What kind of lesbian would I be if I were born today?

two women kissing while wrapped in rainbow flag
Photo by Karina Irias on Pexels.com

I see your pictures on social media

a part of me is envious

of your freedom

even though women many years before

either of us

had absolutely no freedom and only those

with enough money could consider taking

a woman as their lover

it is hard to imagine

each generation I suspect

forgets the sacrifices of the last

cannot envision a time when

it was illegal to love

my experience was never that awful

I had freedoms many women still do not possess

and I am grateful for that

but sometimes when I see your

youthful face and the grace with which you accept love

how natural and easy it feels

I recall how I began

hiding in dark bars, trying to fit in, failing

never one to play endless games of poker face

I didn’t fit in with my own kind then

but if I’d been you

born in the sun with your turquoise eyes like the Donovan song

I might have had on my arm

a whole host of dreams and not

dabbled in boys for a few futile and unhappy years or

felt I couldn’t have had children and let

my fear and my constraint decide for me

the future

you are the age my daughter might be

and I would like to think I’d have

done all you have done had I been born

in a time of greater acceptance where

women who love women can grow their hair

and not have to cling to stereotypes or subterfuge

carrying knots of shame and confusion

like blankets never stretched out and slept on

I would have gotten a tattoo and maybe

been less shy and apologetic

I remember at 18 that’s all I seemed to do

sorry to my family for not having turned out straight

sorry to my friends for being the odd one out

sorry to the gays on the march who thought

with my dresses and my long tresses I was a weekend

lesbian

if they only knew

what it took and what I sacrificed

maybe they understand now

but we’re all a little older and

you don’t recapture what you felt at 18

you remember it like a language

I spoke the language of trial and error

I suspect you speak the language of love

just a little freer

so forgive me if I envy you as you walk past me

hand in hand, laughing, the edges of your hair

hitting your waist

like a Summer tidal wave.

SMITTEN – This is What Love Looks Like – Poetry by women for women – an anthology of poetry published by Indie Blu(e) will be out OCTOBER 2019 and available through all good book sellers. Please consider following SMITTEN’s FB page at https://www.facebook.com/SMITTENwomen/

If you are interested in supporting this project in any way please contact me @ candicedaquin@gmail.com. All LGBTQ projects are a little more challenging to succeed and we want the 120_+ poets who have work in SMITTEN to be read by many! Indie Blu(e) and their submissions rules can be found at www.indieblu.net69885770_486778818770380_803119555336470528_n

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All they saw

All they saw were moments left by those who came before

Not knowing what they meant or who they were

Lain in their waterpainted graves like matryoshka dolls

Did they grieve like us, whetting their knives on totems?

To understand those things that cannot be understood

A child breathing her last, in dimmed swaddling

The ache of old age, enveloping once limber athlete

Love crumpled like fallen leaves, forgotten beneath

Did they yearn to be special? Noticed? Relevant?

Or glide invisibly through spun sheets of glass

Like early morning bakers rising their bread

Grown stale by afternoon, becoming food for birds

Such circles clasped in ever decreasing circles

Worn as sea pearls on mermaids smooth throats

Were they kind? Merciful? Fearful? Incomplete?

The sight of tilled soil and ruined land cleared of living green

Did it bury the same arrow in their quincing conscience?

Will time gently lay a wreath of forgetfulness?

Over their efforts as if never and not, their lives

Extinguished in a long roll of time and bundled up

To lie beside other oxidizing keepsakes and memories

Til the last person who remembered, was no more

So much existing, lost in favor of the clamoring now

All they saw were moments left by those who came before

One shall remain unseen

tumblr_m1x0zblvdv1qa8m3eo1_1280

The owl

left gouges to your scalp

without a mouth

you spoke

do not go my way child

learn from error the better path

where? where granny?

behind you

where? where granny?

in front of you

where? where granny?

beside you

where? where granny?

she stood in formation an army of past

familiar eyes different words

don’t go my way, forge your own

inherit nothing of madness left to roam

your genes like spirits grown too wild

avoid the drink it gives you ghosts

spare the rod, saturate desire

lust for obliteration and self immolation

my reality makes shoes disappear under beds

the ache of springs unused to their test

it is our code to set fire to the best of ourselves

stay your hand as it passes

the naked flame

see into my cinders

another method for staying sane

when you itch … when you wish

to fling yourself into oblivion

think of me

cold and dead

this is not your future yet

you have pockets heavy with planting

get to it, press deeper the iron into soil

until you pull out the old roots taking space

make room for new

it is the labor of the faithful

tiring and requiring patience

do not forget to reach in deep

for just when you think you’ve got the last

one shall remain

unseen

Here be dragons

13244756_10201533221849886_2387985189239620483_nWhat did you want to be when you were grown up?

it is said you never forget

I know I wanted to be a dragon

but after that things grow foggy

there was never a goal

something structure is supposed to impose

let loose to grow weed-like in the wild

perhaps we were the last generation

to escape without our P’s and Q’s

permitted to cop out and climb slanted roof tops

where smoking stunted your growth and

lying watching clouds with coffee breath

was all the dream necessary

it would be nice to know

what I thought of the future

where I would be and how

if I did not learn a craft or create direction

from the figments of wide skies

what did I think would happen?

perhaps when you deny reality

it can go too far

you never pause the game

imagining it is just a matter of time

before other dragons come from the sky

and take you with them

Ode to a former eating disorder

4aaa633391cd85cb22d2ded208bc71dcDarkling

I write thee in remembrance

for fourscore years you kept me prisoner

and I held you in esteem

(purge the love / hate the sin)

like any love affair we only broke up

when I wiped the vaseline from the lens

distortion revealing her bent

a thin and lost emotion

buried like an apricot stone

in the pit of my stomach

where a wan tree grew

and nourished me toward

the sky

sometimes I am reminded

of the tight hold you had

like reigns on a horse will

cause them to drive ever forward

even when removed

 

Fermented

dbb8e6a2f03166ae5c27a2b3bce546d4She told me

it is written

memory controls pain

once forgotten it takes a mountain

to revisit it again

or a certain pair of eyes

that retracing back

remind you of the eyes you loved

when you were youthful, fat on luck

and she did not have what it took to

return the emotion

she told me

it is written

memory controls pain

you can rinse out your glass

dry it in the hot Texan air

smelling of ancho chile and fertilizer

and it will not sprout again

until you are ready to expunge the day

start over with blank slate

she said this

because it was her way

to forget what she needed

rewind the silky tape

press erase

and I did not share this propensity

nor was I able

to shine her out of my hide

she had grown long claws

they stitched inside the cry

we both denied

in our modest pin tuck blouses

and matching bobby socks

turned down once

a slight lemon frill

sensible and cloaked

the passion stucco and quiet

tasted like strawberries

fermented in hot palms

drunk over crushed ice