gryphons_quill: (Default)

I swear that I had left my window closed,
yet there she was, a darker patch of night:
too real for disbelief, all golden skin
and darkness, and the sound of beating wings
that I could never see; the stuff of myth.
The air was cold and steaming with her breath.

When she arrived, she stole my very breath
and kept it captive, window still unclosed.
That very moment, opening to myth,
I welcomed in this creature spun from night;
she wrapped me warmly with her hidden wings
and feathertips made furrows in my skin.

No stranger to the touch of skin on skin,
still, I was unprepared for mingled breath,
for promises of flight on vivid wings,
discovery of secrets undisclosed.
I didn't see, that first impassioned night,
that I began to change, embracing myth.

She told me what it was to be a myth,
to crave the kiss of sunlight on her skin
but need the sanctuary found by night.
Belief in dreams, in magic, gives her breath;
the disbelief of minds too tightly closed
is poison that can cripple gryphon wings.

She begged for me to join her, said that wings
would grow from barren shoulders, that a myth
might then be born. I feared the window, closed,
could bar me from returning to my skin;
and so I trembled, tearful, held my breath
and watched her slip away into the night.

Now I dream of gryphons every night,
of lovers finding freedom on the wing.
Despite my choice, I long to taste her breath,
the woman who once wakened me to myth,
and feel her feathers warm against my skin.
My window, should she come, is never closed.

My arms, once closed, are open now to myth;
I long to see her wings against the night--
I'd give my breath to leave this lonely skin.

gryphons_quill: (Default)

My lover's shadow, sharp against the snow,
catching sunlight from the starving skies,
surprises me, for how is it I know
my lover's shadow, sharp against the snow?
Familiar; though I argue, there it lies:
my lover's shadow, sharp against the snow,
catching sunlight from the starving skies.

(add another line in the middle to make it a real triolet--I got the form wrong)

gryphons_quill: (Default)

My love is not for sharpened lines
or edges that the shadows trace.
No angle, limiting, defines
the contours warm in my embrace.

For edges that the shadows trace
can make for bold and bright designs--
but contours warm in my embrace
are worshipped in far softer shrines

in which the bold and bright designs
are lost to gentle, curving grace.
I worship in those softer shrines
where tenderness is commonplace,

lost in gentle, curving grace.
Our separate shadows intertwine
where tenderness is commonplace--
my love is not for sharpened lines.


May. 15th, 2007 11:06 pm
gryphons_quill: (Default)

Long or not so long
after the fall, the irony cuts deeply
and I watch, trapped behind glass,
watch wounds that need sutures
and wish I could stitch them
with thread made of sinew and a needle of bone.

Instead my fingers are caught by keys, my bones
not so useful as a needle now, only
fumbling, striking the syllables, wishing I could translate
emotion into language with any precision.
How do I say that
I wish I could bleed for you?

You chose, a choice not entire but a choice,
and lost that in the instant.
Of all the wounds you bear, that is the worst.

You lived in the wind's arms and the water's,
through some kindness perhaps or
only luck.
You lived through the fog,
the grey-toothed and sucking darkness
that stripped you of caring.

Trapped behind glass and with nothing but words
to give, nothing to offer, I wish
again and again that I could buy you joy
with my own, that with my arms and my flesh
I could show you beauty again.  I would give
my name, my voice, my very bone
if you could remember laughter.

It is not so long after
the fall, not so long yet, and still
the grey and toothed apathy tastes you.
You wonder, still, if you should struggle; and
if the wind grasps you again, will you fight it?
This is what cuts so deeply, this
is the wound I cannot help you to heal
from behind glass and wire.  My skin against yours
could carry a message of life and even,
I think, joy.
Let me thread my bones for you
and stitch these wounds.


May. 6th, 2007 11:07 pm
gryphons_quill: (Default)

A whispered wind, a soft remembered sigh,
an endless story penned in blood and tears.
The eagle’s wings are sharp against the sky.

We tell a tale of women, you and I,
connected womb to womb across the years:
a whispered wind, a soft remembered sigh.

In watching you, I learned that I could fly.
The earth beneath our feet belied my fears—
the eagle’s wings are sharp against the sky.

Our silent story stands in mute reply
to life, a song in stillness; I can hear
a whispered wind, a soft remembered sigh.

If I track your gaze and even pass it by
I’ll never in this life lack for frontiers.
The eagle’s wings are sharp against the sky.

Someday I hope another daughter’s cry
will echo in my arms and toward your ears,
a whispered wind, a soft remembered sigh;
the eagle’s wings are sharp against the sky.

gryphons_quill: (Default)

This is a work of fiction. I'm borrowing a trope from many excellent science-fiction and fantasy writers who create and explore fictional societies through the perspective of a character interacting with and observing that culture—often a social scientist. This is my version of a gender utopia, as viewed by a fictional self capable of traveling forward in time to a possible future. I could simply recite the features of my ideal society with regard to gender, but I prefer to delve a little deeper and investigate how gender is performed and reproduced, and what impact that has on the society as a whole.

One thing I hardly touch on is how this utopian fantasy could come to be. That's partly because I simply don't know, and partly because the work of imagining a utopia is in the creation of something perfect. If I were thinking about the best foreseeable society, or the ways I want our society's understanding of gender to change, I would approach the question very differently. This piece is me dreaming, exploring the dream, and hopefully showing how its various pieces interweave to make a consistent, realistic whole.

I'm not saying my utopian ideal is impossible. I hope it isn't, although I don't necessarily want it to come about exactly as it does in this story. I also don't believe it's universal: my own ideas about gender as I would like it to be will seem alien and uncomfortable to many people. This is my dream, my piece of fiction, my own way of exploring wishful thinking to show its underpinnings. I hope you enjoy it!

Gender Among the Noroneva )

Creative Commons License

gryphons_quill: (Default)

Recently I had the opportunity to help out at Portland West's after-school program. I spent two hours with kids grades 3 to 6, doing art projects and tutoring. I'll be going back for the next few weeks as well, until the end of the school year. There were only six children there, fewer than usual. I worked on a craft project with two young boys for most of the time. I had a lot of fun showing them new crafting techniques and encouraging them to try things and see if they worked. They told me ghost stories and talked about how nice it is to be smart and know lots of things. Later, they went outside to play soccer and I worked one-on-one with a girl who had French homework. She was very excited to find a volunteer who spoke enough French to help her, and I always enjoy being helpful.

Read more... )

Creative Commons License


Apr. 30th, 2007 11:08 pm
gryphons_quill: (Default)

Tracing concentric circles on the readied ground
that is you, I watch the skin rise
to meet my hand, yearning for touch; I watch
the reddened furrows I've made
of your chest,
symbols in a language known longer than time, of magic
older than old and deeper than dark. They dance
as though they know craving, as though
they know desire in its sweetness.
I watch you arch beneath my touch and think
of yearning and of


Apr. 25th, 2007 11:11 pm
gryphons_quill: (Default)

The poet's craft is to pick the right words.
There are too many words for you.
We were friends once, in summertime.
Your smile--
that smile--
there are no words.
I would gladly act the fool
if it meant you would shine
that light upon me
(and besides, there is some wisdom in foolishness,
and who is closer to the gods
than the Holy Fool?)
You were always perfectly reflected
by life--it mirrored you,
caught your essence.
Not even the earth,
not even the air
could resist the gentle fire of your smile,
the waters in your eyes.
Your joy could shake the foundations of my world.
Having lost your smile,
I have lost the sun, and
to lose your friendship
would lose me the moon.
My world would be dark.
There are no words.


[this is very old and has potential but needs a lot of work]


Apr. 15th, 2007 11:32 pm
gryphons_quill: (Default)

I would like to know you, to feel
the space around your form, the air
distorted by your presence and your breath.
I would breathe
into me, take you inside
where we would mingle like salt and air.


[I should expand this, I think.  Suggestions welcome]

gryphons_quill: (Default)

Over dream-water oceans
and shared fantasies (long-sought truths),
into bloodstone carved bone caverns
(dark rushing myth-rivers rising within),
through spark-studded inspired skies
and molten currents (breathable still perhaps)
I will carry you

Clay Lives

Apr. 6th, 2007 11:13 pm
gryphons_quill: (Default)

Dig the clay.
Carry it home in reed baskets,
deep and heavy.

He met me when I was in the foothills
digging clay.
He touched my hand.

Sift the clay.
Take out every stone and twig and roughness until
it feels like sparrow feathers.

He came to talk with me, some nights. We walked
in evening-light together.
We spoke of kings and birdsong and shadows.

Wet the clay
with pure river water from over the rocks.
Let it sit for a night.

By the river-side with pitch-lined baskets,
he stole a kiss.
His eyes shone like the flick of a sparrow's wings.
His skin was the color of clay.

Mold the clay.
Draw it out of itself; awaken
the life in it.
Shape (gently, gently) eyes and feathers,
wings forever frozen at the edge of flight,
a tiny breath.

He followed a king's call.
He left me with a promise of love
and the swiftness of a sparrow.

Fire the clay.
Tender creation, buried beneath the flames
to be reborn.

I am alone.

A tiny brown bird in a nest of brick,
far from my fire,
my love shattered in the flames.

I am alone with my clay.


[this is very, very old; I wrote it when I was still in high school]


Apr. 3rd, 2007 11:15 pm
gryphons_quill: (Default)

come to me                              come
grasping hands              laughing desires
give me pieces of succulent flesh
mango sensuality
come to me                              come
with quiet exhortations
and tendencies toward silence
come to me                             come
skin crossing chasms            darkly velvet
give me oceans of solitude
and stormcloud freedom
come to me
beloved intruder              reaching, holding
give me flesh like thunder
in silence

[formatting and spacing mostly lost in LJ-land]
gryphons_quill: (Default)

I loved you far too much and far too well
and now I don't know how to let you go;
still, I wouldn't keep you if I could,
for you deserve a better love than me.
Yet even as I live my life alone,
I crave your slightest touch, a single word.

Not long ago, you left me many words,
which, though I tried, I understood not well;
I only knew that I was left alone,
to stand, and then to fall, watching you go
away from our tiny home, away from me--
no words explaining how you ever could.

I never thought of leaving, never could.
I thought that we were bound by more than words,
so, when you turned and took your love from me
I'm afraid I didn't take it very well.
I was afraid that once I let you go
I would spend the rest of my life alone.

You once told me I'd never be alone,
that, with your love to hold me, I never could,
and so I never feared that you would go.
But some cold wind has scattered all your words,
the pretty vows of love you spoke so well--
that you still speak, but no longer to me.

Now the world seems dark and cold to me.
My fears and shadows won't leave me alone.
If I could just believe you loved me well
I'd bid my ghosts goodbye--perhaps I could!
--but then I know these thoughts are only words
and have no strength to make my nightmares go.

I will have to learn to let you go
and still believe that once you cared for me,
that when you said "forever" you meant the word,
but now it's time for me to be alone.
You cannot love me now, but once you could,
and in that time you loved me very well.

If you would say a single word to me,
I'd go to you as quickly as I could.
As well you don't.  I need to be alone.

gryphons_quill: (Default)
“I tell you, Janice, he is.”

Janice turns away and refuses to answer.

“I know you don't want to hear it, but I saw them with my own two eyes. Out in public, even.” Ruth wipes a bit of fluff off the curio cabinet beside her. “What do you want me to do, lie?”

Janice finally relents. She sighs and addresses her words to the credenza. “I know, Ruthie, I know you're just telling me what you saw. It's just... I don't think I can believe it.”

“Well, who would want to? Your own boy, him barely even a man and gone off like that.”

“You can't stop them, once they get it in their heads to go.”

“Course not. It's nothing you did, Janice. Just the way things are, sometimes.” Ruth sets down the casserole dish that had given her a reason to stop by. “Anything I can do for you, now I'm here?”

Janice bristles at that. “I have everything around here well in hand, Ruth May, and can't you see that?” She picks up the casserole dish with one hand and heads for the kitchen.

Ruth waits a moment and then follows her. The best conversations always happen in the kitchen, where women can relax and talk about everything they don't say out in public. She stands in the doorway and waits.

Janice sighs again and gives her a crooked grin. “Fine, come on in and we'll talk about it, then,” she says.

“Don't have to, if you don't want to,” Ruth offers. “It's just I figured you might want to. I would, if it was me.”

“Might be you, in a few years, you know,” Janice says.

“It might, sure enough. So...” Ruth trails off and starts putting plates from the dish drainer into the cupboards. She checks to make sure each one is dry before sliding it into its spot.

“So,” Janice asks, “what did you see, exactly?”

Ruth turns from the plate she's inspecting. “It wasn't mistakable, Janice, honest.”


“Still. Okay. You know how I went in town yesterday, had my doctor appointment? Well, I was coming out of there, all relieved it wasn't bad news—it wasn't, you know, he says it looks like everything's cleared up and I don't have to go back unless I find another lump—anyway, I walked right out on the sidewalk and there was your boy. He said hi to me, very polite and all. He always was a good one.”

Janice nods regally. This is true.

“So I give him a few bits of news, you know, little things he might not know, and then this other fellow comes out and your Jason, he just snuggles up to him, arms around him and a little kiss, and then they stand there holding hands and I get introduced to the other one, Dan.” She watches to see what Janice will do.

Janice pulls out onions, carrots, and potatoes for dinner. She sets to work with a peeler and hands the peeled vegetables to Ruth to chop. “No worse than I thought, Ruthie, and thank you for telling me. A mother would wonder, otherwise.” She hesitates. “Was... was the other one older?”

Ruth pulls the cutting board from its place by the fridge, takes out the sharp, wide-bladed cleaver. “No, I'd say he's probably a year or two younger, actually.” She looks at the potatoes. “You want these for soup or what?”

“Boiled dinner, so just quarter 'em.”

“Right.” Ruth cuts the vegetables idly while she speaks. “So... yeah, younger. And he seemed like a nice young man, all in all. Shook my hand and said he'd heard all about me, and then asked after my Will's health.”

“Ah.” It's a sound like a shock, escaping without volition, that could mean anything. Janice sweeps her pile of peels into the garbage can. “Well, Jason wouldn't ever go with someone who wasn't brought up with decent manners, you know. He's always been a good boy.”

“Sure has. I was tickled he'd been thinking of Will, even since he'd gone.” Ruth finishes chopping and puts all the vegetables in the ceramic crock-pot. “You have corned beef for this?”

“Sure do, hold on, that and the cabbage.” Janice digs in her refrigerator. “Here you go.”

Ruth quarters the cabbage and drops it and the meat into the crock-pot too. “So it seems like Jason, well...”

“Like he at least got himself a nice boy? Yeah.” Janice's smile is wry. “How's Will, anyway? I heard you kept him home from school Tuesday.”

Ruth nods. “Oh, it was nothing important. Just a bit of a cold. It's been two years since we had any reason to worry, you know? Not that we stop worrying, but he seems all right.” She knocks on the wooden cutting board, twice. “Knock on wood.”

“It's good to hear that, real good. I was a bit worried.”


Janice fills the crock-pot with water and turns it on, then fills the battered old kettle and sets it on the back burner to heat. “Tea?”

“Love some, thanks.” Ruth watches Janice getting down the tea bags and a couple of mugs. “Listen, Janice, there's one more thing I kind of wanted to say, about your Jason and his friend.”

“Yeah? Hold on a minute, just let me get settled in.” Janice pours, gets out the cream and the sugar bowl, and sits at the table. “Sit, sit, and tell me whatever it is you really came here to say.”

“Am I that obvious?” Ruth pretends to be embarrassed. “But seriously, it's important, and I want to say it right.”

“I'm listening,” Janice says patiently, taking a careful sip of her too-hot tea.

Ruth looks her over carefully and then nods. “Right. It's just that I know it's not the sort of thing you want to hear, that your oldest has gone off and, you know, gotten with another man. Makes you wonder if it was your fault, makes you wonder what kind of life he'll have, right?”

Janice nods but doesn't speak, waiting for Ruth to continue.

“Well, Jason looked pretty good to me, like he's been taking care of himself, and those two boys weren't hiding anything from anyone, they kept waving at people who walked by. I think they must know the whole town, you know?”

Janice nods again. “He's always been friendly. Likes people, Jason does.”

Ruth nods. “Sure enough. Anyway, we stood there all of us talking for a while, and Jason asked after everyone, and then he got to saying how he'd like to come home for a visit, him and Dan, so you could meet him. And he looked all, you know... hopeful. Like a puppy that's not sure whether it'll be fed or kicked, you know?”

“Sure I know,” Janice says, and really smiles for the first time. “I've seen that look a hundred thousand times out of that boy, every time he asked for something he knew I didn't want him to have.”

“Exactly! And I couldn't say no to him looking at me like that. Just couldn't. So I told him, come on home next weekend, and I'll make things right with your mother and everyone.”

Janice's smile widens to a grin. “You said that? You just figured you'd come in here and break the news to me, and then talk me around to extending an invitation to the both of them?”

Ruth doesn't look down; her grin mirrors Janice's own. “I didn't figure it was much of a risk. You're not the type to turn away your own flesh and blood, no matter who he's gone and fallen in love with.”

Janice nods, satisfied. “All right, you're right, I'm not.” She pauses and looks at Ruth, sitting across the table looking smug, and adds, “Now drink that damn tea, while I tell you something you might not know about your Will and Sarah Monroe...” She laughs out loud at the look on her friend's face. “Honestly! You're not the only one who knows anything, Ruth May!”
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