Galactic Rabbit January 2017!

Today, having just fallen off the edge of 2016, I’m wondering about the power that we give years. We open and close a chapter of our lives based on a number imagined in the mind. But, there are so many markers we can set our years to. For those of us who are teachers, the year begins every September and the end is summer, an unclaimed time measured in how many weeks before the water is warm enough to walk all the way in. For those of us who dip our apples into honey, Jewish New Year came in October and the lunar year is now 5777 (which, by the way, adds up to the number 8—a number that indicates beginnings and endings). Chinese New Year is at the end of January but we won’t leave the year of the Monkey for the year of the Rooster until February! And, reader, I will let you know that I just began my Saturn Return a couple months ago, so everything feels like either a door on the verge of opening or a house that’s been lit on fire.

Whatever 2016 has meant to you, whenever it beings and whenever it ends, whatever happened or will happen, a year is only a river made of days—the girl in the boat rowing along that river, she is the mystery. Where did she come from and how long has she been coming? Was the boat given to her or did she build it herself? And, how did she make it so far down the river? And when, if ever, does she raise her oar so that the current captains her?

What I mean is, even if you are grieving an intimate loss, even if the oldest bones in you ache with fear waking into this political climate, life has to be lived before we can know what it is*. And we can still make something beautiful together. We can defy separation. Even through the thickest, darkest, clouds of fascism, we can look up to each other, we can fall in love and rise in resistance.

With Adoration,
Galactic Rabbit

*Lisel Mueller, “The Triumph of Life: Mary Shelley

P.S. THANK YOU Claire Skinner, poet & clairvoyant extraordinaire for being my first and best reader.
P.P.S. IF you want to support the writing of these astro-love letters, you can donate here.

 

AQUARIUS

Have I used the phrase “pilgrim soul” when I’ve written to you? Today as I sit in the golden light of a house in the woods, I’m thinking about that William Butler Yeats line “but one man loved the pilgrim soul in you.” I’m thinking of your pilgrim soul, which is to say—a soul that journeys to a sacred place to practice worship.

It’s just that I’m beginning to feel like maybe any place where we can be together without fear for the safety our loved ones is a sacred place. And since our country is not that place, since most countries are not, we must create sacred worlds together. We are charged with making the voyage and the destination.

An architect must know a strong foundation when they see one, Aquarius, and you are the architect of our resistance. Just remember, before you begin the arduous task of mapping a world where joy is a seed in everyone’s backyard and the skylights show us unconditional heaven, you might spend some time learning what a good foundation is worth.

And, that means that there will be days when you will have to learn how to feel when the ground is crumbling under you before it crumbles. And, what that means is ,there will be days ahead when fortifying the support systems you already have in place will be your best-laid plan.

 

PISCES 

The very word erotic comes from the Greek word eros, the personification of love in all its aspects—born of Chaos, and personifying creative power and harmony. When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the life-force of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives.

-“Uses of The Erotic,” Audre Lorde

A wound calls for care so the wounded tends to it, or learns to. It isn’t easy, after all, to care for oneself. The puncture grows smaller over time, barely visible, but the memory of the puncture—its impact and its consequence—the memory can grow large without regard to time.

When the wound’s call was deafening, how did you care for it? Did you seek relief in the arms of others? Did you lie very still and run your hands over yourself, thinking “I am here, I am here, I am here”? Did the past year teach you that relief comes only when you are ready and readiness will look nothing like what you imagined?

And what is the erotic if not a working toward opening? Here, the lover enters through the wound and their entrance is both a salve and a reminder. A salve is not salvation. The wound’s call is subtle now, but it is no less powerful. What can it teach you about your purpose here? You will learn how to gather your life in your hands, you will learn how to answer the call. You will be the one who tends the wound always, but how you tend to it will change. Pisces, you grow strange and you grow stronger.

 

ARIES

Once, when the heart was young, the heart did not wonder if love was enough. It loved. It pumped so fast, you were running across wild grass, toward someone who loved you or you were the field and the heart of all things pumping. Once, the heart was young and love was enough, the world was so many tight buds opening and you were a part of all that, fragrant and damp with opening.

I promised you a love letter, but I don’t know what love is. Each to each, bodies cleaving in the open yard and under dark heaven, a panting gesture we have waited to make all our lives. You begin in the garden of love and it is a garden of possibility. Each seed is a promise, an ambition, an idea that could go either way. A girl crawls on her hands and knees through the garden, she says, “look, I crawl on my hands and knees—I make a path in the dirt, follow me.”

You are the girl in love’s garden but to feel love is not enough. The garden has its own ideas. The roses shoot vines that trouble the house, wisteria threatens the pear tree which—if you are not vigilant—drops overripe fruit to the ground and invokes swells of bees. Aries, I promised you a love letter, can you show me what love is? Who will climb the ladder and gather the fruit before it is wasted? Who will cut the roses back, carefully, trading wildness for sustainability?

A girl on her hands and knees in the garden, you buried your heart in the rich earth of your devotion. Whatever grows thrives or dies there, is your charge.

 

TAURUS

Well, the new year started well enough. We were under the open sky, surrounded by pines, in a hot tub that, after many hours of prodding and tinkering, had gotten sufficiently hot. Midnight was ten minutes away and you insisted we go inside, so we went inside. I guess that’s when things got tricky, I don’t know. I’m always watching you trying to figure out what you’re feeling and you’re always watching everyone else with a calm and closed face like the guardian of pleasure.

Of course, there was an argument. There’s always an argument but this time something was pained in you, a radiance of disappointment or discouragement. We dug in, you with your passionate resistance, me with my—yes I’ll admit it—condescending patience. And, here is the place where I love you most, the force of your certitude up against your will to change. You refused my language but you’d kept asking questions anyway.

And I guess I’m still learning about you, your incredible devotion to ideas, which once accepted become part of you—a driving force of change. And, that is why you’re not easily swayed, why shades of grey seem like a weak strategy in a world where you have had to bet on yourself over and over, to be strong because weakness was not an option.

But, Taurus, no matter who you think you are or how you think others see you, the world builds itself around you in a gradient of offerings. The more you open to others, the more they understand you. The more you let the world in, the more pain you feel, the more beauty.

 

GEMINI

During her speech while receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature, Gemini writer Svetlana Alexievich said:

“It always troubled me that the truth doesn’t fit into one heart, into one mind, that truth is somehow splintered. There’s a lot of it, it is varied, and it is strewn about the world. Dostoevsky thought that humanity knows much, much more about itself than it has recorded in literature. So what is it that I do? I collect the everyday life of feelings, thoughts, and words. I collect the life of my time. I’m interested in the history of the soul. The everyday life of the soul, the things that the big picture of history usually omits, or disdains. I work with missing history. I am often told, even now, that what I write isn’t literature, it’s a document. What is literature today? Who can answer that question? We live faster than ever before. Content ruptures form. Breaks and changes it. Everything overflows its banks: music, painting – even words in documents escape the boundaries of the document. There are no borders between fact and fabrication, one flows into the other. Witnesses are not impartial. In telling a story, humans create, they wrestle time like a sculptor does marble. They are actors and creators.”

She was speaking of being a war writer, of writing humanity back into the brutality of war. Tonight, I’m thinking about the truths your heart knows, the small daily ones and the larger ones that direct the compass of your life. I am thinking about your ability to collect fragments of a scattered life and make something remarkable out of something ordinary.

Once, everyday opened into a new idea. I thought, this is the kind of person I am meant to wake up beside. We were artists without labels, we made what we wanted to see, we learned how to do it on the fly—or we taught each other. Now something like a snow cloud. You rise, you meet the day, move forward, but who are you—what are your hands for?

Content ruptures form yes, but internally and externally. Do you feel a kind of inside outside dance, your inner tumult crashing up against the world, chaos? But, you don’t have to suffer to know who you are—it’s not a job, a lover, a sentence written on paper—it’s a beautiful mystery you have to claim every day, like the sun rising, for as long as you’re alive.

 

CANCER 

Oh, it’s a trial, being so tender and so tough, I know. On the days when my heart gets too soft to bear the world, I remember my Cancerian father. I remember his soft watchful presence, how he aimed to take care of me. I remember our long walks along the beach together full of open-hearted talks and, also, his powerful rage, which never erupted. Rather, his rage closed all access to him; he would tighten his mouth and utter what was unmistakably the “final word,” then quietly leave the house not to return for hours.

From him, I learned the impact of being quiet and showing pointed restraint. I learned how to hold my most vulnerable self back when it was threatened, even subtly, how to punish without words. It was only after he died, after my girlfriend left, after a long time of trying to open myself to love again, that I learned how much impact all that distancing had had on me. Most of the time when I grieve my father, I grieve a man with a secret heart. I know he loved me more than life itself, but he never knew me—because I never let him.

Cancer, when you refuse access to your heart, no amount of crying or processing will ever soothe you. And, the strength you feel inside your armor will be a temporary strength, or a strength borne by isolation. When you open the door and let your loved ones in, you will find that you let yourself in, you get closer to yourself.

 

LEO 

When one animal lives in a dark forest, her heart is a jam jar filled with ruby jewels. For a long time, the animal did not know herself from the forest and so she could not imagine her own shape. She tried to draw the outline of herself, her boundary, but the line kept running out and into shadows. When another animal came, let’s call him animal2, she wasn’t surprised. A forest is made for many animals and her jam jar, a beacon. She said, “come by my fire, animal2,” and he sat there. She offered him some jam and he ate all the jam.

A boundary breached in the emotional body: an alarm sounds in your spirit, a powerless anger.

Our animal grew hungry and resentful, still the next day she offered up her jar again. She said “I have some jam to share but it’s my only jam,” animal2 ate all the jam. It made him sad to make sad, but that’s the kind of animal he was.

A boundary broken felt through the body, an ache, a sense of shame, a resentment in the gut.

She said “I won’t give you jam if you don’t leave me some” still he never left her any and she always gave him jam so her words had no power.

A boundary is a protection spell that only works if you honor it. There is no power in a name that is written in sand.

Our animal’s heart was an empty jar she collected tears in. One day, animal2 came to our animal, he said— “Can I drink those tears?” And our animal handed over her jar, thinking he might know her heart and be good to her. But when the last tear dripped into his mouth, the outline of our animal softened and disappeared until animal2 was the only animal left.

Leo, to offer oneself, one must have a defined self, otherwise what you offer is what you might not be ready to lose.

 

VIRGO 

In the car with my best friend’s mother, we wondered at what make a 15-year-old girl leave her home and a mother who loves her. What I offered her was an answer I would have offered my own mother. It had to do with the secret life of children, a life we take for granted, which is invested in perception and accumulation—change. I know all immigrant children have a different story but here is something I found shared, we did not choose to begin a new life—a new language, a new culture—it was chosen for us and it was something we were sent to do alone. We were given a mission but the closer we got to accomplishing it, the further we fell from our origins and consequently our families.

There were days when love was enough to tether us, and struggle too was a kind of adhesive, but there was also disjuncture in love language, something lost in the translation between individual difference and culture imitation.

What was lost comes back around, Virgo, and you will find that the child you were—the one who moved through this world despite your family and in step with them—is the adult you grapple with. The way you see your failures, successes, your belief in love’s power and love’s shortcomings, these things are in conversation with your origin. When the conversation becomes heated, when you feel the untenable tension of who you were born to be and who you have become, running will seem like a good option. But, Virgo, you should stay, you should put the bottle down. That child you grapple with is the one who needs you most.

 

LIBRA

All your life you’ve been looking at an image of scales and told to identify with it. But what is a scale? A means of measurement. An object attempting at balance.  A sculpture made of chains, cups and lever, dancing. An implement of comparison and exchange. And you? Are you the scales or the keeper of? Do you walk through world seeking inner balance, shifting weights from one side to the other, or do you stand still before warring sides and weigh each opinion, mediating their actions and declaring their worth? The scale is an altar where justice is observed but not where it lives. This, the eternal question: what is balance in an unjust world and how do you, Libra, determine the worth of an exchange which is never equal?

Today, on a car-ride to Philly, I was reading an old issue of NYRB where (Libra) Maya Lin takes us step by step through the creation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I think it is important that all artists read this text if only for the line “I had a simple impulse to cut into the earth,” but here is where I thought about you and about us, about the choices that get made for us when we forget what to believe in:

There was always the expectation that since the war had been controversial, the memorial must be also. It wasn’t so much as artistic dispute as a political one. The choice to make an apolitical memorial was in itself political to those who felt only a positive statement about the war would make up for the earlier antiwar days, a past swing to the left now to be balanced. It was extremely naïve of me to think that I could produce a neutral statement that would not become politically controversial simply because it chose not to take sides.

You are always taking a side, Libra, even when you perform the dance of hesitancy. The life you want to live, a life that thrives on beautiful risk and Amazon idealism, it needs you to choose it and keep choosing it even when it feels impossible. The storm clouds are gathering and something mighty comes, you can bring the scales if you want, but you can’t stay still.


SCORPIO

Outside, for the third time today running errands for someone you love, you wonder what drives you toward service and what is it about you anyway that makes your kind of caretaking pass invisible under the radar of those you do it for? Is it to your credit that the work blends in with daily life? Not bold or showy but, rather, small adjustments attending to the foreseen needs of others. And are you really so kind, so generous with your time, so attentive to the lives of others, or are you simply wandering through the world trying to prove to yourself that you can be of use?

Nevermind, the coffee shop you set out towards to get the espresso you want is not serving espresso, do you want hot chocolate? No, you don’t want hot chocolate or tea or regular coffee besides this isn’t for you it’s for someone else and someone else is back at the apt waiting for a latte. You find the next coffee shop. The line is long. It’s ok, you can wait. You’re very good at waiting. You’re waiting for the coffee, you’re waiting for your life to change into a life you love a little bit more. Just a little bit, you’re not unrealistic.

Ok. You have the coffee, you got yourself one too—you’re not inhuman—make sure not to get them mixed up, some people like to complain when you get mixed up and if they complain you’ll take it personally. Do you take things too personally? Maybe it’s just that you’re spending all your time and energy and sweetness on everybody else. And then, when you’re alone with yourself, you’re too tired to check in and take care of the one person you keep forgetting about—yourself. So, take care of yourself. All these tiny gestures, all these small ways you try to soften yourself for the sake of others, are you telling me you can’t devote at least one act of love to yourself every day?


SAGITTARIUS

At one of the last surviving diners in Manhattan, in the very back behind scattered tourist families, upper west side morning joggers, and wayward teenagers clearly cutting class, I wait for you. We’re a sight for sure, you suffering from what appears to be the direst cold known the mankind and me, hungover with period cramps. We groan toward our food, order omlettes with “home fries” and “cheese” and are of course rewarded with ambiguous orange goo and browned mashed potatoes. Water comes about halfway through the meal and we’re basically guzzling coffee to survive. Still, through our individual pain, I can feel the soft relief of company. What is it about communal suffering? Is it the act of witnessing? You recognize my pain and allow me the opportunity to move beyond claiming it.

Alright, so to suffer best we must suffer communally. Red tent, Shiva, or two girls eating unnameable cheese at noon on a Thursday. But what about the general malaise we have no rituals for? The “I’m a directionless, poor, woman who is moderately depressed” malaise, the “Sure, I’m in love with my husband but that is literally the only sure thing in my life” malaise, the “I don’t know how to be in a relationship with anyone, probably because I have no idea how to be honest with myself about what I need, do I need something?” malaise.

In lieu of Dayquil for the Soul, which will—you know—not be made in this lifetime, it is up to you to come up with rituals for obtuse suffering. What I mean is, build a community around you that recognizes your sadness and your joy both, allow people to see your full spectrum of emotions, allow yourself to feel them. And who knows? Maybe in the blue tent where we just listen to sad songs for a few hours every week, a voice (a song? a story? a friend?) might embolden you  to discovering your own cure.


CAPRICORN

The first time I heard the song “Wild is the Wind,” it was a recording of Ellison Glenn made for a cd of poems. The recording was not a poem. It was a drawling, crying, voicemail for what felt like a sweetheart but could have been a love letter to their most broken self. Love me Love me, say you do, my best friend and I sang it to each other—it was our crush language, our lost lover language. Like a leaf clings to a tree something delicate and undeniable.

When this year ended, I was with all my friends in a house in the woods. We said let’s play the dead and cued up George Michael, Leonard Cohen, Bowie, and Prince. And then something happened to me, it happened to the room. David Bowie came on the screen singing “Wild is the Wind.” My heart stopped. Because it was aching, it made me ache. The words from his mouth were not words but whole ghosts springing from his face like cast off masks. And it was tense, one string in his throat about to break.

I looked at Bowie face and thought to myself—this—this is what a Capricorn is—a soft sweet howling through ancient trees, a determination to enter the room of love and divine worship no matter how steep the cost or how difficult the journey. There was something patient in the ghosts that flew from him, something vulnerable and unable to forgive itself. And maybe there are things in this world that Bowie will never have forgiveness, he’s just a star now—a dead star. But you, Capricorn, you who are still here, still wind howling through trees, still a leaf clinging to this life—forgiveness is something you can learn. How to give it, yes, but mostly how to receive it.

 

 

Galactic Rabbit November 2016

Because we live in in the new world order, which is also the old world order taking off its veil, I am writing toward the moon, my love, this evening and well into the night. Under that wide-open eye we are all illuminated. The ocean of brutality is unknowable, intimate and dangerous, but we are powerful together—a glimmering school of healers and survivors.

In the streets, there are those of us who were born lucky enough to move through the world with hope’s fire in our hearts. I see the fire doused in you now. I know you will find a way to stay warm and warm others. I know that you are here because you want to be of use to the world, to serve the greater good. And there is so much good, I promise.

In the streets, there are those of us who have always felt so invisible, so valueless to those who are in power, that fascism comes as no surprise. I see the well of your knowledge overflowing, and it is unbearable. You have no illusions to shed. You admit you are tired, you admit that this country broke your heart from the very start. You have never had time to lie down and rest.

If the winds of fate have brought us here, a wheel turned and we are at the bottom. And the earth was dry on our journey, and there was blood soaking the soil we walked on, however reverently. Beloved, you drank from the sorrow in the well, forged weapons in the fire. What do we know of our limits now? For years we have counted the bodies they said were not worth counting. Now, who will drag the dead to the feet of our autocrat and make demands?

If we have failed, we must fail harder. What we risk for those who are most vulnerable in our communities must equal what we risk to love one another and to love ourselves. For many of us, these factors are not distinguishable and for this reason we must protect each other when we walk together and we must be vigilant in our witnessing, since seeing is wrapped in knowing and knowing is historical.

To respect your history, I will love you and not expect love in return. I will fight for your right to rest and I will find honor in the fight itself, never the recognition. And, since our country has never wanted us, it is to your joy that I pledge my allegiance. I can’t tell you who I am to you, only who I aim to be.

Your Lover & Accomplice,
Galactic Rabbit

 

P.S. This is entirely an unpaid labor of love by someone with no financial “net” so if you would like to donate to the making of these horoscopes, you can do so here!



Aquarius

Outside everything is grey and I’m in bed listening to Placebo because, apparently, the threat (see: certainty) of a white supremacist inside the White House makes me regress. The singer is repeating the words “Protect me from what I want” over and over and this is reminding me of Jenny Holzer’s projections which is making me wonder if the world ever changes at all or has it always been like this and always will be—kings in golden thrones drinking the blood of the poor, cointelpro pitting us against each other so that our energy boils at the bottom of this brutal capitalist well and stays there—evaporating our collective power.

How many Cassandras have we birthed and discounted? Who trusts a woman whose knowledge is integral to her very being, has come from no man’s mind. And how often have you, Aquarius, aimed to prove yourself through acquiry? The books you’ve read in an attempt to be an expert at your own life stack high in your mind and cast foreboding shadows.

In a world like this one, you are taught to doubt what is innate in you, your own readiness to be yourself. It is your job from now on to unlearn whatever has diminished your sense of inner knowing, to traverse the universe of your mind with great anticipation.


PISCES

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

-Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, Page 99.

We were talking about darkness but not our own, because it is easier to talk about the darkness of others. You proposed that there are some people out there who think they’re the underdogs, despite their own excess of power, the kind of people who bake pies and sing hymns while their neighbors are dragged from their homes, the kind of people who invest in liberty only as much as it allows them to barricade their lives from the suffering of others.

These kinds of people are a shadow side the way the moon is a shadow side, always present and especially visible in times of darkness. In talking of the shadow side I remembered a woman I had known. She was very tall, her body a thermometer with mercury levels indicating a nervous, melancholic disposition. This disposition lent itself to many subtle cruelties, as melancholy lends itself to self-indulgence, but she believed herself a healer and a self-less lover, a woman at the knife’s edge of surrender. In remembering her I know I remember all the ways I saw myself in her.

The Piscean journey, I know, is that of a healer who must face their wound always. Who must, against all forms of outer and (especially) inner resistance, recognize the shadow side of their nature and reckon with its intentions. There are no self-less healers among us and cannot be. When you act, what part of you acts from the wound? When you listen, what wounds within you obscure your ability to witness the wounds of others?


ARIES

Tanks of the blown-off world. He is my beautiful offshore a caw caw of major spills and elsewhere no, no. Cut the dialect the binary the dear word so precious and forbidden. They use the machines to take the streets of the world. Horizon my headwater cut cut the cable my beignets my else an appetite “poor politics, poor poor pols.” Waters of the world in media cut cut the lines manipulate desire and show the word show the Man show the tablets a Paleolithic grab all the twilight fields of discontent that shadow governments rise up people of the world of many wounded galaxies of discontent. And hear you, people of the word.

History Will Decide / Anne Waldman

Because last night I was in a small room where Anne Waldman (the woman, the legend, the triple Aries) cast a circle. She cast that circle not in salt but in poetic bellows charged with grief for the optimistic delusions we have allowed ourselves to live inside and the consequences of our enduring commitment to an economy of brutality. The last straw of honor broken across this country’s back, she proclaimed and I felt the straw break in my mind, recognizing at once that the straw had been broken long ago over the bodies of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Natasha McKenna, and Renisha McBride (among too many others).

This morning, while listening to Tracy Chapman’s “Talkin’ Bout A Revolution,” I heard the call to action again—a call that refused to claim weakness or abdicate its own claim to power—and I wondered what an Aries could teach us about fighting for the world we want. And, I wondered what an Aries would need to learn in order to be a good teacher.

Because we know that we cannot hope to be given power, and must instead learn how to claim it, the onus is on us to understand the many ways that grasping for power corrupts our perception and empathic capabilities. And, if you are to understand power, you must understand your relationship to control—how much you want to have and how much you fear to lose. Be especially mindful of your intimate circle, Aries, since it is the first circle you cast and the one that fortifies you against the cruelties of the outer world. Tucked into every fearless fighter’s armor is the handkerchief of a fearless lover.

TAURUS

Dear friend, I mean to you write you tonight but instead I write here and feel you very close. I know you have been out in the streets for days, chanting among the dissidents in all kinds of weather. In my heart, I walk beside you and witness your keen sense of injustice. It is something I have always known and admired in you: the power of your convictions. Strong but not inflexible, you are both open to learning and yet entirely devoted to what your heart knows to be true.

It is your will to change that I appeal to now and although typing those words has reminded me of Adrienne Rich’s Will To Change and I have found the title poem to share with you—how it indicts us as Americans (we immigrant who have never felt truly American)—I am moved to share some lines from Planetarium with you instead.

The radio impulse   

pouring in from Taurus

         I am bombarded yet         I stand

I have been standing all my life in the   

direct path of a battery of signals

the most accurately transmitted most   

untranslatable language in the universe

I am a galactic cloud so deep      so invo-

luted that a light wave could take 15   

years to travel through me       And has   

taken      I am an instrument in the shape   

of a woman trying to translate pulsations   

into images    for the relief of the body   

and the reconstruction of the mind.

I choose these words because I can feel a space opening within you. Or, perhaps, what I feel is the Rubik’s cube inside you shifting, twisting, an alignment you could not have foreseen. It is as painful as it is clear, this reconstruction, but I know you are strong enough to bear it. Not only bear it but also embrace it. Taurus, on the other side of chaos is birth, a woman whose strength is this country’s backbone. A woman who is not afraid to surrender to love’s power over her.

GEMINI

And as I stand before you now, I am hopeful in my rage
You know love has finally called for me, I will not wilt upon its stage
But still smaller than my nightmare now do I print upon the page
Do we have to live inside its walls to identify the cage?
–It Won’t Take Long / Ferron

At the KGB lit bar, three women are writing their way out the mind’s prison, or painting the bar of the prison of their mind so that they can see it, and I am walking to them. On the way, I pass a kickboxing gym that’s filled with only women. Sweat and spit fling from the womens’ orifices as they exert their force against punching bags that hang heavy and indestructible. They are like Amazons readying for war, I think. They are Amazons readying for war.

And, the poetry of the night is a kind of mental kickboxing by which I am made limber and supple with tears in the opening act before my Gemini friend invites the audience into the ring to roundhouse with language. Garish erasures of Playboy, the magazine all women are slipped in the prison of their minds, vector from her sharp frame of lace and opaque gemstone. Intimacy and hardness, interior and exterior war, when she is done we go outside and repeat her words back to her like they are roses in our hands. I want to say the line “practicing a knowing toward love,” but I can’t be sure of what I heard or what I might reveal about myself in the repeating. So instead I touch her hand and look into her face, lit in burgundy light like a pomegranate seed.

O Gemini, what will you do with everything you know? Do our minds protect us from our hands, even as we crawl on hands and knees toward our destruction, toward the demons that live in us and through us who know pain’s astonishing intimacy? Remember the boxing gym aptly named Overthrow where the Amazons box. How, in boxing, one protects their hands—the very thing ones uses to inflict hurt and compel submission. Practicing a knowing toward love… I think I understand. It’s admitting a weakness that is also a tool. That is also a weapon.

CANCER

I read at the same time: This will be and this has been; I observe with horror an anterior future of which death is the stake. By giving me the absolute past of the pose (aorist), the photograph tells me death in the future. What pricks me is the discovery of this equivalence. In front of the photograph of my mother as a child, I tell myself: she is going to die: I shudder, like Winnicott’s psychotic patient, over a catastrophe which has already occurred. Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.

                                                                                                           Camera Lucida / Roland Barthes

It is true that in mourning our hearts open wider, a wound like an aperture that absorbs all light, all suffering, the foreground and background distinguishable only by lines where a figure might cut through. Why do we open the aperture? To bear witness, to catalogue what will be destroyed so that in looking back we know what needs rebuilding and must be overhauled. We open the aperture anticipating the larger possibilities of the future (believing that there will be one despite all evidence to the contrary).

In your home filled with the birth and death of flowers, we sing along to “Chelsea Hotel” and wonder aloud the thin line between sex tender and tendered. Who does the song belong to, the man who wrote it or the woman who never said I need you, I don’t need you? I compare it to Bishop’s “One Art” and, so, while you mince the dill so fine and green, I read the words aloud Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love). What I’m trying to say is that in the morning, over music and language and simmering vegetables, we determine that the grief we endure, for this country, for the ones we have lost, for the parts of ourselves we have had to lay to rest, will not strip us but instead empower us. We are the government now, you say.

In writing this, I take a picture of our power and protect it. The vows we make to each other will outlast this world we live in now and see us through to the next. Cancer, if there are moments when you fear you’re alone in this fight, you are not alone. What is an opening is also a light. Your wide-open heart: a signal. We see it, we move toward you, stand behind you, ready to claim and rebuild our broken world.


LEO

In a basement over boxes I packed so long ago I can barely remember what each one holds, I am parsing through my past and S is reading aloud the different kinds of love language we are capable of. Is gift giving one of your primary love languages? I exacto a flimsy strip of tape and pull out a blanket Maya bought me years ago simply because she adored how taken I was with it. Not really, I venture. But, remembering how much this blanket compelled me, I can’t be sure. It is true there is a Leo in my life whose offerings soften my heart. It is also true that I would love her just the same without those gifts, that I recognize the gifts as her love language and regard them as such.

According to someone who is very Christian named Gary Chapman, there’s five love languages: receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service (devotion), and physical touch. When S reads these aloud to me and attempts to pinpoint what feels like love to her, I getting a sinking feeling that I must be one those greedy bitches that just needs it all. And, aren’t there larger, more unconscious, love languages? My Leo friend has this unrelenting will to illuminate the best qualities of everyone she loves while simultaneously forcing them to face their weaknesses and overcome them. It is the love language of witness and pride, the love language of her very being, and what draws me to her. When I take the test on the official website, I find that I score highest with “words of affirmation.” I think of my Leo, the way her praise feels so entirely genuine and perceptive, and a lump of recognition fills my throat. Feeling affirmed. Seen. Known.

Leo, the world is need of generous leaders and no matter what you do for money, your energy is precious now. So, you must spend it wisely with compassion for yourself as well as others. Can this approach to the language of love translate, for you, to a kind of creative force? A hope to “participate long term in a greater good.” If so, then it is in the interest of the greater good that you learn what compels you toward your life’s purpose. It is within your power to invoke the love you want.


VIRGO

And all this nation. Not nation. What was once expanse. You, I, they, us surrounded. Unable to ask forgiveness of itself, to inscribe particular in its own body that got left begins. As we separated to say.

Not of this nation and not of another.

–Face / Melissa Buzzeo

I’ve been sitting in a Starbucks in the town of Easthampton NY for over an hour, writing these love letters and waiting on my lover’s wife to return from her own writing group. I’ve also been watching one couple, a man and woman who appear in their early 60s, drunkenly claim and disavow each other. The woman climbs onto his lap and weeps. The woman strikes the man’s chest because her own heart aches. The man wraps his arms around the woman and then his arms fall limp. The man’s voice cracks with tears as he lists the wrongs he has endured and then it rises in anger. The woman leaves “until he can calm down.” The man grips the sides of the ugly puce fake tufted leather chair and I can hear the tears dribble down his face although he is silent. He leaves and in ten minutes they return to together. She crawls into his lap. They laugh and then they fall apart. A simple sentence! He yells and only she knows what that means. He calls her Girl and she says Please and strokes his face. If that girl sitting there finds my body dead, he gestures toward me, we’re through. I look down and don’t meet her gaze, thinking … well that’s indisputable.

Just this afternoon I was watching a video called “Why the Poorest County in West Virginia Has Faith in Trump.” In an opening interview with a former gas station worker who bides his time waiting for visitors at an inoperative station in McDowell County, West VA, an elderly man with eyes that resembled my father’s claimed “all the good activity is gone and we’re just sitting here now.” Now, I’m listening to this couple try to speak to one another and they just can’t and I know substances can make mud of meaning but the man sinks deep into his chair and declares, “I’m not a BUM! Just because I can’t afford to live here doesn’t mean I’m a bum! People know that I am good at my work. My work is good.” Suddenly, one of the poorest counties in America and the 5th richest county in one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world don’t seem so far apart.

Virgo, I’m writing you this now because I want to remind you that there is a wheel in this world that is always turning. Our surroundings determine our experience of the world and it is we who choose when to look and when to look away. And, although it might be true that “the poor stay poor and the rich stay rich,” we move through this world with an ever-shifting relationship to our past, our labor, our lovers, and ultimately our future. Just because you were handed a certain kind of package when you arrived into this life doesn’t mean you can’t alter it to look more like the package you want.


LIBRA

I want to begin by telling you that when I sat down to write this I was listening to Ella’s Song by Sweet Honey and the Rock, which was composed by the inimitable composer (and Libra) Bernice Johnson Reagon, and thinking about a Libra approach to liberation. In listening I remembered a few weeks ago when a friend of mine and I took turns counseling a Libra who had recently lost a loved one to a shocking homicide. I’m so depressed, he sighed, sprawling his upper body across the table, what can I do? The three of us sat in triangle formation for a while. Grief takes a long time, my friend suggested. Your depression is perfectly expected at this time. Her permission seemed to relieve him; she knew his loss in a way I did not. Still, it might be good for you to take up some kind of social contract, I proposed, an activity that provides you with the opportunity to generate connections and beauty.

Libras are social creatures, after all, and sweet interactions can be a kind of salve over the difficult wounds one must face when alone. I suggested soccer, a sport that seemed to offer rituals of value to him. Instead, he described writing workshops he led wherein he felt integral to opening the imaginations of other participants. Which of course brings me back to Ella’s Song, the part where the ensemble sings:

The older I get the better I know that the secret of my going on 

Is when the reins are in the hand of the young who dare to run against the storm Not needing to clutch for power, not needing the light just to shine on me
I need to be just one in the number as we stand against tyranny

The Libra approach is an approach that thrives on community support and collaboration, a group of like-hearted souls working like hell to honor a loved one or, if a Libra feels capable of acting globally, tear down a regime. Unfortunately, that approach can at times be thwarted by Libra’s sensitivity, a trait that can trick them into feeling misunderstood and better off alone. But, Libra, although you can survive in solitude, you thrive in company. Just make sure the company you keep is the company you want, people who reflect the person you want to be in the world.


SCORPIO

There must be a reason that November stretched so long. Each morning the leaves get brighter and redder and it feels ok to wake up alone or, if not physically alone then, alone in the mind wandering into the morning as if it were an echo of every morning you have ever lived. The work is there, it keeps coming, but there is something about the quality of time that does not allow the work. So many beginnings without end, have you found yourself attracting strays? Have you found yourself looking too long in the mirror wondering what beauty is and what it can never be?

Someone taught you there is only so much of you someone can take. Someone taught you to measure your love out bit by bit. When you make coffee, you take a small spoonful of sugar and drop it in, then add more. You carry the mug with you from room to room and each room inside you feels absolutely necessary.

The love inside you fills the house of you like music. You can open the windows, you know. You can let the world right in with all it’s honking daybreak. You can put that song on, “Daybreaker,” because Beth Orton’s voice is a very good friend.

We burn our boats each new year

Silently watching the flames
And an old life disappear

We’re burning a new sunrise into
Yesterday’s skies
An ashen fingerprint
Melts into the sea

We’re doing fine now
Yeah we do
We don’t feel sad or bad or blue
And you know
We’re never defeated
Or broken inside

All that is fine
Yeah, all that is fine


SAGITTARIUS

There are certain kinds of nights that make me think of you and last night was one of them. For hours S and I played YouTube karaoke videos of Violet by Hole screaming take everything take everything take everything so that when we walked into the bar we’d be prepared. A blonde woman unknown to both us threw her arms around the two of us as we entered, proclaiming the party officially on because we had just arrived. S moved through the crowd greeting people she knew while I made a nest on the leather couch, the fireplace to my left and the singers to my right. Luxury. Two men, one of them recently out of a relationship, were singing I don’t want to lose your love toooooooniiiight. The blonde woman was up there with them too, sort of swaying, her long thin limbs extended toward every person in the room—especially but not exclusively the men.

Karaoke of the mind, it was the kind of night when every song a woman ever sang in the 90’s felt relevant. I leaned over to S and asked her if she thought the Blonde was practicing an unrestrained and playful kind of power or whether she was falling into a deep drunken well of weakness. In asking I remembered that Dar Williams song, “As Cool As I Am,” when she sings, “You play the artist, saying ‘is it how she moves or how she looks?’ I say ‘it’s loneliness suspended to our own like grappling hooks. And as long as she’s got noise she is fine.” And the woman was fine, happy to take up space the way men often do.

Watching her fed a whirring thing inside me, a thing I know you understand. It’s that thing that compels a woman to leave her whole life behind and begin again with nothing. It whispers bad ideas in your ear and makes them sound real good. Sagittarius, you and I both know that chaos is cathartic but it is not a cure. And I know the world is crumbling around us. I know how that crumbing can make you feel like life is too precious to waste and must be lived apologetically now now now. But, Sagittarius, living unapologetically means losing a lot more than you might be ready to lose so you better figure out what you need right now versus what you want. And remember, when you get what you want, well, you’ll never want it again.

CAPRICORN

Because whenever I hear the word angel I think of you, who has a name for every angel, and because I missed you, I went to listen to your poems in a dark and shadowy corner of Bryant Park. And, seeing you I felt the years since I’d seen you last and felt, too, the brightness of your laugh that is unlike anyone’s. And, I felt the crowd immersed in your all-seeing genius, your hard hoofed exploration of the world.

What parts of me shake loose dirt. What parts wait until you are bare. My jejune bluegrass, why do I eat your light. There are grasses growing up the shabby fence. All of them fluid blade. We sway. creep easily. What parts of me are wild. What parts storing up for the choke. How do I tell the difference. 

                                                            —Tatterdemalion / francine j. harris

And afterward, we hunted our own good time, the New York night deserting us and Ginger’s almost empty but for a handful of gay men whispering in corners. It was on us to create the space we wanted and so we did, my IPhone propped against the glass window of the deli we danced outside of. It was after 1:00 am and men walked in and out of that deli, young men and homeless men, most of them brown. And there were those who came to interpret us and there were those who yelled out just what our bodies could do for them out their passenger windows. And then, there were those who stood watching, whose eyes for the first time in a long time felt sentinel and without threat. There was a keen sense that the street did not belong to us but could, with Dej Loaf’s “Try Me” playing on and us singing along. It could have been that we were on every street corner in America and we were the only sirens that mattered.

What we manifested in that moment, with our wiggling girl bodies, was a moment of freedom in a country where freedom felt and feels like the deadliest illusion. But, illusions can be tools too if illusions are ambitions. It is time for you to be ambitious now. And, if you are dancing tonight, Capricorn, I hope your dancing is an ode to your own power. I hope you know that no matter how impossible the word safety is, no matter how often it falls short, you can bend it to your will and make of it what you must

 

 

 

 

Galactic Rabbit October 2016

Dear Rabbits,

Today I share these letters with you after a month of long nights typing and erasing, wondering whether any words will do when the world seems heavy with unbearable cruelty and violence. And, it did help to remember that the world has been violent for a very long time and it has also been beautiful just as long. That despite the atomic bomb, Bikini Atoll now boasts an oceanic paradise.

Sometimes I wonder, when it gets to be this late in the month, if these letters will do you good, if they would mean much. But then I remember how good it feels to write you a letter, how in writing a love letter, I’m restored to the planet where lovers cross paths, exchange sparks, live and die in each others’ arms.

It is then that I stop wondering and become grateful.
I love you, I see you, I think of you often,
Galactic Rabbit

 

P.S. If you feel moved to donate toward the writing of the horoscopes, you can leave an offering in turn here.
A huge shout out to my friends and supporters… especially Angela Watrous at Restorative Empathy  and Amelie Zurn-Galinsky…”a warrior with a sensitive soul… who could it be? A Scorpio.”
P.P.S. thanks Claire Skinner, for being my first and best reader.


 

astromarch8

Aquarius

Somewhere outside my window, in an apartment not far from mine, a group of women is singing Ginuwine’s “My Pony” and I can hear the laughter in between notes. I like it, being inside the song with them, how it feels free and easy which has not been the case this month for anything else. In a karaoke bar somewhere in my recent past, an Aquarius I knew would always choose this song. On stage, she transformed into a lanky glamor of light riding the song like a perfect wave.

When I asked her how she knew which song was the song for her, she said Always choose what you sang out loud to a mirror when you were a teen, hairbrush in hand, the lyrics already inside you long before you’re sure of them. Something about this advice stuck with me, widened and stretched its meaning. I wanted to sing the song that was right for me, yeah, but more than that I wanted to know how to get up in front of a spotlight and give a performance that was entirely free of inhibition and modesty.

When you sing in front of people, it is a little act of love, an undressing, even when the note is false, even when you’re not sure how it goes. You learn how to be by being, relentlessly. And how do you choose the song of your life? Imagine your child-heart and your wizened future-self, joining hands down the long path.

 

Pisces

I’ve got this picture I took while lying in your coral-colored bed, an old book titled “Life on the Sea Shore” resting by your pillows. It’s reminding me of all the articles about our dying coral reefs and also, an article in the Smithsonian on “ocean optimism” that opens with the lines: Things are far more resilient than I ever imagined. Me, green sea turtles, coral reefs blown to bits by atomic bombs. This is an article about believing in your ability to heal, even thrive, in the aftermath of great trauma dressed up as an article about environmental journalism. It maintains that reporting on the dire status of the ocean does not seem to better the ocean one bit. People, it turns out, are motivated by an optimistic tone and a hopeful outcome.

They call it the “finite pool of worry.” Overburdening people’s capacity for worry with too much doom and gloom leads to emotional numbing. When we believe our actions are too small to make a difference, we tend to behave in ways that create the conditions in which those expectations are realized.

As we shift seasons in this turbulent year that has brought you upheaval and sweetness, both in good measure, I have ocean optimism for you, dear Pisces, especially when it comes to dealing with your “finite pool of worry.” I know you’re a brilliant water being, rare and beautifully sharp. Perhaps, something you are learning slowly is that your ability to swim through emotional intensity has granted you the ability to hold emotional space for those around you. That you might have healing powers that transcend your own personal experience, a gift for building communities that are in accordance with the ocean’s virtues: interconnectedness, diversity, and an imagination that glows in the dark.

Aries

It’s after 10 pm on a Tuesday and I’m up writing these astro-love letters, listening to Billie Holiday sing one of her many heartbreak songs. You know, I wouldn’t have pegged Billie for an Aries at first, but I can understand it. A young girl would’ve had to be born a leader, a creator, to endure so much brutality in one lifetime and still leave behind beautiful things in this world. Besides, how many thunderstorms can a firebird take before she lies down in the wet ground wincing?

O, I don’t want you to think I don’t see you, doing your best to pump those wings and fly forward through storm winds and heavy rain. I do. You’ve got it under control, am I right? It’s just that it can get isolating, having it all under control, especially when having it under control means being so busy you spend all your time meeting everyone’s needs but your own. What’s a meal? What’s gentleness? It can be hard to taste to sweetness when there’s no time to eat. Even the act of reaching out, of combatting isolation, is another task on a long list that never seems to get shorter.

What’s a firebird to do? How is she supposed to remember where her fire comes from and for what purpose when it’s all she can do just to keep it going? Obligations and responsibilities make demands but, Firebird, you were born the fly and make beautiful things. What do you love, in the world, in yourself? Make a commitment to your spirit above all earthly contracts.


Taurus
 

We’re out dancing because you said you wanted to be out dancing, even though you’re the only one not dancing. Instead, you’re leaning against the wall and watching, savoring the rising pulse and radiating pleasure of your friends—who are, in a sense, dancing for you. A song comes on and I’m gone inside of it, refracting the waves of sounds through my body, reflecting our friends’ movements, our limbs speaking to each other.

Someone says “I’m so tired, I’ve got to go home, I have work in the early morning,” but you beg them not to. No, you don’t beg. You direct your energy at them at full charge, “No, you are not going. Don’t even think about going.” Nobody leaves for a long time. Not because they can’t but because it feels good to be needed so badly by someone so rooted to the earth. The gravity of your affection is just tempting enough to ignore your unreasonable demands.

As I surface above the music and search for you, I wonder if you know how loved you are, how celebrated. I wonder if you understand that the moments in life when you have felt ignored or unappreciated, the moments when your heart ran way past the roaming fields and it took days to bring it home, were moments when a community of lovers stood behind you. Lovers and friends and lots of wild animals, all of them guard you, all of them lucky to know you. Whenever you’re feel you don’t know yourself, they’re remind you.

 

Gemini

I took a walk because the room felt tight and now I’m sitting outside at a café where the patrons to my left talk very loud and close like babushkas from Brighton Beach. I guess life feels a little tighter this season since we’re scrunching under awnings in the rain and huddling together for heat. Tight enough that the line between what has happened and what will gets a little worried like, did Bob Dylan get a Nobel Prize for poetry if he won’t acknowledge it? And did you really have that argument if no one says sorry and no one says I forgive you?

And of course those unsaid things that sit so tight against the chest you can barely breathe through them make me think about family and where our negotiations get us. How my Gemini brother just grips the wheel tighter and tighter as my mother goes on and on about what he’s got to do to get his life right. The thing she’s not entirely wrong, she just doesn’t know that being right doesn’t matter when you’re talking about someone else’s life. Meanwhile, I’m in the backseat waiting for my brother to look toward me and create a confidence but he never looks. He’s so tight inside himself he can’t even see my love which, if he reached for it, would have space for his truth and my own.

A Gemini is a double and when there is a double there is a split. Where there is a split there is a wound. When a split self guards both sides of a wound, the wound is both unbothered and untended. When a Gemini is a creature of habit, he makes new wounds and keeps them in a familiar place. The well of wounds grows deeper and widens the space between two guards, who would rather not be so far from each other. When a Gemini turns inward and tends to the wound, his split selves touch and support one another.

Cancer

You dreamt a house into being. You dreamt light streaming through a window and falling on the pages of a book, the curled back of an animal that was your animal, a room where everything you cherished was protected from rain and time. You dreamt a life into being and grew into that life, the doorways framing your frame, the kitchen with its endless ritual of making and unmaking. You took the house’s shape and forgot what the dream was built on, by whom. You married an idea and made a vow. You thought you were the house; you forgot how dreams are made.

What happened when the house you built no longer fit you? You let the boards sigh while you paced the floor and packed your life. You were neat and then you were messy. You lay on the ground until the difference between you and the ground was very clear. Then you got up and did what you had to do. You are powerful enough to have many dreams, many lives.

The foundation is in you and you build each dream on top of it. You construct a nest of pillows and shift the duvet to make a smooth plane for your limbs. You cover your eyes and are in total darkness. The hypnosis tape assures you that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis. You know this is a form of self-protection on the creator’s part but take it as an offering. Rediscover our ability to forgive those old hurts says the man on tape who speaks deliberate and slow. Your mind is a span of clouds teased out into skinny threads. Your mind is a mood opening. Listen to your own voice, whispers the hand in the clouds, be guided by your own heart. And even though it is hard to hear the whispers, you listen.

 

Leo

Some of us spend all our emotional energy figuring out the intricacies of giving ourselves up. We know trust comes in waves: I trust you in confidence, I trust you intimately, I trust you to witness my weakness and still see me as strong.

Because I’ve loved you for a very long time, I know your trust is earned not lightly. The truth is, I’m just trying to sit with you at the same table and I don’t care what happens after that. No I’m lying. I care. We both feel it and it’s a weighty thing, all this affection. We are servant in love’s name; I give you my spoonful of honey and listen to your story. When you embellish and I say Hey, don’t do that. Tell me again, simpler. And it is good to believe we can be honest with one another.

What is seen, acknowledged and what is left to sink heavy to the bottom? If you are not getting what you want from those closest to you, consider this: people learn how to treat you by example, how you treat them and how you let yourself be treated. And this a tenet of trust as well, asking the ones you love to do better, giving them the chance to live up to your image of them—which is an image held together with rare sweetness and good faith.

And, because I trust you to understand me, I offer you these words in hopes that you hear them in your own heart: I trust that you mean to be kind to me, I will be generous when you fail to do so, I will support you by maintaining my boundaries, I will tend to my fire with patience so that it warms us both and burns no one.

 

Virgo

Because there are times when our own words won’t do, I wanted to speak in a language you would understand. I begin poring over the books of Jean Rhys, specifically Good Morning, Midnight, although I spent time with Wide Sargasso Sea as well. And I know, I know, that Rhys’s words in these books are written through characters but if there’s on thing I learned from hanging out with fiction writers it that they put a little bit of their interior into every character they imagine. So now I’m thinking about these lines:

Every word I say has chains round its ankles; every thought I think is weighted with heavy weights. Since I was born, hasn’t every word I’ve said, every thought I’ve thought, everything I’ve done, been tied up, weighted, chained? And mind you, I know that with all this I don’t succeed. Or I succeed in flashes only too damned well. …But think how hard I try and how seldom I dare.

Jean Rhys wrote about the weight of intellectual loneliness but it did not dispel her loneliness, her enduring bewilderment. In the wilds of mental production, nothing we make for the approval of others will ever be good enough to nurture us. And I’m holding these words like a little candle so that we might warm up a dark room together, wondering what success is when your heart’s far from it or when, in fear, you hide your heart lest it jeopardize your power. And what is a heart? A muscle that grows weak with age and heavy with time or something unknown to us—scientists and speculators—the way spirit is unknown and felt especially in absence. Perhaps, now that you’re thinking about it, you feel it beating in your chest and the sound of it—stronger than you remembered—is a good sound, a guiding sound.

Libra

I’m burning a bunch of cedar I bought at a little place in my neighborhood called Sacred Vibes Apothecary and thinking on your sacred vibes, how you anoint your feet with tea tree oil before sleep because bed is a sacred space. Tea tree oil cleanses and cedar invites sweet spirits to the table. A few weeks ago, for your birthday, I entered into a many-gendered coven of creators. Over honey cake and gluten-free fried chicken, I watched you weave between each person at the table, touching them lightly with your eyes, praising them with big laughs. I realized that it had been a very long time since I had been amongst close strangers who, collectively, were open and welcoming to an outsider and I knew it was you who drew this circle with its shifting circumference.

I know what I meant and I meant what I said
You can think what you want but the truth is, at the end,
you read me wrong.

 

With such a gift for friendship, it can be hard to reckon with misunderstanding. Especially since those of us with “gifts for friendship” know that the gift is less a character trait and more of a daily devotion to nurture our most meaningful bonds.

The power you have to communicate with love and acceptance is not to be taken lightly or taken for granted. You are perceptive, discerning, and generous all in good measure. When communication breaks down, it is important to step to the side of the words themselves lest they distract you. Words, after all, often get in the way of meanings. Ask yourself, instead, what you hope to achieve in the exchange you are in and what actions will communicate that most clearly. Focus on the word exchange. Don’t temper what you need to meet the needs of others.

Scorpio

What I like is the way you don’t look like you’ve changed at all, same old leather jacket and row of silver in one ear, your energy hard and soft at once—the line where the lamp’s glow meets night’s edge. And even though we could have been in conversation this whole time, had the means to be anyway, we act as if in seeing each other we experience a lost pleasure. I am a lamp in the night too, and flickering. I’m almost ready to perform a disappearing act but you’re asking lots of questions and I can tell we both got our hearts on the line so I don’t stop answering.

What I like is how neither of us has the answers. I’m ok with being the bad one, you say, but this feels outside of my control, outside my ability to change. And I’m remembering how I spent all afternoon listening to Joni Mitchell, the craziest Scorpio who ever was, and how good it felt to lie down in her loose high notes.

I’ve looked a love from both sides now, from give and take and still somehow, it’s love’s illusions I recall, I really don’t know love at all.

All of a sudden I want to tell you how love is just like clouds, how it takes shape over us and changes and changes and darkens and releases and recedes. How there’s nothing we can control above us or below, and that’s a kind of terrible freedom. But then I look at your face, so guarded and hopeful at once, and instead I say, some people are hard to understand but sometimes it’s worth the difficulty, trust yourself to know when to hold on and when to let go.

 

Sagittarius

In my shady bedroom, everything that should be on the walls is resting on the floor, waiting. I’ve got to paint the walls, the can waiting patiently by the door. The name of the color is “cool lime” and, in my mind, it’s a can full of light. I lugged the can of light for miles from Home Depot, the handle digging into my grip and the hot sun beating down. Exhausted from what some might call a small physical task and glad to be home, I had to admit it felt good to choose something and make it happen.

After my arduous afternoon, I left for a movie with some of closest friends. It was a movie about women who, in different ways, were invested in their own depletion. We watched a lawyer endure a male client who imposed himself into her car and wept. Our row couldn’t stop laughing as he cried. We’d all been there, someone demanding we take care of them, someone taking advantage of our empathy. Things only got worse.

Watching the movie, a Max Ritvo poem came to mind: Things don’t change unless we want them to. And why would we want to give up the little things we know, when we know so little?

Then I started thinking about you, Sagittarius, and whether it’s no longer tenable to wait until you’re ready to give up the little things you know. Well anyway, I’ve got these ugly beige walls and paint can full of light. Sometimes, the most daunting aspect of change is thinking about it.

Capricorn

This fall I’m remembering the autumn when, waiting for my girlfriend to pack up her life and move in with me, I bought a box of used books and read almost every single one. The one book I kept coming back to, on the chance that I might have read too quickly and missed something, was Brownies by ZZ Packer. I read Brownies for a week, sitting with each story, changing locations and times of day

It was so rich, all of it, the narrator’s interior—so tense and vivid—and how it collided with the language of the world around her. What stuck with me to this day was the striking final paragraphs where the narrator, a young black girl, began to reckon with systemic racism: the trauma she was to inherit and her relationship to that trauma, her role in it.

When you’ve been made to feel bad for so long, you jump at the chance to do it to others.

When I think about the books that have taught me what identity is and how it shapes us, how it splinters us into painful irreconcilable bits, I realize that the writers have often been Capricorns (Woman Hollering Creek and Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros come to mind here). And I know, that books can’t teach us everything, that we must learn from each other how to hold ourselves up and hold ourselves responsible. But, know this, somewhere along the path toward reconciliation and (dare I say it) justice, there are women who are waiting for you to walk with them and clear the way for others.

Galactic Rabbit September. 2016

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Louise Bourgeois

Dear Autumnal Rabbits,

Today I bring you these letters, a small harvest I collected under the light of your stars. It’s almost 90 degrees outside in NYC, as if summer never ended, and I am grateful for the warmth of this day just as I am grateful for the cool crisp days ahead. I’ve spent the week feeling strangely envious of children, the incredible charge that came from the first day of school, a fantastical conviction that this year you would different. How your Lisa Frank folders and trapper keeper, particular mechanical pencils and three-colored pens, would raise your cool factor and make new friends a breeze.

My friend reminded me that in addition to the excitement, there was terror and isolation, fear of being found out for whoever we were then, and inevitably who we wound up being now.

In the spirit of excitement and fear, the kind that falls sparks us well past the age of childhood, I want to end this letter with a beautiful video of a “Soy Yo” by Bomba Estéreo.

Y no te preocupes si no te aprueban cuando te critiquen tu solo di / Soy yo
Soy yo soy soy soy/ Soy yo

 

With Love and Little Apples,

Galactic Rabbit

P.S. If you would like to contribute to the writing of these horoscopes, you can donate at my PayPal. 

 

AQUARIUS

I remember the state of your guitar particularly. The gloss and fullness of it, bodily, the strap sorta 70’s and almost wholesome. Like, Karen Carpenter wholesome. Like what’s happening under the surface of you where are you and what have we lost you to, sweet songbird? And I loved her bright clear voice like I loved your guitar, earnestly swinging behind you.

There’s grief, I guess, for the lives we imagined for ourselves and lost the blueprint to. And that grief is never-ending despite the fact that we didn’t begin this road together and we sure as hell had no idea where it would lead us and at what cost. When I saw you last, you were living in a house that might as well have had a white picket fence. You were in love, teaching music, you took me to a small town gay bar and I saw the best drag show of my life. Now I don’t know who you are and the possibilities pain me.

I stopped by your life and left so I guess this is a coward’s letter. The kind of letter you write to keep a memory intact then tuck into the corner of a musty cabinet. The internet with it’s river of voices is not so different from a black hole. But, if you are reading this, I want you to know that I remember you powerful. In my mind, you move through the world irreverent and unafraid of love’s possibilities. In my mind you are never lost, never unclear of the path you must choose toward feeling strong and free. I’ve got faith in you, songbird, your dark heart, and your guitar so sweet and clear.


PISCES

I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle until I was about 20. It was something that embarrassed me but I had excuses: my father was disabled and unable to teach me in that running-behind hands-on way, my brother never offered to, my friends would always stop being my friends etc etc. It took me a long time to commit to learning, to decide I deserved that particular kind of freedom. The first person who helped me help myself was a dear Pisces friend. For a couple of hours on a cool summer day she ran beside me as I tentatively pedaled her bike back and forth along Flatbush Ave. Later that year, I found a Kelly green Schwinn abandoned in an old shed behind a college house I was living in. I cleared it of cobwebs and claimed it.

This isn’t a letter about that bicycle. This is a letter about the moment when, riding around town with a girl I had been seeing on and off, I glanced behind me and in her face saw a happiness I dared to hold between my two open hands. It’s a letter about letting yourself hold happiness for as long as you can without being afraid of going too fast and falling too hard. About trusting yourself to brake when you need to, to take turns well and with grace. The freedom this new venture offers you, you deserve it and you know what to do with it. Wear a helmet, get on and ride.


ARIES

When a small animal is put in our hands, we are given delicate instructions. We accommodate its wriggling squirm and scramble, shifting our arms this way and that. Fragility is the obvious thing, the small bones and thin skin mewling. We know a woman can love a suckling pig and bring that pig to slaughter. That is a tenderness too, no matter its conclusion. Where does such tenderness come from? Asks Marina Tsvetsaeva of Mandelstam and his eyelashes although his love for her was hardly tender, often cruel and dismissive.

Sometimes, I have encountered women who moved me toward tenderness as if by compulsion—a dull ache in my hand to tuck her loose hair back behind her ear, to smooth the tension from her neck with a light stroke. More rare were the times I felt tender toward myself, stroked myself from collarbone to pelvis like a long worry stone. No one taught me tenderness toward myself, no one said, “be your own small animal, be gentle, be kind.” It was something I learned for myself and keep learning.

Each day you abandon yourself is a day you become less soft and less able to love others. So each day of your life you must say, “you are my charge, my tender thing, I will bring you what you need.” You are where tenderness comes from.


TAURUS 

We were there the moment Miriam opened for breakfast, a young woman propping the door with one hand and gesturing us in with the other. Grateful we’d arrived at the same time, our paths intersecting at the cross street, I felt a kind of hope flood me—a knowing. What is life and how do we think our way through it? You scanned the menu and I knew what both of us wanted. Summer cleaving into two parts, your time teaching in the woods and your time after—but this was a break in time, a day of endless meals and friends arriving—you knew soon that what “real life” was, you were returning.

Well, how does it feel to have returned? So many of your responsibilities, roles you anticipated and waited years for. And if it isn’t what you wanted—that is not a failure. It isn’t our lot to walk toward an oasis and settle peaceful amongst the grazing animals. We are not that kind. We were made to re-imagine to world, the clear a path through it as a hoofed land animal might—moving persistent through tall obscuring grass.

We were bathing in the dim light of morning and warmth of endless coffee re-fills. I said I feel too aware of the world—too aware of the intentions of others—what they mean versus what they say. You said I have always been this way, all my life. And, I knew that was where your strength came from, your ability to push through and onward toward a wide and more ample landscape.

GEMINI

I have a funny feeling about moons. Seems like I’m always looking for one when I’m in the mood to get a big eye-full and all I get is clouds, the obfuscation of cosmos. And, there I was, naked in a Hampton Bay waiting for bioluminescent transcendence, thwarted by the greedy light of the big full moon. In the dark water I swished my hands back and forth to activate barely visible small crystals of light, one doesn’t get what they want when they want it. I thought about how lucky I was to be swimming with my love, my friends and strangers, queers of various ages and races—free under the hooded eye of night.

Maybe life is all about chance, a double-sided coin that falls how it may—despite everything we learned about odds and probability. Or maybe there’s fate in it—a fist you can’t see grips the coin out the sky and slaps the back of your hand with the answer. Yes or no, go or stay, this way or that. Whichever power governs our lives, we stand square in the midst of these forces and we are culpable in their outcomes. We are the ones tossing the coin, looking toward the sky for answers and choosing whether or not to listen.

If you can’t see the moon imagine the moon. If you are walking through a dark path, let your eyes adjust to the dark. You are more than capable of getting where you need to be, you are not lost and you’re not without help. Be patient with yourself and the moon, it will light your way softly for a long time.

CANCER

A while ago I read an article that encouraged those of us going through heartbreak to lie down on the ground and feel it all, submit to Kali, Hindu goddess of chaos. I thought about this article for a long time after, remembering friends of mine who had gotten sober and tattooed the word surrender on their forearms—grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change… And, I thought about my friend Willow who told me to “lie down in it” when I told her the pain in my heart was at times excruciating. How does one go about practicing surrender when surrender is not in one’s nature? Write it down, Cancer, a page of what you mean to surrender.

Remember when we found a poster advertising a “gesture store” and we stood for a while wondering what we could not know before deciding to find out? How the man with the gold flag welcomed us into a ramshackle alley and two foreigners looked us over as if we were the experiment? We could have never known, hours before, that we would be perched on stacked pallets getting the veins in our feet traced by their paintbrushes. How quietly we folded into the demands of that universe, how easily we played along—teaching the foreigners a hand clapping game we both knew from childhood.

The folds in our lives are sometimes slight and sometimes so sharp they change the shape of the page entirely. You might be surprised to find that you never needed it the way it was. What leaves you, what you leave, it’s just one page of a book. Your book.


LEO

In your bathroom, I’m standing with my shoulders squared and my feet hips-width apart, breathing even breaths so as not to move while you cut the fringe on my forehead in a diagonal curve. That’s my exposed futuristic eyebrow, I explain, and the other’s my relaxed bohemian behind a curtain. You laugh and seem to understand perfectly, tufts of my hair fall on your chest and make you wooly. Hair is an intimacy, I think, my mother saved my long Russian braid from when I was a child. I would open up her chest looking for costume jewelry or handkerchiefs and come upon my own hair, a golden color it will never be again. And then, there was the way you described your dead sister’s childhood braid in your mother’s hands. A rope that lead to Jane who wasn’t.

It’s been a year today, and when I ask you about this month you say a hard month. When I think about what the stars say I think compromise, suppression, a lasting wound that shapes you.

How does one parse themselves from themselves, a bruise on the heart from all other bruises? Here I think about Stephen Dunn’s Each From Different Heights. Yes, we talked about the falsity of tender things and, yes, we know some bruises fade. But what do the living owe the dead? What do you owe the ghosts of relationships past, the girl you thought you were and the women you discovered you are?


VIRGO

On the news all morning the North Dakota Pipeline protestors representing tribes near and far, on horseback and on foot, children and elders chanting go away go away pushing attack dogs back with their big voices. I’m so moved and so menstrual, I witness their unrelenting courage and burst into tears. What comes to mind is the summer we drove through the Dakotas. The fields now flat now undulating, the sky true blue and so wide I felt like we could drive right off the earth. Wheels of golden hay punctuated the landscape and we saw a horse faint from heat. Powwow to powwow, we went looking for fry bread like your grandmother’s. You told me how you dreamed of coming back here, to help kids who might or might not be your relations—teaching them animation skills so they might tell their stories.

Today the protestors are out there again. People on horses and one man is wearing a Russian scarf around his neck for protection against mace. I imagine I am that scarf, glittering, sentinel. I imagine you there too, your strong legs braced, your shoulders squared against menacing oncomers. Then, I imagine you wherever you are in this world, watching this same video, wondering what you can do from where you are. It doesn’t matter what you held you back before, the wrong turns and false starts. If you want to be of beautiful use to something bigger than yourself, if you want to do something that matters, you’re ready. Just make sure the help you give is an offering in response to a need, a need wider than your own.


LIBRA

When I was eleven, my erotic eye opened—a butterfly—resting on beauty. That was probably how I found you, with your long black hair layered in thick wisps, your always perfect pearlescent nails, the waist band of your Adidas running pants flush against your narrow hips. You probably don’t remember that I loved you this way, only that we were different and the same somehow, only that it was good to sit beside each other, play MASH and draw flowers.

Last night at a bar full of hipsters braying about Bushwick being “just like high school,” I got my first drink with you in over a decade and outside we saw a boy I dated once that you did go to high school with and he was on a date with a girl he went to high school with. New York is a small town, all of it. “I don’t know why,” you interjected mid-sentence, “I just feel like I can tell you everything because you’re you and I’m me.” And, listening to you, I was reminded of who I had been all this time—the ineffable aspects of our characters that must have been inherent to us as children (our shameless flirting with strangers, our ability to sigh into a heartbreak and then lay it down to the side).

Sometimes, when the world’s demands feel endless and you think you must be changing into someone you can’t recognize, it’s powerful to remember that there is a core self—a butterfly—that informs your relationships to others and to yourself. That butterfly is always open to the world, she is young-hearted and easy to love.


SCORPIO

In order for the truth to set you free, you’ve got to believe that there’s only one truth and any kind of freedom but you know better. You’ve learned that no matter how true something feels, there’s always a little lie in it, or a little lie around it. That’s the bee in the honey, the worm in the mushroom. A poet I admire, a Scorpio skilled at seeing, recently complained that in her Myers-Briggs profile, she had morphed from J to P, judging to perceiving. She asserted that the P made her vulnerable in her empathy.

What’s funny, or strange, or just right, is that there exists a path that Scorpios do walk which leads them from judgment toward perception. When a Scorpio is young in their spirit, they are said to be scorpions—stingers—moved by instinct. The truth of the scorpion is a truth that pours from fear means to wound others. When a Scorpio begins to walk their path with mindfulness, they are said to be eagles. They are interested in self-awareness and precision. But they are also hunters and they don’t wound until they mean to kill. These are the Scorpios that hold their truth for a long time before burning one large and final bridge. The third Scorpio is said to be a phoenix. This is Scorpio that lays its judgment down in favor of perception. It does not mean to tell you how you are; rather, it means to see you for who you are. This is the Scorpio that knows how care for someone by caring for their damn self, how to love someone even as they let them go.

Scorpio, because fall is coming and that is kind of walking towards death—not mortal but seasonal, spiritual—I want you to think about the kind of Scorpio you are. What has your commitment to judgments (about yourself, about your life, even your workspace) held you back from? Maybe freedom begins by learning to see the many complicated truths you are capable of.


SAGITTARIUS

In Brewster NY, there’s an organic farm belonging to my friend’s family. There is a centenarian Sycamore grows right by the house we sleep in, a house so old it feels like I’m on a tour in one of those towns where women are hired to wear bonnets and turn butter. The bed I sleep in has ropes for slats. My friend informs me that these ropes have never been replaced and I go to sleep thinking about how long a good rope can last.

I did not come to test ropes or stroke Sycamores, I came because of a donkey named Romeo. At the pasture where Romeo grazes, I behold a Bay horse. What I want is to be close. The horse’s handler is away so we climb the fence, bunches of sweet grass in our fists. Neither animal is afraid but the more we touch them the more they seem to recognize us. Romeo doesn’t want my grass unless I press it softly to his mouth—which is bristly and warm. The horse knows our nature now, he nudges my friend to fetch him grass, he wants to be stroked along his back.

The horse makes me think of you, how there are times when you appear reserved by nature. Or, how you reserve yourself, afraid to give away your softness lest it makes you soft indefinitely—vulnerable and bad at lying. Like the horse, you project a kind of wall but lean softly towards a hand with sweet offerings. Imagine what life would be like, Sagittarius, if for a while you trusted the universe to protect you and you let your reserve down. What if, for while, it was you who made the offerings?


CAPRICORN

It’s the end of night and the talking has become a little laborious, a little slow, Vicky’s sipping tequila and Mina’s tattooing a slow and fine canoe into her arm. Someone begins to wonder about power and fear, how each relates and where they diverge. I’m thinking about the relationships power creates, something beyond Stockholm syndrome and closer to Kara Walker’s My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, the dependency of meanings. Who am I without you? Asks each from the other. A Hegelian puzzle: who is powerful without having power over? Who is weak?

There is book of the collected writings and statements of Louise Bourgeois lying on the table and so I pick it up and let it fall where it may. A statement she made about spirals strikes me and I read out loud:

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The spiral is an attempt at controlling the chaos. It has two directions. Where do you place yourself, at the periphery or at the vortex? Beginning at the outside is the fear of losing control; the winding in is a tightening, a retreating, a compacting to the point of disappearance. Beginning at the centre is affirmation, the move outward is a representation of giving, and giving up control: of trust, positive energy, of life itself.

Although these words attend to power, they are not interested in what power does to us. Rather, they want to know how you place yourself in relation to control, seeking or surrendering. I want to know how you place yourself at all, Capricorn, in this moment, which is a spiral like any other. If you are retreating, know that there is no disappearance, only a point when the world becomes so taut—it is a bud at estivation’s end. When you think you’ll disappear is the moment when you’ll burst forth.

 

 

JULY 2016 Love Notes

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Dear Summer Hares,

Today is July 19th and there is a full moon in Capricorn. Today would have been my father’s 79th birthday so I’m thinking of him and who he taught me to be and who he never got to be and why. My father was already disabled when we came to America. He had a vulnerable heart and spent most of his time being my caregiver, organizing the apartment, and hiding needful things in useful places where we never found them again. Once, in a life before I ever knew him, he had been a photographer, a “speculator” in Moscow’s shadow markets, and an alcoholic. My mother said he “loved women” and that I must have taken after him. He spent a lot of time alone in this country and when he died, his death was just like his life here—neglected by doctors, numerical, shrouded in a language he never understood.

When I think about my place in this country, as a refugee turned citizen, as a Jew fleeing violence and a girl too gay to ever go back, I wonder what it feels like to belong anywhere and at what cost? Citizenship is dissociation, the art of forgetting: to belong in America is to forget America. What wars has this country waged for its citizens and against them? We fill our tanks, we pay our taxes. Who walks blithely over the graves black and brown bodies make—men and women both, named and unnamed? This toxic whiteness—which is not new but is also not inevitable—is a pollution we accept, build houses on, grow food in, swim. It is a thriving not in spite of death but because of it. Patriarchy—root of capitalism, which is fascism’s disguise, which claims there are those of us who are disposable—how can we extricate ourselves from its power? That, too, is a mythology our money has made real.

I spend my days unraveling, following a thread of violence and suppression that only has to whisper its presence in order to expel power over me and who I believe I am meant to be in this world. And what about you, reader? What have you agreed to so that you might feel this free?

-GR

P.S. You can support the writing of these astro-loveletters at my paypal site OR

You can donate to FIERCE instead, an organization I value in NYC
“FIERCE is an LGBTQ youth of color-led organization. We build the leadership, political consciousness, and organizing skills of LGBTQ youth.  In New York City, we organize local grassroots campaigns to fight police harassment and violence and increased access to safe public space for LGBTQ youth. ”


 

Aquarius

It was not until I became a student of women’s liberation ideology that I could understand and forgive my father. I needed an ideology that would define his behavior in context. The black movement had given me an ideology that helped explain his colorism (he did fall in love with my mother partly because she was so light; he never denied it). Feminism helped explain his sexism. I was relieved to know his sexist behavior was not something uniquely his own, but rather an imitation of the behavior of the society around us.
All partisan movements add to the fullness of our understanding of society as a whole. They never detract; or, in any case, one must not allow them to do so. Experience adds to experience.

-Alice Walker “Can I Be My Brother’s Sister?” Ms., August 1979

Today I’m thinking about the fullness of your experience, what you allow yourself to feel
and know—deep in your bones—and what you file away for a later date when you think you’ll be ready. Our books only teach us so much. And countries too, with their invented histories, their every-day pleasures and heaps of garbage, what can they tell you about your purpose in this world? Your reflection glimmers beautiful in shop windows and is gone.
I want to believe, given all this war and death and violent denial, that this summer has been easy for no one. Still, time presses down on us with her thumb and demands work, demands we eat, demands we smile when someone takes a picture of us standing under a waterfall. And you must go to the waterfall, Aquarius, no matter how broken the world. You must go to the waterfall and watch the cataract beat down on the rocks at its foot, watch the water shape them. In what other types of suffering is beauty born? And when is beauty a seed? And when is beauty a burden?

Pisces

You run the hot water over the dishes in the sink, of which there are many. They are evidence of a beautiful morning, a morning making food for a lover or a friend or your kid—who is coloring now in the other room and really only sometimes on the table instead of the paper—which is to say, evidence of your life. There is soap too, in this water, breaking down grease from butter and meat and from meals before this meal. Is this what it’s like to have a beautiful heart? Small tasks adding up to a daily life, which is not removed, which has today to worry about and tend to.

You tend to it. You pluck each dish from the hot basin and think about gloves, about needing some. You can do this. You can clean each separate thing, sometimes gently and sometimes with your elbow deep in it. This work is an offering, a gratitude, a time to think about the rest of the day and the many meals that follow this one. Not all of them will be beautiful but each one will be a choice you have made in response to some kind of hunger.

Once, life was a different room everyday. You walked in and walked out, you were always changing but nothing felt changed. These days, you walk into the same room and it is the room of yourself. In this room, you let the right ones in and you know you are strong to care and be cared for, both. In this room, you do the work, you get dirty and you come clean.

Aries

In response to a question about the future of Queer art in relation to “Society’s” progress and growing acceptance of “Others,” Avram Finkelstein, famous for his political and collective-focused art (Silence = Death poster), replied:

I think the idea of queerness as we’re talking about it at the moment, in academic circles, the idea of queerness as a way of describing otherness will always be true. There’s only room for 1 percent to rule the world. We can’t all rule the world, although, I’ve spent my life trying to figure out how we can.

And that’s what my work is about—it’s a battle, and you never stop fighting, and every time you figure out one way to navigate power structures, they figure out another way to absorb it, so it’s a constant, ongoing struggle.

The generosity of the artist’s vision, his ability to balance grief and action, pride and humility—I wasn’t surprised to find out he was an Aries. Aries, the visionary, the optimistic heart, the one who believes a skill they don’t have is just something they haven’t learned yet.

For the past few weeks your generosity has drained you. In order to care for those who depend on you, you split your world into two: creator and nurturer. You felt like you had to choose and in choosing lost sight of how—in the many other lives you’ve lived—the two not only met but also thrived at once. Aries, you maker of new possibilities, rest up and let your collective visions return to you. Imagine a life where the nurturer in you has boundaries that rise up out of love and never out of fear, where the creator in you makes art that is a reason to live in this world.

Taurus

In another world we are walking shoulder to shoulder through an exhibit called Twice Militant. It’s at the Brooklyn Museum’s Sackler Center and it’s all about Lorraine Hansberry. We want to honor her brilliance of course, to scan her ingenious arguments for the liberation of women, black and gay in particular, her commitment to being exceptional and her suffering from it. Her suffering feels very present in the room the way genius can change the air when it is made visible.

What holds onto us, what always holds, are the secret things. The lists she wrote privately, her likes and dislikes, her contradictions and her clear river of want:

Lorraine Hansberry, age 32, 1962:

I regret
That love is really as elusive as everybody over 30 knows it to be
….
My consuming loneliness
All the friggin’ hurts in this world
That a certain lady let my letter be read!
The shallowness of the people who have come into (and lately been expelled from) my life.

I like
69 when it really works
The first scotch
The fact that I almost never want the third or even the second when I am alone. Praise fate!
The inside of a lovely woman’s mouth
The way little JW looks in the movies
Her coquettishness
Her behind—those fresh little muscles
Parts of the lingering memory of a betrayer

I am proud
that I am losing some of those fears
that I struggle to work
hard
against many, many things
and on my own
of my people

I should like

to be utterly, utterly in love
to work and finish something

Taurus, as this month comes to a close and the full moon rises thick with strong will, I want to imagine you writing a list. You can start with the easy things—a job that fulfills your strong spirit, when you have enough money to make time with friends luxurious. These things are easy because you know the limits of the material world. Now go deeper. To work and finish something. Now go deeper.

Gemini

You’re in my room with the door closed and I can hear the drill driving into the drywall. All day you’ve followed amiably like a bright kite string as our mutual love, my best friend—your lover, tugged us along. Here to there, this way then that—she’s the boss, even when the plan is in my best interest, even when I’m the one who said Ikea? Fort Tryon Park? She says soft serve AND hot dogs, house margaritas and a whole pizza pie.

We might have our own concerns but none of them apply. Yes bring it all over. Let’s make a room beautiful together, bending seductively over hammers.

It’s not impossible to commit to beauty, after all, to a day spent tightening and un-tightening the same curtain-hanging system. And isn’t this a kind of worship? A kind of being there for each other—the witnessing of daily tasks: bringing bags in from the rain, fumbling for the dropped screw through the under-bed dust bunnies, the sticky margaritas that splash up everywhere.

Dear Gemini, if the words that fill you now seem impossible to say, it is ok to make what you mean. To offer up the physical thing: small offerings, gentle tidings, something material you’ve imbued with love power. This is about ritual and intention. About having a clean heart. But, keep in mind that an offering won’t guarantee you anything, not love or secrets or even a gift in return. An offering is made for the pleasure of giving, the lightness of it. I see you, your Gemini gift might say, you are so important to me—this is a symbol of my gratitude.

 

Cancer
I’m listening to “Don’t Stop Believing” at my local café and the song is turned on too loud (Can one even listen to the song on low? you might ask and I might answer…yes). It’s infiltrating my mind and flooding me with images of who we were a decade ago: irreverent philosophers, whimsical radicals, patriarchy smashers. Who knew Bon Jovi could conjure up such feminisms?

Last week, I found you in the East Village and we took turns people watching. At our final destination, Tompkins Square Park, we watched a six-person cover band sing American hits. Everyone danced in their own way: one women swayed her arms up from her fold-out chair while her husband thrashed around a few feet away, a young man walked the periphery pumping his limbs in rhythm to the beat. We were talking about loss and heartache, about when what we love holds us back and when it helps us grow. We were also talking about people, the people dancing, the people we love, the people walking by with dogs that looked exactly like them.

Even though it looks entirely different than how it once did, I know I grew up in that park. I fell in love with lost girls, I thrashed around in misogynist mosh pits and I want to tell you that it’s ok, everything. That even though we’re grown up, we’re not done yet. When we were young, we felt large in the world and everything was ours. Now we are smaller and so we lose things: our old self-beliefs, the futures we thought we wanted, the parents we imagined we could have. We can’t have everything, Cancer, not even most things. But we can have a bench to sit on, a bad song to sing along to, a good friend who rubs our hand gently and says Even if it feels impossible, one day you’ll be grateful that you lived through this.

Leo

I knew I had no business there, in that stark white basement room full of bodies wringing hands and tapping feet. I went anyway. I went every week on a Thursday evening for a month until, faithfully, I was bestowed a 30-day chip, a coin with the number 1 on one side and the words One Day At A Time on the other. And yes, there was alcoholism in my family, plenty stories of the man my father had been and who my brother was becoming. But, I wasn’t there to think through either of their lives or the effect they had on me. I was just chasing a dead relationship in a foreign city and I needed ways to nurse my sense of self-worth.

What I understood: Sobriety isn’t always practiced in weekly meetings guided by a nameless God and twelve step lists. Sometimes it’s the practice of seriousness in regards to the self, of understanding emotional limits and physically wrenching restraint. I didn’t give up substances, I didn’t get sober, but that month of listening, of impromptu post-meeting dinners held in the generous homes of women with long beaded necklaces and wise eyes, drew a line around my body and defined me: a boundary between my own pain and the pain of others, the place where our lives met and diverged.

This month, I encourage you to think about what sobriety means to you. Even if you are wandering home drunk, even if the soft rattle of Klonopin in your tote bag brings you a sense of safety. I know you might be out there doing the hard work of fighting for your life. I understand that you might be nursing a soda at the bar, leaving parties early because the smell of pot is bringing up waves of nausea. But, Leo, your commitment to yourself—to knowing your own limits—is more than what substances you consume. It’s the relationships you have, the jobs you take on, the amount of time you spend sitting still within your own grief so that you might touch its edges and soften them with that touch.

Virgo

Just as I sat down to write this lovenote a Virgo texted me and asked whether or not she is crazy, a Virgo who I don’t know well, a good friend of good friends, almost family. I couldn’t give her a straight answer, mainly because I know that for many Virgos “crazy” is a loaded word and an even more loaded state of being. Perhaps it’s because Virgos give so much of themselves up to other people, their love leaks through their very presence—their hands and their good deeds. Or perhaps it’s their mutable nature mixed with their very human(e) sign that can feel nothing less than crazy when our country—and this world—feels on the brink of very great disaster. It permeates our being, this suffering racist world, whether or not we know it.

I think feeling out of place can make you feel crazy. I think buying dozens of self-help books you never finish can make you feel crazy, especially if your idea of self-help is unraveling the minds of great philosophers. I think that folding your whole self into the life of someone else, whether it is because you are afraid to lose them or afraid to find yourself, can make you crazy.

If this month of late night bacchanals and badly timed commitments has left you feeling alienated, outside of some greater picture, outside of yourself and what means most to you—I understand. Virgo, returning to yourself is a work that is never over. We fuck up, we start again, we find reasons to be better versions of ourselves that are beyond us—whether it be the work we have left to do, the people (sometimes very small) who look up to us, or all the lives that have conspired to bring us to this very troubled moment.

Libra

What’s passion anyway and who knows where it comes from? For a long time, it all seemed sort of cut and dry: some people are passionate people and some are not; passion exists in some nebulous part of our psyches, evoked from us if the flute plays just the right song. O if it were so then make it so, sister. What I’ve come to, and this knowledge was not wanted but needed, is that there is no lack of passion inside anyone and passion is not summoned from the outside by anyone.

If you want to pray to the goddess of passion on your own terms, to light a large votive candle, look no further than the face (and Amazonian everything) of Serena Williams. Libra-extraordinaire, Serena is asked to prove to the world over and over that she is worth adoration. It must be daunting to work so hard, to give up your life, to know that your own country will cheer for a stranger before it cheers for you. Watch this woman, only in her thirties, this world a trembling passionate muscle in her arms:

“I felt a lot of pressure I guess, I put a lot of that pressure on myself. Obviously had some tough losses… I had to start looking at positives and not focusing on that one loss…Once I started focusing more on the positive I realized that…um… I’m pretty good, and then I started playing better.”

Passion, you have it, more than enough—even on the days when you feel weak and small in the world. Make something. Make something everyday even if you’re feeling like nothing you do is close enough to your dreams. Focus on the way small wins lead to the big ones. Focus on Serena, or any Amazon who raises her racket and never backs down.

Scorpio

Once, in rags and mesh, you were two girls belonging to no one. The East Village community gardens were just as much yours as the open sky raining. Each night, when you ran away from your family, you ran to her little storefront teeming with roaches and radical road shows—women and books and guitars and lost cats. You were seventeen, queer, and unafraid to die. She read your tarot card under a tin tile ceiling painting dry-blood-red. Now, over a decade later, you’re sitting in a blue-carpeted living room and a Himalayan salt lamp is glowing over the Ikea furniture. It’s a different era but the magic has only gotten stronger.

She turns over your cards one by one and you know she’s the only one you trust to tell you who you’re becoming—since you’ve been becoming in front of her for so long.

Queen of Pentacles, the signifier, eight of pentacles the cross, and so it goes: a reading where the universe screams abundance and you can’t look anyone in the eye. This is the truth you’ve known all along, the only thing that has kept you going despite your most valiant, self-destructive, efforts. Whatever you believe in—it believes in you. However empty your pockets, your cup overflows. Bring the cup to your lips, Scorpio. This month, make a contract with the universe. Honor it everyday and in your best interest. Don’t let yourself down and you’ll not be let down. Promise.

Sagittarius

I’m lying alone on a beach in Cherry Grove and so far I’m the only naked one here. Both my girlfriend and I have Eileen’s books out on the blanket. She’s re-reading Chelsea Girls, which is making me nostalgic for when I was reading Chelsea Girls. It was so good all of it, the butch bravado, the playful puppy-dog narcissism. I’m reading Maxfield Parrish but the poems—there’s labor in poems—they make all these holes threw me. I just want to laugh about Sagittarian impulses like in “1969” where she wrote:

We were both Sagittariuses and had enjoyed standing outside the library at night, smoking cigarettes and talking about sex. We laughed a lot.

Ugh, and I’m so selfish I don’t care I want every life we’ve lived to exist all at once. Like right now. We could be drinking G&Ts together over a big cabbage salad while I scan your essay and you scan my third eye AND we could be watching the sunset over a strip club in LA, splitting a Xanax for the road AND you could be walking me along Coney Island beach in the middle of October and letting me kiss you because my father is dead. I guess we cry a lot too. Laughing and crying, all the women we’ve been together—it’s getting easier.

I don’t care if I’m the only naked one out here; don’t be afraid to be feminine. I’m getting up and going in the water. Can’t you feel your most vibrant capable selves returning? I feel it. Everything you’ve been doing has brought you to this moment. Don’t be afraid to choose your life on your own terms.


Capricorn

What does it mean to be self-made and how to go about the business of un-making oneself? There are pop cultural narratives of course: the overnight success, rags-to-riches, the lonely girl who got herself out of a nothing town and into the arms of a big city stud. There are narrower interpretations as well, the mural artist discovered on the street, the YouTube singer gone viral, how one perfectly crafted Tindr profile got someone their life partner. These stories serve to fill our imaginations with limits, to keep us wanting the same thing—so that we might never question what is underneath all this wanting. Narratives of fabricated lives, of blind luck, tell us nothing about the day-to-day work of loving one another and ourselves. They give us no road maps for becoming; they say sky’s the limit but they paint a sky on the ceiling over our dreams.

Well, what if our dreams are deeply rooted in one another? What if, beyond the painted ceiling there’s a universe where you and I—we can build the world we want? We would first have to look at ourselves: the person you imagine yourself to be, the unique and only “I.” Ask: Have I fallen victim to capitalist ideology? Has the hardness and scarcity of this world found its way inside me and, despite my best intentions, I have harmed more people than I’ve helped, lost more friends than I care to admit?

There will always be two sides to our lives (and maybe more, maybe many more): the side that is illuminated and the underside the floats us down this river. Capricorn, have you dealt with the underside? Seek counsel, journal your nightmares, take a swimming class. I know you trust your intuition but maybe it’s time to learn other kinds of trust.

GALACTIC RABBIT JUNE 2016

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Dear Lover,

Stars are dying and we are their ashes. It’s hard over here like it’s hard over there, I know. Today is the first day that I will not mourn at a public vigil. Today I’m listening to Mazzy Starr and a gun control filibuster on the U.S Senate floor at the same time. Anger and grief, I’m holding it.

I feel as if the years have slipped away and I’m spending the summer with my girlfriend, whose heart is a herd of horses galloping toward me and I’m ready to lie down before them. I was on my knees beneath a print of the American flag in a small gallery near Brandeis. In my headphones, Sharon Hayes was reciting her 2008 performance piece “I March In The Parade of Liberty, But As Long As I Love You I Am Not Free.”

She was reading a love letter and a political testimony about 9/11, about Bush and Bush again, about how many times we rose up against war and America just rose right into it. She was talking about the ecstasy of being gay and angry and I was crying. I was crying because that was the summer when my love for you reached a fever pitch, because Sade was singing so be gentle and be kind and you were fucking me with a non-metaphorical peach, the pit slippery and hard. You said you loved a man once but you couldn’t live within that kind of privilege and I admired your masochistic streak.

There is no prison in any world into which love cannot force an entrance, said Sharon. If you cannot understand that, you don’t understand anything about love at all.

When will love force an entrance into America? I’m frantic, my love. I want everything back and none of it. At the Stonewall vigil, Cuomo makes us chant NOT ONE MORE and I can’t get my mouth around it. A Russian gay refugee stands up and says “I came to America for this?” Do you remember when almost every month a queer child committed suicide and the news called it our bullying problem instead of indoctrination into homophobia? Dan Savage said It Gets Better but I don’t know for whom. Brown women are disappearing in frightening numbers here and across all our borders. Last year 23 Transwomen were reported murdered and 12 more this year and we know it to be more than that and counting and counting. And, now I’m looking at an eighteen old girl who is alive in her photo but dead everywhere else. She’s wearing a graduation robe, which makes me think of her parents and of mine. My mother hasn’t mentioned the massacre but, I know if I was shot dead for who I’ve loved (you), she would give them a picture of me in a graduation robe. She would want to remember a moment when she was proud of me.

Claire says all angels are genderless. All angels are queer. Queer angels, is there a dance floor where you are? I’m getting sentimental. I’m in my feminine Sapphic mind. I want to love you more in the face of this. To kiss wildly and fuck all! All these years they’ve been taming us so we could become them. “Come into our beautiful prison,” they said, “you get a piece of paper, you get to join the army, you get to kill for us and live in this gilded box forever. It doesn’t matter who you love.” It matters who you love. It matters who you are, love. How you love your body into a new world they can’t understand.

When they run out of guns they will use their hands. When they run out of guns they will have brutal imaginations. When they’re afraid of what lies outside their prison they will imprison us. Laws can control guns but who will control them?

We open the cage and discover a cage. We kiss each other and are obliterated.

I need to speak to you my love, of your life and of mine. Of our past and our future. Of sweet things that have turned to bitterness and bitter things that could still be turned to joy.

Stars die everyday to become part of us. Lover, even if we’ve never touched, I open my mouth and wait for you.

Gala(ctic Rabbit)


Consider Sending money to those grieving the shooting and the lives lost in the Orlando Massacre. Black, Latinx and Puerto Rican families are often deeply underserved by government agencies in times of crisis, especially when some of these families are undocumented.

https://www.gofundme.com/blog/2016/06/16/over-4-million-raised-for-orlando-shooting-victims/
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/the-latinos-who-died-in-orlando/487010/


 

 

Aquarius

Secret Heart, what are you made of? What are you so afraid of? I’m singing this song by Feist (Aquarian) and it makes me think of you. I’ve channeled it and I’m running on a low tank, so tell me Little Wind: what’s got you stalling? Could it be that you feel yourself on the great big wheel? The one that promises you stars if you just run fast enough to the top then threatens to send you back where you started before you’ve even gotten to enjoy them?

The wheel is a dual image, isn’t it? When you’re stuck, when you’re down on yourself, we say—it’s the wheel—you’ll come up before you know it. But the wheel is threatening too, how does one move forward in a loop? How do you, Aquarius, break a bad cycle if it works well enough to convince you that it’s the only option you’ve got?

The wheel we imagine is not the one we live in. Imagine a spiral, imagine a circle that doesn’t close but also cannot break. In each new city, new pathway, new lover, new loss, there is a familiar suffering and a familiar joy. The lessons might stay the same but you do not and that is a good thing, Aquarius. Honor your moments at the top, however brief, and bear witness to your time at the bottom. They both fuel what makes you, you who are everyday becoming.

Pisces

Sitting in my room feeling sorry for myself (because I am good at feeling sorry), I envy an event that I’ve not been invited to and can’t afford to attend. I scroll the images that are slowly rising up off the internet: my friends in elegant outfits, my dapper girlfriend and her beautiful wife. Then, all I can see is your name. You’re texting me for the first time in what feels like a year. “I’m lighting this award show,” you write, “I feel like you should be here. Come! You can sit in the booth with me.” How did you know I was feeling like the loneliest girl in the world? What god did you conspire with so that you could prove me wrong?

This is the way our friendship works: we find each other and we let each other go. At first, this might have felt like a kind of heartbreak. The universe made you soft and glimmering, reflective. The universe brought you lovers who peered at themselves through you; they were slivers of light coming together or light breaking apart. Shadow play, you were good at complicating an image. You were good at slipping through the hands.

Pisces, the little string that tied me to you, I know how it stays unbroken. You tend to it in your own way—from a distance and with no expectation. That’s a powerful and vital way to care for someone and for now it’s more than enough.

Aries

Love is divine only and difficult always. If you think it is easy you are a fool. If you think it is natural you are blind. It is a learned application without reason or motive except that it is God. You do not deserve love regardless of the suffering you have endured. You do not deserve love because somebody did you wrong. You do not deserve love just because you want it. You can only earn – by practice and careful contemplations – the right to express it and you have to learn how to accept it. Which is to say you have to earn God. You have to practice God. You have to think God-carefully. And if you are a good and diligent student you may secure the right to show love.

Just hours ago, Surrounded by the lush coral bouquets and shushing trees, I read these words by Toni Morrison aloud as I performed your wedding ritual. Now it’s night and we’ve all changed clothes. Your guests are getting drunk or gone but you are on the couch with me, a couch you assure me is very old, and you’re asking me about my mother.

It’s as if we’re not at your wedding but back in that small town where we were neighbors and I was always crying on your couch. Your reckless generosity pierces me with its beauty.

When you are stretched out thick with sleep beside the one you love, I hope your heart floods with the knowledge that you, too, have been doing the work. You have been learning, slowly, that your desire to control a situation is often the only thing you can control. And, even if there were days when you were afraid and so, spoke with fear instead of gentleness—your gentleness remained. Aries let the world teach you, again and again, that you have earned love, are always earning it.

Taurus

There is no cure for temperament it’s how / we recognize ourselves but sometimes within it / a narrowing imprisons or is opened such as when my mother / in her last illness snarled and spat and how this lifted my dour father / into a patient tenderness thereby astounding everyone / but mostly it hardens who we always were
                                 Ellen Bryant Voigt

I remember when you used to call me all the time and ask questions about love, about sex, about how to be a feminist or not be one at all. I guess you got it in my head that I should have answers ready lest you came around and requested some. But how am I supposed to answer you when you call me after the Orlando massacre and say, What do we do now? What can we do?

Nothing, I say which is not good enough for you but I’m afraid or heartbroken—which is the same. I send you links that explain what patriarchy is because that’s what I’m blaming tonight and every night. You take me to task. Should we stop dancing? Should we stop having children?

In lieu of action plan, I can tell you what the temperament of the world is. How, no matter how stubborn we are, it gets into us and becomes us. How it convinces us we were never meant to survive. In order to resist it we will have to love each other more than we ever thought we could. That is all I know.

Gemini

In Nightwood by Djuna Barnes (Gemini), which is less of a novel and more of a capsized ship at the center of the human heart, the protagonist wanders through the night combing ideas and worshipping mad women. When she seeks to know about eros, about the woman she wants, about the nature of night, she is told: There is no truth, and you have set it between you; you have been unwise enough to make it a formula; you have dressed the unknowable in the garments of the known.

I have seen you on slow velvet morning, wrapping up the many old versions of you that you’d let die so something new could be born.When all the planets play with your shadow and shadow you in turn, when it is your birthday month and your rare magic amplifies, how do you direct your power? This year has taught you so much about letting go but what you put in the ground must stay in the ground, Gemini, so don’t spend so much time in the graveyard of your life; don’t waste another moment wondering what you could have done differently.

Anyway, every part of our lives is made up. The bones of the past would look nothing like what you remember. Memory is fiction and it’s exciting! An open door. However you present yourself, whatever garment you drape around your life—that’s the real you if you believe in it.

Cancer

If I refuse, increasingly, to explain, isn’t/ explanation, at the end of the day, what the sturdier/ truths most resist? It’s been my experience that/ tears are useless against all the rest of it that, if I/ could, I’d forget. That I keep wanting to stay should/ count at least for something. I’m not done with you yet.

Carl Phillips

All the time the animal comes. How she got here is beyond your understanding. Before, you watched her survey the periphery of your home, gentle maw in the grass, twitch and bristle. Aware of you as you were of her, neither of you ready to touch. Slowly, we let go of the dream so that we might stand in awe before the ordinary. She would come baying and she would come baring teeth. All the time you were wanting to feed her. Take her in. Learn her secret animal language, which is eye glint and a tail stiffening. But she had plans for you and does; she hunts the dying parts of your life. She picks them off from their familiar ground and lays them at your feet. An animal must give something up that it loved in order to feel strong.

Cancer, what known life would you trade for this one? What woman would bury her heart in the ground and expect to grow another heart? Sharp teeth retracted in the mouth. The sun breaks on her haunches and you glisten. Her heart beats by your heart and the rhythm is almost close. The body alone with the memory of wildness: neither one belonging to the other but with.


Leo

All my life there’s been a Leo teaching me how to love. Oh you might not know it since I’m all talk, all watch my mouth move around the idea of the thing—the big looming specter of it—but you lead by example. Like the boyfriend I cried about so much he had to leave me for my own good. Like how angry you get when I rely on emotional subterfuge, forcing me to speaking my truth even though it’s really fucking hard. What I mean is, these lessons are often ones that are not curated by you; rather, I’ve learned them from loving you.

Right now, I’m working on a full bladder at a café with no bathroom and the stereo is rasping Love, love will tear us apart again. I don’t think it’s so thematic. Music is always trying to tell you something you already know. I’m thinking about this baby I’ve been taking care of, how his whole entity is a little mystery. It’s a mystery I accept: why are you hungry again? Why are you crying when I’ve fed you and changed you and burped you and held you and sung you and swung you dutifully in my arms? Oh you just try all the things over and over and eventually they work or not at all and the baby just falls asleep. Wakes up laughing.

Love is like that too but we make up lots of reasons beyond the basic ones. “You’re walled with me,” “You don’t appreciate me,” “You don’t respect me,” “You want to control me.” Basically: If you love me, you love me in a way I don’t understand. So what? I don’t understand why the baby’s smiling either but there’s pleasure in watching it, in being so close. Maybe pleasure is worth more than knowledge this time around.

Virgo

To love women is not simply to fuck women. To love women is not about obscuring their narratives so that you might graph what’s left over your own life. To love women is not to approach the most accomplished/ conventionally beautiful/ same race as you/ masculine/ best dressed women in the room and vie for her attention while purposefully icing the women who are with her. Especially if they are feminine. Especially if their bodies are bodies you were taught not to love. To love women, a woman would have to love herself more than she loves being noticed, more than not being alone.

Everyone hates women. Men hate women. Women hate women. They hate themselves. That’s why they can spend their lives surrounded by men who say horrible demeaning things about them, just laughing it off and joining in.

We might not be able to change the world, Virgo, but we can make more of it. We can, regardless of our gender or sex, commit ourselves to honoring the feminine. To approaching femmes in the room first as if to say: I see you, I value you. We can bear witness to the lives of transwomen: intrepid, ingenious, and always at peril. We can, YOU can!, meditate on the feminine in your heart, the moon side—the sweet shadow side, and be proud of it. The feminine is a deep and fierce well of love that lives in you. It will nurture your spirit through the most trying times.

Libra

Sometimes people come into your life and you think oh this isn’t IT, but it’s nice. Then time builds on top of time. Then you can’t wait to see them, to hear from them, to know that they are near. You forget what it was like without them. You forget what you were like without them, you forget yourself.

And that’s nice too, at first, but then it becomes disorienting. Then you have to get a really big flashlight and walk into the dark forest of yourself and figure out where exactly you’ve been keeping yourself. It’s a long and very difficult search. The kind that might make some people leave you because they are impatient or because they are afraid that the girl you find is a girl they don’t know and aren’t ready to meet.

But you realize that, despite all the risks, the girl in the forest is a girl you miss so you bring her back and you keep her company. You realize she’s important to you. That she doesn’t mind being alone if that’s what it costs to fully exist in the world.

Scorpio

Everybody has their sadness. And most people are scared of it.
-Bad Behavior, Mary Gaitskill

It should come as no surprise to you that Mary Gaitskill, author of Bad Behavior amongst many other wrenching books, is a Scorpio. How she pierces so forcefully through the vinyl veneer of our intimate lives and, through the flapping hole, pulls dead rabbit after dead rabbit–that’s Scorpio work.

Lately I’ve been thinking about obsession, the dead rabbit in the bed. How we obsess ourselves of the sicknesses inside our connections. We spend our down time journaling about the self-destructive impulses that make us commit so intensely to relationships that diminish us. We think we are doing ourselves a service, a form of self-care. What we forget is, above all, we’re allowed to make some wrong choice in name of desire. We are allowed to pick the thing that doesn’t always feel good because something in us believes that it feels right.

After all, there are lots of ways for you to learn your lesson, Scorpio. Have a little fun instead of wasting your time worrying whether or not it’s your responsibility to teach yourself.

Sagittarius

Parts / of your / body I think / of as stripes / which I have / learned to love along. We / swim naked / in ponds & / I write be- / hind your back. My thoughts / about you are

not exactly / forbidden, but / exalted because / they are useless, not intended /  to get you / because I have / you & you love / me. It’s more / like a playground / where I play / with my reflection / of you until / you come back / and into the real you I / get to sink / my teeth. 
Eileen Myles

O every time I see you I feel like I’ve missed you all of my life. In the park the grass is damp and we are too with the breath of it. You roll right into the earth because you are full of animals. I’m carrying around this baby that’s not mine. I lay him softly on the blanket. I play with the soles of his feet so that he knows everything’s ok. You take out a can of sardines and a bag of green beans like an elegant hobo. They’re Portuguese sardines, you say, that’s why they’re so large. Uh huh I say shoveling sardines into my mouth. Sardines make me think of my late father, which you don’t know and that’s ok. You know enough about me to bring them to our picnic.

The baby giggles on his back and over him we eat green beans and try to figure out where sadness comes from. I feel like this is the year you’ve gotten soft and I’ve gotten hard. Something about the loss of direction. A young heart with nowhere to go. We can laugh until we cry about it. For the record, when you stand up tall like that–you look just like a statue of a Greek god, shining with cool water. For what it’s worth, I think you’re as close to happy as a lost girl can get.
Capricorn

For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world.
                                                                        –Maggie Smith

I want to sell you the world, Capricorn. I want to sell it to you for a dollar so that it’s a legal transaction but basically free like you’re a squatter who plans to make a freegan mansion out of a run-down tenement building. I want to make everything beautiful with you. I want us to be making instead of crying (now that the time for crying is past and the time for action is upon us). The world that we want, it’s gonna have a green roof and rain water barrels. It’s gonna compost straight from the shitter, it’s gonna generate its own rainbows, it’s gonna surprise even us with possibilities.

Capricorn, do you know that in Orlando, the Angel Action Wing Project is protecting mourners from the West Boro Baptist church that has come to add insult to injury? Angels are flying to Florida from across the country wearing futuristic robes with wings so big and wide, they obscure the violence of West Boro’s hatred.

O Capricorn, channel you anger and grief into good work and you will find yourself relieved of the weight that anger brings when it lives in you too long.

 

 

Galactic Rabbit May 2016!

Dear Rabbits in Galaxies Far and Wide,

I’m writing you beside a bouquet of dying flowers in an apartment that is not mine. This bouquet has peonies in it and lilacs too, which are my favorites, which are the flowers I ordered for my mother on Mother’s Day although she was not speaking to me. I wanted to show her that despite her inability to be the mother I want and despite my resistance to ease up my boundaries around her carelessness, I would not forget about her and I would always offer her beauty. This month, I spent a great deal of time think about mothers my birth mother and “the many gendered mothers of my heart” a la Maggie Nelson.

There are those of us who have always felt alone in the world, intrepid, aliens in every community we find ourselves in. We have had to learn our love language from strangers and take it on as if it is natural to us. Which it became. Then there are those of us who have been loved well our whole lives—and now must learn how to love others generously, without fear of loss. No matter what love planet we hail from, whether it is a planet where no life thrives or a planet full of mysteries, it is our job to take care of ourselves and each other as best we can when what the world offers is not enough.

In these letters, I aim to be your champion, a kind of mother, or lover
or anything that lets us touch each other.

 

Yours,
Galactic Rabbit

Thank you to Claire Skinner, as always, for being my Clairvoyant Friend.
If you’d like to donate to the making of those love letter scopes you can visit my PayPal! XO

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Aquarius

Recently, my dear friend Angela Watrous (Aquarius), who is an empathy-centered healer, shared this a quote from Gertrude Stein (Aquarius) about writing and creating: After all everybody, that is, everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. – Gertrude Stein, “Paris, France.”

Despite my reluctance to hold Gertrude Stein in my mind for too long, lest she rises from the dead and decides to write MY autobiography, I couldn’t help but find it timely. There’s something about spring, about the promise of new life and new adventures, that brings out the wanderlust in all of us. And if we are lucky, or privileged, or very particular about how we spend our money, we can have what we want. We can trade apartments with friends in foreign countries, make money under the table picking weed in California with the new loves of our lives, travel all along the old Eastern Bloc and redefine who we are as artists and makers.

You can do any of those things as long as you remember, my dear Aquarius, you are someone who lives in two countries. The one you rise into everyday, weaving in and out of the life you’ve built—your accomplishments, your obligations, your loved ones—and the country that only your spirit knows by name. No matter where you go, no matter how far you’d like to be, it is your task to take your spirit with and tend to the home inside yourself. There is no else and no other place that will do this for you. Knowing can be both a kind of freedom and a kind of weight, practice recognizing it as the former.

Pisces 

When I met you, at a dinner party full of strangers, it was as if we had known each other all along. Something about your face, the shape of it, your unruly hair and the way you danced—stomping almost. Something about your mouth against my mouth, not perfect but young-hearted, it made me want to see you again. I imagined our affection like two wild ponies from separate herds necking in the dark.

And, even though it took you months to write back to me, I wanted to take that walk with you in the rain. I liked the way we cut through April, the spring in our hearts babbling and strewing flowers. I liked that we wanted to eat at the same place, that we took bites from each other’s plates. I liked, too, the bookstore after, with that horrible open mic and the ridiculous lesbian erotica. I said I’m free unto the world, but you have someone waiting. You said There’s no one waiting and we went to a bar where you held my knee between your knees for a long time before kissing me.

I want to write this here because in our texts since then, the pony in my heart has walked through an evasive fog. I want to tell you that I know how to let beautiful things alone. This spring, I’ve walked by dozens of Magnolia trees and never took a petal for myself. Pisces, whomever you open yourself to next, whatever door you come to, it might do you good to figure out what you want before you knock and how best to say it plain.

Aries

In the month since you’ve been far from me, we’ve relied on the phone to keep us close. You at a residency in the middle of nowhere trying to generate new work, me juggling two new jobs on top of my old ones, time is difficult and ceaseless. Running back and forth between obligations, I’ve carried two voices with me: yours and Elena Ferrante. Of course, I have no idea what Elena’s sign is or what her real name is… or anything else for that matter. What I know for sure is this: there is something radical inside her work, something so brave that the woman who writes it can’t stand to be compared to the women she creates.

There is a violence in her books I understand. The kind that calls a girl down to her knees, the kind that makes you think brute force would be better than nothing. You close a chapter and stand still as if seeing your own adolescence again: Wasn’t I just as cruel to myself? Wasn’t I just as selfish in the face of suffering?

Since finishing the second book of her Neopolitan series, I’ve felt the force of her absence and yours simultaneously. Which is really the trouble with distances and finding books to live in. Your presence and her language a kind of call toward opening in me, I want to bring you to that place and show you to each other. In lieu of impossible things, I will tell you this: whatever you are making in this world, if you are brave, if you go beyond what feels good and toward pain, then you will find an opening. You must know what it takes to lower yourself in without getting lost. You must bring the necessary tools to get out.

 

Taurus

In the New Yorker, Claudia Rankine wrote a reflection on the work of Adrienne Rich. It’s titled “Adrienne Rich’s Poetic Transformations,” but reading the essay (which is pulled from a forthcoming introduction to collection of Rich’s work), you might find that the one who’s transformed is Rankine. Over and over she recalls a young version of herself, a writer and activist coming into her own and looking for voices that could keep her company. We see her at the table of her youth, pouring over Baldwin and Rich and Lorde, trying to understand what art is for.

Rankine shows us the poems, draws lines between where Rich’s craft began and what it grew into. She also shows us her political letters, including this one regarding her decline of the National Medal from the Clinton Administration and the NEA:

There is no simple formula for the relationship of art to justice. But I do know that art—in my own case the art of poetry—means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage.

Re-reading these words, which I have read many times before in a state of admiration and awe, I imagined I might bring them to you. Taurus, does your work, your beautiful energy and commitment, decorate a dinner table that you would rather not sit at? Do you wake feeling like you have given away so much of your creative force, that you barely have any left for yourself? If there is a power that holds your best-self hostage, learn to recognize it. If your boundaries are being crossed, it’s your job to maintain them.

Gemini

It’s close to eight when my brother (Gemini) calls me. I’ve spent the day cleaning my apt, visiting my friend who is injured, babysitting an infant, and moving to the West Village to housesit for ten days. His phone call finds me finally beginning to write. I don’t want to pick up, to interrupt the solitary space I’ve carved out, but I do it anyway. My brother doesn’t call me often, if at all. We talk about work, I tell him how I spend my days, how hard it is to make ends meet. And, even though he replies in kind—detailing how little he gets paid, how long his workdays are, how little he sees his kids—he lets me know that if I need any money he’s got me.

Because it’s embarrassing, I’ll admit that I treasured those stories we read as children, the ones where the girl and her brother go off bravely into the woods and find a way to survive. They aren’t brave at first, just lost. And yes the girl is clever. She feeds the wild cat and knows what lights the dark heart of the forest witch. But her brother is her champion. Not because he is bigger or stronger—and he might be—but because he sees in her a great power and vows to protect it.

In my heart, my brother and I are those children. In this world, I know he doesn’t have me, can’t protect me, can’t champion me in any way I’d understand. When he makes his offer, I want to say just call me more, just try to know me but I don’t. I thank him; I ask him if he’s happy, if he likes what he does. “Listen,” he pauses, sighs. “It’s been a rough few years, you know? It’s like I’m being born again. I’m new, I’m re-building my life.” This admission, hopefulness, it catches me. With those few words, I realize that in this story, I must be the champion. Gemini, if you move bravely toward your new life, I will be your champion.

Cancer

You wrote me a letter and every day since its arrival, I’ve looked it over and considered you. Considered the night I gave you my hand and you led me through a forest so dark the moon could barely do its work, the coral ring you bought me on a cruise with the girlfriend you said you were leaving. The month my family rejected me and you showed up drunk. How the car swerved and my heart lurched with disappointment.

In Bluets, Maggie Nelson quotes (a beloved song of mine) Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt Girl:

  1. One thing they don’t tell you ’bout the blues when you got ’em, you keep on fallin’ ’cause there ain’t no bottom,’ sings Emmylou Harris, and she may be right. Perhaps it would help to be told that there is no bottom, save, as they say, wherever and whenever you stop digging. You have to stand there, spade in hand, cold whiskey sweat beaded on your brow, eyes misshapen and wild, some sorry-ass grave digger grown bone-tired of the trade. You have to stand there in the dirty rut you dug, alone in the darkness, in all its pulsing quiet, surrounded by the scandal of corpses.

I’ve read Bluets over and over for years. I read it when I moved across the country and away from my homophobic family; I read it when my father died and when my partner and I separated for good. When I read it, I never thought of you. Not because you didn’t break my heart—you did. I didn’t think of you because I let you go. Dear Lover, You were so beautiful, with your perfect mouth and square palms. We built a world with our love. We were covered in dirt and smelled like fire. We were water animals who felt too much and there was a time when time did not matter.

Time matters now and there is only going forward from here. You can’t be who you were, can’t raise the dead. Put the spade down and climb out of the hole, dear heart. Like the moon, love is never gone. It just keeps changing shape.

Leo

There is a string that ties us to each other, this much I know and not much more. A decade ago, in a small bookstore-turned-punk hovel that I sometimes treated as my home, you chanted your poems and they settled in me. Years later, we were at the edge of a dock, pouring honey into Seneca Lake, singing. I sent you a package made of art scraps, things that I thought might please you. You sent me your lover’s book, bound by metal bolts, picture of a girl against naked trees—furtive—you note scribbled at the edge.

The taxi ride in Oregon, our friend’s writer’s retreat in NY you demanded I attend—even if it meant paying for it yourself. A moment when, gently against the wall, you touched me as if in all those years of sailing past we’d made a lover’s cartography.

The last time we saw each other, backstage at a small show, your chair was so close to mine I thought there was only one chair. You bit into an apple and I felt your teeth, the apple’s flesh sprayed against my arm. You handed me the apple and I, knowing where your eyes were, dragged my tongue slow along the bite. A map is not a life, Leo, only a handful of coordinates that show us where we might have ventured and boundary monuments that keep shifting despite our best efforts. There’ll always be great loves that barely happen to us, an apple for each paring knife, each mouth. Look to the stars, Leo, the sea that carries you—even if this particular journey feels done, your lessons are not done.

Virgo

Tonight the sky darkens in what feels like slow motion. We’re sitting on bleachers packed tight with bodies, waiting for awe. There is a structure on the river that’s part Navy vessel part pigeon coop. We’re preparing for Duke Riley’s Fly By Night, birds affixed with LEDs brushing the sky. The bird-themed music cuts off and the streetlights dim, a recording of pigeons chirruping, cooing, wings beating, comes on and it’s a little overwhelming, the way these sounds are here and not here.

The birds murmur quietly at the edges of their roosts until the recording cuts off and they’re beckoned to take flight. What if they shit on us? You ask. What if I never feel awe? I wonder. They don’t shit on us and I marvel at how peaceful it is to watch these creatures weave in and around the night, clusters forming and breaking apart against oncoming clusters. The sky begins where ground ends and we are not so separate from them. You keep pointing to a bird that flies a little too high, a little too far—that one is not coming back. But they do. They come back because their power is not solitary. If love is anything for these pigeons, it flickers above us illuminated: submission, shared language, the desire to touch freedom and then return to the hand that knows you.

What if I’m powerless? You ask as we walk home slowly, after the birds have returned to their boat. We’re talking about our families, wanting to change things that seem utterly unchangeable. You have power, our friend replies, the joy you bring to others is a kind of power. I think about the birds, their luminescent dance, the way Prince’s When Doves Cry came on and how you pulled us all in for a group hug. She’s right about you, about the kind of love you have for this world, its potential like hundreds of beating wings.

Libra

Last week, as we walked slowly around pillows stitched with images of Stone Butch Blues and maps of ye olde lesbiane textes at an exhibit called “Queering the Bibliobject,” we wondered aloud at what makes a distinctly Libra poem. Is it the quest for beauty? I ventured, a poem like a crow pecking around for jewels. Does it have something to do with balance? You replied a little sidewise, as if balance wasn’t something one could achieve with a poem.

For a long time, we shared this city and did not know each other. The lovers who bridged us were bridges on fire or bridges under construction or an ex with whom one of us was in love and one of us was a pillar of salt. So, no, we never met at a park or poetry reading or late night café to talk about the many kinds of pain we are capable of enduring for love. But, we were tied by it and If our bodies were not capable of such destruction, they could be beautiful.

 

Tonight I’m thinking about beauty as the ultimate balancing act. A Libra poem about the gorgeous ways our bodies are bridges and how we cross them and how we burn trying. And, there is the water rushing through trying to teach us something about what we’re scared to lose. And, here, the mysterious boats we board so that we might sail under the shadows of what we’ve built and destroyed, into wild worlds yet unknown to us.

 

Scorpio

In another universe where we live seaside lives, you are always shucking oysters. Here it is, another crustacean, another tight-lipped little treasure box and you with your perfect knife. You were born to open what wants opening, to tip it just so, and suck the secret out. But in this life, Scorpio, your job is not so clear-cut (unless, of course, you truly work in the sea and even then there are limits to what you know of the secret life of oysters). In this universe, you can’t force a secret out, can’t demand trust and surrender at knife point.

Even if you are gentle, even if you practice the oft-cited golden rule “do unto others,” no one owes you intimacy—no one has to do unto you what you do unto them. Intrinsically, you know this. You’re perceptive; you hold reverence for the hard protective shell and the pearl all at once.

Why waste your time with prying open what wants to stay shut? Could it be that this time, like many times before, you’re looking for intimacy in all the wrong places? What you’re drawn to is a kind of shadow work—you are the hand and the shore where closed things wash up at dusk. But, it’s not your job to pry out everyone’s truth and show it to them, not your place to lick sorrow from a tight mouth. Sometimes, you just have to cup what comes to you in your good strong hand, and give it right back to the sea.

Sagittarius

We’re on a road trip together to a place neither of us has travelled. New Mexico, maybe. Your dog is with us, napping in the back seat. Or, for some reason, you haven’t brought her. We spend our pit stops watching videos of her casually slinking over to her drinking bowl or staring solemnly out a window. On the road, every song is a song we reinvent to suit our nostalgia, every snack break a guilty pleasure waiting to happen

For however long this lasts, a few days or a week, we write the story of our lives. We call on the energies of the great Sagittarians and channel their powers. Tonight, in a desert dive bar, we are meticulous as Joan Didion. We suck up local phrases like water, quietly leaning toward the other tables—nosy anthropologists. Tomorrow, we’ll be all passion and sunrise, Cisneros-brilliant, building a new language out of marks in the sand.

 

What I’m saying is, there is a possible world, a moment forthcoming, when you will have the chance to feel easy. Open and flowing toward the great river of being, nothing to live up to, owing your goodness to no one. You’ll be treated as good because you’ll say you are good. Your love and attention and care will be more than enough—it will be vital to the any shared journey. You will ask for what you need and, darling, you will get it.

Capricorn

It’s over 70, I’ve got a baby strapped to my chest in a wrap so thick I’m afraid he’ll overheat and I’ll never be allowed to nanny again. I pull his wibbly head out and support it on my arm. He’s so relaxed. Why not go to the library? In the main lobby, two separate women look me over and say, “Bless you” very matter-of-factly. “Bless you!” I reply, wondering if we’re all talking about Jesus or what. I wait at the fiction reference desk until a librarian appears and asks, “do you need help?” Like standing by the desk glancing from side to side is not indicative. I’m looking for Tell My Horse, by Zora Neale Hurston. “It’s upstairs in History,” she looks it up and writes down the number.

At the history reference desk upstairs, I ask for directions. He points me to a bookcase; the book’s missing. “I was sent here,” I explain. He apologizes, walks me over to a collection of travel books. “This can’t be right,” I conclude as if I’m the librarian. He looks the book up again. It’s available. Do I want to put it on hold for when it turns up? Possibly in a week? Maybe it’s on display. I guess May is Voodoo month. He calls the Voodoo display woman. She doesn’t pick up. I go down to the main lobby and there, in a glass case with a smudging bowl, I find Zora.

I go to the reference table. “Can I borrow a book being used in the display?” I ask but I know the answer’s no. The baby stirs. “You can put it on hold and have it in a few…” she starts to suggest but then “O it’s on hold.” “Shit,” I say and leave the library. I cross the street, settle on a nice patch of grass in Prospect Park. Then, I think about you, about Zora, about doing what needs to get done even when it’s hard—even when it makes you uncomfortable. I think about the baby in my arms that would prefer I be walking, rocking him with my stride. The baby begins to cry but I need to rest. Sha sha I whisper in his ear and download a pdf of Tell My Horse. Accept what you can’t change, Capricorn, and don’t spend too much time trying to make a thruway out of a dead-end street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galactic Rabbit April Love Notes!

 

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Dear April Bunnies,

This month I have held each of you close to my heart. I have written tiny ideas in my IPhone notes while on the train to work. Have dog-eared books and magazines. I’ve paused mid-conversation in sticky bars to write down the revelatory truth of my friends’ experiences. Yes, there’s no point in arguing with an Aries and there’s no point in trying to push back against that Moon when the pull is so strong. Just go with it. You are having a Sagittarius Problem, I claim tenderly to my sweet friend when she needs to be validated about her social graces. We laugh about our wounds like we’ve just discovered the fussy old things.

Maybe April was the cruelest month for T.S Eliot (possibly for Chaucer too) but if it is cruel then the cruelty is a beautiful stretch. The month opens and our muscles ache and limber. In waking from winter, we take the world in and all its buds prescient with bloom. These love notes were seeds once.

Now they are ready to be yours.

With Spring Sweetness,
Galactic Rabbit

 

P.S. If you’d like to donate to the making of these horoscopes, you can donate at my PAYPAL!
It means a lot to me! I love you!

P.P.S. If you have written me a letter, I will write you back. I am just very slow due to a panicky nature.

P.P.P.S. [Thank you, Claire Skinner, as always. You are the best psychic and even better friend]


 

Aquarius

At the Key Food, with six dollars to spare, I’m desperately rifling through old bunches of kale in search of the most vibrant one. I’m starving and haven’t really eaten a full meal in two days. One of my hands suffers the inevitable cold mist while the other cradles a phone to my ear. My sweet friend is going through her first big breakup and this is the third evening in a row I’m trying my best to say something that might be of use.

We’re on opposite spectrums of radiance, my friend and I. My heart—a soft black stone with a bright red crack; hers—a brilliant clear prism refracting empathy and pain (which is also love). I want to tell her All true love must die, / Alter at the best / Into some lesser thing. / Prove that I lie. But one does not quote Yeats in the hopes of lifting a spirit. Not unless that spirit is the republican spirit of the Irish. Besides, I don’t believe those words completely. It’s just safer for my already ravaged heart if I live like I do.

Dear Aquarius, wherever you are tonight, no matter how little you can understand of what has pushed you to this precipice—this edge—you are powerful enough to face it. Your inner knowing—listen to it—it will get you home. Even if you have start again, even if that home doesn’t exist yet. What I come to, besides a less-than-choice wilted bunch of kale, is that knowledge will not do. Or, to quote yet another wizard (Kierkegaard): Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

 

Pisces

That is what I want of you—out of the sight  & sound of other people, to lie close to you & let the world rush by. To watch with you suns rising & moons rising in that purple edge outside most people’s vision—to hear high music that only birds can hear—oh, my dearest, dearest, would it not be wonderful, just once to be together again for a little while? / / (Just as I wrote those last words the muezzin began to cry his prayer from the little white minaret—he is still singing—) / / One is so silly, isn’t one?—Listening to him it seemed that he was calling us to worship—heaven knows what—something that we both hold dear.

Dear Pisces, I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but quote the whole of that text from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s (PISCES QUEER WITCH SUPREME) letters to Arthur Davison Ficke (SOME DUDE).

Today, as I lie in bed under my ever-flourishing asparagus fern (who I have just decided I will name Edna), I am thinking of you and your soft green heart. Green because I can feel it flourishing too, even if I am far from you. Even if you have never kept me close.

Oh I know these past few years have made a mess of you and, if you are honest, you might say that there have been times when it was you making the mess. Don’t bristle. We can all be toddlers sometimes when we enter a world that existed long before we arrived. Adjustment can be difficult—especially if it feels like you are the one making all the adjustments. Don’t believe that, Pisces. You must learn to be the kind of lover who balances devotion and independence both.

When the universe, when your work, when your family, your lover, made space for you—they had to carve a space out of their own lives. There will be times when you feel the enormity of that offering and there will be times when that space will limit you. Both of these emotions come from within you and are a beautiful challenge, a call to worship something you both hold dear no matter its difficulty.

 

Aries

Old patterns, no matter how negative and painful they may be, have an incredible magical power — because they do feel like home. – Gloria Steinem

The problem with being the kind of person who builds her home in someone else’s love is that it can be hard to look that home over for repairs. Especially if this has been the year when, time and time again, the labor you put into your partnerships eclipsed the work you still have to do on yourself.

Love, partnership, collaborative creative venture, these are fulcrum and catalyst to our personal journeys. Yes, we have soul mates and witnesses and lifelong accomplices but make no mistake—your journey is about no one else. Yes, there will be times when it feels like the fastest way toward your destination is to satisfy everyone else’s expectations of you, to perform a kind of work around the needs of others without ever really getting to yourself.

Aries, you can build your home in someone else’s heart but don’t confuse their heartache for the faults in your foundation. Learn to listen deeper for floor rot and roof drip, it’s not unfixable. Imagine yourself the carpenter of your home, which is to say, take care of yourself.

 

Taurus

Everyday, I climb a long staircase in a building devoted to artist studios. Halfway up, my eyes rest on a landing where the words “nobody loves no one” are written in thin letters on the wall. Of course this reminds me of you and that birthday not so long ago when you drove clear out of our tiny town to spend a few hours listening to Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game.

No, I wanna fall in love (this girl is only gonna break your heart) / With you. / The world was on fire and no one could save me but you. / It’s strange what desire will make foolish people do.

What I love about that song and what I love about you is the way contradiction lives so passionately in your spirit. Last week, I spent two mornings with you. During our first breakfast, you were overworked and over stretched, guzzling caffeine and my reassuring words. The next day, I was running late—frazzled by roadblocks and bad money. “Even if you’re late, just come,” you said. “It’s nice where I am. Peaceful. I’ll buy you breakfast.” And, it was peaceful: my Bloody Mary perfectly viscous, everyone laughing about how crazy everyone is as our eggs popped over our hash browns.

There will be people in your life, people who see the caregiver in you, who will take advantage of the part of you that gives too much. They don’t know, and you often forget, that it’s the vulnerable side of you—the side that aches to be held and cared for and adored—that holds your most enduring and sweetest magic. Now that you have learned to discern the intentions of others, you can better share your sweetest self with those who will nourish you.

 

Gemini

Last night I spent the evening with a three-year old girl, an air sign although not Gemini. We played all the usual games we play when I come to babysit: Play-doh cupcake factory, tickle monster, and my favorite “Where do these toys go? Why don’t you show me?” After a considerable amount of time clearing the floor while shimmy shamming, my young friend wanted to play a new game. The object of the game was fairly simple: She tucks me into a “bed” on the couch and I go to sleep. No I don’t get to put an arm over my eyes. Yes, I must hug this dusty stuffed sleep buddy. Her mama and abba kiss her before bed so yes here is my cheek. Then she leaves me. She leaves me on the couch and part of my job is to just lie there and wait. She’s gone for much longer than you’d expect, pressing little buttons around the apartment, arranging her construction sets. The object of the game (for her) began to clarify: to be in control of one’s solitude while maintaining connection.

Lying on the couch with the sun beating on my eyelids, I thought about how difficult it is to tend to our relationships without cultivating strength in our solitude. What I mean is, how hard it is to be fully present with someone else even if that someone is fully capable of seeing you and celebrating you for exactly who you are and what you have yet to actualize about yourself.

Let me just propose to you, for argument’s sake,
(I do, after all, wear perfume even when you’re away)
that my problem with Love is that it doesn’t signify
in anything but a series of contradictory analogies
that happen to turn me on.

We want our relationships to be beautiful sentences that go one forever by some invention of punctuation, to never feel run-on. But we fragment, we destabilize alone like dependent clauses. You are always an important part of the game and meaning exists, Gemini, when the sentence is not beautiful. The subject (that’s you) must lie down in the sun and wait to be beckoned, but the subject is active and valuable, is an expert at play.

 

Cancer

The word of the day on my computer is sovereignty and Leonard Cohen is singing “That’s No Way To Say Goodbye.” Why does heartbreak never feel old, no matter how many times you go through it? When I was bright-hearted and in love, I sang this song to my sweetheart on mornings when she was waking beside me. When we were far from each other, I sang it into her voicemail box so that she might hear it when she longed for me. Well you should know that our love was great since my singing never was and she still listened.

I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time,
Walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
You know my love goes with you as your love stays with me,
It’s just the way it changes, like the shoreline and the sea…

Relationships change us and in learning to build a world with someone (or someones) else, there are parts of ourselves that we tuck away—parts that don’t quite fit into the blueprint, that don’t fall in rhythm with the daily work that is a shared life. These parts learn to live in the shadows of the lovers’ psyche, to speak in low tones and walk softly.

It’s these shadow selves that rise smoky and thick in the throat when there is crisis, when the world you have built with the ones you love is no longer the one that fits your needs. Listen to these parts of you for they are sacred parts. They will teach you how to fight for your big love as your truest self. They will teach you how to fight for yourself.

 

Leo 

When I get to your apartment at 10 am so that I might welcome your incoming renters, the previous ones are still there. They’re a handsome couple, straight, a political critic and a composer. English isn’t their first language so they smile at me every couple of minutes. The two of them are late with their check out yet they move slowly, ambling in and out of the bathroom, murmuring in the bedroom, shuffling their bags closer to the door. The time crunch makes me anxious and I lie down on the couch, still half asleep myself. It’s early evening in Russia and I wonder what you’re doing there.

When the couple finally shuffles out into the living room, I climb the ladder to your lofted bed and begin the surprisingly difficult task of changing the sheets. The guy pokes his head in and remarks, “Eh this is hard!” Then he points to the instructions you left for them. Next to my number, the words best friend. “Good friend! Ha ha!” he exclaims. “Sure,” I reply, thinking about all the times the year when I needed you and there you were. The least I can do.

And that’s how it is when you ask for exactly what you need. No matter how difficult, or how early for a nightowl, the people you have taken care of will take care of you. This is more than reciprocity (although it is also that). This is about trusting that the love you give to those who are precious to you, the amount you extend yourself, it’s precious to us and it’s never wasted.

 

Virgo

Once, when I was breaking up with a lover, or a lover was breaking up with me, I flew across the country to haunt her. I housesat and couch-surfed and when I was selling poems or starving myself, I was reading Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson. That novel saved something in me, some bright light that was edging towards being doused, and when I was done I gifted it to the woman who left me.

About a decade later, I saw it at a friend’s house and decided to re-read it. I wanted to see how it would affect me now, what work it could do on my very different heart. It was a book that I remembered as difficult—linearly unwieldy, untrustworthy narrators, a constant shifting plot. That might still be so. It is also a book about beginning with loss. A book that takes an orphaned heart up into its arms and teaches it songs of survival.

The stories I want to tell you will light up part of my life and leave the rest in darkness. You don’t need to know everything. There is no everything. The stories themselves make the meaning. The continuous narrative is a lie. There is no continuous narrative, there are lit-up moments, and the rest is dark.

We tell our stories so that we might find the root, the reason why we came together and the reason why we failed. We think that we might use the past as a light to see, a little lamp as we dive deeper into big commitments, generative life endeavors and all the Big Things one learns to take on.

The past informs you as long as you keep returning to it—examining, turning over—and it is important that you do. This will ultimately gift you wisdom. That said, it is also important to honor this moment, as it is now, its own story with its own light and gorgeous revelations. This will grant you eyes with which to see in the dark.

 

Libra

Dear friend, If there were such a thing as saving someone–what I wouldn’t give to save you from your amorphous sadness. Whatever animal you keep at the spine-rock of your skeleton, sucking the song of your marrow dry. If I could coax it out like a wild thing from dark cover, give it sugar and sweet words. It loves a soft hand but not as much as the knife’s edge, I know.

13th street starlets
fan their lashes curbside, holler

Get it, honey

which I take to mean
quit sleeping easy

& shimmy down a backstreet
to slip off last year’s
sweetness & reserve

The wanting itself
suddenly enough.

*

But, there is no saving anyone else–no person or job or city or angel that will serve as an escape hatch from yourself. Perhaps one doesn’t save themselves anyway. Rather, make it your mission to consume every little bit of who you are–the parts you offer up and the parts you are ashamed of. Practice touching your body, your spirit, and your creative force without judgment. There is a future in that desire, a world you deny yourself that wants more than anything to have you.

*Alina Pleskova

 

Scorpio

I read this study a while back about how girls are done a disservice in their formative years. How they are praised for being talented or smart rather than acknowledged for the hard work and effort they put toward achieving their goals. For this reason, many girls grow up to be people who are afraid to go outside their comfort zone and develop a new skill lest they be found out: not smart, not talented enough. Instead, they limit their opportunities and their chances to thrive as deeply engaged and driven adults.

I don’t know when it began for you, dear Scorpio, that sinking feeling that maybe there are people in this world who never get to live up to their full potential and maybe you’re one of them. It’s easy to cite moments of trauma: loss of lovers, loss of family members, loss of self. It’s harder to look firmly at your life and consider that self-doubt was something ingrained into you. You must have been a powerful child, perceptive, quick to engage whatever text was set before you. Someone, or many someones, taught you to doubt that power in yourself, to imagine its source outside you rather than within you. Someone taught you that the world would either grant you favor or not and if you didn’t have it then—you sure as hell won’t have it now. But those people / institutions were wrong. You can earn the favor of the world simply by deciding you will work hard enough to deserve it.

 

Sagittarius

It’s just like we’re in Jane Austen novel, you say to me as we depart from the airport in our Lyft. I agree; my hands clasped tight with excitement in my lap. We take in the wide expanse of Los Angeles, the meaty thruways and old punks with loafers. Our rented room is four flights up the stairs and our guide gifts us a bottle of wine upon entry. Once he leaves us we try on each other’s various dresses and impractical shoes, trade jewelry and lipstick. We take relaxing potions and set the scene: our three nights devoted to social grace and intellectual hunger.

Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings / Mansfield Park /Austen (Sagittarius)

Despite our crisp petticoats and perfectly poured martinis, it’s the end of the night and the mornings with you that sustain me. Our play marriage entirely Bostonian, our bodies un-touching through the night, yet you dream that my dead father comes to you in a gesture of sweetness. When I arrive at the house gate at 3 am and a stranger approaches me, it is you rushing down the stairs exclaiming I know I should have put on pants but I mean to protect you! When, in the morning, you burst into tears over the busy nothings waiting for you at home—the work you do that goes unappreciated—I tell you I mean to take care of you. Beloved friend, I know you are good at pressing on. Tell me what ails you anyway, so that I can care for your heart while you walk your path toward self-empowerment.

 

Capricorn

There are certain kinds of knowledges that readers take for granted. We know, because Zora Neale Hurston told us so, that there are years that ask questions and years that answer. But, how does one live inside a year that asks questions, that just keeps asking relentlessly. The year touches your shoulder in the morning as you wake, the year tugs you toward the same breakfast you make everyday of your goddamn life, the year is with you filing your taxes and folding your clothes and goddamnit the year won’t shut up.

Were you made for the consumption of a world that does not sustain you? Were you made to serve any one person or revolution without first learning how to care for yourself? How can you care for yourself when yourself is splitting apart? Are you tough enough to live through this? When you live inside a year that asks questions, you are the one with the answers. The year that asks questions pushes you forward but it is not in charge. You are. You make the rules.

 

 

MARCH 2016 Galactic Rabbit Horoscopes

Dear March Hares,

I don’t know what it’s like where you are but here in Brooklyn I’m walking around with no coat on and tights as pants (forever and ever). It is glorious and I feel hopeful which is something I haven’t truly felt in a long time. I’ve been reading the first and earliest of Susan Sontag’s notebooks and thinking about what it might be like to feel hungry for knowledge all the time instead of hungry for money (which is just a True Fact about living without a net).

It took me a long time to write these letters for you and I’m sorry if you feel I’ve kept you waiting. In the olden days, a love letter might have simmered for weeks in the secret inner-skirt pocket of a mistress before finding its way into the hands of her desired recipient. And, perhaps we don’t live in the olden days but I will tell you that we might as well because yesterday afternoon, on Bedford Avenue, there were lots of ne’er do wells sipping absinthe and strange unnecessary inventions in the shop windows (an IPhone charging oak log?). Not one coffee shop took cards or had Wi-Fi. It was basically the France World Fair of 1889. I’m not making excuses, dear readers; I’m just taking my role in this elaborate scene, a writer en plenair.

Before you read the text ahead I just want to thank you for inspiring me, for trusting me, for all your generous loving notes and comments. One day, when I am an ancient crone, I will take out an old USB—a relic!—and plug it into some sort of magic converter that will project all your beautiful words across my ocean-floor apt. I will do this every night to remind myself that I did a little good in the world.

Clearly Feeling Silly & Free,
Galactic Rabbit

P.S. Thank you CLAIRE SKINNER for saying yes or no to everything.
P.P.S. Thank you Marina for making me get into downward dog.
P.P.P.S. Thank you to everyone who supports this writing all the time. Special thank you to my former boss Kim Menig because for some reason I get teary eyed about it.

If you want to support the writing of these horoscopes here is the PayPal. I love you!

 

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Aquarius

Dear animal, aren’t we both animals? Don’t you hunger like me? Don’t you feel trapped, don’t you spend your days imagining the many powers you were meant to cultivate if only… Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself—perhaps that’s not what animals do. Animals survive, they move by instinct and desire. Animals, it seems, are compelled by empathy—but they are not ruled by it. Animal compassion has no god.

But, you have a god, a god that holds justice in one hand and reason in the other. Dear animal, justice lowers her head in the face of love. Here is another Aquarian woman who wrote about love as a kind of freedom and freedom as a kind of drowning: Even as a child she had lived her own small life within herself. At a very early period she had apprehended instinctively the dual life – that outward existence which conforms, the inward life which questions.

                                                                                    Kate Chopin / The Awakening.

If love is an opening in the self—it is also destruction. The things we depend on obliterate us and build homes out of our ruins. When you listen to the god of reason, you move through this world, through relationships and cities, intact and unharmed. When you are an animal, the world breaks open from under you and everyday you serve your hunger. Both ways of living offer up a kind of freedom and survival, but only one of them will push you to thrive.

 

Pisces

I want to picture you walking along the Coney Island shoreline for hours, with the fog laid thick on the Parachute jump, and the ocean slapping the salt rocks. Dusk setting, the attraction lights rise up in the distance like new stars. Climbing into an empty lifeguard chair, you watch the sunset—a beautiful fluorescent gasp in the sky you suspect might be pollution. The moon is for you tonight and her abundance scares you just like the enormity of the night sky pressing up against the very breath of your body scares you.

The fear of this world swallowing you whole in its starry mouth is not dwarfed by its impossibility. All night you’ve been feeling the very real fact of your aloneness in the world, the way we are made and the way we die. It will do you no good to think of these things further.

When your lifeguards chair—your small oasis—rattles, it’s because a lone child climbs up the stripped metal rungs and finds you. She isn’t wearing a coat and she isn’t yours but, like you, she belongs to the ocean. This child is drawn to the strength in you, the very real sweetness that lives behind all your anxious gestures and moments of cruelty. She knows that it’s your turn to be the healer now. Tell her what beauty is, what living means. She is looking to you to teach her how to look fiercely back at the world and be the one who loves more.

 

Aries

How do I come into my own company—an ablution of the night’s stock film. The wall is a neutral board to echo off or to limit my veins and learn their urgency. I am seen when lost, void of language. When a formless whisper overtakes the airwaves. I am seen most exactly with open palms.

                                                                        Sara Renee Marshall / Multiplicity

I haven’t lived long in this room, the one I’m writing you from. Most of my walls are bare and there are only two plants—which is unlike me. When I think of beautiful rooms, I think of you: your blinking red lanterns and sky blue linen comforter. That one time you built a fairy arch around your tent, how you beckoned me to kneel down and notice the sweet little accents of collected moss. Recently I found a card you gave me and considered framing it. I am happy enough with my life for now, you wrote. The people who surround me give me love & hope. I’m just suffering a little bit with myself.

Today, I am thinking about that suffering, your bright young heart buoyed by love in the river of your uncertainty. These months have been a kind of mixed blessing—you worked so hard and then—doors opening with possibilities, but somehow just out of reach or not quite soon enough. You generated what you could, you kept the fire in the hearth and made good on most promises. And the days and your nerves and your body wore on.

What might you need to do to fill the beautiful room where you keep your bright hope? From now on, imagine yourself as deserving abundance. Who would you get to be if you let yourself have more than just enough?

 

Taurus

Towards the end of last year, I went to see a friend’s work in a group show. Despite my interest, I became overwhelmed by the overcrowded space and left within fifteen minutes of arriving. But, not before grabbing one of the show’s few offerings: a lone poem with no mention of author that sprawled generously around its small page.

Pay close attention // and   a long, slight     neck. // An elegant // refusal // may be // all you get. // I don’t think // I was a little boy // or // a little girl, // I was just terrified. // that can’t be right.*

I brought this poem to my girlfriend, whose childhood I imagined near those last lines. I took it to Pittsburgh; I carried this poem around the Cathedral of Learning. A week ago, I spent an evening with a poet who is Pittsburgh MFA bound and delighted in the easiness of his company. Tonight, re-reading the small found poem, I realized it must be his.

What I’m trying to tell you, reader, is that the world is stitching your thread across more lives than you can imagine. I know you drag the loss of friendships (and the dreams intimacies engendered) like drowned boats behind you—if bodies were oceans, if oceans were archives. But you are meant for great things, Taurus. Because of the nature of your heart, its steadfast coming, the world rushes to meet you where you stand.

                                                                                                           *Grey Vild

Gemini

Your face was an instant relief despite the fact that I was not aware of my own suffering. I wanted to keep your attention, keep you near. I jazz-handed my way through the hors d’oeuvres table, talking up the chips and goat cheese cups, and you played along. It’s as if we were right back where we started, years ago at an artists’ retreat. And this is where memory gets murky; where I can’t remember any one specific moment that felt deeply ours, where I can’t quite find the root of the affection. Yet it’s obvious, flexible, and untethered from time.

Gemini, as this world shrugs off winter’s last cold front, I can feel you aching to do the same. If you think the weight of these last few years—the missteps and setbacks have squandered your radiance, you’re wrong.

There is no one who is near to you who does not love your light—even if you keep most of it to yourself these days, even if you are afraid to be seen lest you are seen the wrong way. It’s getting warm and so sweet outside, I open my windows and my block is loud with neighbors chatting and sunning on their stoops. My record spins and the music mixes with the street sounds. This afternoon, I am one of them and I’m thinking of you. Open yourself to the affections of others by asking them in, making concrete plans and do your best not to break them. You don’t have to wait until you’re “at your best” to receive the support you need. Your heart is at its best all of the time.

 

Cancer

Dear sweet friend, I try my best to make sure that the artists I reference in each love letter I write are matched to the sign I write them for but, this month, I am compelled to move away from tradition. Today, I am remembering the many different ways we have tried to be strong for one another and how, when it came to heartache, you were the one tending to mine. I’m not sure how to tend to your heart, which is obvious and guarded all at once (crab life), so instead I’ve put on a song that reminds me of you.

I’m sorry that I left you with your questions all alone / But I was too happy driving and too angry to drive home / I was thinking about the easy courage of my distant friends / They said, I could let this bridge wash out and never make amends.

                                                                                    Dar Williams / Spring Street

Because it is Spring, because once we thought we could change the world with our big brains and at night, after all our thinking was done, we’d blast these songs on full volume and shake the whole house.

But I’ll push myself up through the dirt and shake my petals free / I’m resolved to being born and so resigned to bravery

Because outside of our house, there was a large still lake and a tree full of crows, because any pain we felt in those years is a small pain now. If you are hurting today, Cancer, what I want you to remember about disappointment and injury is that they are strongest in the places where they occur. Wounds are tethered to their origins but you are not. You can be strong anywhere.

 

Leo

I’m in downward dog and you’re on the speakerphone. “I should get you a Bluetooth like mine,” you complain because my head is hanging between my arms and you can’t quite hear me. “I’ll never use it,” I reply, mostly in truth and mostly because I don’t want you to spend what little money you have on me. “You’re right,” you agree, “first I’ve got to get you some new curtain rods.” You hate my curtain rods and maybe I hate my curtain rods but they’re not top priority so instead I ask, “If you had a big bowl of fruit right now, I’m talking the best of the best—perfectly ripe and good—what fruit would be in it?” We discuss the last time we had nectarines, the undervalued luxury of the perfect apricot.

This is something like that scene in Hook when Robin Williams as Peter Pan leads the Lost Boys in an imaginary feast which soon transcends their imaginations and sustains them.

If I was a rich girl… I would probably sell out just like Gwen Stefani did…and I would buy you so many things. But, since I’m not, since you’re not, our innovation and work ethic will have to do for now. In that vein, it might do to remind yourself that, contrary to some collective beliefs, money might not buy you happiness but it can grant you opportunities. For that reason, the line between pride and integrity is not well defined. It’s our job to re-draw our vision of it each time.

  

Virgo

When I first moved in with you, I had no idea how we would get along. Walking into your small nook of a bedroom, I found fuzzy green-framed corkboards, Disney posters, and curtain to rug hot pink accents. You played a lot of Dave Matthews Band, an affliction affecting 75% of the college-going residents of upstate NY, which I found ultimately confounding. Despite those factors, or precisely because of them, I fell into enduring and admiring friend love with you.

Who else would collect money to build water wells in Darfur using posters doused in glitter? Who else would wake me every morning and roll my body to the gym? Who else would teach me the true pleasure of an Eggo, PB, and Fluff sandwich?

In loving each other we pushed each other to become the biggest baddest version of ourselves. You taught me that it was OK to believe in the impossible goal of making the world a better place. And I helped you discover The Goddess, which I think is a pretty substantial contribution.

When we were young it was easy to become new, to abandon the preconceived selves that we carried. Now it seems like the harder we try to take chances, the more difficult it becomes. Perhaps what we need to remember is that evolution felt most natural to who we were when we loved something more than we ever expected and were not afraid.

 

Libra

When I was young I did not understand that I was serious. Now I understand and can only vaguely do anything with that information except point back at what I made and say, See? I’m such a libra. Libra bodies are co-dependent.

                                                            Hannah Ensor / Ms. Dryer and the Good Man

Today I’m thinking about what it means to put in the work. In the past few months I’ve constructed some kind of new career for myself in which I visit the homes of successful female artists and help them with their unwanted tasks. Sometimes these tasks are ones I’d find pleasurable without payment, organizing the quirky wardrobe of a Scorpio welder, tuning the receptivity of LED lights for an Aries painter who speaks Electricity. Sometimes they teach me a great deal, like the fact that I can send out one grant application per day for someone else but can’t manage to write one single cover letter for myself without contemplating faking my own death.

It’s easier, of course, to put in the work for someone else. Putting in the work for yourself can often feel like a last ditch effort toward survival. Clearly, this kind of relationship to self-fulfillment isn’t a very good one and it’s not easy to change. To change direction, to put in the work for one self, one might have to trust that their life and ideas matter. There are many factors in this world that can make that seem impossible but trust me when I tell you this: those factors are just evil apparitions that don’t belong in your beautiful (one, precious) life.

 

Scorpio

Last night, strolling the streets on what felt like an unseasonably warm night, my lover and I were beckoned into a bar with its barn doors wide open. Inside, the young hip artists of Bushwick gazed over their IPAs at a Democratic debate on UNIVISION. The screen turned to a Guatemalan immigrant named Lucia, whose five children were seated nearby. She explained that her husband had been deported some years ago. “I have a great pain,” she told the two candidates on stage.

When Bernie (Virgo) responded, he was quick to underline his role as her most trusty champion. “I absolutely support that,” he began, “At the heart of my immigration policy…the most progressive and strongest of any candidate…” Despite this impersonal approach, Bernie was quick to guarantee results—his vision of the future as mutable as his sign.

Hillary (Scorpio), on the other hand, began by saying, “Please know how brave I think you are, coming here with your children to tell your story. This is an incredible act of courage that I’m not sure many people understand.” If the rest of that response hadn’t devolved into roundabout talking and indirect promises—she could have won Lucia’s heart and her vote. Unfortunately, it’s very hard for Hillary to make big promises she can’t keep because Scorpios hate lying and only do so when pressed. This trying not to lie and then surrendering for the sake of image is obvious in most of her responses.

In that moment, I understood something about Hillary and something about Scorpios who have always felt at the edge of being great. When we treat the world as if it is as fixed we are—when we speak of the world as if it is unchangeable, we perpetuate spiritual weakness. When we listen, when we lay aside our bitterness at not being seen and our need to prove ourselves to others—it is then that our strength and kindness is most visible. It is then that we get the love that we have been trying to prove we deserve.

 

Sagittarius 

It’s easy with us, you say as you steer your Jeep off the thruway and into the backstreets of Williamsburg. Our date was short but fabulous: female drummers stationed throughout Brooklyn Museums’ many exhibits, telling a story of solitude and collective strength with their rhythms. I agree it’s easy, the way I can slip my arm through yours or not, the way you look where I am looking and remark, “Eye-candy” without a hint of jealousy. We’re both tired already after a day toiling away at our jobs and proud that we’ve stayed out this late. We can get a drink or I can drive you home, you offer and there is no weight in either option.

This sort of erotic friendship is a treasure and we have earned it. In the car we talk about your instinct to pull back when pursued—even if you are interested, even if the other person “makes sense”—and I am not surprised. I remember when you pulled back with me, I remember the way every Sagittarian I’ve loved pulled back first so that they might glimpse at the bigger picture.

Dear Archer, there will be years when life demands you jump in headfirst, years when the bull will find you and well… the horn etc. This is not one of those years. Trust your instinct, your steady meditation between want and resistance. The journey you are on now will create a major shift in your life. Choose the path with your full heart this time, don’t let the path choose you.

 

Capricorn

Last night over what felt like (and was) an absurd amount of meat and a pitcher of Sangria, we played my favorite game, the one where old friends recount their own versions of a shared history. Who was the one ostracized? Who was left the most unscathed? “Oh that boy, he hated me because I wouldn’t fuck him,” I said. “Remember when you made him hold his sweater up as a partition on the train while the two of us made out” you interjected, “so that he’d really get the point?” Of course I didn’t remember. Of course my memory clung so tightly to my own suffering, it forgot about cruelty.

Morality informs experience, not the reverse. I am my history, yet in my moral desire to understand my past, to be fully self-conscious I become precisely what my history demonstrates that I am not—free.

                                                                        Susan Sontag in her diary, 26 years old.

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom lately, not so much as an idea but, rather, as a practice. At a women & non-binary writers’ retreat hosted by the inimitable Rachel McKibbens (cap-witch), Airea D Matthews (Virgo/libra Empress) stood tall before a yard of human stars and commanded us to “Bitch, Get Free!” Tattoos followed and they were bitchin’ but we all know getting free is easier tattooed than done. Getting free, it seems, is a daily exercise in mindfully surrendering the stories we carry about who we are and what we deserve in favor of the unknown possibility. In order for a goat to move on from injury and into her strength, she must let go of her injured-memory.

February Lunar Love Notes!

Dear February Rabbits,

 

Because I am Russian/Ukrainian and grew up in Little Odessa By The Sea, Brighton Beach, I have looked forward to the Lunar New Year for as long as I can remember. Starting January first (inaccurate, I know), old men with furred hats would roll out their carts full of that year’s animal from the Chinese Zodiac. Aunts and in-laws would arrive at our apartment with tiny charms to dangle from our wrists or cellphones. There was magic in those small charms and a ritual power I grew up belieiving in. Some winters ago, under a full moon, my mother told me that her older sister Anya would raise her fat beaded purse to the full moon and waggle it chanting “Goddess do you hear me? Goddess give me money!” That is why this weekend I bought two gold coins molded with monkey images, one for me and one for a friend. For money. For luck. For welcoming whatever comes next with red hot energy.

Welcome the Aquarian New Moon, lovers, and the year of the Red Fire Monkey. The year when all the work we’ve done, all the drudgery and mud slapping, gives way to clarity and swift rewards. The year that each tiny revolution in our spirit will bring forth magnificent consequences.

 

All Charms Come To You,

Galactic Rabbit

 

P.S. THANKS CLAIRE SKINNER! Again always forever.

P.S. Thank you all readers for your love notes and support and yes I screenshot each one and save it and look at it when I’m sad.

P.P.S. If you’d like to contribute to the making of these horoscopes and my Red Monkey Year, here is a little link: PayPal!


 

 

 

Aquarius

In her essay “Other Balms, Other Gileads,” about being positive, and queer, and poor, and fucking run down, Bryn Kelly writes: Does the soul, which has been degraded by poverty, by neglect, by racism, by homophobia, the soul that has always been told it has nothing to live for, now, somehow, have the promise of tomorrow? Of hope and everlasting life?

Yeah, right. Gimme a break. She wasn’t born yesterday. But she has to admit; it all has a certain resonance.

This summer, in order to take regular breaks from a bad living situation, I frequently slept over at my friend’s apt. Every morning, she would leave early for work and I would descend the bunk bed (that she built herself) slowly, carefully. At ground level, I’d come face to face with a light box, an index card tucked in its corner. On the card, written in rainbow pencil, was my old mailing address and the sentence When you lift someone’s load, you don’t allow them to expand. These two notes seemed purposely paired together—where I’m coming from and where I’m going. I wondered if sleeping at her place, if finding relief instead of solving the issue—was my fear of expansion.

My avoidance, my lack of trust in my own ability to thrive, I inherited them from my mother, from poverty, from a country that never wanted girls like me to succeed. With depression, suffering is a speculative genre, wherein we all attempt to catalogue the heaviest weight so that we might shrug it off. It’s harder to chart the loss we endure from years spent under a rock, expanding. The people we forget we have every right to be. Still, I think it only fair that you try your best, Aquarius, to find out just how much this past year of endurance has taught you. Test your limit. You’ve made it this far so why not go farther?

 

Pisces

You call me and night fills up with the crackle of your laughter. Every person that has done you wrong, every bad turn, you roll them like olives on your tongue and suck the pit right out. In a story we tell ourselves when we are afraid to grow: we are always the ones hurt, we are always the ones abandoned, we are always the ones who lose. Stories, like prayers, are more powerful the more we believe in them.

When you say—I am the one love falls from—you open your hands and let go. You compromise your heart in order to protect it and then you are the one love falls from. But what if I told you that you are not that one? What if, all along, the world has been asking you to hold on a little harder?

Pretend memory is not a

hangover. Find a cure. Viola Davis my way

through a room with no wig. Call you bigot

to your face. Keep my hunger for pushing

my fingers against the wall of a lover’s writhing.

I’m feeling myself on the dance floor,

in the bedroom of my witching hour. 

What if the story of your life was not about suffering for the sake of benediction? Imagine a world wherein you have always been strong enough to forgive whatever harms you. It can be hard to finally feel strong but, Pisces, you are different then you once were—kinder at the core and luminescent. I wish you could see with clear eyes the many ways you were cared for—each of us your mother as if we knew how to be mothers.

 

Aries

How strange this silent longing for death,/ as if you could make the sun not come up,/
the world’s wheeling and wheeling its seasons/ like a cruel continuation of stubborn force.

I just took a break from writing horoscopes to make my very first ever batch of Rice Krispies treats. Melting the butter slowly in the pan and cutting the big puffs into smaller puffs, I thought about time—how it slips away from us or how we try desperately to get ahead of it. It was a funny thing to do—cut marshmallows into quarters—they stuck to each other and to me. Still, I kept doing it, one after the other. Days are like this too; we cut the whole into halves and smaller, smaller, trying to make something easier, to separate the ingredients of ourselves from ourselves.

Bear with me while I make a sudden turn. The crispy mess that might be a sweet tooth’s heaven is cooling in the refrigerator and I’m trying to tell you that the time you put in doing “the work,” no matter how tedious or seemingly unnecessary, it was not for nothing. Each gesture toward self-care: the exercise regimens, the therapist appointments, that time when you chose a little sanity over a little money.

But that’s not how it happens. Instead, light / escapes from the heart’s room and for a moment / you believe the clock will stop itself. Absence. / You see: light escapes from a body at night / and in the morning, despite the oppressive vacancy / of her leaving’s shadow, light comes up / over the mountains and it is and it is and it is.

It matters, the small things we do for each other and ourselves so that life can be a little brighter—a little more bearable.

 

Taurus

“Writing is not the body. Neither is the house. The body is the body.”- Claire Skinner

I have a secret dream where you come back to me. My face is covered in mascara and you clean it off slowly with wet fingertips because this is a gesture of love we both understand. It doesn’t matter who I was crying for because you are the answer. You, and your beautiful hands I have always loved for their elegant power to tend or to quietly refuse. In the dream, we ride down big avenues on a bicycle. The basket is alive with blooming and the wind is your hair. We never go anywhere; we never grow up into women. We ride and rest, our hips spreading into the earth and over each other.

In a series of poems about altars, or bodies, or the living space made sacred, Kristen Nelson writes: Akilah, what are the limits of the body? The first time she asked me, I said: The body is limited by our own expectations. The last time she asked me, I said: the body is limited by who we allow to love us.

You have tended to your home, Taurus. You have tended to the roots—the elders and the ancestors. You have been meticulous, picking your poisons with careful intent and your body wants to love you back, wants to feel like it too is a sacred altar in which you live.

In my dreams, each gesture of love is a candle I light for your pleasure. In this world, I hope the light in you burns bright into the night and beckons. Let healers come, let lovers come.

 

Gemini

A few weeks ago I agreed to join a small coven. What I mean is: a group consisting of my lover’s wife and one of her closest friends and me. Because women in proximity are always each other’s teachers, the three of us chatted naturally on Facebook about what we might bring to the table. One asked about building psychic barriers and the other wants to practice empowering each other. These are the two skills that make friendship powerful and witchcraft even more so. I don’t yet know what I need to learn so I’ve begun reading Starhawk’s Dreaming the Dark.

“When we devote our best energies to what we most cherish, when we refuse to let our energies be diverted to further destruction or to serve other people’s end, we tap into the power that creates the everyday miracles of birth, growth, and change, touch the fires that have not cooled since the beginning of the world, shift the very plates we stand on so that new continents can form.”

Starhawk is a Gemini and I’m convinced all famous witches are Gemini (cough Stevie cough), which means I’m convinced that you, dear reader, are meant to be famous or at least very very bright in the constellation of things. So bright that when you approach the wrong girl in the wrong bar, you somehow get half a sandwich out of it. So bright that even if you are sick right now, even if you can barely leave your apartment, there is a party outside time where people are dancing beneath the image of your glowing face.

If you were to be in my coven (if you are in my coven) then everything you bring to the table, when you have the energy and even when you don’t, is something of great value.

 

Cancer

In The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson writes: The pleasure of abiding. The pleasure of insistence, of persistence. The pleasure of obligation, the pleasure of dependency. The pleasures of ordinary devotion.

I think we were taught that love comes into our lives to hold us and I won’t tell you that’s a lie. Rather, I want to propose that learning how to love is the journey we’re after. And I mean it in the biggest way one can imagine. Learning to love our families even when they can’t love us in the ways we need, learning to love our partners without judging them for the ways they haven’t yet learned to love themselves. And, above all, learning to love ourselves enough to demand more when what surrounds us is not enough to sustain us.

The pleasure of recognizing that one may have to undergo the same realizations, write the same notes in the margin, return to the same themes in one’s work, relearn the same emotional truths, write the same book over and over again—not because one is stupid or obstinate or incapable of change, but because such revisitations constitute a life.

This is a journey that will bring you to your knees with regret—and with pleasure. We create the path we roll down and we never stop rolling so it’s important, Cancer, that you remember the part you play in our own undoing. It’s important that you say out loud what make you feel good, what harms you, and when you are sorry.

 

Leo 

Remember when you were my professor and I’d watch your dogs, DVR The L word, and read your how-to books on fisting while you were out of town. I’d walk around your apartment and think about how much care you put into each rug and note of color. Your refrigerator plastered with photographs of a young dyke and lithe gay men—Fire Island probably. I was looking for a photo of the woman who broke your heart, the one who let you get away to that sleepy college town we were both in.

I am astounded / by the various kisses we’re capable of. / Each from different heights / diminished, which is simply the  law. /And the big bruise / from the longer fall / looked perfectly white / in a few years / That astounded me most of all. *

I was thinking of that woman when I called you from San Francisco years later. The sun was pounding over my head and I cast a long shadow demanding you tell me whether or not I would be heart broken forever (what I meant was what I thought I knew about your heart). You laughed at me and told me to go dancing.

But I didn’t go dancing, I was heartbroken for months, I kept crying in all the wrong places and still, I know I carried your conviction with me. Not that time heals all wounds, as they say. Rather, that wounds are just wounds—we can cry about them or not and no one is made the more honorable for doing so.

* “Each from Different Heights” Stephen Dunn

 

Virgo

One winter, long before we ever broke each other’s hearts, we walked along a Finger Lake quietly knowing each other. I lived in a town under so many stars and you were the best one that ever came to me. The wind was wet and alive against us so we climbed into the back of your card where the seats were gone and it was like we’d kidnapped ourselves. No. Something less menacing, a glitch in location in order to pause time.

I don’t remember why you were crying—or maybe you weren’t crying—maybe I was just beginning to understand the shape of your face in a moment of anguish. You told me you wanted to write stories. I asked you why you weren’t writing stories. I don’t think I ever got an answer.

Removing the notion of forever (-f) allows, ironically, for forever to emerge: The sky is, in this sense, as deep and wide as it is deep and wide. To understand this: Imagine blood vessels, say, broken in an old lover’s eyes

I hope that wherever you are now, you are making exactly what you love. I hope you are surrounded by people who value you, people who can read the pleasure and pain in your face without a moment’s hesitation, who feed you when you are hungry. Old love, if that is not the case than let me remind you, stress is a symptom not a root. Don’t confuse anxiety and fear for personal failure and don’t define yourself based on anyone else’s dreams but your own.

 

Libra

You said that there was a time when we could have been more than friends—that winter years ago when you drove hours out from the city and towards my sleepy town cloaked in blizzard. You brought me three mix cds I couldn’t listen to; at night we curled around each other and slept. You whispered, “this is nice” and I said, “this is something we can do.” I felt relief—yours, mine. I said there was a time when we could have been more than friends—that summer years ago when we pounded Four Loko on a dark stoop and took off our shirts dancing at Outpost. Phone numbers rained from our pockets and we crawled on the dance floor toward music (each other).

I’m incredibly powerful in my ignorance. I’m incredible, like some kind of fuzzy star.
The nonsense of me is the nonsense of death, and
Oh look! Light through the trees on the lake:

the lake has the kind of calmness
my pupils’ surface believes…and this is just the thing
that the boxed land of shades at the end of the remote
doesn’t program for: the lake is so kind to me, Amy,
and I’ll be so kind to you, Amy, and so we’ll never die:

there’ll be plenty of us around to
keep casting our inquiry
against the crisp light. Light is all like,
what’s up, I’m here I’m an angel! & we’re
all: no you’re not, that doesn’t exist. We all laugh and laugh…

Or cry and cry.

I don’t know what more than friends is. I love you in that queer way of two intimate bodies hurtling in a shabby car towards nothing in particular. Two stars hanging precariously over the same ocean of lovers. All these years, tenderness without knowledge, the both of us dancing to seduce no one in particular. Old friend, I never knew you. Tonight I want to know who did. Whose hand have you let reach deeper than the first sadness and into well of you? Old friend, love pours like water around your mouth. In order to drink, you must open.

 

Scorpio

Because there is a wound in the universe, a wound appears in us. Yes, all stars in relation, all pain—a belt of pain. Scorpio, you are the one who prays to stop feeling so much so much—and it’s private, the praying. A wound is tight inside your chest; a stone that glistens when wet, appears soft. Before, when it was easy to be cruel and you were interested in the easy way, you’d ask your lovers to heal that wound in you. Now nothing is ever the easy way so you sooth yourself.

I’m awake / no one is here–no one is ever here / the affect is very no the / affect permeates me deeply. thats why Im a rock Never use the word ‘is’ / the therapys to move the rock, render the affect flexible Why bother Nothing / wrong with rock, sings a rock You are not stone not stone soul, sings another thing / Yes I am Dont cry youre not allowed to. I will cry stone / I’d rather be stone than their imbecile. *

Solitude is powerful but there are other ways to feel strong. There are nights when a body can be with another body—a beloved—and each hour will lie down upon the hour before fingertip to fingertip. Whatever joy there is left on Earth (in the wake of intimate loss, of haunting loss, of violent public spectacle) it hums between them. Keep listening for that hum, Scorpio. There will be months when music is the only thing that stays with you—so gather it up inside your bones with listening and be grateful.

                                                                                                   * “Love” from Benediction by Alice Notley.

 

Sagittarius

There are days when I live in another universe where you are very much near me. We go to that place we like and order the same big vegan salad, extra dressing, extra pico, extra big smile in the hopes that something gets tossed in for free. We order gin too but later. Or maybe you get gin and I get whiskey but the important thing is we’re going to write all evening and take up lots of counter space. We’ll swap work and praise each other’s very brave hearts.

But, in this universe, you are far from me. In an email to you, I write: Have you noticed that when you sleep, nothing makes you sad and nothing hurts? Yes, you write back. My inbox is full messages with your name and the word Yes.

Such a hurricane/ Such a hurt and pain/ Trapped in my soul and I can’t explain.

So many nights I have called you with burning anger, you are the only one I seem to trust with mine. I read you an offending correspondence and you gasp with indignation. You teach me to be gracious in response, to never give away my power. In the business of being a better friend, I kindly request you show me where you keep your anger. Let me hold the ruby jewel of it to the light and give you clarity. And, when that anger pains you, let me praise your sharp mind, perceptive graces.

 

Capricorn

A long time ago, a psychic told me that I use a lot of reserve energy. I had never heard the term before but the moment he uttered it, I understood it perfectly. I understood that, for years, I’d been running on energy I didn’t have to spare—energy that I wasn’t generating for use. Instead, I was tapping into the core resources of my spirit, shifting from depressive lows to survival mode just to catch the bus or finish a project.

A goat moves up a mountain and toward a cooler altitude, looking for water. She is a marvel of gravity, a vertical dancer, hooved acrobat. She knows in her bones when a storm is coming, when it’s safest to nestle in the crag’s natural shelters. She knows when climbing toward what she needs might cost her more than she’s got to give.

Because our bodies teach us new things every day, because we were not made to work flawlessly forever into old age, and because caring for yourself can often feel like a luxury many of us can’t afford, you are no stranger to running on reserve energy. I understand. Capricorn, this month, I want you to imagine a place inside yourself where you keep your strength—emotional—physical—spiritual. Imagine it is a beautiful box. Mind how often you must open it, how often you replenish what you take.

 


 

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