Rainbow Milk is a multi-coloured LGBTQ+ poetry night curated with love and a mischievous grin by Milk Poetry, Blah Blah, Blah, hosted by Tom Denbigh and presented in collaboration with Bristol Pride.
I go to a lot of poetry events around Bristol and was interested to see how different this night could be. All the poets identified as LGBTQ+ and a high per cent of the audience too, it was interesting to see how material that could be seen as provocative to a mainstream ‘straight’ audience did not raise a manicured eyebrow.
The second act started with Jess Davis reading poetry that slipped straight to the heart they talked about living in a house where the house knows everything about you even the tiles on the bathroom walls know but don’t talk about it. To have performers speaking their truths with strong and powerful voices is so vital and empowering. As Jess shared a story about playing the ‘Sims’, getting women to kiss women in the game, ‘just to know that I was possible in the world’ there were nods of understanding and a relief of not being alone.
I had not heard of the headliner, Lisa Luxx before tonightbut I will not ever forget her, in her words:
‘…I am a writer of blood poetry. The ones where there ain’t enough sanitary towels to absorb all the truth pouring out. I want to stink of iron when I perform for you. I remind myself it isn’t poetry yet until it’s exiting my mouth like sweat screeching out of flesh; words of salt.’ Lisa Luxx
Lisa’s set was visceral, radical and essential, her poem ‘Lesbian’ is perfectly timed with the rise of hate-crime reported towards women. Lisa had the audience whispering, shouting ‘lesbian’, asking them to use it as her name. Her ability to articulate how she has a voice that can challenge misogyny and entitlement with integrity, empowerment and respect.
Performances from Steffan Alun, Aiysha and T.S.IDIOT gave a huge mix – from nipple-tweaking, rainbow wing wearing T.S IDIOT, to the navigations of trauma and resonating life observations from Aiysha.
I’d like this night to be more that once a year please, as the poets said, ‘we are stronger together’, collaboration and speaking out right now in this political climate is not simply entertaining, it’s a necessary radical act.