"She sings at night and I dream of symphonies until morning. When she laughs, I could swear I have never heard a more beautiful sound."
Last night, a gunman in Orlando, Florida opened fire in an LGBTQ+ bar. He killed 50 people and injured an untold number more. It was the most fatal shooting in American history.
I will not lie: this news left my heart in tatters. I have been pacing, picking at my wrists, trying so hard not to break down, mostly failing.
I don't want to talk about politics right now, because this is not what has consumed my mind: instead, it has been a cycle of why must this always be us, of when will the hatred end.
I had planned the release of a project today, featuring queer pride, that I have been working on for many months. Upon hearing the news, I considered postponing it, perhaps to next week—it seemed as if today was just not the right time to celebrate.
But upon further thought: I believe that our queerness is more important to highlight now than ever before. It is an act of defiance as much as one of celebration. And so I continue with this announcement - not to take away from the tragedy of Orlando, but to fight the hate that spurred it, to stand with my queer brothers and sisters, to speak to the world: we are here. Our existence is beautiful and valid. No matter what, we will not back down.
I am a girl who happens to be in love with another girl. This is, according to society, an enormously problematic thing.
Also according to society, girls like us should not exist. We don't deserve happy endings. We don't deserve art, fairytales, stories brimming with strength & softness. According to society, girls like us are the definition of tragedy.
This is a poetry chapbook I have written as a quiet manifesto, an expression of joyful defiance. Exploring all aspects of female queerness: the beauty and the terror, the yearning and the warring, the endless confusion and innate peace. There is no room here for what society tells us to be. We are monsters and goddesses in equal measure. Heaven or This is a collection of reminders of that.
This book is fearless. Vulnerable. Soft & electric. Quiet & gutwrenching. A tribute to the years spent discovering my identity. A snapshot of what life looks like when your love is taboo.
Nine poems about girls who love girls, free to read.
You may recognise a few of these pieces - Cherry Blossoms, originally published in Wildness and The Rising Phoenix Review, and Love in Goddess-Speak, originally published in Some Safer Place. Others are brand-new, rippling with rawness, whispering with strength.
If you are as excited as I am (which is, I assure you, very difficult to be—I'm having a hard time even persuading myself that after all of these months, it is here at last!!), consider spreading the love on Tumblr or Twitter.
But this is not the end of the collection.
The most special part, you see, happens beyond the original chapbook—Heaven or This, the deluxe edition, five more poems that tie the collection together and truly spark with electricity. The best pieces in this book, the ones that I have wrestled and polished and poured tears & laughter into—they are contained only in the deluxe edition.
Heaven or This: Deluxe Edition contains the original nine poems, along with five more pieces of raging wildfire and quiet wonder.
Not only will readers receive the longer, richer, and even more colourful edition of Heaven or This, these lovelies are the only ones to see the behind-the-scenes work, the moments of love & fury & terror & loneliness & joy that went into crafting each and every line. Every poem in the deluxe edition is accompanied by a lyrical, melodic essay to spin the story behind the poem. How every piece is brimming over with rawness, emotion, memory.
I do not share such stories often. This opportunity is special & rare: the chance not only to glimpse my creative process, but to go beyond inspiration and realise exactly how these poems are crafted. My softness & sharpness, my tiny beautiful experiences are encompassed in these essays.
So: how to gain access?
Patreon is an incredibly simple and affordable way to support creators such as myself in their art. For $5 per month—that is, less than one cup of coffee—you will receive the deluxe edition of Heaven or This, all of the stories behind the poems, and more lovely perks (monthly artistic care packages, dedications in future projects, live readings, an original short story, and more).
The deluxe edition of Heaven or This cannot be found anywhere else.
Simply join the Patreon community at the $5/month or higher tier—and you will experience the magic of Heaven or This.
I promise you: it is a sight not to be missed.