bodies, LGBT+, poetry

This Is How Two Women Have Sex

By Emily Blair. This poem appears in Boshemia Magazine: Technology & the Sublime and in her collection We Are Birds by Dancing Girl Press. Photograph by David Cohen.

 

this is how two women have sex [i]

I wear galoshes.

She holds a thickly woven net

between her hands & asks

if I know how to play cats in the cradle. Continue reading

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guest writer, poetry

Piercings

by Chris Hawkins. This poem appears in Boshemia Magazine: BODIES. Photo by Connor Irwin.

 

Your earrings were still on my desk,

one week and half after you plucked

each from either lobe and left them

to glimmer in the energy— Continue reading

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music, poetry

We Were Not in Love

Gail Webb wrote this poem during Boshemia’s Made-in-a-Day Zine workshop with Dizzy Ink. The theme of the zine was Nostalgia. Look for more of her poetry in the upcoming ORIGINS issue of Boshemia Magazine. 

 

WE WERE NOT IN LOVE

We were not in love 

Though we listened to 10cc

Day after day it gave us pleasure

So much we would squeal, sigh

Then flop back on the soft turf

Lying side by side, smiling,

Gazing upwards to another world Continue reading

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guest writer, poetry

Before It Happened

CW: sexual assault. 

 

you have to understand

who i was before it happened.

 

youth surged through my veins

seeped from every pore

filled my sanguine lungs

laced every breath.

young and fun and a little dumb,

in my prime.

 

age five, high tide

some cloudy beach

each collapsing wave dissolves into

glitter and seafoam

think i could prolly drown here.

whip around, see the dunes

the seagulls on the shoreline

sherbet-colored beach houses

my mother under the umbrella

and i wave.

when you’re five, on the brink of

a vast expanse of ocean,

comprehend fear and endless depth,

then realize you are safe –

it’s a feeling akin to joy.

fling handfuls of wet sand

into the deep.

laugh, leap.

 

i have to remember

who i was before it happened.

 

i danced bachata at a party

liked cheetah print, Gwen Stefani

boys with cologne and roaming fingers

snuck raspberry vodka into water bottles

laughed at horror movies

lived for the summer,

made each one better than the last

 

on the precipice of self-discovery,

newness and bliss

when identities are malleable as clay

mine was molded for me.

happened right before the summer

 

in truth,

my life began inside my dorm room

frozen on the bed, numb under his weight

in a moment of recognition,

i looked back up toward the ceiling

and tried to see the seagulls on the shoreline

 

on cue –

the door clicked shut

and i began to adjust

to who i am now,

before it happened.

 

 * 

 

they call Dr. Ford an inspiration,

a warrior

and it’s hard not to agree.

strong backed and stoic,

right hand raised

eyes closed in an expression

that says this is her sacrifice,

her call of duty.

the chamber lights bathing her

in a pool of warmth and radiance,

trying to pretend she’s not before a row

of angry men

keen to burn her at the stake.

 

but unlike Joan of Arc,

who wanted the fire

something tells me

a warrior gets to choose

when to draw her weapons

and when to burn

 

Christine.

blonde and bright and brilliant

on the white cliffs of youth and summer

i like to think of her then, of who she was,

before it happened.

 

 

this is a battle

i have fought for so long

from the confines of a therapy room

to the National Mall

i have balled my hands into fists

made blows

screamed into the void

these are sacrifices i’m willing to make

this is pain i’m going to feel

this is a hill i’m willing to die on

and yet sometimes

 

i‘d rather have a tree to sleep under

and to dream of who i was

before it happened.

 

 

there was a time in your life

when trauma didn’t rear its ugly head

when there weren’t any nightmares

when you didn’t clutch your keys

when the world seemed opportune and bright

and when youth seemed a natural transition

into the womanhood you deserved

and the strength you always knew

you had in you.

 

so when you draw your weapons,

fight for your sisters and your daughters

fight for the world you’ve always wanted

 

but most of all, fight for you

for who you were

before it happened.

 

Photo by Iwan Shimko. For more work by Taylor Wear at Boshemia: Hot Dating Tips for the Completely Undatable, I’m Here! I’m Queer! I Promise, On Permanence, and  On Fleek || Lipstick Revolution.
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Author: Eileen E., poetry, Uncategorized

Blood Memory

CW: sexual assault, rape. Photography by Claudia Soraya.

 

I could not open like a flower

I clenched, unblooming

I writhed

 

A kind relic from days of glass thermometers

and mercury medicine

squeezes my hand, holds my wrist

the attending doctor bracing herself

on my inner thigh, her head between my legs

as she props me open with a speculum

 

I am opening

I try not to watch her hands working

instead studying the surgical lamp

beside the examination table

I trace the edge of the lamp

between waves that radiate

from in between my legs

and into my gut

 

I try to isolate the sensations of my lower body

I feel a wetness on my inner thighs and smell iron

 

I am bleeding

 

I can feel every centimeter I expand

I cannot open any further than this

the hollowness gaping

I am a cavern, a cavity, a wound

 

Suddenly I am aware of my internal organs

and feel disgusted at my exposure

At the intersection of my in and out

I am moving backward up the examination table

the doctor following me with her cold hands

 

Just imagine you are a flower unfolding in timelapse

 

My knees knock inward in protest

my body has not forgotten the cruelties of this pose

 

The doctor tries to slide the small plastic T into my cervix

while I shoot my hips to the ceiling

and arch my back in protest

I’m sorry, I promise I want to do this

I assure the medical staff

as they grow uncomfortable, impatient

 

I did not know this would feel like him

like all of them

 

I am fourteen

shivering in the tent when he tries to take me

unzips my sleeping bag and crawls in

he smells like sour beer, foul intentions

he grabs me, whispers in my ear

words that will never leave me

my legs shake shut

and I watch the snow fall on dead leaves

through the slits of fabric

 

I am seventeen and wine-drunk

there is a tapestry before his bed

some dark pastoral scene

I taste the gold chain around his neck

as it falls into my mouth

while he pries my legs

I opened, and slept while he took me

 

I am nineteen and pressed against the painted cinderblock

in the room across from my dormitory

I am so close to safety

but his hands are clasped around my throat

and I force out a scream between his fingers

I will not open

 

Now I am twenty-five

and I am straining against my past and present

folding and unfolding with each wave

with each push deeper into me

I can feel the cold of her instruments behind my belly button

in my teeth, in my eye sockets

my entire body is a knot

 

When the nurse lets go of my hand and the doctor stops

I don’t think we can finish this

the pressure in my womb like a burning hollow

and I know it is done

 

When I remove from the surgical gown

and slip into my cotton dress

I feel the same old shame

for every night I have ever lost

 

And for a moment

I am sorry for squeezing the nurse’s hand too tightly

digging in my nails

and for looking her dead in the eye as they worked

 

I wonder how many others’ faces

how many tragedies played through another’s iris

she has seen like this

 

And how these nightmares that live between our knees

after all these years

come to find us in examination rooms

 

Will ever they leave us

and when will we forget them?

 

That morning

I released them in my blood

a solemn rite

and left.

 

For more poetry by E, see Oh, New York and Who We Were There.
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Author: Eileen E., poetry, travel

Oh, New York and Who We Were There

E spent a weekend in New York, learning the story of how her family came to America via Brooklyn. This poem centers on her lived experiences of New York—as a place and entity— capturing also the tensions between Brooklyn of yesterday and today.

 

Behold, Brooklyn:

I see all of your promise.

 

your children still gathered here as before,

waiting for the Messiah on train platforms,

never wincing at the cold.

 

there you are,

a cool luminosity on the horizon,

steely as the Hudson,

belonging to no one and to everyone

as all things should be.

 

there is dangerous sway and persuasion between us

the elegance of it at once a wound

and a relief of all wounds.

 

really, by the end of it,

I only ever learn what New York means when I am leaving,

 

And oh, who we were there.

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