Emily Dickinson
when meeting Gay Unknowns did you become a poet
or was it long before reading Great Beings?

when did your poetic heartbeats begin?
was it after tiring of Old Scriptures
& sermons of Jehovah's jealousy?

as a secret, confident strategist
you prepared manifestos over decades
& among the elysium of American literati
you urged us to be bold with words
& remember poetry has a magic
that those foolish imbibe
vitriol, aqua fortis, or cinnabar
can't see.

Juanita: Some people spend most of their professional lives arguing about what Dickinson was urging. . . Yet can anyone really know? There is a veil of unknowability that we can never really pierce, and in many ways we are mysteries even unto ourselves.
Jean: Each art work has to speak for itself. To me, this work's rejection of traditional Christianity is obvious and its reference to homosexuality is hardly oblique . . . It's up to us to say what that means. Personally, I see no reason to construct meaning: some things are better in a primordial state of minimally-filtered 'proto-meaning' rather than a deeply dissected 'meaningful interpretation'.