Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Black Unicorn

By Audre Lorde

The black unicorn is greedy.
The black unicorn is impatient.
The black unicorn was mistaken
for a shadow or symbol
and taken
through a cold country
where mist painted mockeries
of my fury.
It is not on her lap where the horn rests
but deep in her moonpit
growing.
The black unicorn is restless
the black unicorn is unrelenting
the black unicorn is not
free.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A manifesto

By Karen Estrella

After Joshua Bennett 

 “Say it” you command
sing it

and yet
I seem to have lost my voice
I seem to have lost
The very thread
That I wrapped around my finger
So that I wouldn’t forget

That I am beautiful
That you are worthy
Of trust

The very thread
That runs through my
Story
What is my story?

Make it
You say
Take it
You say
Trust the process

You say

And yet
Trust
is a word
that sounds so trite
in my ears

I cannot even trust
What I hear
From inside my own heart

Oh, and I am deaf too
My ear drums
Have been silenced

The ramparts red glare
The bombs bursting in air
Have seemed to burst those
Drums in my ears

I cannot find myself
In the American dream
I have become a zombie

The night of the living dead
Has become my default station

My waylay
My way
stay

Maybe there are drums
That can talk to my soul
That can wake up my heart

Voodoo drums
Like those that
Frankie sang about
Do do that voodoo
That you do so well

Do something to me

Make me
Wake me
Shake me

What will it
take me
To revive

To revise
This script
I can’t seem to
stray from

I can’t seem to
Unbind myself
Undo myself
From this mistrust

This mistake
I’ve staked my heart upon

This misappropriation of funds
I have mislaid

I am spent

Too tired
I am tired
Of trying
Of living
This dream
That promised me
The pursuit of happiness

I seem only to have
Been given the pursuit
I have been hunted down
By my ghosts

I have been
Held up
By my kin folk

They sit there
With their accusing finger
Pointed
at my heart

You are not
Entitled
To an endless supply

You are not
Entitled
To the right
To speak your mind

You are not
Entitled

To a voice
That speaks American

You are not
Entitled
To spend your trust
On something
You cannot name
You cannot speak
You cannot keep
Making
Something
Out of nothing

Make it
You say
Take it
You say
Trust the process
You say

And yet
Trust
is a word
that sounds so trite
in my ears

Friday, October 23, 2015

Peaches

By Adrienne Su

A crate of peaches straight from the farm
has to be maintained, or eaten in days.
Obvious, but in my family, they went so fast,
I never saw the mess that punishes delay.

I thought everyone bought fruit by the crate,
stored it in the coolest part of the house,
then devoured it before any could rot.
I'm from the Peach State, and to those

who ask But where are you from originally,
I'd like to reply The homeland of the peach,
but I'm too nice, and they might not look it up.
In truth, the reason we bought so much

did have to do with being Chinese-at least
Chinese in that part of America, both strangers
and natives on a lonely, beautiful street
where food came in stackable containers

and fussy bags, unless you bothered to drive
to the source, where the same money landed
a bushel of fruit, a twenty-pound sack of rice.
You had to drive anyway, each house surrounded

by land enough to grow your own, if lawns
hadn't been required. At home I loved to stare
into the extra freezer, reviewing mountains
of foil-wrapped meats, cakes, juice concentrate,
mysterious packets brought by house guests
from New York Chinatown, to be transformed
by heat, force, and my mother's patient effort,
enough to keep us fed through flood or storm,
provided the power stayed on, or fire and ice
could be procured, which would be labor-intensive,
but so was everything else my parents did.
Their lives were labor, they kept this from the kids,

who grew up to confuse work with pleasure,
to become typical immigrants' children,
taller than their parents and unaware of hunger
except when asked the odd, perplexing question.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Yad Mordechai

Yad Mordechai. Those who fell here 
 still look out the windows like sick children
who are not allowed outside to play.
And on the hillside, the battle is reenacted
for the benefit of hikers and tourists. Soldiers of thin sheet iron
rise and fall and rise again. Sheet iron dead and a sheet iron life
and the voices all—sheet iron. And the resurrection of the dead,
sheet iron that clangs and clangs.

And I said to myself: Everyone is attached to his own lament
as to a parachute. Slowly he descends and slowly hovers
until he touches the hard place.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Queer

By Frank Bidart

Lie to yourself about this and you will
forever lie about everything.


Everybody already knows everything

so you can
lie to them. That's what they want.

But lie to yourself, what you will

lose is yourself. Then you
turn into them.

For each gay kid whose adolescence

was America in the forties or fifties
the primary, the crucial

scenario

forever is coming out—
or not. Or not. Or not. Or not. Or not.

Involuted velleities of self-erasure.

Quickly after my parents
died, I came out. Foundational narrative

designed to confer existence.

If I had managed to come out to my
mother, she would have blamed not

me, but herself.

The door through which you were shoved out
into the light

was self-loathing and terror
.

Thank you, terror!

You learned early that adults' genteel
fantasies about human life

were not, for you, life. You think sex

is a knife
driven into you to teach you that.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

By Sally Wen Mao

In Lijiang, the sign outside your hostel
       glares: Ride alone, ride alone, ride
alone — it taunts you for the mileage
       of your solitude, must be past
thousands, for you rode this plane
      alone, this train alone, you'll ride
this bus alone well into the summer night,
      well into the next hamlet, town,
city, the next century, as the trees twitch
     and the clouds wane and the tides
quiver and the galaxies tilt and the sun
    spins us another lonely cycle, you'll

wonder if this compass will ever change.
   The sun doesn't need more heat,
so why should you? The trees don't need
   to be close, so why should you?  

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