We can't wait for people to read Norma Liliana Valdez's brilliant new collection, Preparing the Body ! This is a limited edition Vinyl 45 chapbook, so grab a copy today before it runs out!
Preparing the Body begins with an interrogation: who hushed / my legs / queried /my skirt. These poems rebuke the multitude of ways that women’s agency, self-ownership, and bodily integrity are denied by society, destroyed even. Valdez’s poems inhabit landscapes of violation and reckoning in a soundtrack of cumbia, danzón, and the blues. This collection is a force of nature, a wildfire; its smoke chases the body to, and beyond, the borders of its silence, grief, desire, and undoing.
Orchids hang from the patio ceiling. When no one is watching I will take one and put it in my pocket as if I could own something of this place. By morning, it will be dead. I’ll walk by a funeral home with child-sized caskets, and cry. The air will belong to firewood. Night will return cold to my bones. I’ll be alebrije: half woman half moon. On the feast of San Sebastián fireworks rise and fall, like us all. Orchestras will be spark then ash. Nothing here is tame. I am high and disoriented pulled by my entrails. I’ll dance mezcal blues. His hand inside my thigh will be a hovering question: How can we do this, and where? It won’t be enough for the way I want to swallow this country: whole.
Grab a copy of The Porch (As Sanctuary) while you still can!
We are also thrilled to announce Jae Nichelle's beautiful poetry collection, The Porch (As Sanctuary) ! This title is now available at our store. Like Preparing the Body, this is also a limited edition Vinyl 45 chapbook, so order your copy today before it runs out!
The Porch (As Sanctuary) is a narrative account of southern, queer, Black womanhood. Through vivid sensory language and familial voices, Jae Nichelle conjures not only scenes but characters who demand to be heard. Nichelle’s writing is deliberate and graceful, leisurely drawing readers into the world of the family on The Porch. In each poem, the reader is invited into a moment on the The Porch which is simultaneously public and private, and where The Porch itself serves many roles. The Porch is a confessional. Church. A centralized gossip station. Home. A family reunion. Hair salon. A lesson in history. A reckoning. A sanctuary.
What We Talked from the Porch
I have a recurring nightmare It begins like a scene from Their Eyes Were Watching God:
A never-ending line up
of houses on both sides
All the porches occupied
by Black women over 40
who have come to feed—
rocking in chairs their mama’s mama’s mama
left as legacy
I run in the street
My secrets trail behind me like lose string they paw and paw andpawandpaw
Endless creaking of
build rumors off my misfortune
(pulling from the yarn they spun)
They learned the art of minding other people’s business
from an early age—
nobody ever left them
to their own