LOVE-LIES-BLEEDING

I have a poem published in the most recent issue of Voiceworks, LOVE-LIES-BLEEDING.

Aphrodite is the oldest of the Olympian gods, and I thought about exploring a darker, more primordial reading of her. As the goddess of love and beauty, her marriage to disabled Hephaestus is often seen as a cosmic joke. I wanted to see that conflict resolved with a queer turn.

This will be my last poem in Voiceworks, since I turned 25 a few days after the submission deadline. I am deeply grateful to Voiceworks editor Adalya Nash Hussein for helping shape this poem into something I am sincerely proud of (and for being very patient while I rambled on at length about mythic context).

The issue includes a breathtaking illustration by Iona Julian-Walters accompanying my poem. You can pick up a copy here.

 

LOVE-LIES-BLEEDING

Here’s another version. Aphrodite is an old god,
older than most. She is born when Cronus cuts off
his father’s dick and flings it into the ocean. Around
the severed organ silver foam wells up, and in time
a girl takes shape in the crest of the wave, her body
pale and shining. When she emerges from the water
grass grows beneath her feet. Her outline wavers
a little in the blush of dawn, lit around with gold.
This is before she knows the form of her divinity.
She thinks she might be a goddess of the morning,
or of summer blossoms, or birdsong. But her teeth
are a little too sharp for that, the arch of her throat
too cruel. She lacks the batlike wings of her infernal
sisters, the jealous Furies, but there is something
in her eyes that resembles them. What she wants,
she takes. Her attention is first drawn to her husband
by the bright rubies winking in his earlobes, then by
the delicate treasures he crafts as courting-gifts:
grand chariots, jewelled chalices, fine-wrought chains.
His prosthesis is simple but lovely, a platinum frame
spun lightly around the scarred warp of his leg.
Hephaestus, like her, has an eye for beauty. Later
outside Troy the goddess hears a bloodcurdling cry
as brazen Ares comes blazing through the mortal
ranks, his eyes flashing with hellish flame, red with
gore, beautiful and terrible. She takes him to her bed
not long afterward. Stripped of his bloody raiment,
spilled out against her pillows, the god of strife is
strangely vulnerable. His hands are soft at his sides.
Aphrodite has no mercy in her: she rises over him,
bites and scratches, sinks her claws deep into his flesh.
Her husband finds them there like that. Ares glowing
under the light of the moon, Aphrodite pinning him
down. Hephaestus stops in the doorway, his shadow
stretching out over their bodies. His knuckles are white
around a golden net. His eyes are burning. Aphrodite
arches her back, tips her head back lazily to meet her
husband’s furious gaze; then she opens her arms to him
as Ares shudders beneath her. A moment of hesitation.
The golden mesh slips out of his hands. He strides forward.

RESISTANCE AND HOPE

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Illustration by artist Micah Bazant featuring a midnight blue sky with little white stars. Below is a log with mushrooms growing out of it in multiple shapes and colors. “Text reads: Resistance & Hope, Essays by Disabled People, Crip Wisdom for the People, Edited by Alice Wong, Disability Visibility Project.” The ‘o’ in ‘Hope’ looks like a full moon.

I am very excited to finally share Resistance and Hope, an anthology of essays by disabled writers and activists. The anthology is available to read here for free online.

I was very honoured to work as an editorial assistant (and herder of cats) for Alice Wong, the editor of the anthology.

Resistance and Hope is comprised of 16 essays by 17 multiply marginalised disabled people. Contributors include writer and advocate Vilissa Thompson on the audacity of hope as a Black woman; LGBQT advocate Victoria Rodriguéz-Roldán on respectability politics; attorney and activist Shain Neumeier on trauma and survival; ADAPT legend Anita Cameron on the importance of holding hope in darkness; activist Stacey Milbern on caregiving collectives and Medicaid cuts; artists DJ Kuttin Kandiand Leroy Moore on hip hop and disability liberation; writer and artist Naomi Ortiz on self-care and growth; fearless agent of change Talila A. “TL” Lewis on resistance and revolutionary madness; writer and poet Aleksei Valentín on Judaism and disability solidarity; essayist and poet Cyree Jarelle Johnson on autism in a time of resistance; activist and poet Lev Mirov on death, grieving, and survival; autistic advocate and organiser Lydia X.Z. Brown on praxis, accountability, and intracommunity abuse; writer Mari Kurisato on colonial violence and visibility; comic Maysoon Zayid on the strategic fight for our rights in the Trump era; community organiser Mia Mingus on transformative justice and building alternatives to violence; and artist and writer Noemi Martinez on survival and multiple marginalisations.

This is crip wisdom for the people.