by Barbara Ruth
I want to be transformed
be made new. I want to dive into the ocean and come up
into a new spot, new life. I want
to go into my back yard, as I did when I was ten
and this time dig until I really do
I want to be transcendent
transcending all the barriers, all the things I have been told
I cannot do. I want to be
beyond the limits, ever going further,
not resting till I reach an unnamed shore
where no man has ever walked. And there
I will lie down beside the water’s edge
and hear the ocean whisper
my given name
in our own tongue.
On the Line
If Paris is a woman, San Francisco is a lesbian.
She resists gentrification and she gentrifies.
She works in Silicon Valley, takes the Apple bus to work.
She blocks the Apple bus with 50 of her friends.
She loves the Mission, it’s where she was born.
She loves the Mission: potted wine bars, pretty murals.
Either way, her rent’s too dear. Transitioning
is always in her face.
So many choices, fraught, delicious, brash,
they educate, they enervate.
She remembers Maud’s, still goes to the Women’s Building.
She calls herself a queer grrl, has boyfriends on the side.
Oh, but honey, desire
clicks on the trolley, silk against silk on the N Judah line.
leather pressed to organic cotton on the BART, cheek to cheek, baby
cheek to cheek.
Barbara Ruth is a radical lesbian feminist, an warrior who fights for housing justice in silicon valley and the medical oxygen she needs to survive, but is often denied her due to the controversy surrounding her diagnosis and general bureaucratic malfeasance. She can be quite charming.