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,
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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