Spotlight: Gen Banks
It's a wonderful day to share with you the work of someone I find highly talented. It is an honor, here on the Jimmy Broccoli page and website, to share with you the poetry of Gen Banks.
I was introduced to Gen's poems only a few months ago and am very glad for it. The themes she writes about often hit home (and are always interesting) and her writing style is unique and top-notch. Gen is also an amazing person and has become a treasured friend.
Gen in her own words:
My name is Gen (Genevieve) Banks. I'm an Australian-born writer of Sri Lankan and Italian descent... a person who happens to be on the autistic spectrum... and a mother of two adult children and several non-human companions.
Raised by conservative religious parents, I was a curious and creative child, yet painfully shy. Music, drawing, reading and writing became outlets for, not only expressing my individuality, but also escaping a reality I found challenging. For decades I worked a variety of mundane jobs while harbouring a secret ambition to become a novelist... eventually discovering poetry to be a satisfying, "immediate" form of catharsis.
I thrive on diversity in both life and artistic expression, and strive to create something unique and unexpected each time I write. As a person who deals with a range of mental health issues, I'm passionate about advocating for others on the spectrum, for mental health awareness, human and animal rights, and environmental issues... and have often given voice to these topics through poetry.
Since late 2020, I've been fortunate enough to have had work published in various e-zines and print anthologies... including Open Skies Quarterly, Impspired magazine, Sweetycat Press, Raven Cage and Dark Poetry Society e-zines... and of course, Jimmy Broccoli's fantastic anthology, "Spotlight"! I'm currently a moderator of fb group Dark Poetry Society.
In December 2021, I self-published my first collection of poetry, "To Bedlam And Back", through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. See link to purchase.
LINK to my book's Amazon page:
Here are a few poems by Gen Banks - and I know you'll love them as much as I do! ______________
~ Exoskeleton [Parts I & II] ~
[I] She came from Florida She came from Russia from Teen Magazine from West Palm Beach
from the gutter
She came from Everywhere and Nowhere
[the place doesn't matter]
Everything changed the year her braces came off She'd swapped them for blue Daisy dukes
And the first time he stuck his putrid tongue in her mouth, it made her wanna puke
[Oh, to be a cicada, curling into its shell] She stood, shocked, as brute hands raked over her softness
Only after escaping did she notice the dollars pressed into one denim pocket
So next time he called, demanding more than before, she shrugged and took what was offered
[And why not?]
She was already a whore, learning to grow a tough exoskeleton
[II] There were other girls there: from West Palm and Brooklyn from Kazakhstan, New York from Paris and Houston
They held her hair out of the toilet bowl
One of them told her: when things get real savage, to think like an actor
[auditioning for a private role]
There were other guys too, of the deviant kind, who passed her around like a bottle of wine
And each time they used her, she felt a new crack in her hardening spine, as the screen in her mind
[faded to black... ]
GenX - copyright - 02/06/2020
NOTE 1: This piece was sparked by a documentary entitled "Filthy Rich". It's the story of abhorent serial sex offender and billionaire investor, Jeffrey Epstein... but more importantly, it's the story of those young girls (now women) who survived his abuse.
NOTE 2: Exoskeleton [Parts I & II] was published on the website Compositor in August 2020. ______________
~ Playing Chess With the Devil ~
I wonder what God was thinking when he agreed to be challenged at chess
Did the Proud Angel win, when he traded Luciferian wings for the slippery scales of a snake?
I wonder what the first couple were drinking, when they greedily gorged on the tree of all knowledge
Was the taste of an apple really worth the huge hassle of wandering the wilderness, banished?
Hey, Adam and Eve --- I'm talking to you! When you tried to deceive, did you think it would end up like this?
Seems you passed on the seeds of your curious fruit, to spoiled rotten kids who do nothing but conquer and ravage
Yo! Cook and Columbus --- come clean up your mess! Everywhere, bibles and bullets lie scattered
Galileo, Galileo --- get your hand off your telescope, and stop spying on innocent neighbours
I wonder if Jesus ever regrets dying on a hill Daddy sub-let to the Clown Prince of Darkness?
We took Paradise Found and razed it to the ground
Now we dare cry for our Paradise Lost
GenX - copyright - 02/07/2020 ______________
~ Circe ~
She swallowed golden afternoons She filled each rose-pink dusk with heated speech balloons High helium, the evening mood
Held hostage to her curse'd moon Chewing over ancient wounds Thin skin pulled taut in suffrage to a lonesome violin
The static buzz The background hum The snapping jaw that stung the foolish one drawn into cartoon drama
I saw the trap was set, too late The poisoned chalice lay in wait as Circe moved to detonate the bomb that blew her world to kingdom come, to save hurt pride, to spite a pretty face
GenX - copyright - 18/04/2022
Photo: Gen Banks.