“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
— Rumi
“I’m not sad, but the boys who are looking for sad girls always find me. I’m not a girl anymore and I’m not sad anymore. You want me to be a tragic backdrop so that you can appear to be illuminated, so that people can say ‘Wow, isn’t he so terribly brave to love a girl who is so obviously sad?’ You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.”
— Warsan Shire
“I’ve got a
lot of good

ideas but not

one that

will get me

— Eileen Myles

Love, Maybe

in the middle
of our bloodiest battles
you lay down your arms
like flowering mines

to conquer me home.

Audre Lorde

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
I give myself five days to forget you.
on the first day I rust.
on the second I wilt.
on the third day I sit with friends but I think about your tongue.
I clean my room on the fourth day. I clean my body on the fourth day.
I try to replace your scent on the fourth day. 
the fifth day, I adorn myself like the mouth of an inmate.
A wedding singer dressed in borrowed gold.
The midas of cheap metal.
tinsel in the middle of summer.
crevice glitter, two days after the party.
I glow the way unwanted things do,
a neon sign that reads;
come, I still taste like someone else’s mouth.
— Warsan Shire
“Lately, the world swivels at will and I find I shut my eyes tight.”
— Virginia Woolf, in an excerpt from “Selected Diaries


Is it the long dry grass that is so erotic,
waving about us with hair-fine fronds of straw,
with feathery flourishes of seed, inviting us
to cling together, fall, roll into it
blind and gasping, smothered by stalks and hair,
pollen and each other’s tongues on our hot faces?
Then imagine if the summer rain were to come,
heavy drops hissing through the warm air,
a sluice on our wet bodies, plastering us with strands of delicious grass; a hum in our ears

We walk a yard apart, talking
of literature and of botany.
We have known each other, remotely, for nineteen years.

Fleur Adcock

Stop Being So Religious

Do sad people have in

It seems
They have all built a shrine
To the past
And often go there
And do a strange wail and

What is the beginning of
It is to stop being
So religious
Like That.

Hafiz, as rendered by Daniel Ladinsky

Maybe poems are made of breath, the way water,
cajoled to boil, says, This is my soul, freed.”

—  Dean Young in an excerpt from Scarecrow on Fire

painting by Bill Bate