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Friday, August 29, 2008

FOR DEL MARTIN (1921-2008)

by Mary Saracino

“Lesbian rights pioneer Del Martin, whose trailblazing activism spanned more than five decades, most recently in the battle for same-sex marriage, died Wednesday, just two months after she made history again by wedding her longtime partner in San Francisco City Hall .”
-- San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rainbow flags flutter half-mast
in the Castro District breeze,
America’s red-white-and-blue bows, too,
over San Francisco’s city hall in tribute to Del Martin
activist, writer, barrier-smashing woman
unabashed lesbian unafraid to proclaim
her Self to a world that didn’t want
to hear about it way back in 1955;
some patriots have lavender skin
that glows brilliant-neon in the shy
moonlit back alleys where shame hides;
some uppity Amazons, like Del, swing
their double-bladed labyris of hope
swathing a path through overgrown fields of bigotry,
carving a serpentine route toward a future world
where who you love no longer matters
as long as you love fiercely and well
with every part of your beating heart.

Mary Saracino is a novelist, poet and memoir-writer who lives in Denver , CO. Her most recent novel, The Singing of Swans (Pearlsong Press 2006) was a 2007 Lambda Literary Awards Finalist. Her short story, "Vicky's Secret" earned the 2007 Glass Woman Prize.