Do you remember when we met in Gomorrah? When you were still beardless, and I would oil my hair in the lamp light before seeing you, when we were young, and blushed with youth like bruised fruit. Did we care then what our neighbors did in the dark?
When our first daughter was born on the River Jordan, when our second cracked her pink head from my body like a promise, did we worry what our friends might be doing with their tongues?
What new crevices they found to lick love into or strange flesh to push pleasure from, when we called them Sodomites then, all we meant by it was neighbor.
When the angels told us to run from the city, I went with you, but even the angels knew that women always look back. Let me describe for you, Lot, what your city looked like burning since you never turned around to see it.
Sulfur ran its sticky fingers over the skin of our countrymen. It smelled like burning hair and rancid eggs. I watched as our friends pulled chunks of brimstone from their faces. Is any form of loving this indecent?
Cover your eyes tight, husband, until you see stars, convince yourself you are looking at Heaven.
Because any man weak enough to hide his eyes while his neighbors are punished for the way they love deserves a vengeful god.
I would say these things to you now, Lot, but an ocean has dried itself on my tongue. So instead I will stand here, while my body blows itself grain by grain back over the Land of Canaan. I will stand here and I will watch you run.
dead to me now, all dead to me dying again and again with each telling you agony kings you you you false martyrs who ran for the door just before the check came.
damn the timing and bless it too america loves her sons who die before their turn to cash in stay dead, you’re beautiful there (that’s where we love you best).
there is some gory ballet in the way we tell the details of the crash the car, the party, the necklace. there is some physical release at the punchline: only half a mile from home. just signed the record deal. body so far gone he was identified only by the padlock around his neck. we take something from the site every time we speak of it. some shell some piece of twisted metal to slip in our pocket, some clue that might be crucial to the police yet we take it anyway (like vultures, like rats). this private grief hung in hung in public as if it proves something about us how much we knew of his life how close we must have been to him (closer than you, motherfucker, closer than you).
what god stole your hunger? who demands this reduction to vertebrae? it’s a specific treason, a case worth losing, nobody can hear you with fingers or sticks between your lips, nobody loves you in the bathroom, everyone’s in the kitchen again, this is my body, broken for you, take and eat
the appearance of bones is not a miracle of the flesh (take and eat) what do your visions say? who marries you in the dream, Christ slipping a ring on my thin second finger, my shorn hair all over the floor, gold for gold, I was six when he first came for me, who insists on this full-body stigmata,
how long have you been paying this penance? are you ready to die for this? martyrdom’s a pretty notion until you’re nose to nose with it and nothing to be done, the body rejecting water, salt, fish, when you realize the devil’s the one who wants you small, who told you the pus of a cancer was wine, said
sip, swallow, this is my blood, transubstantiation in three degrees, when you have given your good body to a lie Mary, when your bones turn to whispers they will bury you under a stone that did not ask to be a stone, we do not ask to be but we are and to live, Mary, to swear on everything holy that these bodies are not vessels
but gifts, that’s the trick, to be an altar and not another sacrifice, for what are you atoning? who is your eucharist? I made men believe. brought a condemned man to faith and caught his severed head in my hands, beguine or not you have hands, a throat, the world doesn’t need
another dead-thin girl, your suffering is not special, offered up to magazine covers and lip gloss endorsements, thousands flocked to confession after I preached in public squares, what are you winning? my mistake was believing the body meant nothing, yours the opposite – Mary meaning bitter, Katherine meaning pure, Christ and I died at 33, anvils
for the world’s beatings, vessels of the world’s sins, glue your brittled bones into the face of a god who bids you eat, our bodies broken into bread at your feet, chicory, water lily, do this for you, rosemary, asphodel, do this in remembrance of me.
Most of you know of my UNDYING LOVE AND ADMIRATION for Stone Telling (Rose and Shweta are the kindest editors I’ve ever worked with!). ST has a new chapbook out called Here We Cross and here’s the blurb:
“Here, We Cross” collects twenty-two queer and genderfluid poems from the digital pages of Stone Telling magazine. This chapbook is a celebration of speculative poetry that is diverse and varied; here you will find poems with speakers or protagonists who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, genderqueer, trans*, asexual, and neutrois; speakers who struggle with the body and the society’s imposed readings of that body. It is a painful book, a triumphant book, full of works that soar and breathe and live. Just like us.
If you can, go ahead and buy the book — it’s a fantastic collection. Signal boosts will be warmly appreciated too!
Thank you! <3
And, seconded, signal boosts would be really appreciated. We’d like to break even on HWC and show that it’s POSSIBLE to feature queer spec poetry.
After the praying, after the hymn-singing, After the sermon’s trenchant commentary On the world’s ills, which make ours secondary, After communion, after the hand wringing, And after peace descends upon us, bringing Our eyes up to regard the sanctuary And how the light swords through it,…