cadencia (a poem for Orlando) – The Feminist Wire

cadencia (a poem for Orlando)

By Martina “Mick” Powell


for KJ Morris and all the beautiful people we lost in Orlando, FL on June 12, 2016


& that night,

they were only there to own themselves,

to dance these bodies through their gentle,

reckless ways of loving

to undo their tragic emptying

to be called the right name

to make room for this catharsis

to fill up with magnolia water

to run his rounded hips against his

to taste the nectar of the fearless

to feel the bass in all the raw spots

to know they had survived


oh, how often bodies of a kind

might press themselves together

into a nightless love     a tangled liana     a beautiful prayer

almost like a ritual

for reconciliation.




i tell Lauren & Vanessa, “we can do this,

we can talk about her”

and then get scared to write the poem

without metaphor. we are scared to write

our scary thoughts, scared we are the morbid mortals

left to memorialize and we are doing it wrong

and i think i am almost always wrong, we are

almost always only asking questions

because we’re scared like,

were you first?

was it quick?

did you cry

for her? we are scared you didn’t

know when and how often we loved you,

how caringly we held your name

—in Northampton, under light and electronica

and straight jaw and narrow throat

how slender sexy you moved, twisting masculinity

a soft thing they wanted to hold in their mouths

—in Narragansett, drinking daylight with our bodies

and smoking pot in someone else’s house—how high

were we to call janet jackson an old dog? how much


beautiful love was left unsaid and understood?




this is my “i love you” poem

this is the tear that unfolds

these flowers in my palm

this is a rainbow to carry you all

into a soft place

this is a sapphic quiet,

a communal pulse

to open

a sun into this day

hot and solar and not quite gentle,

recklessly stealing retina to turn

our body visible sanctuary, to say:


“i am looking for you,

i am reflecting your love

in the softest of golds.”


In Lieu of a Biography, A Short Memorial

KJMy dear KJ: I am wishing your soul the smoothest of journeys and I hope you find a beautiful, peaceful place to rest. Thank you for teaching us kindness, compassion, forgiveness, and love. Thank you for making me laugh and for thinking of me when I least expected it. Thank you for being you–in all of your splendor and beauty. Dance on, my kind friend. Rest easy. 


You can find Mick’s biography here.