2021, fave media

Books

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

Dom/sub UST. *chefs kiss*

Olivia Dade’s Spoiler Alert and All the Feels (Spoiler Alert #1 and #2)

If you read fanfic, don’t miss this self-aware series.

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

JFC the way this man writes.

Trung Le Nguyen’s The Magic Fish

JFC what Trungles accomplishes in a debut no less. Patreon.

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

This makes it onto the list solely for the tenderest bathing scene I’ve ever read.

C. Spike Trotman, Emilee Denich, and Kelly Fitzpatrick’s Yes, Roya (2021 color edition)

Kinky OT3? Yes, please!

Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue’s Katie the Cat Sitter (Katie the Cat Sitter #1)

A delight. I’m still thinking about Chat Guevara. XD

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Dec 2021, fave media

Books

N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell’s Far Sector

Everything I love about Jemisin, plus creative world-building around cat memes! Would love to see more from her in this universe.

Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, and Clayton Cowles’s Die vol. 4

Ash!! When she faces herself? *chefs kiss* I’ve always loved moments like that. Would’ve loved a longer epilogue on how the lessons in-game effects everyone’s lives too.

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poem: thirty

I wanted to close the year out with this letter to myself, written for my thirtieth birthday. There’re direct references to the music videos for Snoh Aalegra’s Whoa, Michaela Jaé’s Something to Say, and Ari Lennox’s Up Late. My go-to tarot deck is Cedar McCloud’s Numinous Tarot, so if you want to imagine the queen of cups, that’s the one I think of. Cross-posted to IG.


I keep coming back to the state of my heart:
Rachel asked long ago, how is your heart;
Denise asked a few years later;
and last week Audra asked me the same thing.

These are small sign-posts in the path my heart has traversed:
when I fell in love, when my heart opened like a flower to the sun;
when at last I held the weight of all my sorrow and let it go – KonMari style;
and two weeks ago I moved from my home of seven years to somewhere new.

Old ways won’t open new doors, the instagram post advises.
New home, new front door, new bedroom door.
What portal do I pass through moving from one house to the next?
What do I claim here, in making this strange place
a home?

I have been single for three years, and there has been a lot in me that has changed:
I am at home in my body, I am present in my body and my feelings, my pleasure comes
lightning quick! And I want to know what my body has learned, what my body has
transfigured. Can you see it, can I feel it, when I dance, when I come apart, when I move.

Romance and sex color relationships in different ways,
a certain slant of light, like driving at night or walking beneath the moonlight.
There are certain things I cannot do alone.
I make magic on my own, and so do you, and you.
I want to know what happens when we fold our hands together.
There are three sides of a triangle, there is strength in numbers.
There is magic
in collaboration and I want to know what grows when we find the magic
of this moment, that can only be made when me, you, and you are here.

I build friendships like people do romantic ones,
I build foundations for redwood cathedrals, I want someone
with me throughout the long years of tending to this grove.
I want to make this a home with you,
to go home to you, to be who you come home to.
And I want to find a harbor for the fierce way I love, my heart sinking its teeth in,
and refusing to let go. When I wonder what it is I give to you, you simply say,
You, I get you. Your brilliant mind, your sharp tongue, the soft give of your body,
letting it come to rest in my hands is the best gift of all.

With forty minutes to midnight, here is a spell:
I want to be read to in bubble baths, loved like whoa;
crown me with love, and I will cape you in flowers, because I’ve got something to say;
and rolling green hills, my oldest dream of all, that keeps me up late.

If there is a longing in my heart,
there is no use denying it.
There is only submitting to it,
letting its water wash over me,
and moving with the tide,
and learning to breathe with it
once again.

Oh magic of my heart, queen of cups,
distill the longing of my heart into a single drink,
let me down it, and no longer deny
here is what I long for,
here is what I yearn for,
let me tell you,
and in the telling,
I call it to me,
I call it to me,
oh heart of mine,
oh heart of mine.

poem: tesseract love

Written 2.20.21. part of the “rocky mountain love” poems. Previous poem here. There’s a direct reference to Mystic’s Neptune’s Jewels. I have one more poem in this series, maybe. Cross-posted to IG.


I record my voice, and send it across
the 1,000 km between you and I,
made short by the internet as a
tesseract, folding space and chance,
so that you and I get to cross paths
and do our best, to hold fast to
one another’s hands.

you and I have made our
texted vows: how you want
my hands in your hair, and how I
want you in my bed to fall asleep
beside. I cannot bridge the time
it takes for vaccines and border
crossings, so I hope my voice
is a light beckoning you to shore,
a promise of homecoming,
a warm blanket and all the
promises of domesticity I want to make
but think it’s far too soon for.

tell me you feel the same,
tell me you will make the same vows,
that when you’re alone with your thoughts,
I am the kind of person you wished for,
and I will show you all the nightly pages
I wrote, imagining you.

I don’t know how to swim,
but I got that moon in 12th house scorpio shit,
so say the word, and I will dive deep with you,
for you. If mystic would dive to bring you neptune’s jewels,
I would dive deep to bring you the treasures from the bottom of our hearts,
and exchange vows written in starlight and rivers, until distance
and time and pandemics is just a story we tell ourselves, laughing
man, remember how we met? because
our ancestors have conspired, and here we are
side by side, in love, in full color,
in full bloom.

4 unwanted touches + 1 wanted touch

A/N: This was mean to be a companion piece to “lessons in consent,” but as I sat with what I’d actually written, I realized this was less about “times I wish I’d said no” and more about touch. (None of these instances are sexual.) So, there’s something to be said for letting a piece of writing sit, and giving yourself and the writing time.

Word count: ~1200


i. retreat

At the opening of the retreat I’m on, the instructor says, “Stand up and turn to the woman next to you.” This is our introduction to one another. The woman to my left and I face and look at each other.

“Get close!” the instructor calls out.

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Nov 2021, fave media

I have a number of poems that have been sitting on my harddrive gathering dust, so I’m trying to post them here and on IG. It’s made it so I’m posting more than twice a month; and I’m trying not to overthink that.

Oh, forgot to mention I was published in the Backbone zine; it’s free/pay what you can online!


Books

Melissa Caruso’s The Quicksilver Court (Rooks and Ruin #2)

The Obsidian Tower was one of my favorite books last year, so I was very excited for the sequel to come out. While not identical, Ryx and Severin give me similar vibes as Jude and Cardan from Holly Black’s Folk of the Air. Patreon.

Olivia Dade’s All the Feels (Spoiler Alert #2)

If you read fanfic, you gotta check out this series. Plus, a hero who loves fanfic tropes!

Erica Ridley’s Lord of Pleasure (Rogues to Riches #2)

A fun and magical novella with a hint of fairy tale vibes.


Misc.

Article: Fonda Lee’s Twitter is the Worst Reader

“Never have I witnessed a clarification or apology on Twitter lead to reciprocal outreach or reconcilation. The Twitter mob does not say, “Oh, thanks for clarifying. I’m also sorry about the misunderstanding and for jumping to conclusions. Shake hands and move on, shall we?””

“But diffuse offenses unknowingly caused by one-off tweets don’t justify online dog-piling when nothing about the underlying structures of power or representation are actually changed and the only real result is exhausted creators withdrawing.”

Film: Eternals dir. Chloé Zhao

So I know it’s getting mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed it. I forgot I was in a movie theater full of people who were too close to me. Love the family dynamics. Also Makkari/Druig that is all.

Podcast: All That and Mo’

I’ve long been a fan of Mollena’s, and I will follow her wherever. She also has the gift of storytelling; I could listen to her talk about anything. Patreon.

Podcast: Where Should We Begin?

Esther Perel’s podcast is back! Spotify airs the episodes before it gets to other podcast apps.

poem: land-crossed love

Written 2.21.21, but finished the last stanza Nov 2021. There’s also one or two more poems in this series, which I jokingly call “I was ghosted and all I got was some dope poetry.” Working series title is “rocky mountain love.” The closing lines are a riff on Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High. Cross-posted to IG.


I call you my land-crossed love –
we share the same shoreline,
pacific ocean waves caress our curves;
and we are also separated by 1,000 miles,
1,600 km, another border we cross.

If we weren’t separated by the cascade of mountain ranges,
a spinal column I long to climb with fingertips and tongue,
I’d say you were too good to be true: the kind of person
I longed for as I fell asleep, as I tore through cartridges of ink
writing in my diary, This is what I want, teasing out each side
of desire, like some kind of ten-sided die; pursuing what
makes me sigh with the same devotion I once gave to finding
what part of my mouth made my ex fist his hand in my hair
and call me his for the night.

I learned I did not do casual well, once my summer fling
became a four year affair that persisted long after I knew
he and I were not right for each other. So perhaps it’s just as well
that you and I are so far-flung, because I’d be tempted to
give you all of myself, go deep-sea diving without any safeties,
without first learning if my devotion was a gift
you’d handle with all the care, reverence, and awe I deserve.

I don’t know yet what will grow, but as we talk
of you driving the pacific coast to greet me,
driving together to peer down the grand canyon,
how you want my hands in your hair, not for sex,
but just for the comfort of touch; when the fucking
adorable gifs you send are studded with some kind of
wonderfully clear declaration; when you tell me you
can give me what I’ve always wanted: touch,
plentiful, freely given, so much I’ll never wonder if
I’ll go without again, I find myself thinking
that even though the future is so uncertain,
and I’ve never done a long-distance relationship,
that I am going to love you so deeply, so surely.

But for now, you slumber beneath
clear skies, in a cabin in the mountains,
just as my tarot cards told me when all I had was
a wish; and I am beneath the same starlight,
in a house at the other end of the cascade,
holding this small love in my hand, like a flame,
a dream waiting to burst into full bloom,
a lighthouse bright enough to call you here to me,
and sure enough to burn as long as it takes
for you to cross a thousand miles. And when at last
you place your hand in mine, oh,
ocean deep and mountain high,
oh how mightily I will love you.

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 2021, 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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