Once in a while I feel inspired to write a little love poem , and that indeed happened when I read Cynthia Rucryst’s charming love story in her book “In Each Darkness”.
The Women’s Movement of the late 20th century is one of those landmark times in herstory, a time when women stepped forward to be counted. The actions they took, often at their own peril, benefit all American women even today.
It is the old lesbians, the old women, who recall the loves and struggles of those years.
“In Each Darkeness” steps back in time to the women’s movement of the 1980’s, a sometimes violent era when lesbian love poetry would have been ripped from the shelves and burned in the streets. I wasn’t part of that movement. But I so deeply admire the women who paved the way for the rest of us. These were indeed astonishingly brave women, women with courage to face physical and emotional threats from all directions. As they stepped out of their closets and onto the battle lines, they were never fully aware of what dangers the day would bring. But they faced each day with courage and determination.
“In Each Darkness” tells of the personal journeys of two of these very brave women. Here is the poem that the book inspired:
two old gay gals
forgetful of The Other Time
The Other Place
journeys to find
voices in song
bodies in rapture
just two glorious old gay gals
I felt a connection with Cynthia’s story on several levels. And first, yes, I am an “old lesbian gay gal” myself. So often this type of woman is seriously misrepresented in literature, if noted at all. Most of the attention goes to our younger sisters, the vibrant ones, the sexy ones. That the older woman has so much to offer the world, both in love and literature, is simply ignored.
I felt a connection too because this love story is subtle. The emotional love is certainly there, as is the physical love. But neither is sensationalized. There is a glorious subtlety in life that seems to capture the nuances of love poetry so nicely, and so many writers just don’t have the finesse to present it. Cynthia Rucryst does.
And on another level, I felt an odd connection because her story is about a black woman and a white woman. Coincidentally, the cover to my book of love poetry also depicts a black woman and a white woman. This representation in the lesbian world, and in the GLBT world in general, is not unusual. We seem to feel a kinship with others who have felt discrimination and outright legislation prohibiting their emotions. As I write this, black and white people have been granted the right to marry, but in many states lesbians and gay couples have not been granted that right, no matter what their color. The irony of their love affair is lost on none of us.
Were you part of that era? Do you have friends or family who have related stories of that time? Please add your comments below — I would love to hear them.