For LGBT poets, love and love of country are complicated matters, since the former often finds itself in direct conflict with the latter. Can one truly love a country where, in many places, prejudice is both legal and morally ingrained? Yet queer poets and politics are inevitably intertwined. From Sappho to Oscar Wilde to the Beat Generation, LGBT bards have played a crucial role in articulating every shade of sexuality by capturing, mourning, and celebrating the experience of being queer. In this spirit, The Advocate reached out to poets Frank Bidart, Eileen Myles, Mark Doty, Judy Grahn, CAConrad, and Tim Trace Peterson for poems that illustrate how the current generation expresses queer love and identity, in all its unity and division.“Queer” by Frank BidartLie to yourself about this and you will forever lie about everything. Everybody already knows everything so you canlie to them. That's what they want. But lie to yourself, what you will lose is yourself. Then youturn into them.* For each gay kid whose adolescence was America in the forties or fiftiesthe primary, the crucial scenario forever is coming out—or not. Or not. Or not. Or not. Or not.* Involuted velleities of self-erasure.*Quickly after my parentsdied, I came out. Foundational narrative designed to confer existence. If I had managed to come out to mymother, she would have blamed not me, but herself. The door through which you were shoved out into the lightwas self-loathing and terror.* Thank you, terror! You learned early that adults' genteelfantasies about human life were not, for you, life. You think sex is a knifedriven into you to teach you that.Excerpted from Metaphysical Dog by Frank Bidart. Copyright 2013. Excerpted with permission by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.Frank Bidart’s most recent full-length collections of poetry are Watching the Spring Festival (FSG, 2008), Star Dust (FSG, 2005), Desire (FSG, 1997), and In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965–90 (FSG, 1990). He has won many prizes, including the Wallace Stevens Award, and, most recently, the 2007 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. He teaches at Wellesley College and lives in Cambridge, Mass.“A History of Lesbianism” by Judy GrahnHow they came into the world,the women-loving-womencame in three by threeand four by fourthe women-loving-womencame in ten by tenand ten by ten againuntil there were morethan you could count they took care of each other the best they knew how and of each other's children if they had any.How they lived in the world,the women-loving-womenlearned as much as they were allowedand walked and wore their clothesthe way they likedwhenever they could. They did whateverthey knew to be happy or freeand worked and worked and worked.The women-loved-womenin America were called dykesand some liked itand some did not. they made love to each other the best they knew how and for the best reasonsHow they went out of the world,the women-loving-womenwent out one by onehaving withstood greater and lessertrials, and much hatredfrom other people, they went outone by one, each having triedin her own way to overthrowthe rule of men over women,they tried it one by oneand hundred by hundred,until each came in her own wayto the end of her lifeand died. The subject of lesbianism is very ordinary; it's the question of male domination that makes everybody angry.Excerpted from love belongs to those who do the feeling by Judy Grahn. Copyright 2008. Excerpted with permission by Red Hen Press. Judy Grahn is a poet, writer, and social theorist. She is currently a professor in the Women’s Spirituality Master’s Program at Sofia University in Palo Alto, Calif. She is former director of Women's Spirituality MA and Creative Inquiry MFA programs at New College of California. Her books include love belongs to those who do the feeling (Red Hen Press, 2008), Blood, Bread, and Roses (Beacon Press, 1994), and Edward the Dyke and Other Poems (The Women's Press Collective, 1971).Excerpt from "Soma(tic) Poetry Ritual & Resulting Poem" by CAConrad“And our lips are not our lips. But are the lips of heads of poets. And should shout revolution.”--Jack Spicer Excerpted from ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness by CA Conrad, which is released September 2014. Excerpted with permission from the author and Wave Books.CAConrad is the author of six books including ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books, 2014), A BEAUTIFUL MARSUPIAL AFTERNOON (WAVE Books, 2012) and The Book of Frank (WAVE Books, 2010). A 2011 Pew Fellow, a 2013 MacDowell Fellow, and a 2014 Lannan Fellow, he also conducts workshops on (Soma)tic poetry and Ecopoetics. Visit him online at CAConrad.blogspot.com."At the Gym" by Mark DotyThis salt-stain spotmarks the place where menlay down their heads,back to the bench,and hoist nothingthat need be liftedbut some burden they've chosenthis time: more reps,more weight, the upward shoveof it leaving, collectively,this sign of where we've been:shroud-stain, negativeflashed onto the vinylwhere we push somethingunyielding skyward,gaining some powerat least over flesh,which goads with desire,and terrifies with frailty.Who could say who'sadded his heat to the nimbusof our intent, here wherewe make ourselves:something difficultlifted, pressed or curled,Power over beauty,power over power!Though there's something moretender, beneath our vanity,our will to become objectsof desire: we sweat the markof our presence onto the cloth.Here is some halothe living made together.Excerpted from Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems by Mark Doty. Copyright 2009. Excerpted with permission by Harper Perennial. Mark Doty's Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems won the National Book Award for Poetry in 2008. His books of poems include School of the Arts, Source, and My Alexandria. Two new books are forthcoming, both from W.W. Norton: What Is the Grass, a prose meditation on Walt Whitman and the ecstatic, and Deep Lane, a new volume of poems."HI" by Eileen Myles for Steve Carey You made me smell.I didn’t smell atall before I met yousmells are pouring out ofmy clothes, feet, mysocks my hairthis is grossyou’ve made me monstrousand I love itI knew a man who laughedat himselffor being this waystinking of loveit was what he wasa stinking factory of his lovelying there all daygoing out to get a smokeI’m the east coast versionof thatsince I met yousince the era of my famousresistance to you endedit began like the windI am a window to the worldthe mailman can see mehe waves; children out there playingit’s even this way when I’m outthereexcept when I hold your handI want it; to be this exceptionI’ve becomenot a woman or a manThe heart pumpsthe man is dead and it’sspringit’s a smelly seasondon’t you thinkthe earth knowsthe bugs are beginning to lookaroundyou’re throwing your mother’sold stuff outyour friends are beginningto understandI want to showmine something differentthe ripples I’ve becomeI’m influencethe way language changesand rocks heal & burnmeat stretchesyour little round animalface keeps coming aroundthe corner butoh no now you’re coming downI’m looking upExcerpted from Snowflake/different streets by Eileen Myles. Copyright 2012. Excerpted with permission from the author and Wave Books. Eileen Myles is the author of more than 20 books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, plays, and libretti, including Snowflake/different streets, Inferno (A Poet’s Novel), The Importance of Being Iceland (for which she received a Warhol Creative Capital Art Writers Grant) and Sorry, Tree. A former director of St. Mark’s Poetry Project, Myles campaigned as an openly female write-in candidate for U.S. president in 1992. She received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2012. She lives in New York.Excerpt from “Trans Figures” by Tim Trace PetersonThe voice wants to turn itself into a body.It can’t, though it tries hard —it brings you flowers, to engender a meaningfulrelationship. It makes you coffee in the morning.Here, have a cup.See? It likes you. It makes your bedand shows you this mountain vista out the windowa field of jupiters beard and beyond itthe dying fields. It shows you things like the sungoing down, and then here it is coming up in the hollyhocks.Don’t look, you’ll hurt your eyes. I wantto be there for you, you never respondin those moments we touch (but they are not enough).Let me stroke your hair once more, here,and again here. The voice is growing distantnow, it is fading like the sun fadesand explodes in strands of parti-colored fibersyou will never be able to see.Let there be breasts! (and there were breasts)Let there be a penis! (and there was a penis)or at least it looked like it from the viewer’s perspective,under those clothes. If only it were slim,with wide hips! (and it was slim with wide hips)Let there be taffeta, muslin, silk, velvet,velour, or crinoline: and there were all these things,in abundance. Let there be hard hats, bicepsbulging out of their shirts, buttocks like bouldersin tight jeans, and there were all these things,across the landscape. The people looked aroundand saw the abundances that language had given them.The voice envied them. It could have none of thisto keep, but wanted you to think it did. Smoothed my hand over the plushSlipping my arms into the sheerdeep sound in my throatmy big breasts filling both my handsMuscles rippling under my thin cotton shirtCleared my throat and beganTrailed blue smoke from my nostrils, like a lazyAround my shoulders and acrossTo a party. Forget my hair for nowClearing my throat, I glanced overhips were small, and I wonderedWatching my cheeks flex as I suckledfelt hot against my almost nakedRiveted on the full, soft curveLook around, my gray eyes unreadable. In heels and a skirt, an elegant gesture of the armlike this, a certain sweep of the neckinto necklace, the voice is trying to manifestitself. It leaves its apartment after dark,wondering if its neighbors will see it passing,crossing the lawn, the tap of its heelsthe only sound in the parking lot.Excerpted from Since I Moved In by Tim Trace Robinson. Copyright 2007. Excerpted with permission from the author. Tim Trace Peterson is a poet, editor, and scholar. Author of the poetry book Since I Moved In (Chax Press) and numerous chapbooks, Peterson is also editor and publisher of EOAGH and co-editor of the new anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books). New poetry and criticism are forthcoming in Vanitas, TSQ, and Original Plumbing."One Today" by Richard BlancoOne sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,peeking over the Smokies, greeting the facesof the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truthacross the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a storytold by our silent gestures moving behind windows.My face, your face, millions of faces in morning's mirrors,each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day:pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbowsbegging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother didfor twenty years, so I could write this poem for us today.All of us as vital as the one light we move through,the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day:equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined,the "I have a dream" we keep dreaming,or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won't explainthe empty desks of twenty children marked absenttoday, and forever. Many prayers, but one lightbreathing color into stained glass windows,life into the faces of bronze statues, warmthonto the steps of our museums and park benchesas mothers watch children slide into the day.One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalkof corn, every head of wheat sown by sweatand hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmillsin deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, handsdigging trenches, routing pipes and cables, handsas worn as my father's cutting sugarcaneso my brother and I could have books and shoes.The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plainsmingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear itthrough the day's gorgeous din of honking cabs,buses launching down avenues, the symphonyof footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways,the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling,or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we openfor each other all day, saying: hello, shalom,buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos díasin the language my mother taught me—in every languagespoken into one wind carrying our liveswithout prejudice, as these words break from my lips.One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimedtheir majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado workedtheir way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands:weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more reportfor the boss on time, stitching another woundor uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait,or the last floor on the Freedom Towerjutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyestired from work: some days guessing at the weatherof our lives, some days giving thanks for a lovethat loves you back, sometimes praising a motherwho knew how to give, or forgiving a fatherwho couldn't give what you wanted.We head home: through the gloss of rain or weightof snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always, alwayshome, always under one sky, our sky. And alwaysone moon like a silent drum tapping on every rooftopand every window, of one country—all of us—facing the stars. Hope—a new constellation waitingfor us to map it, waiting for us to name it—together.Excerpted from For All Of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey by Richard Blanco. Copyright 2013. Excerpted with permission by Beacon Press. Selected by President Obama to be the fifth inaugural poet in history, Richard Blanco followed in the footsteps of Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, Miller Williams, and Elizabeth Alexander. The youngest, first Latino, first immigrant, and first openly gay person to serve in the role, he read his inaugural poem, "One Today," on January 21, 2013. His poems have also appeared in The Best American Poetry and Great American Prose Poems. Blanco is a fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, recipient of two Florida Artist Fellowships, and is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. A builder of cities as well as poems, he is also a professional civil engineer currently living in Bethel, Maine.