Like many of you I imagine, I have known oceans of grief in my life, but also, I think, oceans of joy and love and healing. After so many heartbreaks, I have returned to life, by shades. Healing almost sneaked up on me! But she came and faithfully turned my mourning into dancing, my ashes into beauty, and my brokenness into something whole. And out of that healing, a few years ago I began to feel that I have finally reached a point in my life where I am fed by the poetry of my own soul, and it is a state I cherish. And, as I have had a number of women say how much they enjoyed my writing, found it moving, and would like to see more, here I am. Showing up. So we’ll see what happens.
I love the power of language to unite, to provide companionship, both in times of suffering and in times of celebration, making a sort of silent community of readers and writers across time and space. It is my deep wish that something in the stories of my soul will resonate in yours, that somehow you might find some hope, some courage, some joy to soothe your soul should it be aching. And if you are in a place of celebration, I hope you will find some of these lines express some of your exultant heart, too.
Here are the ‘nearly’ final versions of various poems and thoughts I’ve written. I hope that your kindred soul may find some nourishment here, too. (: No telling how long it will take till I am as satisfied with it all. This too, like emotional health, I think, is eked out in increments barely discernible day by day, change becoming apparent only after months or years have passed, looking back.
In Garrison Keillor’s introduction to his anthology, “Good Poems,” he writes, “The love of language is the love of truth . . . a fundamental connection to our fellows and is a basis of true civility.” (p. xxv).
I think it is this spiritual truth encapsulated in language that is the glorious stuff out of which we weave our most lovely relationships and identities, like embroidered tapestries that keep us warm, while at the same time adorning the inner walls of our souls with a beauty that also feeds us.
I used to write so much more about death, grief, and heartbreak. I have found, in reading reams of lesbian poetry over the last year, that many other people, too, write, it would seem, to exorcise themselves of pain. So much lesbian poetry is so dark! And God knows we need that ‘bearing witness’ kind of poetry. But I kept asking myself, where also, is the joy?? Where is the celebration of all that it means to be lesbian and, sometimes even, in love!? After so many installments of healing, I think I personally am finally moving beyond needing words primarily to choke out the toxins in my soul. (I’m sure there will be other heartbreak to talk about, but it shall not be my bread and butter). Perhaps that was defensive poetry writing, reacting to pain.
But if I go on the offense and wage war against the darkness (can I do this nonviolently? as an instrument of peace?), I believe I can rage against it by generating light with my thoughts and my writing. Light to be shared, not just stingily soaked up, sequestered in my own little selfish solarium. (: For as I have written elsewhere, in the secret garden of my heart, I am growing light. . . and I mean to distribute it far and wide. (: Sometimes I will write about pain, but most of all I want to write about healing and joy, about all there is to celebrate in, especially, our lesbian lives.
In Anne Sexton’s poem, “Welcome Morning,” she begins and ends with joy, the last line staying with me, “The joy that isn’t shared, I’ve heard, dies young.” So I’m sharing, friend. (: It is the sharing, I think, that makes life delicious. (:
So as you read, I wish you peace . . . and joy,
And grace unfolding like a luxurious, fragrant flower,