Cathy Bryant – The Fact and the Acronym

The Fact and the Acronym

He told us on Facebook, as people do now
– the fact and the acronym,
and explained in his video that he’d always
played safe except this one time; he shrugged
and said, Don’t do Ket in a Sauna,
and then laughed.

We asked all the usual questions
– How are you, Is it full-blown,
Is there anything we can do to help,
How should we be now
and he laughed at us. You bloody daft fools!
How should you be? However the fuck
you like, darlings. Always.

He isn’t dead. He still writes poems
and performs them, holding an audience
like a rare orchid or a newborn and then
letting it go with a guffaw and a splash of glitter,
the crowd freshened and breathing deeply
as if after tears or sex.

He still whips the backs of injustices,
and not just his injustices but everyone’s;
can wither elaborate edifices of pomposity
with a single swift wry quip;
will make time for any friend and wants people
to explore more, define less. He says
that you don’t have to choose butch or bear or disco or drag
as soon as you hit eighteen.
Just have fun and learn something.

He’s lucky, of course, not to be in that first wave
that got scythed down when I was young,
when those four letters were engraved on the tortured hearts
of everyone who mourned.
But how dumb was I to imagine
even for a second
that he could ever be constrained
by a single fact or acronym, ever be defined
by just one word.


Cathy Bryant worked as a life model, civil servant and childminder (among other jobs) before writing full-time. She has won ten literary awards, including the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Prize in 2012, and blogged for the Huffington Post. Cathy’s work has been published all over the world in such publications as The Moth, The Rialto, Third Wednesday and The Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. She co-edited the anthologies Best of Manchester Poets vols. 1, 2 and 3 and her latest book, ‘Look at All the Women’ was published in 2014. Cathy lives in Hope, UK. See more at , and see Cathy’s monthly listings for financially-challenged writers at