From this year’s winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Poetry, Love Cake by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (TSAR Publications).

femmes are film stars

Femmes are film stars
in the movies of our lives
Instead of dishwater we choose danger
grab belt buckles, smooth lip gloss
and make eye contact
we put Bollywood to shame

we’re the stars of our own danger-filled whirlwind
there are dramatic plot twists and more edge-of-the-seat
than you can believe
and suspension of disbelief?
girl, you know we suspend disbelief
do shit ain’t nobody supposed to be able to pull off
we’re our own romantic epic
like Frida in Paris
Audre in Mexico
standing on two tree trunk thighs
planted firm and swishing

when we were girls and someone said diva
we breathed in that word
and it turned into a glimpse of a woman we saw once
on a multiplex screen
a beautiful lady
who shone in her skin
and rose out of it
maybe it was our favourite aunty
or our mama when she was young
maybe it was Frida or Rosario
maybe we’ve never seen the one that could be us yet
but we make her up
we make her up outta thin air
outta brilliance and ass

it’s not always so glamorous close up
there’s a lot of shit in making movies you don’t see
I mean sure there’s
vintage slips
booty shorts
fabulous moments

but backstage
sometimes it’s a little more complicated
you’re the director and the producer
you gotta figure out
how to walk down the street ++++++++++how much skin you
++want to show
how to fuck in the middle of the club+++++how to feel it
how to get a discount on the copies++++++get immigration
not get deported when the club is raided ++ not get kicked outta
++the organization

and even though this is a movie
it’s the kind Hollywood will not make
we’ll go to Josie and the Pussycats just to see Rosario Dawson
sit through She Hate Me for five minutes of Sarita Choudhury
but we want more than that for our children
so we make our own movie
as we walk down the street
make revolutions with chipped turquoise nails
spread thighs and hard cocks
eight hours gooood sleep and dreams on satin wishbone pillows

and dreams?
girl, when we dream
we dream the cliffhanger ending
where girl is never bruised
spread thighs never despised
where every girl
can be the star of her own glitter-dusted revolution

we dream the place
where our lives
are what girls get to grow up
to be

“femmes are film stars” from Love Cake. Copyright © 2011 by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Gratefully reprinted with the permission of TSAR Publications.

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4 Responses to “Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, “femmes are film stars””

  1. […] featuring work from this year’s two Lambda Award winners for poetry, Tim Dlugos and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha; before that, we had Darrel Alejandro Holnes’ terrific (and boldly-titled) “Power […]

  2. […] Copyright © 2011 by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. See more here […]

  3. […] Lambda Literary Award-winning writer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Bodymap, published this summer by Mawenzi House, returns often to the word “home,” tattooed on her breastplate. Home is a meeting of body and map, charted throughout the work in sensory memories, corporeal trauma, physical pleasures. “You’re going to find the people you can sketch the secret inside the world with. If you can’t find them you can sketch the secret inside of your world inside yourself,” she writes. She sometimes sketches ‘the secret inside of world’ with lovers, and we’re lucky enough to get to listen to the lyric she finds: “Just dissolve into the deliciousness of lying down with someone else who knew what it was like to always lie down.” […]

  4. […] is always a poignant reminder to me of our strength. Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarainha’s “femmes are filmstars” is a gorgeous ode to femme power and the dream of a femme future. Let it inspire […]

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