poem: devil’s doorbell

Written 12.7.20 when I first heard the phrase “ring the devil’s doorbell.” I don’t usually write fiction poems, so I was surprised when I started writing sequels to this! Which worked out well, as this was supposed to be sexy, but has since turned into a 4+ poem slow burn. 🤷🏻‍♀️ The working title for the series as a whole is “courting a devil.” Or maybe “courting the devil”? We’ll see. Cross-posted to IG.

This poem also contains references:

  • the patriarchy description is a riff on bell hooks’ description
  • the title of Rebecaa Solnit’s Paradise Built in Hell (despite having not read it though)
  • a goat who survived a California fire
  • a church that was spared during a California fires

And mood inspiration taken from the following songs:

  • The Devil Went Down to Georgia
  • Barnaby Bright’s Highway 9
  • Zoë Yungmi Blank’s Bay Rim

they told me,
not to go down to Georgia,
that if I was looking, for a
good ol’ time, I needed to
find the oasis in the middle of hell,
and ring the devil’s doorbell.

now, there are a lot of places
that are hell. the first place I looked
was between me and the
white supremacist cis hetero capitalist ableist
patriarchy, but conceptual hells, found in
empty spaces and worn out places
were a bit too hard.

so next, I looked to the people I loved most,
because it’s always been easiest to
bare my ugly, to be cruel, to those
I loved; I learned that one from my mother,
so I also searched in the tangled family roots,
bound up in blood, salt water, and stale
airplane air. and while I didn’t find
the oasis I was looking for, I did find
a skeleton key. and I let out all those family
ghosts, skeletons in the closets, and watched for where they flew.

I tried for something more literal next.
I drove on down the one-o-one, past
blackened hills, california côte-rôtie,
appellation d’origine protégée, because we
protected our forests too well, and now our bodies
are so much tinder, waiting for red flag warnings that
we’ll just ignore. I found the spot, next to the church, where that goat
laid on down and was spared the inferno’s grasp.
grass is growing here again; they’re rebuilding what was destroyed,
laying wreaths of flowers on the cross, as if the fire
won’t ever come again. so I laid on down, and

there, I pressed my lips to the ground,
and the devil christened me with the taste of salt –
I remembered the fear in my bones,
the tremble in my hips telling me to run,
the beat of my blood, declaring how much I wanted this,
the triumph of claiming this body, this life as mine,
and I opened my mouth, my self to it with relish,
and vowed I’d always run my tongue along desire,
and sink my teeth into pleasure, and never let it go.

poem: until the sheets

Crossposted from IG. Written 10.20.21. Inspired by conversations with friends about dating people whose feminism fell short. The Janelle Monáe quote is from Many Moons (lyrics here).


You
came into my life
too good to be true,
wearing a feminist shirt and quoting bell hooks
and Maya Angelou – that made my mouth water
more than any shirtless selfie could’ve. You
swept me off my feet,
long talks turned long
dinners turned long
midnight hours. I
spent many a witching hour with you.

I have spent many a new moon, seeding my intentions,
been dreaming of a love that makes life sweeter.
So I began spinning dreams of you
on new moons too, side by side with me.

I loved letting my hands touch you,
knowing you chose to be here with me,
that I could make a claim on your time.
But when you slid outta that feminist shirt,
I wonder if you slid outta your feminism too.
Your pillowtalk was what you had learned
from luminaries like Grace Lee and adrienne maree,
your sisters and aunties and nameless exes.
(if we broke up, despite what we taught each other,
would I just be another nameless ex?)
And you began joking it wasn’t a big deal,
if I skipped my nightly meds if it meant more time with you.
Something was planted in me then.

Somehow, your
promise to read Alex Elle with me,
never happened. And you
began asking if we could stop using a barrier during sex,
even though I had said I only did that with in-it-to-win-it
in-it-for-the-long-haul lovers, and you
hadn’t even told your friends we were together. You
never told anyone, not even me, if were dating,
even though I’d asked and asked during our
six hour conversations about sex, feminism,
and cable TV shows of the 90s.
And something grew in me when
in public, your
tenderness was nowhere to be found.

So when I told my best friend about you, about how you
wouldn’t hold my hand at the grocery store,
and when you
saw my face, you
promised to make it up to me in private.
She took my hand in broad daylight and said,
“You deserve someone who loves you
and makes it clear to you, who does not make you doubt.
And I am here with you.”
The warmth she gave me was different from the
longing I had for you. I
cannot love you for who I want you to be, I
cannot love you for the potential I see with you.
I can only love you for who you are now,
for how you treat me now.

I remembered that I’d heard you
have many conversations
not just with me but with other starry-eyed people
about the state of feminism. But I’d never heard you
say that you are the harvest of
more women, femmes, and
celestial mermaid fairies than you could count.
And when you sing to the masses of
the beautiful bloom that you are, you
do not mention the hands that sowed
you, do no thank the hands that nurtured
you, do not apologize to the hands that
were stung and swollen by your nettles
as they grew you into this flower
I and others wanted to draw close to.

Feminism is one way I try to get closer to being free.
And you could not bring your feminism past your fashion
or beyond the public accolades and into who warms your sheets,
who cleans your sheets. And so, even though our first bites
of each other were sweet, it was time to rinse the taste of you
outta my mouth, the scent of you off of my skin.
People like me have loved people like you a long time,
people whose public claims of gender respect and gender power
fall short, that’s why there are so many memes about
red flags, trash cans, as many as there are fuckboys and fuckbois.

When Janelle Monáe asks,
tell me are you bold enough to reach for love?
I still respond with everything in me:
Yes, yes I am. I believe in love,
I believe in my capacity,
limitless, endless like the sky,
to love as deeply as the sea,
again and again. Each love I have
is as unique as a snowflake’s fingerprint, and you
have melted away. But I do not mind, there will be
a better love. I am sure of it,
it is in me, it is on the horizon,
and when it is close enough for me to hold,
I will reach for them,
and they will take my hand,
and together we will go
into the sun-warm embrace of our community.

Oct 21, fave media

October was a great reading month for me! New releases from three of my favorite authors: T. Kingfisher, forthright, and Nalini Singh. Also I learned a lot about myself in Tia Williams’ Seven Days in June, Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Storm, and Hayao Miyzaki’s Spirited Away.


Books

Zoraida Córdova’s The Inheritance of Orquídia Divina

The book I’ve been waiting for since Labyrinth Lost. Magical, filled with love.

forthright’s Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate (Amaranthine Saga #5)

I’ve said it before, but the worldbuilding in this universe has made this a go-to comfort read for me. I love the intimacy (especially physical touch) everyone gets: family, friends, lovers. There’s also a B-plot queerplatonic romance between two men in this one! A five book long slow burn no less!! My spirit left my body.

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lessons in consent

This was originally written back in 2017. It was around the time Kitty Stryker’s anthology Ask was coming out, and I think Stryker had some post that inspired me. I picked it back up in 2020, and have since edited and added to it. Thanks to Jenna for betareading this.

Content note: We often hear consent applies to situations beyond sex, and this piece is an attempt to describe what I’ve learned about consent in my actions towards others in daily life. I’m not sure what content warnings are applicable (for example, this ranges from sex to giving unwanted hugs). If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. This is also NSFW because of sex.

Word count: ~1,900


My mother does many things right by me. One of them is teaching me to listen and obey when people say stop. At eight, I know no meant no, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

I am an only child, and when I have playmates over, the moment one of them says no or stop, my mother is listening to make sure I obey.

She never gives me the sex talk, but this lesson stays in my heart, even if it does need some polishing.

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Sept 2021, fave media

A quick note: a premise I suggested made it onto the podcast Monstrous Agonies podcast! Listen to episode 37 on your podcast app of choice, or read the transcript. Podcast Patreon.


Books

C.M Nascosta’s Morning Glory Milking Farm (Cambric Creek #1)

…listen friends, IDK what to tell you, this somehow manages to be “a high heat slow burn with a lot of heart” romance despite the big monsterfucking vibes. It was a ton of fun, and I will be checking out her future works. Nascosta’s Patreon.

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poem: anger becomes

Every now and then I post poetry on IG, and I’m going to try and cross-post them here too.

Originally posted 9.12.21 on IG, and originally written 6.30.21 for a prompt from Napa Women’s Circle & Victoria Fowler. “God is Change” is a quote from Octavia E. Butler’s Parable books.


I was once the gate you traveled through to the underworld, but
grapes become wine become vinegar;
trees become paper become revolution;
poison becomes antidote, only if you give it time.
I was your catalyst, trail of gunpowder set aflame, so
I am not the same anyone, just as
you are not the same anymore.

You cannot plant a seed and expect it to remain just a seed;
you cannot amputate a limb and be surprised it is not the same;
you cannot devour your anger and expect it to be unchanged.
God is change, you know this. The question then is,
how have I changed for having slept in your iron and bone
all these years? I am not the same, I know this, and I am
unbothered by it. The question then is,
will you take me in your palms, the same way you did
your despair, and see me for what I am? Will you
allow me into your home, will you let me take off my shoes
and rest awhile. You may not know my face anymore,
but I promise we will learn from each other.
I may not be deep sea, galaxy diving like your despair,
but I come bearing gifts all the same,
if only you would let me be your rite of passage again –
I may no longer be gunpowder set aflame,
but I can be stardust set alight,
and I long to see what I will become
next.

July 2021, fave media

August wound up being a busy month for me, so this is coming out later than usual.

Books

E.J. Beaton’s The Councillor (The Councillor #1)

Sixthlight’s summary says it best: “This is basically “recovering from imposter syndrome: the epic fantasy novel”, as Lysande learns to make friends, wield power, and stab people, and I liked it a lot. Plus the central – romance is a bit strong – central developing relationship is a bi-for-bi-with-D/s-undertones power struggle between Lysande and city ruler Luca Fontaine, whose thesis is “I murdered a lot of people to get where I am and I apologise for none of it””

The Dom/sub UST vibes was *chefs kiss*. I had to inhale and stare into the distance at multiple points. I need the sequel and resolved sexual tension now!

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June 2021, fave media

I do have a nonfiction piece that’s close to being finished, but I’d like to ask some friends to take a look at it. In the meanwhile, here’s what I recommend from what I’ve read, watched, and listened to this month!


Books

Kiese Laymon’s How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America

Essay collection. JFC this man’s writing.

Ina Park’s Strange Bedfellows

Funny, easy to read, and informative. Also I never thought I’d say this about a book about STIs, but it has an absolutely adorable cover too.

Rebecca Roanhorse’s Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1)

I hate the summary on the book, so I present you chai’s words that convinced me to pick it up: “goth god-vessel/sea captain slash bisexy mermaid”. Also includes a high priestess mired in politics, and a warrior come home upon his mother’s death.

I somehow thought this was sci fic, as in space ships and outer space? The intimacy at the end in the bathouse!! MY HEART. I need book 2 and I need my OTP to happen.

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May 2021, fave media

May was a slow month in terms of loving what I read, but podcasts came through!

Misc.

Comic: Katie the Cat Sitter by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue

Katie takes a summer job caring for her neighbor’s 217 (!) cats, but both her neighbor and the cats have some secrets up their sleeves…

Omg the cats are so good in this. If you’re a cat lover, do not miss this.

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