July 6, 2016 / Margaret Rhee
for queer youth
it may not get better, and it may get worse, or you’ll get stronger, or you’ll
make it better. maybe heaven is 21 and free in a gay bar: just kiss his lips, love.
we didn’t dream of anal sex, or fisting, and dental dams, rainbow flags and miller lite,
christina aguilera on that stage, all we hoped for first, was love.
because if i could, id take her hand in mine, id spin her out, hold her in,
rock her back and forth, hips all around mine, dont worry love, love.
for you, i asked a beautiful queer theorist for her favorite words–sticks
and stones may break my bones–for you he gave only one, love.
because queer runs down and around your tongue, fits so naturally,
like it should always be there. my hand in yours. that’s how we know love.
they say we’re different because our index fingers longer. hypothalamus brighter.
our paper hearts. though woman or man don’t translate well into this fragmented
science vs. romance. little do they know, how to quantify and fabricate love, love.
world of mine—made of ventricles, blood and pump—only love, even if broken, love.
This poem original appeared in the online anthology Glitter Tongue: queer and trans love poems at https://glittertongue.wordpress.com/
Curator's Notes: Meg Day
If there were any poet to whom we could entrust re-imagining the world, Margaret Rhee would be at the top of my list. This poem is quintessential Rhee: fiercely gentle, gently fierce, & thick in its lyric radiance while never hesitating to make clear its message of social justice & investment in queer futurity. Only Rhee could take as public a word as love & turn over its pieces in her mind until it was made whole & holy & wholly new.
Margaret Rhee is the author of chapbooks Yellow (Tinfish Press, 2011) and Radio Heart; or, How Robots Fall Out of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2015). She co-edited Glitter Tongue: queer and trans love poems and Mixed Blood, a literary journal on race and innovative poetics edited by CS Giscombe. She is a Kundiman Fellow and the Kathy Acker Fellow at Les Figues Press. In 2014, she received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in ethnic and new media studies. Currently, she teaches at UCLA and is a visiting assistant professor in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Oregon.