I am an activist who loves reading.
I wonder what my worldview will be in 10 years.
I hear my people's cries for help.
I see people walk right past the hungry and the hurting.
I want to change the way that people think and act, but I cannot do it alone.
I am an activist who loves reading.
I pretend that everything is okay, even when it is falling apart.
I feel the pain of not standing up for what I believe in.
I touch the hearts of people who will listen,
I worry that I have not done enough.
I cry for the ones I will not be able to help.
I am an activist who loves reading.
I understand that I may never achieve the goals I have set for myself.
I say "everything will be okay" even when I know it is a lie.
I dream about the futures I may never have because of my gender.
I try to make a difference in any way I can.
I hope that it will all have been enough.
I am an activist who loves reading.
“Do you ever regret it? Marrying me?” Lisette stretched her legs, eyes closed to the sun, imagining the look on her companion's face.
“What kind of a question is that?” Rasha demanded.
“An honest one. I was wondering. It was hard; you know it. Probably more so for you. And now, with the first trans president coming into office…. I was wondering if it was all worth it.”
“Lissie.” The force in Rasha’s tone could have stopped an avalanche. Lisette opened her eyes, gazing up, into the cloudless sky. Their small house overlooked the sea; under the willow tree, soft, weaving grass thrived, only feet away, golden sand sloped downwards to the rushing waves.
Rasha looked down her long, angular nose, dark eyes gleaming with ferocity, mocha skin glowing in the molten sun. Her green hijab rippled in the wind like the sea in the distance.
“I would do it all over again. Every bit of it. The Muslim girl falling in love with the French Christian. The prejudice. The pain. The suspicions, the struggle, every bit of it. Because, at the end, I’ve got you. And that makes it all worth it.”
It was true, the struggle was almost insurmountable. Rasha’s disapproving family, Lissie’s Islamist-prejudiced one, swayed by the paranoia of the times. The pain of being gay, of the people who avoided them like the plague, who wouldn’t marry them, or bake their wedding cake, who hid bias and hatred behind the mask of religion. Years of tears and hopes and dreams dragged through the dust lead to this sun-showered moment, in a home beside the sea. One moment in the sun, finally at peace.
Lissie meandered back to that moment, when she was just a teenager, at the choice their nation had made - a man who could have ruined it all, or the woman who, as President, went on to, slowly, gradually, painfully, accept gays, lesbians, trans, and every other persecuted group. Rasha spoke the truth. It hadn’t been easy. But the choice had been right.
A little girl huffed towards them up the sandy path, her caramel skin and flowing, dark hair soaking in the warmth of their quiet, sheltered haven. The boy behind her, feathery curls bouncing, clutched a shell in his pale hand. Their daughter, their son.
Lisette took her wife’s hand, beaming, watching their children race closer, eyes sparkling with excitement and childish, carefree joy.
“You’re right,” she whispered, beaming. “It’s worth it. We’re safe now.”
When the air is fresh,
Brimming with the promise of a new day. Swelled with electrical energy: I awake, and
To the pad-pad of my slippers, such a faint noise, a tremor in a VAST pool, as I
Slip down the stairs, skkiiddd into the bathroom, and carefully - carefully -
Remove the screen,
Slidde out, onto the roof -
into the brand new day.
Here, I can observe every rustle of every leaf in the trees that surround my house; listen to the music of the birds, their rousing song, their battle cry. Watch the wind snake through every dewdropped blade of grass, and see the sky (the sky! streaked pink and gold and blazing flame and delicate cyan) reflected in every still puddle.
The sky breathes.
And then there is me. Humble, in my robe and slippers, my mountain of velvet curls. Taking the time to pay homage to this BRIGHT world, the world as it should be, before the footprint of smoke and noise and pain smashes it flat.
In this time, as I curl on my rooftop,
p i t t e d like the moon,
and watch the sun,
it seems that, for just this perfect, glowing, blazing moment-
It is possible to change.
It is spring
Cyan blue, and endless
Layered with whipped-cream clouds
Spring up, everywhere
buds of beauty
A gift of nature
The soft, loamy earth
Produces the bright green
Burst into vibrant life
Emerald and fern, cherry pink and pure white
In my small community
A safe haven from the large, crowded world
It is truly beautiful
As nature comes alive
It is spring
And you are not here to see it
I want to see you
In the delicate shadows
under the petals of a tulip
The spark of a snapdragon
The waves of grass, bending to the wind
The rustle of forest green leaves
In a playful breeze
The angelic cream
Of a white-flowering tree
The sweet scent in the air
Or the heavy humidity of a downpour
The wild beauty of a storm
In the spring
In the new life
I know you must be somewhere
But I don’t know how to find you
Once, there was not.
Some say that the void was created by destruction, an end birthing the beginning. Some whisper of an Elder Being beyond time, life, and the void itself, to whom the universe itself is merely an experiment. Others believe the void sprang from the dying breath of a giant, the potential for life still locked within.
Only the Scribbler can know.
Or perhaps not, for before the beginning, it is rumored that the Master of Creation, the strange and fearful figure we must at once fear and revere - floated in a soup of the universe formless, nameless, mindless. Perhaps she was the last remnant of another, lost word. Perhaps she was the child of the void itself, by some anomaly. No being could name her then and none have since, but it is claimed that she was the personification of desire.
The truth of this tale is unconfirmed. The Scribbler tells nothing.
Timeless eons she lingered, transparent, unknowing - until what would come to be the Scribbler brushed against the only other remnant of order across the void.
Desire and Idea - instant and explosive. They collided, swirled, smashed, until from the void plummeted two forms - one a mishmash of jumbled limbs and hair and flesh, and clenched in her warm hand - a solid contraption threaded through with a thin black liquid - ink.
The Scribbler could not control the form she took - gangly and tall, bipedal, flat-faced, kaleidoscope eyes pointing ahead. As she soared through the colorless fog of the void, a tingling spread from her soft, five-fingered hand clutching the pen. A pulse beat in what would come to be her mind. She gasped in the airless chaos, a swelling power shook her limbs until, with a scream to end all after, the Scribbler flung the instrument forwards.
Darkness spattered across the void, and from that darkness arose the first semblance of being.
hangs behind, strides Ahead,
in the ability to pass through, cross beyond,
a traveller in this bright world of color-
Sights and Sounds that SMASH!-
Noise and Emotion, Panic and Pain….
You creep through, just a passer-by
returning to a different time, a different life,
on a cloudy day.
What, then, of there?
when in this world you are but a sliver of darkness-
existence depending all upon the rays of the sun-
charcoal and graphite and steel-
barely there, a flitting thing, a
Imitation, sliding and skidding
ash and smoke and slate,
Who are you -
when you are not me?
In your world-
A dystopia of ghosts and glimmers, shades and phantoms of what is, what was, what might have Been,
pewter faces, onyx hands, crystal-white eyes-
the mirror of me?
me as I might have been, as they long for me to be,
a better girl than the one of flesh and bone and blood?
in a drifting world, where
Constellations spin, wheel
through skies of spiders, dust clouds of stars shining through;
a galaxy of imitation, that in turn is spun, will spin, and become
Beautiful, macabre, haunting
me, like the strands of a lonely piano
ebony and ivory,
as the violin weeps from out of sight.
You, the other me,
my friend, my companion,
s t a l k i n g
through the sun, hunting in the light
two compatriots bound together for life, tied by a bond
than blood, broken
Only when my aged and weary body can no longer walk in the light-
and then you will comfort me in the darkness,
Together, you and I
Shades in the soul, soul in the
I was a scientist;
And I was an explorer,
And a daredevil,
And a dancer,
And I sang so the heavens could hear me.
(And there might have been a ninja princess in there somewhere, but I
really couldn’t be sure,)
I was a Discoverer,
Of galaxies and microbes and reeking acids
Of prose and poetry.
I rode great grey beasts with trunks like tentacles in a land far away;
I laid eyes on a tale of wonder and refused to lift them;
I sallied forth bravely, brashly, unaware and determined,
I dreamed of dinosaurs and dragons alike, I counted and I stumbled
my way through that first haiku, before I knew that it would change my life.
I was one before I knew that there were two kinds of people -
A math and an english,
A popular and a weird,
Us and Them.
I was one,
My travels brought me to a land where I knew nothing,
And no one,
And still I rode on,
Until I had left it behind.
And if the raucous beat of my footsteps had grown a little quieter,
The tempo of my fever to
Learn, to live, to laugh
A smidge slower,
No one saw,
Not even me.
Somewhere in amongst this vagarious path,
An idea sprang to my mind:
The idea flickered - formed -
Birthed from a jumbled scrawl and a waterfall of mirages,
The next land was strange,
Because it became home.
And slowly, though nothing was wrong,
My science shriveled away
Into festering loathing;
My passion for the dinosaurs and microbes and chemicals,
Seeking and Taking,
Became little-thought-of dreams,
Claimed by a sense of duty, to-do.
Exhaustion and Self-Doubt forced my spry limbs into an iron restraint,
Closeted my froggy voice,
Until it withered away like the pulp of a branch
That was Long Ago,
And this was Now.
I planted a garden,
Of fear, watched
It stem and grow around me,
Until I was caged.
I built walls,
From the loneliness forged during long hours,
Around my heart.
I walked myself,
On a leash, around my new life,
Careful not to get too close
Only words and kindness could tempt me,
And sometimes, kindness held poison inside.
Until I became me.
Would I trade myself,
for old dreams?
Once, I was a scientist;
And I was an actress,
And a naturalist,
And an athlete,
I spoke my mind without malice or menace-
And I was going to march forwards, bravely,
Into my world.
But that was then,
This is now,
And if I know anything, it is that, really, I do not control
What Will Be.
tell me there is a world
beyond scrutinized sex lives
and beyond racial slurs.
tell me there was a time
when age did not matter
nor sex, class, race, or gender.
tell me there’ll be a day
when it goes back to normal
and we can leave our houses
and still be called pretty
tell me it gets better
and that one day i’ll be able
to take a walk without
fearing for my life.
tell me to hold on
to my little thread of hope
because it’ll be worth it
one day, soon.
tell me not to worry
about the future to come,
for it will work itself out
and things will change
for the better.
Dear Mike Pence,
It is difficult to put into words the disappointment and sadness I have for this country. In the past two weeks, I have gone through a hellfire of emotions regarding my future and my safety. As a member of the LGBT+ community, I am affected by your views and decisions. You understand who you are effecting when you push away from gay rights, but I doubt that you have ever really spoken with and gotten to know someone from the LGBT+ community beyond their sexuality or gender identity. Before you attempt to do away with everything I am part of and everything I love, know that you can never take away my pride and you can never take away my sexuality. No matter what laws you change, I will be here and so will my community. So will our allies and our supporters who do all they can to protect our rights and our happiness. Know that you cannot take away human kindness and love and connections. Before you decide to hate, realise that you are not as powerful as our community and realise that we will never stop fighting for love.
The smell of bookstores,
Comforting and familiar,
Adventure, love, pain.
Every new book contains
Brand new worlds to discover,
Escape, for a while.
Ink spill realities,
Fantasies of lettering,
Worlds made of paper.