We stay open, even when our minds are swayed by bitterness and despair, because our queer lives depend on knowing that we don’t have to live like this. We turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
H.D. sometimes had a fraught relationship with her own bisexuality, feeling pulled towards either lesbianism or heterosexuality rather than feeling her queerness as an integrated whole. Reconciling her bisexuality was a creative project for her.
A gut feeling is intuition, sure, but it’s also something that announces HERE is the body, NOW is the body, RIGHT NOW.
It’s June, it’s June, we’re living, it’s June. Do you feel our powers rising with the heat, our stares lengthening with the daylight, our desires coming on like freak lightening?
The line breaks are hard to take. They make the poem feel like a fight: not knowing when to stop, talking over one another, losing your thread, gasping for air through tears.
“Corpse Flower” gathers those petals, each one placed on the altar as every word is placed in the poem. The sweetness of a petal curling up to touch itself.
Bishop wrote seventeen drafts of this poem, so that’s one hundred and thirty six iterations of master and disaster. The losses pile up in a life, and each time you survive them, you have proven to yourself you can withstand more.
So much of what we might think of as queer lyric poetry comes is set by Sappho’s example: her attempts to speak her desire so emphatically that it wills love into existence.