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Day 18: All My Friends are Sad & Bright by Cameron Awkward-Rich

Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

All My Friends Are Sad & Bright

after Richard Siken
by Cameron Awkward-Rich

I think door & there is. Open & here’s a room
where everything you’ve lost is washed ashore.
We’ve seen the news. We know the story.
How even our bodies hurt us sometimes
so much. Room of broken mirrors. Room of salt.
Room of marigolds & it’s your party, baby.
Here’s a crown, here’s a gown & no man
just around the corner, all your eyes on you.
I think gunflower & here’s a field. Here’s a room
where every bullet planted blooms. Boy with flower.
Boy with metal rose. What’s done is done. What fire
fords you. I was a child once. Anything could be
my kingdom, all I had to do was say—
Here’s a room of water & gold & nothing else.
A room in which a man takes back his blood.
Goodbye blood. Goodbye stars. Goodbye dead light
troubling the dance your body does all by itself.
I was by myself once, beside myself, breath
fogging up a window & what’s on the other side?
Only everything you wanted & here’s a room
of everything you wanted. Think peppermint & myrrh.
Think loved & you don’t even have to die.

Copyright © 2019 by Cameron Awkward-Rich. Originally published in Dispatch (Persea Books, 2019).

About the Author

Author headshotCameron Awkward-Rich is the author of two collections of poetry—Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016) and Dispatch (Persea Books, 2019)—as well as The Terrible We: Thinking with Trans Maladjustment, forthcoming from Duke University Press. His writing has appeared, in various forms, in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Signs, and elsewhere, and has been supported by fellowships from Cave Canem, the Lannan Foundation, and the ACLS. Presently, he lives in Greenfield Massachusetts and is an assistant professor in Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Queer Poem a Day graphic

Queer Poem a Day

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.

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