Here is a story / to break your heart.

I’m still working on more essays and ideas and thoughts in response to the recent gay suicides. My weekly column on SexIs Magazine, Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend, features What You Can Do To Support Queer Youth today, which has some of my thoughts.

And did you hear that there was a gay bashing inside of Stonewall in New York City this past weekend? No seriously, Stonewall, like the gayest bar in this city? It’s practically laughable. I mean I’m sure it wasn’t laughable for the people who were bashed, but really? What? That almost seems desperate, to me. Like someone attempting to cling to power.

So. Since I don’t have the piece written that I want to write yet, I want to share this poem that has been in my head lately. I used it in my writing workshop at Butch Voices in Portland with the homework instruction to write ‘a story to break your heart,’ if you are willing. (It is most effective when read aloud, even just to yourself, I think.)

Lead
Mary Oliver

Here is a story
to break your heart.
Are you willing?
This winter
the loons came to our harbor
and died, one by one,
of nothing we could see.
A friend told me
of one on the shore
that lifted its head and opened
the elegant beak and cried out
in the long, sweet savoring of its life
which, if you have heard it,
you know is a sacred thing,
and for which, if you have not heard it,
you had better hurry to where
they still sing.
And, believe me, tell no one
just where that is.
The next morning
this loon, speckled
and iridescent and with a plan
to fly home
to some hidden lake,
was dead on the shore.
I tell you this
to break your heart,
by which I mean only
that it break open and never close again
to the rest of the world.

Reprinted from New and Selected Poems, Volume Two by Mary Oliver

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith is a genderqueer kinky butch writer who teaches and performs, specializing in sexualities, genders, and relationships. They've written at sugarbutch.net since 2006, recognized numerous places as one of the Top Sex Blogs. Sinclair's gender theory and queer erotica is widely published in anthologies like Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, and online at Feministing, Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more; they are the editor of Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 and Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, both published by Cleis Press. Sweet & Rough: Sixteen Stories of Queer Smut, Sinclair's first book of short erotic stories, was published in 2014. They use the pronouns they, them, theirs, themself, and live in Oakland, CA with their boy.

3 thoughts on “Here is a story / to break your heart.”

  1. mikey says:

    thanks for posting this poignant Mary Oliver piece…

  2. Cyn says:

    This poem is so touching and SO applicable. I would love to see you record an it gets better video!

    1. Sinclair says:

      I've been thinking about it! it's percolating.

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