Poetry

TheLoverPurple

Celie
Was right to LOVE Shug and

Shug
Was right to be SCARED of

LOVING her back

After Sappho

This is an “after” poem in response to Sappho’s “He is more than a hero”.

Woman with wax tablets and stylus (so-called “Sappho”)

 

The man sits beside you,
a protective playful arm
draped over what can only be
mine when the stage lights turn off;
both our hero and the villain.

I sit still on the opposite couch,
holding a pillow embroidered God is Good!
only moving to accept each plate of cake or fruit
your mother offers from the kitchen,
praying the sugar on top is not salt.

Onto the stage she comes- again-
with the unnecessary second tray
of sweet plantains, hoping to catch us
holding hands or sacrificing babies-
whatever it is people like us do.

Then stage right, Prince Charming stands up.
His part played so perfectly, even I am fooled,
when his lips pucker out to meet yours
for the grand finale,
and my throat tries to swallow my tongue.

The curtain closes on the image of
your mother, smiling from the kitchen.

If he stays, death isn’t far from me.
If he goes, death isn’t far from you.

 

V.

that black girl is going to Howard
after she sat and waited
and waited and sat
traveled to Minnesota
where they told her to wait and sit some more
even went to the dry places that rains with sweat
where they told her “no“
but wanting it so badly
needing to get what she needed
she resumed her sitting and waiting
she even thought about running back to the palace and settling upon a random thrown
but with faith she sat and waited
and she got it cause she waited

for it to find her

she’s off to Howard
because she gots to go
cause she sat and listened
cause we need her
and we don’t just need her anywhere
because she waited
and was not moved so easily
she saved it

her destiny that is

for what she and where she
was supposed to be
that black girl hailing from the palace of Queens
is going to Howard with fellow queens and kings
there she goes
smile and wave

smile and waive

 

Succession

a painting of a river running through a mountainous valley. In the foreground there is a human skull, a crown, and some other artifacts. The image is overlaid with the following poem: We must own this grief we have inherited And wear the skulls of the queens that came before us as crowns Raise them high, honored, and remembered Raise them high as we must hold our own heads Raise them high- Raise Hell

We must own this grief we have inherited 

And wear the skulls of the queens that came before us as crowns

Raise them high, honored, and remembered 

Raise them high as we must hold our own heads

Raise them high- 

Raise Hell

 

I wrote this poem about a year ago.  I’m still pretty happy with it.  It’s a good segue, I think, from Pride Month into Wrath Month.  I thought it also deserved a painting, so I played with watercolor and pulled out some acrylics for the first time in a while. We can’t forget that trans women of color are the foundation of the movement, and we must honor them and the others who have fought and fallen in our community. And we can’t stop fighting.

To give credit where credit is due, the skulls as crowns line was inspired by Chrysanthemum Tran’s spoken word poem, “Vampires.” It’s heavy.

IV.

you ever wake up
too tired
too sleepy
too exhausted
to brush your teeth

but you do it anyway
out of fear
of what people might think

sorta like the straight people
that see gays and trans folks
being beat and say

 absolutely nothing

or a cold dreary day
where no rain or snow falls
and everyone calls that day

beautiful

like those who ask

why do we hurt the ones whom we love 

while in the process of hurting them

death of the author

every time i try to write poetry, it sounds the same. 

 

procrastinating) fucking with my fingernails and that’s rust not dirt that’s 

from last night, i never minded needles but sometimes i 

still have to get drunk to make myself do the shot and then it 

bleeds bleeds bleeds 

like (not enough of) an exchange 

 

in every mousehole/trashcan/outhouse/pillbottle where i almost glimpse profundity it 

turns out to be another hidden mirror and jesus christ, 

i’ve seen enough of “my” own face i’ve seen 

enough 

already 

 

my favorite scenes to write (genre:fantasy) were ones with daggers (“darksilver”) 

and jewels and mead and gossamer and sacrificial lambs and 

“holy” water and “green” moss and 

CISGENDER men and CISGENDER women i was always 

enchanted by the idea of eating one’s fill. 

 

all art is quite useless but it is so exhausting to think that 

the artist is as well.

XV.

maybe
after the coffee house

when I’m finished drinking
my double shots of espresso

with one pump of vanilla
and warm coconut milk

maybe

I’ll be tired of being alone
and I’ll come home to you

and you’ll still be waiting
because you know

that learning me means
knowing being alone is important

but it is also my own downfall
you’ll trust that I’ll catch myself

maybe

I might come home a little before you
and wait to see you smile at me

‘(Not) Unlike Stone’

(on becoming stone femme)

There is a toughness you see yourself build,

Your spirit worn, but kicking.

You feel your skin thicken,

Not unlike stone.

 

I don’t think they’ve noticed how hardened I’ve gotten

with the warmth and compassion I still show to the world

But I keep my eyes open, and like ice

I freeze myself solid

or boil to steam.

 

I have seen myself, the woman I have become

I have seen her, and she is not unlike stone.

The ice-cold femme, the hot-blooded dyke;

Frigid or searing.

 

And I don’t think they’ve noticed how jaded i’ve gotten,

the world that we live in is too cold a place.

Though I keep my heart open I push far too hard

and I’ll burn myself out

or I will freeze.

 

There are many things that I will never experience

I hope that love will not be one of them.

That maybe ice, unlike stone

Can be melted.

 

Translucence

murky storm clouds

 drifting over a pride parade

 

muted conversations

 beneath a firework display

 

flirty interactions

 on tentative replay

 

a kiss on the cheek

 instead of being brave

 

blush strokes upon skin

 before truth fades away

 

A Page From My Diary

He said he never liked poetry

Until he heard me speak

Until he saw me be

Powerful

Said it make him think about thangz

Make him feel weird

Make him care about how he feels

Said the way I speak

The way I blend words

Remind him of his momma

Comma