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"We share roots, and many stories, but our different twang, our own breath animates these stories, making them sing as they are compressed against our specific bodies. 'Going home'--who does not long for connection, location, a place? I want foreigners to see how our country lies and find familiar living tales, sung with a different melody."--Petra Kuppers
From "Beauty and Variations" by Kenny Fries:
How else can I quench this thirst? My lipstravel down your spine, drink the smoothness
of your skin. I am searching for the core: What is beautiful? Who decides? Can the laws
of nature be defied? Your body tells me: comeclose. But beauty distances even as it draws
me near. What does my body want from yours?My twisted legs around your neck. You bend
me back. Even though you can't give the bonesat birth I wasn't given, I let you deep inside.
You give me--what? Peeling back my skin, youexpose my missing bones. And my heart, long
before you came, just as broken. I don't know whoto blame. So each night, naked on the bed, my body
doesn't want repair, but longs for innocence. Ifinnocent, despite the flaws I wear, I am beautiful.
Sheila Black is a poet and children's book writer.
Disability activist Jennifer Bartlett is a poet and critic with roots in the Language school.
Michael Northern is a poet and the editor of "Wordgathering: A Journal of Poetics and Disability."
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