Dancing on Ashes (Circle)

Johanna has always hated being named Johanna
She’d find it humiliating to be reminded
Of the lack of imagination of her parents
Each time someone would call her
(She would later benefit from this lack of imagination
Because no expectations meant no disappointment
They would be positively indifferent about her life choices)
So in her tomboy phase she called herself Jo
And she was still Jo when she evolved from tomboy to butch
And still Jo when she moved to Berlin to study at
The Dietrich Deich Institute for Optic Research
(Leading in laser engineering and one of its kind in Germany
The best way to leave Lower Saxony at eighteen)
But when she met Heike, she became Sheena
She feels grateful to Heike for this and many other things
Her love, her confidence, her passionate spirit
Her generosity, her sense of cool, her accuracy
Even her stubbornness and her lack of limits
When her sexual urges shift from kinky to twisted
With Heike, Sheena learned to let go
She could give up the hardcore dyke look she sported so far
And become half Punk-Rocker, half Queen-of-the-Jungle
Or whoever else she likes or just fancies for a while
She stopped defying the world and started enjoying herself
She was the one who introduced Roller Derby to the Circle
She even had a couple of affairs
That caused terrible rows with Heike
Followed by wholehearted reconciliations
The girls from the Circle were actually quite pissed at her
Because Heike has the status of a quasi-fairy godmother
She’s been there since the very beginning
And took part in the choice of their name
Runder Winkel
The Rounded Triangle or Triangle Circle
And amongst other things provides the Circle’s current HQ
A vacated storage in her building’s courtyard in Neukölln
Worth probably thrice the rent she pays for it
Since the area rose as hip Kreuzkölln
The reaction of the Circlettes unexpectedly upset Sheena
Until she figured out that these girls – however unlikely –
Had become her family, whose judgment she minds
At least her Sheena-self’s family
But Sheena is the one that matters now
Sheena is even happier about being Sheena
Since Johanna – the Johanna –
Took over the headlines
First with the Augean Stables big clean-up
When she exposed in a suicidal move
All the dirty secrets of the company she headed
And of the governments and corporates dealing with it
And made the whole system quake
Then there’ve been the lawsuits and the many side scandals
Then the shooting
And now Johanna is in her media guru phase
Appearing in all the TV talk-shows as the Naked Truth
Literally naked
Splitting the crowds into two irreconcilable blocs
Either fervent supporters, if not worshipers
Hoping she will pull down the whole system
Or just thinking that she’s so cool
Or those who despise her for being a fraud, a show-off
A traitor, an exhibitionist, a mythomaniac, a troublemonger
The Triangle Circle’s girls are quite equally split over Johanna
With as many supporters than opposers
But as usually within the group
There are as many positions as members
At the exception of Véronique
Who would always agree with Rosi
But with subs you never know when it is game
And when it is real
Tonight is the Triangle Circle’s weekly meeting –
Sheena is in charge of tidying and airing the den
The last issue of what they call a meeting was boosted
With alcohol, tobacco, MJ and generated much sweat –
And Johanna will be – again – the main topic
Because there is this gathering in a few weeks
There’ve been more and more of these over the last months
All over Germany, and a few in other European countries
But this one will be huge
There is a call to converge on Berlin this time
It’s one of these Facebook things without real organizers
That panic the authorities and the police
As always when they lack people to threaten and punish
It is acknowledged that the core of Johanna’s followers
Is composed of housewives, young pensioners
Unemployed graduates and teenage girls
And her later persona lost her all political credibility
But the social phenomena attracts more and more activists
And since the Berlin gathering is officially denounced
As illegal, seditious and dangerous for its participants
And drastic repression by the police is inevitable
The word propagates in the underground
That Black Blocs will get involved to righteously protect
The amateur protesters from the riot cops
The association of Johanna and Black Blocs
Will definitely stir the group tonight
It is obvious that Sabina will come up again
With her thing about starting an all-female Black Bloc
To not let all the fun and action go to the lads
And she will try again to talk some of the girls –
Mostly the Roller Derby players such as Sheena –
Into joining her project
Though the main agenda of the Circle
Is to sip beers and gossip in fine company
Give a hand to the Anti-Christopher Street Day Parade –
The alternative gay pride demonstration in Kreuzberg –
Or lately loudly cheerlead and celebrate the victories
Of the Berliner Arbeiterin Sportverein –
Sheena and Britta’s Roller Derby team for which
The Triangle Circle became an unofficial supporters’ club
Heike and Devyani being the most fervent
Heike because Sheena is the jammer of the team
And Devyani at first because she has an acknowledged fetish
For tattooed and pierced girls
(Though she herself never indulged in body modifications –
She considers that this belongs to white folks)
And she particularly loves neo-classic white trash Americana
En vogue amongst 21st century German Roller Derby players
Sheena will decline again Sabina’s proposition
There are enough bruises to heal (with kisses or arnica)
After a match to seek more from the police truncheons
And she can’t believe in mass action even if she understands
People’s need to imagine that they have a say in public affairs
And that they can make things better
She thinks that many different avant-gardes are needed
Some have to confront directly the Powers-that-Be
To make clear that the status quo is not acceptable
Some have to explore new paths
And create new ways for the common good
She hopes that she doesn’t abuse herself
That promoting sisterhood is a valuable personal duty
That celebrating joy, liveliness, beauty, freedom
Is not just a selfish agenda but can benefit everybody
That freeing people from bitterness, frustration, ignorance
Narrow-mindedness, inhibition, anhedonism or malice
Matters as much – if not more –
As redistributing the means of production
Of whatever else is supposed to give people
Control over their destinies
That’s what gives Sheena wings
As she whirls around the Roller Derby elliptical track
Slaloming between her Amazonian adversaries
Dressed in a vinyl miniskirt and fishnet tights
Wearing wheeled knee-high boots
A DDR-khaki T-shirt with rainbow strips along the arms
And a black leather peaked cap toping her pink dyed hair
Fueled by the wild cheers of her exhilarated gang
Flying to the victory with style and gusto.