Poetry, religion, queer things, and sometimes all three at once!
Inspired by "Sanctuary" by Mother Falcon
There is too much bad writing about cigarettes.
There is too much bad writing about the color red.
There is too much bad writing about rumpled bed sheets
and sunlight and smoke and spines and art museums and
Dear Lord absolve me for I am guilty of all of it.
Once in the seventh grade I read a poem, written by a girl
I had a crush on that involved bluebirds holding
their congregational meetings on some telephone wire out in the suburbs.
I’ve written a lot of poems about birds
as if by doing so I could give back to her
an image worthy of a fluttering stomach.
There is too much bad writing by
people I’ve had crushes on
and I take comfort in that
because it shows I’m capable of loving someone
against my better judgment, including
myself. I’d rather live in a world where, for any feeling
that nestles into my brain’s chemicals
there are a thousand bad poems about bed sheets
and cigarettes and the moon’s
to describe it
than a world where there is only one good poem
that could never describe all of them.
I still take sanctuary in poems about bluebirds
and suburban sunsets.
No amount of bad writing
could make them any less lovely.
My parents first Christmas together
my dad gave my mother a mechanical hand mixer, said
Chicago may be a twelve hour drive from your hometown
but I will give everything you need
to make mashed potatoes like your mom used to.
Since then I was destined to view food
as a singular expression of love.
See, I hated being unable to fill
the souls of friends and lovers with
even the most natural warmth so I filled
their stomachs instead. Even if I can’t use my hands
to construct sanctuaries around your fraying
arteries I can use them
to make all manner of cakes and cookies I can make myself
your home for a time. If you want it.
If you want it I will make my hands
useful for you.
Early January I watched snow
temples on Chicago street corners
and I made King Cake for the first time.
I stained my hands with orange peels, painted
my finger nails with spices. I reminded myself
that I can make winter nights glow
with the safety light
of a warm oven, make bread
rise in carbohydrate exhalations, make
stomachs full again.
And that is something sacred
and ancient and I may not be able to fill
the too many aches in
God’s stomach, but I can make myself
sweet as faith. And I can make that
count for something.
We talked about the bechdel test
How nuns are used in porn
And then sr L and I decided that if there was a sitcom about two nuns they had to own a lesbian barSaid sitcom would be called ‘bar nun’
I WANT IT NOW
Inspired by “Hell’s Heroes” by Empires
Last night I dreamt your body was the Great Chicago Fire.
Darling, you were licking up Michigan Avenue, you were kissing
the slaughterhouses in dangerous flirtations, you were sighing
to the Lake with a holy
hunger. I watched you swallow
six churches, two temples and one mosque
and still try to singe the tips of God’s toes
with the Molotov cocktail of your lips.
Last night I dreamt I was a skyscraper
built a hundred years too late
to crumble in your heat.
Sometimes summer twists humid promise knots
out of my window screen and I wake up, drenched
in anxious sweat, lost
and penitent. The pit of my stomach suicide dives
and suddenly the city is on fire and I cry out
because I do not know if it is you or not.
Is it you
self-immolating again above the churches
as if Elijah himself had raised you from the dirt?
or has your hunger been satiated?
I will not sleep tonight.
Instead I will watch my sweat evaporate
into the mist processing off the Lake.
I will watch God’s city pick up the second-hand smoke
of its tenants’ insomnia until we are all
coughing up the dreams we wish we’d had
the night before.
Are your dreams filled with smoking houses and
skyscrapers tonight? Are you dreaming of me
in your holy heat?