Ardor, by Teal Van Dyck

From this home, I meet the magic which changes everything. . . .

. . . I hone my will, wit, and wisdom to flow more fully through the complex systems I co-create.  My life makes small cycles in my brick house in the railroad woods.  My queer polyamorous femme fam fills my kitchen, at the autumn freaquinox we’re clever as ever and bring in the harvest from all over town.  Basil from the Town Hall planters; heirloom tomatoes just ripe before the late blight; kale, collards, and bull’s blood beet greens from the queer cooperative farm.  Radishes outside the door, glory of corn, purple dragon beans going strong, elongating from June to September.  The abundance and ease of our agrarian autumn with red maples and red apples is tempered by onset of desperation.  Winter threatens to brings me to my knees, knock the breath right out of me.  We’ll meet again! Soon the root cellar and the long haul.  Soon the peeling olympics, squashes and the stocks simmering down.  We’ll dream of these days in the kitchen surrounded by every vegetable.  For now, we taste both the sunlit psychedelic grandeur of trees’ transforming colors, and the whip crack of night getting serious about getting colder.

Ardor’ is a letter to a long distance lover who has left the region and the season.  In celebration and raw longing, I appeal to Artemis for perspicacity.  ‘Europa’ tells a story about leather, passion, transmasculinity and transformation.  Both poems carry the liminal spirit of autumn and the bared throat of the hunt.  The third poem, ‘Persephone’, is a reflection on Mabon and the underworld, and the way the unconscious and visceral permeates the domestic mundane.  In my domesticity, as in the rural consciousness, there is wildness and uncertainty flooding up through pastoral harmony.  I live in the both/and, day and night, rough and tender.  The fire in my hearth is the fire in my heart.  From my kitchen, I hear the fisher cat out back eating rabbit after rabbit.  Each one screams.  I keep making dinner.


When tourists stop with their children
to point at two “hawks” circling the parking lot,
the birds are of course turkey vultures,
Cathartes Aura, ‘golden purifier’,
gargantuan cruisers, riding
a publicity craze as visitors all over
the mountain top stop to take pictures.

When I saw the hawk
land on the farm path
to eat her dinner,
I was too awed
lithe little redhead
to even use my phone as a camera.

I crave your every inch of warm quartz skin,
our sweat, you in my arms again, endless summer.
Rambling forever, eternal road, golden, no end.

Who’s your favorite drag queen?
Mine’s Artemis Phosphorus,
light-bringer, strong-voiced, well-girdled
lady of the lake, of the marsh, of pastures
queen of bears, Grecian lesbian separatist, scary and fierce.
She had forest maidens, a temple, and fabulous hair.

With the help of the huntress
I stalk memory through autumn
field to forest, following all night,
waiting for wild animals. Finding you
find me. In the groves of Arcadia

we buck up at the improbable moon, bright
bulb in the flickering chill, crystal fall
on my summer skin. It took all of August
to start walking you off. Stretching the places
where I got pinned, red ant bites
there, on my forearm, losing to you
in the backyard again and again.
Two out of three, baby, I’ll beat you
to a pulp anytime, anywhere.
My other favorite drag queens?
Number two, Patrick Swayze.
Number three, Cher.

Teal Van Dyck

crafts poems and stories about his research in the fields of queer time travel and trans survival magic.  Teal enjoys taking care of his chosen family, his feline daughter, and his boots.  He creates multimedia performance work with his primary partner.  He can be found snacking, dishing, and sharpening his claws on conifers in the hills of Western Massachusetts.

1 thought on “Ardor, by Teal Van Dyck”

  1. “She had forest maidens, a temple, and fabulous hair.”
    What a good retelling…!

    “I stalk memory through autumn”
    I thought that was the strongest line, perhaps because it resonates with truth in me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s