my eyes underwater and see fish that float.
A miracle, that some things still grow.
Things like hope.
Lady Red Ego is a Chinese and Scottish lesbian writer concerned with intimacies. She has published work in multiple acclaimed anthologies and magazines, including We Were Always Here by Queer Words Project Scotland, Crossing Lines by Broken Sleep Books, Issue 43 of The Dark Horse, and Issue 9 of Fourteen Poems. She was also the guest reader for Issue 25 of Gutter Magazine.
Her first pamphlet, The Red Ego, was published in 2019 with Wild Pressed Books and her second pamphlet, Natural Sugars, was published in 2020 by Broken Sleep Books. Your Turn to Speak! is her debut collection. You can find her at www.ladyredego.com and on Instagram and Twitter @ladyredego.