People-Shaped Universes by Nikita Gill
Someone once told me, We are the universe expressing itself as a human for a while.
It makes me think of every person I meet as their own little universe,
each with their own planets of thoughts and solar systems of dreams and galaxies of emotions in their bloodstreams.
People are so much bigger on the inside than they seem on the outside.
Imagine a whole world of universes constantly bumping into each other,
listening and learning, and sometimes, just sometimes,
building a perishable forever together.
Shadows by Mary Oliver
Everyone knows the great energies running amok cast terrible shadows, that each of the so-called senseless acts has its thread looping back through the world and into a human heart. And meanwhile the gold-trimmed thunder wanders the sky; the river may be filling the cellars of the sleeping town. Cyclone, fire, and their merry cousins bring us to grief—but these are the hours with the old wooden-god faces; we lift them to our shoulders like so many black coffins, we continue walking into the future. I don't mean there are no bodies in the river, or bones broken by the wind. I mean everyone who has heard the lethal train-roar of the tornado swears there was no mention ever of any person, or reason—I mean the waters rise without any plot upon history, or even geography. Whatever power of the earth rampages, we turn to it dazed but anonymous eyes; whatever the name of the catastrophe, it is never the opposite of love.
I want to say something but shame prevents me
yet if you had a desire for good or beautiful things and your tongue were not concocting some evil to say, shame would not hold down your eyes but rather you would speak about what is just
The Trees by Jericho Brown
In my front yard live three crape myrtles, crying trees We once called them, not the shadiest but soothing During a break from work in the heat, their cool sweat
Falling into us. I don't want to make more of it. I'd like to let these spindly things be Since my gift for transformation here proves
Useless now that I know everyone moves the same Whether moving in tears or moving To punch my face. A crape myrtle is
A crape myrtle. Three is a family. It is winter. They are bare. It's not that I love them Every day. It's that I love them anyway.
Last Days by Mary Oliver
Things are changing; things are starting to spin, snap, fly off into the blue sleeve of the long afternoon. Oh and ooh come whistling out of the perished mouth of the grass, as things turn soft, boil black into substance and hue. As everything, forgetting its own enchantment, whispers: I too love oblivion why not it is full of second chances. Now, hiss the bright curls of the leaves. Now! booms the muscle of the wind.
bare by Danez Smith
for you i'd send my body to battle my body, let my blood sing of tearing
itself apart, hollow cords of white knights' intravenous joust.
love, i want & barely know how to do much else. don't speak to me
about raids you could loose on me the clan of rebel cells who thirst
to watch their home burn. love let me burn if it means you
& i have one night with no barrier but skin. this isn't about danger
but about faith, about being wasted on your name. if love is a room
of broken glass, leave me to dance until my feet are memory.
if love is a hole wide enough to be God's mouth, let me plunge
into that holy dark & forget the color of light. love, stay
in me until our bodies forget what divides us, until your hands
are my hands & your blood is my blood & your name
is my name & his & his
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Tell me it was for the hunger & nothing less. For hunger is to give the body what it knows
it cannot keep. That this amber light whittled down by another war is all that pins my hand to your chest.
You, drowning between my arms— stay.
You, pushing your body into the river only to be left with yourself— stay.
Settling In by Jenny Factor
How I loved each bare floor, each naked wall, the shadows on
newly empty halls. By day, my head humming to itself of dreams, I cleaned and
scrubbed to make life new; dislodging from the corner,
the old moths and cicadas pinned to the screen, the carcasses
of grasshoppers dangling from beams, and each windowsill's clutter of
dried beetles and dead bees. But, through each opening, each closing door,
the old life returns on six legs, or spins a musty web as it roosts over
a poison pot, or descends from above to drink blood in. This is how it
happens: the settling in—the press of wilderness returns to carved-out space, to skin.
From the Greenhouse by Audre Lorde
Summer rains like my blood cries lover my lover over and over surging receding sometimes a brief sun knifing through rain like my blood speaks in alternate whispers roaring giving and taking seeking destroying beseeching green sprouts in our struggling garden blessing the earth as it suffers blind rain beating down tender sprouts in the silent mud.
My blood yells against your sleeping shoulder this is a poem of summer my blood screams at your false safety your mute body beside me driving me closer and closer you seek your own refuge farther and farther away in your dreaming the edge of our bed is approaching again rain surges against our windows green sprouts are drowning in mud and blessings in our carefully planted greenhouse I have moved as far as I can now my blood merges into your dreaming.
August by Mary Oliver
When the blackberries hang swollen in the woods, in the brambles nobody owns, I spend
all day among the high branches, reaching my ripped arms, thinking
of nothing, cramming the black honey of summer into my mouth; all day my body
accepts what it is. In the dark creeks that run by there is this thick paw of my life darting among
the black bells, the leaves; there is this happy tongue.
Queer Earth by Jess X. Snow
"Sexual expression is permitted only within marriage, between man and woman, male and female. Anything else is an abnormality and is against nature." — Pope Shenouda III
You speak of nature as if you invented it. Or gutted it & used its bones to fashion a white castle,
to keep you safe from all the animals you refuse to see.
Tonight, each grain of soil, each blade of grass, each droplet of blood is a time machine. Each cell
rewinds you four & a half billion years back in history. We were once genderless cells splitting our own bodies—
in two—now growing gills, fins and feet. 65,000 queer & trans species.
It's always mating season on planet Earth: look at the way leopard slugs
make love: upside down from trees—two penises coiling into orchids. A penetration
so mutual—it is worthy of bioluminescence.
Look at the way bonobo monkeys resolve conflict: queer polyamorous sex in the morning, evening, and afternoon.
Look at the penguins mating for life, warming the egg of another mother with the heat between their bellies.
When an oyster produces a perfect pearl: they transition from male to female. For crustaceans, gender is a border
that does not exist. Do you hear the orchestra of dolphins? Masturbating against the seabed, penetrating
each other's blow holes, as if this human history never began. If our love defies the logic of your biology,
then what is queer pleasure if not heavenly? Is this queer ocean not the tidal waves roaring
within your bloodstream? Is this queer Earth not the same carbon that birthed your flesh?
To be queer, Earth, and alive is to be hunted & marked wild. A beast banished from heaven,
a bleached coral reef, a jungle clear-cut, a planet domesticated like cattle, and butchered in the hands of machines.
Yet, our queerness is an ancient persistence. So tell me: we be against nature.
& our bones will remember— we've been queer for 3.6 billion springs,
summers, falls & winters. & even after your infant empire
collapses into dust, we will still be queer.
Coping by Audre Lorde
It has rained for five days running the world is a round puddle of sunless water where small islands are only beginning to cope a young boy in my garden is bailing out water from his flower patch when I ask him why he tells me young seeds that have not seen sun forget and drown easily.
From the Chrysalis by Emily Dickinson
MY cocoon tightens, colors tease, I'm feeling for the air; A dim capacity for wings Degrades the dress I wear.
A power of butterfly must be The aptitude to fly, Meadows of majesty concedes And easy sweeps of sky.
So I must baffle at the hint And cipher at the sign, And make much blunder, if at last I take the clew divine.
Fragments of Sappho, by Anne Carson
105A as the sweetapple reddens on a high branch high on the highest branch and the apple pickers forgot--- no, not forgot: were unable to reach
105B like the hyacinth in the mountains that shepherd men with their feet trample down and in the ground the purple flower