Four weeks ago, I kicked off the Indiegogo campaign entitled Made With Love in the hopes of funding my second year’s tuition for my MPhil/PhD programme at Roehampton University. I am pleased to report that with the help of so many generous people—through their conversations, their sharing, their love—I have raised over half of my goal: £2,325.* Wahoo!!!
My hope in running the campaign was that I could use my creative skills to design perks that might tempt people to contribute towards my PhD. I also hoped that people would be inspired by my research on love and romance in LGBT YA novels—my vision to engage in a discourse about love and same-sex relationships in young adult novels into academia—and contribute for that reason as well.
I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many folks and this post is for those who are ‘Loves:’ individuals who contributed and asked only for a poetic thank you in return. Those 5 people are Julie Barton, Adriana Haines, Lucy Iwamoto, Liz Chapman, and one anonymous donor. Below are four love poems by different poets that make my heart sing. I’ve also included one of my own poems, as a humble offering of gratitude.
I hope you, my ‘Loves,’ enjoy the poetry: THANK YOU. For everyone else who contributed to the campaign, I look forward to fulfilling your perks in the coming months.
With much love and gratitude,
by W.S. Merwin
Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its colour.
by Carol Ann Duffy
No vows written to wed you,
I write them white,
my lips on yours,
light in the soft hours of our married years.
No prayers written to bless you,
I write them white,
your soul a flame,
bright in the window of your maiden name.
No laws written to guard you,
I write them white,
your hand in mine,
palm against palm, lifeline, heartline.
No rules written to guide you,
I write them white,
words on the wind,
traced with a stick where we walk on the sand.
No news written to tell you,
I write it white,
foam on a wave
as we life up our skirts in the sea, wade,
see last gold sun behind clouds,
inked water in moonlight.
No poems written to praise you,
I write them white.
by Cheryl Dumesnil
Wood-planked floors, twelve-foot
ceiling, a wall of glossy snapshots—
dragonfly, water lily, barbed wire
spiralling a woman’s thigh. The artist
bends over my lover’s shaved leg,
his palate of paper cups filled with ink.
Through her skin, three finches
Emerge on a blackberry branch,
ink mixed with blood beading her calf.
For the third time, I run downstairs
to the car, slap the gearshift into
neutral, roll over the parking cop’s
chalk mark, buying us time. Hours
I sat beside them, telling stories,
changing the music, rubbing color,
back into her fingertips. Now I
lean against the car and listen—
the buzz of the needle piercing
her skin, the heart-shaped sign
swinging its rusted chain. This is
my job—he will change her body
forever, I will love what she becomes.
by Kim Addonozio
There are people who will tell you
that using the word fuck in a poem
indicates a serious lapse
of taste, or imagination,
or both. It’s vulgar,
indecorous, an obscenity
that crashes down like an anvil
falling through a skylight
to land on a restaurant table,
on the white linen, the cut-glass vase of lilacs.
But if you were sitting
over coffee when the metal
hit your saucer like a missile,
wouldn’t that be the first thing
you’d say? Wouldn’t you leap back
shouting, or at least thinking it,
over and over, bell-note riotously clanging
in the church of your brain
while the solicitous waiter
led you away, wouldn’t you prop
your shaking elbows on the bar
and order your first drink in months,
telling yourself you were lucky
to be alive? And if you woulnd’t
say anything but Mercy or Oh my
or Land sakes, well then
I don’t want to know you anyway
and I don’t give a fuck what you think
of my poem. The world is divided
into those whose opinions matter
and those who will never have
a clue, and if you knew
which one you were I could talk
to you, and tell you that sometimes
there’s only one word that means
what you need it to mean, the way
there’s only one person
when you first fall in love,
or one infant’s cry that calls forth
the burning milk, one name
that you pray to when prayer
is what’s left to you. I’m saying
in the beginning was the word
and it was good, it meant one human
entering another and it’s still
what I love, the word made
flesh. Fuck me, I say to the one
whose lovely body I want close,
and as we fuck I know it’s holy,
a psalm, a hymn, a hammer
ringing down on an anvil,
forging a whole new world.
Fuck me like B.A.R.T. after Sean Thomas Dougherty
by Erica Gillingham
Fuck me like AM radio playing jazz in the middle of the night.
Fuck me like neon blue algae in
tropical waters; light me up when you move.
Fuck me like a picnic in the park in
October, flowers falling and leaves faded;
wrap me up in your mittens.
Fuck me like holding your first seashell to your ear
when the ocean echoed
and the universe was infinite.
Fuck me like drops rippling against the surface of a bath.
Fuck me like the flu, and vitamin c,
break me down; make me stronger.
Fuck me like unripe fruit, sour & sweet;
like yesterday’s chili, all the spices settled in;
like tea bags wet & waiting
in a mason jar all afternoon.
Fuck me like red, red lipstick
wear me for 15 minutes
and leave me pink for three days.
Fuck me like pre-show jitters.
Fuck me like your latest artistic creation
hanging in your $200 apartment
next to the railroad tracks at noon.
Fuck me like a final exam: stay up all night,
pretend like you know all the answers,
leave me tired and you sleeping.
Fuck me like opening the mail;
expose me like a letter;
read me as the date, the body, the signature,
the i love you’s.
Fuck me like Bay Area Rapid Transit
fast or slow depending on
where you’re headed.
*£25 came in after the deadline via a sweet message and a direct deposit—thank you lovelies!