Sunday, June 23, 2013

Poems & Pride

I have to admit to you that I'm an unabashed cry baby. The littlest things make me cry: MIA's Bad Girls, the Rod Stewart-written Enterprise theme song, losing my car keys... I think you get the point. I accidentally ran across this collection of poetry Today and I want to share it with you. 

As Pride month winds down, and a giant crack of thunder shakes my house, I was reading through Audre Lorde's selection and I felt that tight lump in my throat and tried to choke back the tears. Poetry is where I first found people who, if not like me, were othered in parallel ways. I found voices and lives in those words that told me that I wasn't alone and that I wasn't a freak... or that I should revel in my freak, dance through moments of isolation. I know I've talked about Allen Ginsberg before, and the importance of the Beats in my life, but around the time I found Allen, I found Audre, I found Sylvia, I found Anne, I found Byron, I found collections of poetry transcribed from voicemail poems from then-current poets, I found so much. 

Frequently, I didn't know that these poets were queer, just that they were different. One of the amazing things about the last decade (or so) is that queer history has become more visible. Finding out that people who I really looked up to, whose words meant so much to me, were also queer was/is a revelation. I think, if anything, I would like to take a moment to recognize these unconventionally invisible coffee-table poets. Their love and struggles is what drove their writing and it's important that we see that and recognize the whole of their work.

So if you have a moment and the inclination, please take a moment to read through some of these poems. 

By Audre Lorde

I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck   
moving away from me
beyond anger or failure
your face in the evening schools of longing
through mornings of wish and ripen
we were always saying goodbye
in the blood in the bone over coffee
before dashing for elevators going
in opposite directions
without goodbyes.

Do not remember me as a bridge nor a roof   
as the maker of legends
nor as a trap
door to that world
where black and white clericals
hang on the edge of beauty in five oclock elevators   
twitching their shoulders to avoid other flesh   
and now
there is someone to speak for them   
moving away from me into tomorrows   
morning of wish and ripen
your goodbye is a promise of lightning   
in the last angels hand
unwelcome and warning
the sands have run out against us   
we were rewarded by journeys
away from each other
into desire
into mornings alone
where excuse and endurance mingle   
conceiving decision.
Do not remember me
as disaster
nor as the keeper of secrets
I am a fellow rider in the cattle cars
you move slowly out of my bed   
saying we cannot waste time
only ourselves.