Posted in [poetry]

you are worthy [poem]

you are worthy of every good thing that happens to you
repeat this every morning to your reflection
until it feels like fact

you are allowed to be happy
even when there is nothing special to be happy about
your smile is allowed to flourish in the sunlight
without explaining itself to the lazy wilted daisies

you are full of potential the way a beach is full of sand
don’t ever think your last chance has come and gone
just shake out the other shoe
count each grain that escapes another
hidden opportunity

you are so easy to love at first sight
that puppies can’t resist the urge to kiss you
this is a super power
embrace it and do good

you are a gift on a random Tuesday
a free coffee with extra whip
some people don’t like the taste of sweet things
because they prefer to stay black coffee bitter
be sweet anyway

Posted in [poetry]

limitless love [poem]

once I believed in true love like it was some
once in a lifetime thing
like we only get one shot at happiness
and everything else is just a lonely heart trying too hard
to light a fire in the middle of the ocean
my greatest lesson has been unlearning such
limited measures of what love can be
the world is a thousand times more beautiful
with love in every breath and heartbeat

Posted in [poetry]

coming out [poem]

I’m in a constant state of coming out
my closet too big
more bedroom than walk in storage space
people see what they expect to see
a lesbian married to her amazing wife
rather than a polyamorous demisexual
married to the woman who loves her best
they see short hair and see dyke
don’t see the way my eyes roam over the male form
and so every day is an act of playing prism
scattering the light until they see
my rainbow on the walls

Posted in [poetry]

ocean [poem]

in a world where love is
the act of diving into the ocean
without looking for sharks
I am both
the woman who moves further inland
when faced with coastal rainstorms
and the unseen creature
living at the bottom of the marianas trench
that has absolutely no desire to see the light
that is to say
I find love to be an inhospitable home
I can’t climb out of or into fast enough

Posted in [poetry]

panromantic love [poem]

I don’t care what kind of body will hold you
as long as that body is willing to hold this body
I’ve given up all pretense of fitting in
stopped shaving things people expect to be hairless
stopped worrying about this size and shape
except for when it affects my happiness
so why would I care what body you call home
other than to know where to lay my head down at night
once I finally meet you?

Posted in [poetry]

wild love [poem]

the first time I come out as polyamorous
I’m only loud about it in safe spaces
surrounded by my family of quirky friends
and a community of weirdos
used to self exploration leading down
the winding uncut paths often overlooked

the eleventh time I come out as polyamorous
I’ve got a system in place
I know how to time it just right
give someone this new word to explain
the pieces of my backstory
they suddenly find fitted together in
an unfamiliar pattern

the forty fifth time I come out as polyamorous
it’s mostly an afterthought
as I realize my effort to flirt is brushed off
my married status confused with monogamy
as if I belong to anyone but myself
I paint a wild love across my lips
and beg him to kiss it off

Posted in [poetry]

polyamory [poem]

polyamory is never being the forever love
in a world that promises
a one true match for each of us
it is the act of accepting transience in love
for the rest of your life
even when you know it means
everyone will leave eventually
it is the terrifying reality
of tiptoeing between the landmines in a lover’s mind
the ones other people put there to keep you out
and it’s knowing you may clear the field of danger
just in time
for someone else’s forever to begin
without you in it
polyamory is so many loves like stars
but also the vast stretches of black loneliness
between them
it is never easy

Posted in [fiction reviews]

[Fiction Review] “Black Sun” by Rebecca Roanhorse

Full Title: Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky #1)
Author: Rebecca Roanhorse
Published: October 2020 by Gallery / Saga Press
Genres: Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Native American Literature, LGBTQ Fantasy
Edition Details: 464 pages, trade paperback
Source: Advanced Reader’s Edition won via Goodreads Giveaway
Rating: {5/5 stars}

This review is spoiler free. No details will be shared from the storyline itself that aren’t available or inferred from the book jacket and online descriptions.

First Glance

I enter giveaways on Goodreads if the book sounds like something I might read. In the case of this book, the description had me entering to win in the first sentence:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Resistance Reborn comes the first book in the Between Earth and Sky trilogy, inspired by the civilizations of the Pre-Columbian Americas and woven into a tale of celestial prophecies, political intrigue, and forbidden magic.

I’m a sucker for any story based in mythology, but I particularly enjoy magical worlds reimagining unfamiliar cultures. In her acknowledgements and credits at the end of the book, the author points out how often “epic fantasy” only seems to apply to European-flavored stories. I agree, which is why I often seek out those written in different lands.

Positive Bits

The world we’re brought into is beautiful and deadly. Isn’t that the best kind? We visit a land with a holy city run by Priests of the non-Christian variety, as well as wild seas and a crescent coast full of different peoples and cultures. Even without visiting some of the locations mentioned by characters, we’re given enough details to have a taste of their individual quirks. The worldbuilding was done skillfully enough that I never had a moment where I fell out of the story due to confusion over a custom or description.

As a queer woman, I greatly appreciated the fact that LGBTQ folks exist throughout the story without being the story. Representation is important, and I love a good queer-focused story as much as the next person, but the best kinds of representation are when being queer is treated the same as being short or tall – as in, it’s natural and a part of some characters’ stories without being the entirety of their plotline. Also, there’s a nonbinary person throughout this first book who uses the pronouns xe/xir, and I found that inclusion to be done skillfully enough to explain and then move us along to the actual reason xe was introduced.

Trilogies by their very nature have to end unfinished, but there’s a skill needed to leave us wanting more without leaving us at a confusing cliffhanger. This book handles that balance well, leaving us with just enough closure to be satisfied while maintaining enough loose threads to keep weaving the story in the next book. The specific characters who end up together at the end due to circumstance definitely had me wishing for more.

Less Enjoyable Bits

Sometimes, I find details I dislike that are important to the story. I think that might be the case here. For example, one character struggles with alcoholism or at least regularly uses alcohol to seek oblivion, and there’s a decent portion of the story where it’s not given context. It’s just a vice they have, and it gets them tossed in jail (to have them meet up with other important characters, of course). Much later, we learn a few details about their past that hint at why they drink so often, but it’s not particularly satisfying. Then again, maybe any family or personal experience with alcoholism or alcoholics makes this plotline hit different?

We’re given hints of each main character’s past, but sometimes it’s not balanced in the first book of a trilogy like this. While I became thoroughly invested in each of the characters as they came across the page, it disappointed me that we didn’t get more information on the Teek. Considering how their people and culture play into the first book’s story, I would’ve expected to hear more about them than a passing mention. The story in book one still makes sense without those details, but it might’ve been enriched with more of them included.

My only other complaint is on the magic system(s) used in this world. I enjoy fantasy worlds where magic is standard, especially if there are different kinds based on culture or class. That said, this book didn’t flesh out the magic existing in their society. We get hints here and there for plot purposes, but there’s never a really good explanation of what is and isn’t possible with magic (or how). Again, this might be a trilogy issue rather than an issue with this book directly. I can only wait and see in book two.

Tidbits Worth Repeating

She was only ten, then, her destiny far from decided. She had not yet learned that she was poor and that people like her only went to the celestial tower as servants, or that once you were poor, people hated you for it even when you weren’t poor anymore.

“Villain,” he mouthed, liking the sound of it, the weight of the word on his bloodied lip. If protecting his crows made him a villain, then a villain he would be.

Even when armed with blade and bow, even with an army of a thousand at her command, a spearmaiden’s greatest weapon is her tongue.

Is it worth the coin?

Yes – if you enjoy reading fantasy based in non-European cultures, this book is a great add to your collection. Also, the queer representation is woven throughout the story, so that’s a major bonus!

Posted in [poetry]

butterfly, noun [poem]

butterfly, noun
1 the form a caterpillar takes after dissolving in its cocoon; or
2 the things that flutter in my stomach when I get nervous sometimes; or
3 you were the branch that held my chrysalis while I melted into nothingness; or
4 you were an anchor as I remade myself a butterfly with wings unfurled and life renewed; or
5 it is a wish in flying colors; or
6 you are a wish granted in flying colors