One of our six Pushcart nominations, Ocean Vuong’s “Self-Portrait with Exit Wounds,” has won a Pushcart Prize and will be featured in the next Pushcart anthology. The poem first appeared in ASSARACUS ISSUE 08. Congratulations, Ocean!
Taurus (April 19-May 18): It’s okay to keep consoling yourself for what you’ve lost. It still aches, that’s okay, because it’s important. You are going to get exponential goodwill in return, runaway growth.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): Rewrite your past so that you have everything you’ve ever needed, so that you were always treated like a precious jewel every minute, no one ever let you be unsafe. I think you’ll find yourself missing what you’ve learned from all the crimps and deficiencies—these are their own weird luxury.
Cancer (June 22-July 23): “I wanna thank you, for letting me, be myself again.” (Sly and the Family Stone) the encouragement you give out will have such a huge effect, you may never know. Write letters to buoy up your friends’ spirit–it will always work.
Leo (July 24-Aug. 23): My wife watches Sherlock, so I asked her what we could learn from Benedict Cumberbatch. She said “Everything you need to know is almost right in front of you.” Okay—open your eyes to the clues.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): On last week’s Mad Men, Megan left the agency to follow her dream of being an actress; It’s the same for you, except you don’t have to quit anything. Just follow the path you’re on now, glide along your trajectory—it’s that easy.
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): If you take a nice walk with a friend and see a bird you’ve never seen before, (say, for instance, a hermit thrush) take that as a sign that there are so many new, pretty little things ready to hop into your life, to show you their plumage. It’s okay to let them.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Make time for yourself, and make it special. Take yourself on dates to the fanciest restaurants, the grandest museums. Buy yourself flowers and chocolate pianos. Make yourself a mixtape as only you know how. Be the great love of your life, and you are sure to get lucky.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Should you find yourself laughing or in tears or ecstatic at an inopportune moment, settle into it. Go ahead and be inappropriate—sometimes emotion trumps everything.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): I’ve been married almost nine years and I recently found out that my wife has a talent for rope bondage. Life is magical like that—everyone’s full of riches and secrets and mischief. Enjoy.
Aquarius (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Don’t get Pretty Friend Syndrome. It isn’t always your friend’s job to be the belle of the ball—sometimes it’s you. Take your newfound confidence and use it to make genuine connections, to make a new life for yourself.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Be like Leslie Knope going after her doofus opponent in the city council debate. Let your passions speak for you, there is absolutely no reason to hold them back.
Aries (March 21-April 18): To the Aries in a long-distance love affair—it’s worth it, isn’t it? How much love can be contained in a text? What kind of hot strange sex can you have over Skype? Right now you are both buzzing with potential, let it be so much.
By Jane Cassady:
Taurus (April 19-May 18): To the Taurus waking up in a transformed body: good morning and congratulations. I’ve always said you are a genius at creating yourself, this is just more evidence. So much love, so many wishes, and millions of gentle hugs.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): To my brother, who wants to try rock climbing and maybe skydiving someday: I can’t wait to not do that, but if you do, listen closely to the safety lectures. Get hold of the right kinds of carabiners. Hold on tight and do not break yourself.
Cancer (June 22-July 23): A few weeks ago at the Momentum conference, I went to a talk called “Spread Your Legs and Open Your Heart.” The leader prescribed drawing a hot bath for nine nights in a row and running a leaf or stone over your whole body. At first I balked at the first-world-adviceness of all those baths, but go ahead and try it.
Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): No matter how long you’ve known someone, they always still have more secret skills and new surprises. Let someone expand for you, you’ll be gratified for what you get.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): Take whatever chance you can to shout down old bulies, old heartbreaks, or both. Write as many strongly worded letters as it takes. Just when you think you might dissolve from anger, your heart will give in and open up.
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): Whenever you’re around, people are smiling. You don’t have to try to be pleasing or work very hard at all, just stand there next to them. And sometimes, let them give something back.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): “It’s good if something gnaws at your innards until you come to terms with your real potential.” (Hafiz) It also helps if you gnaw back.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22): In last week’s Mad Men episode, Don tried to make Sally stay innocent by making her take off her makeup and go-go boots, but she learned a whole bunch about the world anyway. Don’t try to protect yourself so much, it’s okay.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): The world is kind of a harsh place sometimes, it’s okay to fight it. Put on blankets, a blindfold, earplugs, and build yourself someplace safe. Cocoon there until you feel better.
Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): Make a list of all of your wishes again. I know I make you do this all the time, but it’s important. Each time you make your list, the wishes are clearer and brighter, and so are you!
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Should you find yourself in the Duchamp room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, take a little time to think about the body as a creativity machine that runs on sex, or something like that.
Aries (March 21-April 18): Every so often I have to say, I miss you and I wish you’d call. We were novices together and now we are a little less so. I still need you to send me merit badges for progress, still need to cheer on your every step.
By Jane Cassady:
Taurus (April 19-May 18): Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places—people you may have underestimated, recurring fortune cookie slips, episodes of sitcoms. Go ahead and let it all help you, it’s okay.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): When you are Sally Draper, you’ll accept advice from just about anyone, even your creepy pill-popping step-grandmother. Lucky for you, you are not Sally Draper. Feel free to rely only on reliable voices.
Cancer (June 22-July 23): “I don’t know why/ there is an ocean/ in my chest or how/ I am supposed to/ carry it/ without spilling it out/ all over the place.” (Daniel McGinn) Dear friend, I think there’s some advice here about tides.
Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): When you are owed an apology, learn not to comfort the apologizer. Likewise, learn to accept (not argue with) compliments. There’s nothing you need to do to improve yourself right now. No steps need to be taken.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “So take what you can from your experiences of heartbreak, yes. But be careful not to take too much, or you’ll wind up letting it define you. Don’t create new generalized fears that make it hard to hear your intuition—and hard to find the love you want and deserve.” (Jaclyn Friedman, What You Really, Really Want)
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): You are so kind that you’ll comfort a friend even when your troubles are much deeper. You’re a generous angel like that, thanks!
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): It’s time to think about clothing optional beaches! Even if you’re not as much of an exhibitionist as the stars are, think of other sunny ways to safely bare yourself. And don’t forget the sunscreen!
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22): Find someone you love and turn off the television with him or her. Don’t worry, the stars still looooove the television, we just think maybe you should see what else you might use that couch for.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Yesterday I was watching a rerun of How I Met Your Mother wherein Ted saves a man’s life by being an “I love you” slut. He says it to a man who’d been about to commit suicide, and it turns the guy’s life around. You may not achieve such dramatic results, but be an “I love you” slut anyway.
Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): Everyone you touch has a million layers. You’ve long since given up the idea that a human being can be a simple distraction, a vacation from your own life. Settle into the layers and make a mess.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Find someone to be a beginner with, it’s such a comfort. Get yourself some good awkward, some nice fumbling, and settle into it like blankets.
Aries (March 21-April 18): The Zone of Proximal Development is an educational concept that means the space between something being too easy to be challenging and being too frustrating to learn. Find your own Zone of Proximal Development. Go ahead, open your eyes and soak up knowledge.
By Jane Cassady:
Taurus (April 19-May 18): Stop. Take note of everything you’ve learned so far. Take a deep breath and a few days to let it all sink in. You’ve come so far.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): “Be vulnerable and ask for your desires. There are only two ways it can go…and never asking ensures only one.” (Aiden Fyre) Sometimes, though, you don’t know what to ask for until it feels too late. That’s okay, you’ll know what to ask for next time!
Cancer (June 22-July 23): May your National Poetry Month continue to be prolific—mine your inner wishes, your big leaky mansion of a heart, your pesky childhood. Use everything that isn’t nailed down, then pry up that stuff too.
Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): As much as you might like to avoid logical fallacies, sometimes they are too tempting. Likewise for hyperbole and over-generalizations. Just let ‘em go this week. Indulge.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “My heart is a worthy vessel. It carries riches from my living adventures. It carries room enough for other riches to be gathered.” (Julia Cameron) You may be tempted to curl up into a ball, wrap yourself in a blanket, and hide, but there are so many more treasures to be had. Go get them.
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): I’m still sending you visions of rest: pillow mountains floating with dreamy feathers. Soundproof rooms made of flannel and chocolate. Meadows of sugar butterflies, a sweet and hopeful peace.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): You are such a good sport, keep it up. Your loyalty, open-mindedness, and flexibility will keep paying off in unexpected ways.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22): Make the world a safe place. You can do this by consistently honoring your boundaries, treating people kindly but not at your own expense, and finding out just exactly what it is you want.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): There’s such a thing as too many vitamins. This week, minimize the number of ways in which you try to be virtuous for its own sake—that’s a total waste of energy.
Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): To the Aquarius who ended up being my crash course: Thank you. It’s unfortunate that painful lessons often come by way of people I adore. Thank you for making that sacrifice. You are more than kind. (Confidential to H and H: a job, a home, and every other wish are on the way. Just keep trying. XO, The Stars)
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Believe all of the best stories about yourself. Take the best possible interpretation of any given comment. That’s probably what they really meant!
Aries (March 21-April 18): You have so much to look forward to: lilacs, wisteria, long walks in the spring woods. You’re like the smell of the air when the leaves come in.
By Jane Cassady:
Aries (March 21-April 18): Happy Birthday to my dad, the standup comedian. In one of his jokes, he points out that no matter how much you mess up in traffic, you just do a little apologetic wave. He feels that you should be able to use the little wave in other parts of life as well. This week, wave off all of your mistakes and drive on.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): “This is the room one afternoon I knew I could love you, and from above you how I sank into your soul, into that secret place where no one dares to go.” (Neutral Milk Hotel) Let someone get to know you THAT well, even if it’s messy.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): “Keep plugging away. / Keep on truckin’. / Keep the faith in a tiny glass jar and only unscrew the lid when you’re feeling doll-sized. You can do this/ it/ anything.” (Rob Sturma)
Cancer (June 22-July 23): Whatever you’ve lost, it’s okay. Let it go. Soon enough, you’ll be collecting love like a wildflower bouquet. So many different kinds of wild love.
Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): On Easter, my wife and I had every intention of going on a nature walk. But when we got to the park, the sun was so appealing and we felt so relaxed that we took a nature nap instead, right there by the birdfeeders. Do the same for yourself, soak up the sun.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “All images are shadows you did cast. They will/ gladly surrender their identity and reveal their/ potential the way a piece of paper would if it ever/ made love to a flame.” (Hafiz) I have to promise you again that the closeness and fire you’ve been looking for are coming.
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): To the Libra whose life seems very complicated right now—I hope you can find time to sit with yourself and breathe and paint. The bright colors at the center of you are always there, even when life is just swirling around you.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): To the Scorpio who has a first date tonight: may she get your geeky references. May she love standing next to your warmth. May she have an open mind and a semi-extroverted heart, May she be all full of your happiness.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22): Strip all the stereotypes away and see things as they are, in all of their gunked-up glory. Don’t just see the pretty things you hope for, love the whole messy truth.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): It may seem sometimes like there isn’t a safe place for you in the world, but there is. Put in earplugs and wrap yourself up in a blanket. In the quiet, let all of your daydreams unspool.
Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): It’s time to rethink your barriers, whatever tides you try to stem, what griefs you are trying to escape from. It’s time to jump into the current and swim, even if you have to swim a little while with tears.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Sometimes the best way to feel good is to do your homework. Revel in note taking, in filling out forms, in planning your presentations. Your brain will feel giddy with appreciation and use.
By Jane Cassady:
Aries (March 21-April 18): Buyers of romance novels purchase an average of fifty books per year, and those are pretty much all the same story. You’re a better and more original romantic, with at least fifty new stories per day.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): “People want to see their genitals on your face.” (Megan Andelloux, founder and director The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health) And while you’re at it, look ‘em in the eye.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): “If you were to draw me in a comic book, / I would have a collar around my neck/ and the leash attached would be held by my heart. / It’d be a cartoony heart, more like a valentine/ and less like a fist.” (Rob Sturma)
Cancer (June 22-July 23): Give up trying to keep up your correspondence and tell everyone to come visit you. That way, you’ll have a new bombshell or bearded stranger for every day of the week. Leave room for the stars on your dance card!
Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): Let us now praise introverts, sit down and talk to them one-on-one, leave spaces for them to get their words in and/or, even better, give them the house to themselves.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “I had a legitimate excuse for not going to the/ mosque or temple to pray. / It was because love is so wild in me I might/ break the fragile glass cage that all/ religions are made of.” (Hafiz)
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): The Universe is looking out for you and yours, I promise. Look at the flowers on the trees. Look at your beautiful body. Listen to the sweet hum of your caretaking heart.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): The stars hope you can take a day off work soon, sleep in with someone nice (Maybe yourself. Maybe the cats. Maybe a busty redhead who’s feeling experimental.) and take full advantage of spring fever.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22): This week, pretend you are Reid Mihalko, inventor of the cuddle party. Fill every room with warmth. Dispense hugs generously. But still, make space for yourself.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): On a panel about feminist porn, star and producer Tina Horn said “When people are given the freedom to do what they want, they do the nastiest shit I have ever seen.” Do whatever your empowered body tells you to, up to and including taking a nice nap.
Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): Even if you are not in a position to light pretty flames in your hands and blow them out, you’ll find the warmth you need. When things are off-kilter, think of the comfortable distractions ready to run into your arms.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Mike Daisy may have fabricated parts of his story about Apple in China, but one thing is still for sure: nearly everything is made by hand. Think of that and feel connected.
By Jane Cassady:
Aries (March 21-April 18): Two hours of Mad Men might be too long—the stars are having trouble paying attention. Maybe next week will be better. Meanwhile, watch sitcoms and don’t think about snazzy advertising cads.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): Take on a new assignment, and if none are offered, make one up. Any brand new project will do. Follow it wherever it wants you to go.
Gemini (May 19-June 21): Team Peeta or Team Gale? Are you kidding me with this? Why in the world should she have to choose? Even in the dystopian future, is jealousy really still such a big deal? C’mon guys, get over it. Learn to share.
Cancer (June 22-July 23): A friend of mine is always having adventures that are just a little riskier than mine. I like my hijinx cozy and friendly, but hers are always a bit more of a leap. I think it’s okay to choose coziness, though. Either way, Cancer, make sure you’re adventurous this week.
Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): To my wife, who’ll be exploring Washington, DC while I am at Momentum Con this weekend—I hope you find some treasures that inspire you, whether it’s the original ruby slippers, your beloved Constitution, or even Julie Powell’s stick of butter on the old Julia Child set. Find your own history.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): “What body would not want to surrender its tension to a skilled hand?” (Hafiz) There will be time for that, but for now, get back to yourself. Enjoy other fun. Remember how to steer yourself before you hand over the wheel again.
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): To the Libra friend I alienated last April: I looked at the pictures recently. I don’t see any of the bitterness or mistakes, just sweetness. If there were any way to get back to that, I’d take it.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): To the Scorpio second-guessing my Scrabble word choices: Well, I’ve deferred to your judgment before, and that worked out okay. What other help would you like to offer me?
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22): The stars recently went to Eastern State Penitentiary on a first date, but it’s really more of a third date kind of place. You’ll be glad to know that Steve Buscemi narrates the audio tour. Meditate on enclosures, ruins, refurbishment, and The Panopticon this week. Find your regrets and lock them up.
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): For the month of April, many of my poet friends will be writing and posting a poem a day. I’m not sure if I’ll join in, as I’m feeling prosaic these days, but let’s try to find a project as urgent and sublime.
Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): See Gemini. Also: continued blessings to Spring love.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): To my Pisces pal with a hurt foot: I guess I’ll have to stop telling you about walks to go on. Here’s hoping you have good books, warm cats, and snuggly friends to help you recover. If I were nearby, I’d bring you some hugs.
By Jane Cassady:
Aries (March 21-April 18): It’s almost the Mad Men premiere! Celebrate with a Don-like tumbler of Scotch and a Sally-like tantrum. The stars are so at the edge of our seats for a Sally Draper spinoff that we named our cat after her.
Taurus (April 19-May 18): “”There is nothing you have ever done that is/ not innocent and will in any way be judged as/ wrong by anyone of true wisdom, / but such knowledge you will not be able to/ accept until your and an angel’s ways are/ more similar. It just works like that.” (Hafiz)
Gemini (May 19-June 21): “I’m not searching for cherry lipstick/sparkle valentine baby animal cuddle beams. / Just maybe a sneak preview of / the matinee of your palm. / Maybe a note passed back across the classroom/ scrawled back with HECK YES.” (Rob Sturma) (Pssst, you’ll get the cuddle beams too.)
Cancer (June 22-July 23): It may be too early in the year for this, but the stars like to picture you chopping up peppers and onions and other rustic foodstuffs to take on a family camping trip. It’s okay if you only want to do this metaphorically.
Leo (July 24- Aug. 23): Whatever sacred space you need, take it. Rope yourself off like a VIP and order some bottle service like you’re Kanye. Don’t forget to open up those velvet ropes, though. Other special someones might want to come in for drinks.
Virgo (Aug. 24-Sept. 23): See: Gemini. Also, write your heart out. Whatever’s hurtiest, give it as many paragraphs as it needs, then shred it and let it go. There are sooooooo many good paragraphs on the way.
Libra (Sept. 24-Oct. 21): If someone needs your care this week, drop everything and give it. You will be rewarded in closeness and light and cake, so give it your absolute best.
Scorpio (Oct. 22-Nov. 22): Please make a list of your best qualities: your pretty eyes, your excellent book collection, other things the stars would blush to mention. Repeat the list to yourself every morning and night until you believe it.
Sagittarius (Nov. 23-Dec 22): To the Sagittarius who thought he was too big and tall to deserve love: this just blows my mind and makes me want to tear society down to the bones. Everybody is beautiful, dammit. Everyone’s divine!
Capricorn (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): To the Capricorn librarian awaiting a new child: your house is probably already full of books, but fill it some more. May your son’s little brother or sister grow uneventfully and auspiciously. May your family, all families, be warm and forever.
Aquarius (Jan 21-Feb. 19): Whoever you have shown your flaws to and whoever has called them beautiful, that’s what tangles heartstrings together. Show yourself and be loved.
Pisces (Feb. 20-March 20): Your household is full of momentous occasions, and if it isn’t, make some! Toast the cats and a New Girl episode any given Tuesday. Celebrate the kitchen appliances’ valiant service. Make a holiday out of soup or towels or spiral notebooks—so much to celebrate!
It’s shaping up to be a big weekend for Sibling Rivalry Press. It all starts Friday night with ASSARACUS: A CELEBRATION OF GAY POETRY:
Sponsored by the Rainbow Book Fair, Belhue Press,
Sibling Rivalry Press, and CLAGS (Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies)
at The City University of New York Graduate Center
Room C198, Concourse Level
365 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10016
7:30 - 9:30 PM
On March 23, 2012, the night before the Rainbow Book Fair, CLAGS (The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies) and Sibling Rivalry Press present Assaracus: A Celebration of Gay Poetry. For the first time, poets from the first six issues of Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry will read together, legend alongside rising, established next to emerging. Assaracus was created in the spirit of community and brotherhood. Assaracus: A Celebration of Gay Poetry will showcase those themes through the collective voices some of gay poetry’s brightest contemporary writers – in one place, at one time.
The night will also feature the launch of Assaracus: Issue 06 (featuring cover art by Seth Ruggles Hiler), and include remarks on gay publishing and poetry from Ian Young, groundbreaking founder of Catalyst Press and editor of The Male Muse, an early, daring, and important anthology of gay poets.
Come kick off Rainbow Book Fair weekend with the Assaracus poets. Free & open to the public.
Confirmed readers: Christopher Hennessy, Matthew Hittinger, Frank J Miles, Stephen Scott Mills, Eric Norris, Philip F. Clark, Collin Kelley, Michael Klein, Evan J. Peterson, Steven Riel, Robert Siek, Bryan Borland, Steven Cordova, Chuck Willman, Philip (No F.) Clark, Joseph Harker, Emanuel Xavier, Isaiah Vianese, David-Glen Smith, Christopher Gaskins, Perry Brass, Guillermo Filice Castro, Nicolas Destino, D. Gilson, Glenn Phillips, Patrick Stevens, and remarks by Ian Young.
THEN, on Saturday, March 24, don’t miss SRP at the Rainbow Book Fair, happening at The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, 208 West 13th Street in NYC. We’ll be at Table A3 next to Belhue Press. Collin Kelley will be at our table at 2:00, and Stephen S. Mills will being reading from He Do the Gay Man in Different Voices at 3:00. We’ll have special book fair prices on all our titles, including the not-yet released Assaracus Issue 06, and we’ll give away a couple of subscriptions to Assaracus.
The Rainbow Book Fair is where Sibling Rivalry Press began. It’s the only largest LGBT book fair in the world and every year it gets better and better. You don’t want to miss this, folks.