November 21st, 2020

Radiant Heat 

This is the time of day sunbeams cross my 

mattress, imprison flesh atop its breadth. 

Each breath, bee balm, bids eyelash butterflies 

vibrate; no body lies in wait bereft 

its pleasures just because it is alone

but moans all illuminations shone through nude 

windows. Your radiant heat upon bones,

pheromones through glass, stretches me lewd

amidst this mundane morass to which I 

am consigned, fallen star, millions of miles 

from where you are incandescing in my 

midday sky. Penetrate your plaited exile 

with photons interlaced with fingers crude —

our zenith consumes my disquietude. 


This is the season of thankfulness amidst a year of much suffering and uncertainty. It’s easy to focus on the latter — the solitude of this year, the savagery of the political landscape and the seriousness of a pandemic. If I can be grateful for one thing though, for myself, it is 2020 is the year I truly discovered self-care.

I had certainly used the term before and believed I understood it. Did I though? I did things for myself from time to time all the while mitigating these intermittent kindnesses with extreme acts of self sabotage — as if the latter was what I really deserved. I surrounded myself with, online, friends to mask a loneliness that one can never really escape. It caught up to me at night when I cried myself to sleep, focusing through my curtainless, large windows on the moon as if its companionship was responsible for saving me in the night.

It wasn’t the moon’s fault that it didn’t work. Nor the numerous friends I relied upon instead of doing the ultimate, basic act of self-care — working on myself as an autonomous being. I’m proud of the steps I took this year. I made decisions in my life that are unique to me but have been utterly beneficial — one of which being medicating my depression and anxiety.

I came from a Christian culture that decried psychiatric medications and treatment. Suffering from these problems for years, I listened to the disabling voices from my past that spewed a lot of misinformation about taking this step. If I’d listened to these same voices, I wouldn’t be the writer I am, the sexual person, the political person I am. I let go of the voices in those areas a long time ago. For some reason, regarding medication, these voices were harder to shake.

For me, taking medication was a critical first step in many steps of self-care that happened this year. So many bad habits have fallen away. My need to punish myself has fallen away. I’m able to sleep at night without seeking the companionship of the moon; though make no mistake I love it still.

Right now, it’s 2:00, in Pensacola, and I’m lying across my bed writing this column, and the sun is shining its brightest directly through my large bedroom windows. It warms me and feels like the best hug in those post-pandemic world — the kind you rarely get now. I wrote a little sexual poem to the sun today because self-care has made me love it in some ways the way I adored the moon. But what is better is I love myself more.