Orlando

 

Orlando

mother, you told me
your church wouldn’t welcome me
sentiment shooting from
pale pink lips
over the scrape of knives and forks
my children watching
as I inhaled your casual violence
lest it escape into the world
to join a cacophony of hatred
love the sinner
hate the sin;

hate

am i a sinner?
raising two tender boys,
waking at four a.m.
to race to the hospital,
or a family’s home,
where new life bursts into these
queer hands
where i hold your
christian muslim jewish
babies
in most precious regard,
sometimes wrestling them from
otherworldly hands

my love is sin
that is the lesson
that you will not teach my children
and they will be my response,
mother

do you not see that your alter
is rotten,
that disdain disguised as love
eventually,
inevitably,
leads to violence
born of hate

you made Omar Mateen
when those words left your lips
on the wings of moths
to join the hurricane

“you would not be welcome there,
anyway…”

we,
queer people
always fighting to be worthy of love…
we all died a little
that sunday morning
in june
because we know

know

that you hate us

but we have always existed,
despite you,
and we’ll go on creating
a whole new world
out of the ashes

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Crone

She approached the periphery
Circling life slowly,
Life,
Ebbing into oceans
Vast and misunderstood
Her mind wandering into dark
Wet places
Beckoning her dissolving self
Back to shore
She fought the tide
In useless protest
Kneeling in shallows,
Fists pounding salty sand
Grabbing handfuls of hair
Moaning guttural protest
More seagull than human
Exhausted,
Falling into tide pools
Arms outstretched,
Warm ocean
Becoming her own blood
She became
New
Rising with the sun
Gathering pebbles and syllables
To roll around her tongue
As she stalked the shoreline
For one more
Glorious, golden
Day

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Queer flirtation

aged 25:
I was in a bar restroom, and when I exited the stall a (very) masculine woman was facing me, casually leaning on the counter looking intense and completely sober. Taken aback, I chose the most logical course of action; I went to wash my hands, just as though there wasn’t a sexy-as-hell dyke planted between the sinks. There was a roll of that cheap industrial paper towel on the counter, and, face burning, I reached for it as she turned ever so slightly and knocked it to the floor. After a nanosecond too-long pause, I bent down to pick it up, but somehow she beat me there, and handed the roll to me as I stood back up, staring into my eyes the whole time. I don’t actually know how she did it, because my mind went completely blank. My legs turned to jello, which up until that exact moment I had thought was just a figure of speech. Without saying a word, she gave me the slightest self-satisfied smile, turned on her heal, and strode away. Bathroom Butch, wherever you may be, I thank you!

1Sagefemme   all rights reserved 2016

 

 

Fragile Lover

I met a narcissist in her natural habitat
an audience for her wit and charm
unheeding the warning
glaring neon above her head
“DO NOT FEED THE EGO”
blinded by big white teeth,
wanting only to kiss her
to bask in her glorious smile,
to be her captive
audience

until the show turned dark
she had my heart
but wasn’t sure after all
if I was young enough
or pretty enough
to introduce to her friends

and I learned
that complements can mask
insults
that the ebullient Insta-ego
recording, snapchatting,
seeking likes
protects
the most fragile kind of lover

who can simultaneously admire
and despise you
not seeing humanity,
but one’s service
to her self-esteem
damaged way back
when attachments first failed
and love never grew
and that maternal bond
broke

so here I am
the finder of broken things
having learned to turn
and walk away
my worth not defined
by a disrespectful tomboy
with a snappy suit,
a hundred silk ties
and a terrible eighties haircut

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Oh, Life

Oh, Life
Let me taste your sweet sensuality
Suck a honey drop
From your sweating brow
Surrender mortality

Let me engulf you
Beginning to end
Let me love you and leave you
And come once again

Oh, Death
How you haunt me
All these long years
Reminding me daily
To let go my fears

For you wait in the shadows
As this body grows old
With adventures unfinished
And stories untold

So I wake each new day
With this vow on my tongue
I will live well today
For I’ve only begun.

1sagefemme All Rights reserved 2016

locked

empty windows
stare blankly
at the photographer
as she shivers, waiting
for the stroller brigade
to move out of her shot;
she wants to capture the perfect quiet
of a thousand locks
clinging eternally,
many having outlasted
the original sentiment;
she wonders where the tribute
to broken locks hides,
but today,
love is beautiful

IMG_2757

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Morning

image

how can i dwell on sadness
longing to expunge the remorse
of lost friendship
blank page glaring, foreboding
when this little face
peers tentatively from behind the pixel curtain
eyes ever hopeful
for belly rubs,
mostly empty yogurt cups
or, (please, please, please) a walk in the damp sand,

she knows i’ve started…
well, once,
i’ve been running,
and yes, she’ll join me,
she’ll do anything for
a race to the shore;
my voice sets tail softly thumping
ah, Sadie, my little love,
you have ruined a perfectly
melancholy
moment
let’s go get your leash.

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

wise woman

now i am a wise woman
having learned that
i know nothing
except how to take her hand
and lead her through the maze of pressure
and blood
up the winding mountain path
urging her forward though she wants to rest
finding a safe place to shelter her
“rest now,” i whisper,”just a little,”
offering sips of water
though she is not a boxer
and this is not a ring
i am wise to the ways
of love and birth;
know that it is a worthy journey,
and she is ready
having discarded boots and gloves,
bravely digging toes into the damp earth
her fingers find purchase
in rocky places
and i am there to rub her hands,
tell her “yes, it hurts, like love,
like life, and you are strong,
your tribe is all women;”
i am blessed to make this journey
many times over
to know the terrain,
to jog along easy summer trails with
the hurried ones, birthing like breathing,
to grapple and belay up arduous cliffs
met unexpectedly, but fearlessly
by other mothers,
their brows furrowed and sweat-soaked,
but hopeful, so hopeful,
for the waiting joy;
i know all
about life,
how it hangs precious
in the gaps…
i wait for it,
coax it,
sometimes bargain with it,
i am firm with life,
commanding it,
“breathe, little one,
even if my fingers are beating your heart,
and i must force air into miniscule lungs,”
i am soft with it,
easing precious new being from warm
uterine cave,
to place on exhausted mother’s chest,
and smile,
and say,
“welcome, we have been waiting for you,”
as she crests the summit and smiles,
tears streaming down her face.

1sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

More than the sum…

More than the sum . . .

I am a mountain,
The rolling foothills
Of my soul climb,
Float,
soar
To the summit
Bursting storm clouds,
Battering my northern face.

I am a river
The rushing waters
Of my blood
Churning the earth
That cradles me,
Mother-like.

I am a wild and thorny rose
Full bloomed and fragrant
Softly, sweetly, fiercely
Defending
My
Self.

I am a woman
Grown strong in my
Weed-lot life
Meandering un-beckoned through
Fences and flagstones
Tenderly encircling
My dandelion children,
Purple loosestrife sisters,
Whispering
“Grow . . . grow . . .
For we are the creators
of life.”

1Sagefemme All Rights Reserved 2016

Sunday

Good morning Sunday!
Want to hang out in bed with me today?
We could read that stack of books
lying tantalizingly on the bedside table,
pages spread uninhibited, expectant…
Did you conspire with the puppy
to lick my face awake, excited like you haven’t seen me in a week?
Ah, the guilt.
My mom friends are already texting,
up and running after their small people,
no question of canoodling with you,
but here is the silver lining of divorce,
Sunday,
every other week we have this tryst,
and I have come to love you
again,
like when we were little and used to
hide in the basement and play
peekaboo with Dad…
And then,
remember university?
You would wrap me in a warm blanket
and whisper
“no more peach schnapps, kiddo.”
And when my firstborn came along,
that bright and pungent baby who never slept but sure could scream,
you tried to sneak away,
don’t pretend you didn’t.
You were an asshole like the rest of days then,
you acted like Monday,
but now I see it wasn’t really your fault.
Babies just don’t have any respect
for order, time, sleep,
and don’t feel bad,
Sunday,
I didn’t really notice you leave…
I was so in love, so enamoured
with that little wailing life,
that the whole world caved in;
I was so in love with that baby,
that another seemed a great idea…
A second one,
bright and pungent,
less wailing with this one,
but maybe that was me
I was an experienced mother then.
I was rosy and ignorant
of time outside the cave,
self-important like
I was the only one who ever gave birth,
And of course,
Sunday,
you know I work outside the cave
so how could we have met back then?
But today,
I see that you didn’t run off after all;
you have been waiting patiently
in the wings
all this time.

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