Subverting the “Girlie” Calendar: October

Grace Moon

Ms. October

I do adore October’s blue sarong,
the sliding slits along her whistling hips,
and I would die to kiss her ruby lips
for all the wet and rotting leaf night long.

A “girlie calendar” makes one think of men’s lockers, walls of auto repair shops or a military barracks: They’re typically collections of nude or scantily dressed women in provocative poses, designed for the male heterosexual gaze.

But what if a girlie calendar is designed with a lesbian gaze in mind? That sort of subversion is what lesbian poet Mary Meriam has in mind with the title of her new poetry collection, Girlie Calendar, and for the Ms. Blog, she’s going to excerpt from the book a poem-of-the-month, beginning with the Jewish New Year instead of waiting until January. Meriam is also selecting accompanying artwork for each month from both historical and contemporary lesbian-related images.

October’s artist, Grace Moon, is editor-in-chief of Velvetpark, an online arts and culture publication with a feminist and lesbian bent. Born in Honolulu and now based in Brooklyn, Moon is  a queer artist who captures everyday transgressions between female masculinities and femininities. The painting seen here, “Meera,” is one of a series inspired by “late colonial era graphic art from Asia,” she says. “These paintings are renderings of the east/west fusion upon early 20th century graphic design. ‘Yu Fen Pai’ is a term which loosely translates into girlie posters, and were calendars made for ex-pats in Shanghai in the ’20s and ’30s.”

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“Meera” courtesy of Grace Moon.



Poet Mary Meriam is the founder of Lavender Review, cofounder of Headmistress Press and author of The Countess of Flatbroke, The Poet’s Zodiac, Word Hot, Conjuring My Leafy Muse and Girlie Calendar.


Mary Meriam advocates for the right of women to love each other in their poetry and art, and strives to give their work a place at the table. She writes about and publishes such work in the journal she founded, Lavender Review, at the press she cofounded, Headmistress Press, and at Ms. magazine, The Critical Flame, and The Gay & Lesbian Review. Her poetry collections, The Countess of Flatbroke, The Poet's Zodiac, The Lillian Trilogy, and Lady of the Moon, honor a cosmos of strong, creative women. Her latest collection, My Girl's Green Jacket, was published in 2018, and her poems have appeared recently in Poetry, Prelude, Subtropics, and The Poetry Review.