Judy Grahn


But if you’re going to go
dying on your tree
don’t forget to come
back to me, give me this

Send me a cloud of birds
messages of mist
and dreams, dreams I can
remember, vivid and real
dreams I can tell

How we used to go strolling
down along the beach
to watch the early morning light
walk upon the water
That’s you, I would say, that’s your spell

As we were talking
you would reach for my hand
you know I can’t stand
not to see you again
not to feel your body near
not to hear your voice

But I need the choice
not to follow your pain
I want to stay here
for as long as I can
I don’t yet want to cross
to wherever you are

Wasn’t it bad enough
I had to watch you
meet your nails
wasn’t it bitter enough
I had to solace others
over your travails

Wasn’t it sad enough
I had to accompany your mother
while we washed you
the prescribed number of times
the prescribed prayers and herbs
I, who never prescribed anything
except you and your words

Don’t forget to come back again
don’t forget to give me the kiss
to last a lifetime
if you’re going to go dying
on your cross
don’t forget to come back to me
at least toss me a lifeline
don’t just leave me, give me this

Judy Grahn is internationally known as a poet and cultural theorist. Her writings helped fuel second wave feminist, gay, and lesbian activism, as well as women’s and queer spirituality.  She has received two American Book Awards, two Lambda literature awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Triangle Publishers, who also established the Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award. This year she was selected Lifetime Achievement Grand Marshall for the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco.

She has published three poetry collections, eight chapbooks, and two book-length poems, and four nonfiction books, including Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, and Blood, Bread, and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World.  Her latest collection of poetry and prose is The Judy Grahn Reader, and her memoir, A Simple Revolution: the Making of an Activist Poet. 

Judy is a professor in the Women’s Spirituality Master’s Program at Sofia University in Palo Alto, Ca. She co-edits an online journal based in her theory of ritual origins: Metaformia Journal.

Judy’s poem “Magda” in this issue is a venture into her third book-length poem, “The Queen of Cups”.