Monthly Archives: October 2012

blessing the boats
lucille clifton

(at St. Mary’s)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back      may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that


“you should write what you want to forget, not what you want to remember.” -sandra cisneros

putting together a new manuscript, i’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to write with the intent to compile, to piece together personal and community histories, and the risks we run in that pursuit. i’ve found that in the process of challenging myself to write what i really need to, i’m pushing myself into unchartered (or avoided?) emotional territories. i’ve chastised myself for writing easy poems. or relegating myself to what i know i do well: the lonely queer nyc poem. i don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong or inauthentic in getting these out, but i think i know i need to carve into the other elements that interact with #queer, #city, #identity. that means, #family, #trauma, #memory. aaaaand, that’s scary. the kinds of questions i have are, how do we take care of ourselves when taking the first steps in that direction? what structures of personal care do we need to have in place in order to go there? i guess what i’m saying is, that i am beginning to legitimize my hesitation in taking on those subjects. i am beginning to sludge through the mess of it, though, and it’s been a whirlwind of emotions. i haven’t decided if it’s worth it yet, to “open up a can of worms.”

i do know that as difficult as it’s been to read poems that take on the burden of speaking trauma and how it lives in the body and landscape, of taping together the fragments of memory and experience, i have felt more on edge, but also less alone. i know that because i can relate to these voices where quietness blares, where interstices are long, where some facts don’t come out, that there’s a place for my own voice there. because they make so much sense and resonate so powerfully. so, that makes me know the process is important and valuable, however harrowing. and if i can feel the least bit healed by the attempts of other folks in speaking their stories, then something positive must come from my own?