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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SEPTEMBER HOROSCOPES

Dear Autumnal Rabbits,

It’s hard to say goodbye to summer, to days when lying still under the hot sun can count as an activity. It’s hard to find time for ourselves, for stillness, for thinking about each and every little part of our bodies so that we might send it love. I love you fingertip, I love you tiny toe. It’s harder still, to cater to such small concerns when faced with the enormity of this world and it’s failure to care for the people in it.

Someone has, once again, reposted the photo of a Syrian child washed up dead on the shore. An interview with his father reveals a second son and a wife lost to the ocean. You look. You repeat their names in your mind, under your breath. You think about the bodies; were these bodies that you could have loved? I love you fingertip, I love you tiny toe. You can’t bear any more looking.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in the Jewish calendar, is September 23. Forty-two years ago, Syria and Israel were at war. Now Israel has the chance to practice forgiveness. This month, when I light a candle for my dead, I will count a country of strangers among them. I will remember every time I have not been brave enough to forgive, not compassionate enough to be generous in the face of scarcity.

A tiny drop in an ocean of nations, I will vow to be better. What if you joined me?

xo G

P.S. Thank you, Claire Skinner, for all your help. <3
P.P.S. If you’d like to donate to the making of these horoscopes, there’s a PayPal link located on the sidebar of the site. I appreciate you and adore you.

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Aquarius

Here we are on earth, you wrote, terra / my name / your name / all that cannot.

I am thinking about all that cannot today. About what it means to live on this planet with it’s endless war and factory line. It’s 40% off at the Banana Republic. I am thinking about what it means to be complicit in our own suffering and how that suffering rises to a pitch so high only bats can hear it.

This month, Germany opened its arms and took in thousands upon thousands of Syrian refugees. A big move for a small country but Germany, for reasons mostly rooted in historical ignorance, has taken on almost the entirety of blame for the Holocaust. While I cannot speak to the inner working of national leaders, I dare say that in doing so Germany has shifted its image in the world.

There are many ways to change, Aquarius, many ways to shift how the world sees you. How do you suffer? What ghosts and worldly wounds have you taken on as your own? To become lighter, you can’t be afraid to give more of yourself.

 

Pisces

In the beginning of this month, under the full Pisces moon, I gathered with a few sweet friends by the beach. What I love about the night ocean, what I look for in most things I love, is the moment when darkness is a lens that unifies what lies separate. What I mean is the sky and the moon and the water, all one. What I mean is you, Pisces, and the moon you are: wound, healer, and the keeper of precious things.

The water crests and crashes over itself, slapping the rocks and sucking at the shore. The lunar light is brilliant and white like a hole in the universe.

What is made there, what is birthed and destroyed beneath the water’s cloak, is what lives in us. Feminine divine. Uncountable stories. In some parallel universe, you know them all by heart. In this one, they come to you, in dreams and in heartbreak. In the sparkling night, we’d come to honor your power, to charge our crystals and stones beneath you. I held a rock quartz to my third eye and felt an immense clarity, an opening that vibrated deep into my bones. I knew this was your gift and I felt you with me. You have come so far; you’re stronger than you’ve ever been.

 

Aries

“Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Aries, when I remembered The Velveteen Rabbit—written by a Cancer, I thought of you. I thought of you because the Lunar Eclipse will fall in Aries (Decan 1) this late September, and because Cancer is the star in the sky that understands your drive and devotion more than most. I thought of your young heart and how the world betrays it.

I want to tell you about how much I loved The Velveteen Rabbit as a child new to this country, how it made me feel optimistic about being accepted and loved. I desperately wanted to become “real,” whatever that was. I wish someone could have told me that we are always real. That there is no amount of love or ruining that can deem us worthy of each other. As far as reality goes, we can be wild rabbits in a field or stuffed horses with missing parts. It doesn’t matter. We are in this book, this room, together. We are for each other, beautiful and real, even in our separateness.

 

Taurus

Once my friend L called me out of nowhere. We hadn’t spoken in what felt like years. GALI! She exclaimed over the phone, I have some questions for you. L had just begun a graduate program in mathematics. She was one of the few women admitted and the isolation of her experience had catapulted her into re-thinking her identification with feminism. What L wanted to know was: could she be a feminist and still prepare dinner for her husband?

Such an absurd question came out of her desire to make things black and white, this or that. It didn’t matter that the question was absurd, or that she left her husband shortly after our phone call, moved across the country and began to date women exclusively.

What mattered (then and still) is the way life has a way of teaching you over and over that if you are stuck in a quandary (career path, relationship, friendship, etc.) and looking for an easy answer—you are probably searching for the way out. Which is, in many ways, the easiest answer of them all.

 

Gemini

I have known two kinds of Gemini, the kind whose every love was their Big Great Love, and the kind who wandered from lover to lover indifferently casting their affections. Even as I write this I know that each of these Gemini was one half of the other. Still, I remember my friend J, whose journal spilled out with crosshatch sketches of every boy she kissed. And, I remember S, who never talked about desire, who to this day rises up in photographs alone and beautiful on tropical beaches.

When the moon sails out / the waters cover the earth / and the heart feels it is / a little island in the infinite*

Today, I am thinking of this Gemini dichotomy, the great lover in you and the butterfly flitting from flower to flower. I want to ask each of those twins how they thrive. How do you, Gemini, make space for the one who wants in you? The one who is curious about everything in the world? Where do you rest, winged one, when all the flowers fall asleep? This month, imagine the little island in the infinite that is your heart, let it be home to both Gemini in you.

*Federico Garcia Lorca

 

Cancer

On car rides to Mount St. Helens, over Dar Williams cds, we would hash out the meaning of feminine and masculine, human and animal, Christians and Pagans, non-violence and self-defense. We would talk over one another, interrupt, reach for answers where there were clearly none to be found. We didn’t care. If my girlfriend was in the car with us, she would come to me later and say, “All you two do is fight. Doesn’t it exhaust you?” No, I would tell her, quite the opposite. Our arguing invigorated us, made us respect each other, made us close.

It also made us sensitive to one another. Perhaps that’s why when my girlfriend and I broke up, you were the first person I thought of. I needed your expansive mind, your strong logic to guide me toward every truth I had forgotten about myself.

My sweet friend, my partner in feminist praxis, who is asking you the tough questions now that we live so far apart? The ruby of your great mind is in full effect, do you feel as if you’ve honored its capacity? Don’t be afraid to go it alone, Cancer, to figure it out for yourself. Be brave. The people who love you cast a wide net and they’ll be there to catch you if you fall. But, dear heart, I know that you won’t.

 

Leo

On your back on a rooftop in Brooklyn, under a night sky that is not without stars, you can feel the world pulse on. Cars honk and skyscrapers blink. There is the faint sound of music. You pulse too but it’s a soft pulse. A sad song, I hear it, have heard it for months. What balm could you rub on that strong chest of yours? What more can you do than what you’ve done? For years you’ve built a damn around your heart but life rivers through, erodes the land. That’s the nature of rivers. Your heart aches but it won’t break. Hearts are unfathomable in their fortitude. No matter their weight, their darkness, their hard jacket with the collar turned up, they go on.

You have been dead a long season / And have less than desire / Who were lover with lover; / And I have life—that old reason / To wait for what comes, / To leave what is over. * 

Life—that old reason. It’s not shallow, not a small feat, to look at the person you’ve become and take her hand. I want to give you something powerful: a crown of black onyx and rose quartz, a tea to soothe your beautiful lion heart. I wish that it were possible to know just the right thing, but there is no right thing. Do whatever you need to do to live in this world, to leave what is over and begin again.

*Louise Bogan

 

Virgo

The Solar eclipse and the sun in your eyes, dear Virgo, may the Earth be good to you. May you eat the seeds of this world, and the next, and not be held responsible for your hunger. Let yourself know desire, let your shame become the ripe fig you tongue at the edge of your longing.

This is your beautiful everything, your thick elastic flesh molded from the shapes of ancestors, survivors, lovers who dug their nails in deep and refused to let go. Or, was it you who held on too long? It doesn’t matter…

Dear Virgo, may this month be the month of clear sight, a chance to see yourself as you have been and as you are now without regret. If there is a world out there you have held yourself back from, consider yourself welcome to it. If you have convinced yourself that love must prove itself to you before you can know what it is, consider that you are already full of knowing. Autumn beckons, the garden is thick with offerings.

 

Libra

Libra you, more than anyone, know a pattern when you see it. Surely, you might have guessed by now that the frequency of Mercury’s slip into retrograde has a greater purpose than messing up our emails and delaying our flights. We can’t blame a planet for our bad habits, our tardiness and our inclination to hit send too fast. We can, however, feel some kind of way about Mercury’s insistence on forcing us to confront them.

Mercury asks us to back up our hard-drives because that is an act of care we can perform for what we produce in the world. Mercury is here to teach us about listening before we speak, thinking before we act, and knowing what we want before we say yes. It forces us to take a good hard look at the obstacles we construct to get in our own ways and asks us if we are ready to dismantle them.

Well, Libra, are you ready to dismantle them? If the answer is yes, if you know what you want, then don’t be afraid of which way the planets move. Remember that you are your strongest astral influence and the universe aches to harmonize with you.

 

Scorpio

It’s no coincidence that poetry’s sad darlings, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, were both Scorpios. Who else could have courted death so famously? Who else could have been so brilliant in their darkness, captured the topaz light of a dying leaf so precisely that their genius would appear almost effortless? Two night dancers defying the gravity of language, the ghosts of Sylvia and Anne have often suffered a woman’s death—where their craft takes a seat behind their surrender.

And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes / Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me. / The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea, / And comes from a country far away as health.

Beyond bank statements and painful conversations, beyond the anxieties of getting from one day to the next, there is a world where you are very very powerful. Scorpio, forget psychic death, forgo any form of surrender that does not yield pleasure. Let health become a country where you claim citizenship, move there. No matter how estranged, no matter that you’ve forgotten the language and the customs. Start small and soon you will remember.

 

Sagittarius

In the years when my grief was deepest, when the hours between getting home and waking up ached on and on with slow hands, you were my lighthouse. Maybe it’s because you were stationed between my home and the rest of the world, maybe because I was only willing to bicycle as far as your front door, I demanded your company. And you were good to me. You welcomed me in even when you were tired; you brought out a bottle of whiskey and let me live at its bottom.

I don’t mean to suggest that I knew you then, or that I know you now. I have, little by little, figured out that there is little merit in claiming that we ever truly know anyone.

Archer, I sensed the lone animal in you, the warm live thing at the center of your solitude. I sensed and moved toward it. What contained that animal, what contained you and kept you from relief, I could only guess at. I loved you indiscriminately. Loved the good in you. How big that good was and is, like an animal’s heart beating hot under all her fur.

 

Capricorn

I know a man who is an alcoholic. He’s not a bad man, or he wasn’t, although who can say who is born bad and who becomes? This man, he has a mother. Everyday his mother wakes early in the morning and begins the arduous task of baking specialty cakes for her son’s restaurant. Everyday her son moves through the day toward his next drink. The restaurant gapes empty and the man’s wife keeps surfacing with bruises.

The mother’s heart breaks over and over. The mother can’t bear to see her son so broken; she can’t bear to witness his cruelty and his weakness. She bakes cake not knowing whether her son will pick it up or not. Not knowing if he will leave the cake in his car while he drunkenly lumbers in a haze until dawn.

What she can’t seem to put together is the way the cake is both a bribe and a form of permission. That, in preparing these cakes everyday, she is trying to establish a pattern in a world that is falling apart, to manipulate a return to normalcy. How have you, Capricorn, created relationships where your labors are lost? How have you, Capricorn, maneuvered to control what is outside your power?

MAY GALACTIC RABBIT HOROSCOPES!

Dear Bunny Rabbits,

Here are the little offerings I have for you this May. I love you all so much even though I have a hard time sprinkling my love around willy-nilly. That’s because you make me a little wiser every month and helps me pay my phone bill, too!

So thank you from the depths of my oceanic heart,

Galactic Rabbit!

P.S. It’s May!

P.S. Thanks Claire!

P.S. Money can’t buy love but it keeps me coming back!

 

Aquarius

Some of us were born to drag our heels along the dirt path, to slow the wheel, but not you. You, Aquarius, have an inventor’s heart. When the going is slow, you ask “what would it take to clear the path, to gather momentum?” You turn your delicate eye toward the surrounding world and decipher its inner workings.

Sometimes this drive is your saving grace, the spark that illuminates your darkest moments, the spirit that drags you out of the doldrums and keeps you in good company. Why is it, then, that you spend so much time denying your gift for greatness?

Even as opportunity after opportunity comes your way, even as love opens and closes the chambers of your heart, even after days persistent with small perfect offerings, you turn inward. You must know that you are always on your path. There is no way off. You can choose to deny your purpose or you can move forward with grace. The sun is pouring down from the open sky. It wants you to straighten your back and stand tall in the light.

 

Pisces

You’ve been working hard to cultivate your solitude, figuring out what it means to love yourself and when loving yourself is the best thing you can do. The hot water whistles and you steep the same herbs in the same cup. It’s good for you… or it’s good enough.

It would be better if you weren’t alone. Oh I know that you’re often near another body, I know that you are full of easy charm and infectious good times that draw bees to the bright pollen of you.

I admit, I am afraid of isolation,

and of the way the land breaks off here
into pieces,

and of the woman who says forever
moving her tongue along my skin
like she means it.

If I believe her, I will suffer.
If I don’t believe her, I will suffer.

(Stacie Cassarino, “NW”)

I know too, soft one, that there’s a closed door in you. Lovers and friends come and go, rapping their knuckles on the wood, peering through the keyhole and trying desperately to ascertain what lives behind it. What fear and false knowledge do you hold onto which keeps the door closed so tight? Maybe it’s time you began the slow painful work of opening. All this time you’ve convinced yourself that the ones who come will not be ready for what they find inside of you. It’s you who wasn’t ready. You’re ready now.

 

Aries

Did you see Tracy Chapman’s recent performance of “Stand By Me” on The David Letterman show? Seems to me like America must have summoned her onto that stage just so she could break our hearts a little. I’ve been listening to another Tracy Chapman song this week, “Across the Lines.” When she sings about the riots, part of me remembers the song’s release date (1988) and part of me feels she must mean these riots, in Baltimore, in Ferguson, in our hearts everyday louder and louder.

Who would dare to go? Tracy Chapman would. Because she’s an Aries. Because her heart is full of un-wavering courage.

What would it look like if you channeled the dynamic creativity you harness toward something that truly mattered to you? Why waste your time with what doesn’t inspire you? Aries, you hold in your body the possibility of uncountable exciting futures. Despite numerous disappointments, you rise and meet the day. So why wait? Failure is a small price to pay on the way toward greatness.

 

Taurus

Taurus, I’m writing you from a new cafe situated on Brighton Beach. A grandmother pushes her walker; she’s wearing a red velvet chauffeur-style cap, a bejeweled purple sweater, and there’s a white parrot perched on her arm. Men amble along with their collars starched, silk sleeves rolled up, loafers just shined. Across the street, a babushka is sitting on the cement across from the fruit stand selling intricate white wool scarves.

Years ago, everyone was talking about Coney Island. Performing rituals of closing. There was loss and long-time establishments closed but, concurrently, revived interest, beautiful murals and sculptures. The Steeplechase tower got repainted and you can see someone hammering nails into their nose every Thursday at the Freak Show.

Even after Hurricane Sandy, after so much heartbreak, the Cyclone stands, the flower shops re-open and there, right on the sidewalk, are hills of lilac wrapped in butcher paper. What I’m trying to tell you is that there are places in this world that resist devastation, people who rise up from under crashing waves with their cups full and their hair looking really good. You are one of those.

 

Gemini

It’s May! It’s May! The sun is close, the earth is soft, and flowers bow under the tiny weight of butterflies. Don’t you feel new too? I see you wrapped up in bright colors, washed clean of winter’s dust and despair.

What’s love got to do with it? (It should be about trust it should be about us, baby) Everything. Because love is beautiful and generative, it challenges us to be our best selves, to build bridges over impossible distances.

Has love made a bloom of your heart? If so then surely you must have noticed how strangers are drawn to you, how they bring you offerings in exchange for a little of your light. If love has opened you, then the world sees you open and opens in return. It gives you everything you need and more than you ever expected.

But, Twin-star, if you are reading this with a closed heart, if you are wrapped in the shadow of what might have gone right but keeps going wrong then know this: the world can only offer us what we make room for. It’s simple. The longer you hold onto what doesn’t lift you up, the longer you keep yourself at the bottom.

 

Cancer

You keep a lot inside, much more than many people around you perceive. You set the table and lay each pain separately on the crisp white tablecloth and begin to explain: when this happened, when this was said, when that was done. Emotions don’t scare you and so you find it easy enough to lay them bare like small artifacts, the pieces to the puzzle of your life. You are, in many ways, the master of hiding in plain sight. Except, of course, from those who love you, who have witnessed you separate yourself (time and time again) from your wounded parts, as careful as a surgeon, and dive headfirst into work, errands… anything that will distract you.

Do you return to those wounds at night, Cancer? Do they follow you quietly home after all your work is done? Perhaps it’s not enough to name what ails you, to reasonably state the case as one might if one were a scientist of the heart.

If I could pull you in closer I would. If I could wrap your body up in my body, if you could feel my fortitude, you might let go of yours. And then you could tell me, again, where it hurts. We’d touch each sore spot together. Here? Here.

 

Leo

 There’s this poem I used to carry around with me everywhere, a cycle by Canadian poet (and Leo) Esta Spalding. The poem, “August,” has many beautiful moments but this is the one I held onto:

You said, there are women

I know whose presence

changes the quality of air.

 

I am not one of those.

I want to pretend I don’t know why I loved those words for so long, that I know deep in my heart I am a woman who can, for someone—for many someones, change a room simply by entering it. Truth is, I know how to convince myself that I’m nothing special. It’s easy to believe that what sets me apart is exactly what will turn people away. Out of fear or misunderstanding, out of an inability to relate. I know too that in choosing to believe those words I choose the safety of invisibility over the risk of being seen and in being seen—loved.

When you inhabit your diminished self, when you choose to hide your specialness from the world so that those around you might be comfortable—so there is no risk of loss, you give up the chance to experience being loved wholly. You reinforce a belief (you hate to admit you hold) that being loved wholly is not for you and never was but, darling, you are wrong.

 

Virgo

Once, Virgos surrounded me. They came out of the woodwork and into my life. If I needed a romantic walk in the woods, if I wanted to make a silly lip-syncing video to combat depression, if I was filled with the sudden desire to get my nipples pierced …there was a Virgo for that. At that point in my life, I so lacked grounding and nurture, the goddess sent me a Virgo superpack. I was better off for it.

Virgo, I know that you often feel called to take care. When your paid work is done, you find yourself facing the volunteer work. When the volunteer work is done, you uncover old favors you promised to pay. And always, alongside the work you do with your hands, are the labors of your heart.

Virgo, know this: none of that work was wasted on me. Just, sometimes it’s important we let the world give back to us. That’s about trust without expectation, about believing the best in people and letting the story unfold without our help. Virgo, this month I give you permission to let the work come to you. “You have loved enough, now let me be the lover.”

 

Libra

There are people out there who have no idea who they are. They look down at their hands and see only their hands. They allow themselves to imagine what the world tells them to imagine and nothing more than that. You are not of those. Libra, you know exactly what your hands are capable of, how to fall in love with your life and love how you make a living. In fact, these days, seems to me like you know exactly what you want and like you might, with a little grease, have everything you need to work your way toward it.

Except you don’t. You know what I mean, you put on the old songs that strike up the old insecurities, you walk the old walk to the tune of someone you don’t have to be. And that’s how you keep it going, that’s how you keep your magic packed up in the back of your closet where even you forget about it. You look down at your hands and pretend you don’t notice how much more they could be doing. When people come close, you ward them off, you let them see the box put away, never what’s in it.

But you want them to come closer, need them to. Every night you wonder where your magic’s gone but nothing is lost, sweet one. Not your possibilities and not all the work you’ve done to get this far. Just take down the box and hold it like it’s yours.

 

Scorpio

Are Scorpios especially sensitive to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or is there another reason that the very same thoughts that made it impossible to get out of bed all winter barely phase you as summer starts to come on? You’re stirring that lemonade and letting all the sour sediment drift to the bottom as you sip sweetness from the rim.

Why not? Is there some law, some ordinance in place that mandates we crawl on our hands and knees begging for salvation until it manifests out of thin air?

If there is then you needn’t worry about it. You are the salvation you’ve been waiting for and sometimes you’ve got to stir the sugar in yourself because who the fuck else is gonna make it just the way you like it? Practicing hopefulness is work and it’s admirable. It’s OK to put planning the future on pause and focus on today. To allow for the possibility that despite everything being entirely up in the air, despite how much sour there is right there at the bottom of your glass, there’s a chance you just might be happy.

 

Sagittarrius

Once, in a PHD class on Feminist Literary Theory, a girl leaned across the table and asked, “Where is the body? Where is the body?” She was talking about the author’s relationship to the text but we rolled with it. It was a joke we took everywhere with us. “Where is the body?” we would ask each other over salmon benedict with not enough salmon. “Where is the body?” recounting sex escapades without substance, without the fruit of desire.

Sagittarius, we spend so much time, you and I, asking each other this with regard to the pulp of our lives. We forget the body itself, the flesh and muscle, the bone.

The body distracted, the body put to sleep or buzzing with anxious energy. The body rummages through empty cabinets looking for sugar. The body takes the same meal every day, sufficient without pleasure. The body, your body, needs you to return with offerings in your hands. Give it a stretch, Archer, give it a run and bring it in. An arrow can’t be strung on a loose bow.

 

Capricorn

There was a time I nurtured the wild heart in me. I fucked girls on midnight park benches and in between train cars. I held their perfect backs as they flew down long avenues on bicycles. I held on and I fell off too. I believed I was a woman with bad boundaries. That I let too many people in too close, that I had a hard time sleeping alone.

I don’t believe that anymore. I know now that wildness is not the opposite of restraint. That one can run naked through the streets and still know nothing about vulnerability. Boundaries, it turns out, are the very thing that gave me strength to love as hard as I did without ever losing myself.

Capricorn, are you sitting at home, sorting through each name in your rolodex, wondering who is worth your company? Capricorn you don’t know everything you think you know. And, you won’t find out unless you let yourself scratch beneath the surface. That means staying out a little later, getting just a little more free, trusting that no matter how wild the wind, you won’t get blown away.