Lesléa Newman is better known as the author of Heather Has Two Mommies, but I first came across her writing on the poetry shelves at Charis Books. That first collection I found, Love Me Like You Mean It, is still my favorite book of poems. Sweet Dark Places is marvelous, too. Ms. Newman also does size acceptance workshops, and in fact at least two of her books (Belinda’s Bouquet for children and Fat Chance for teens) deal with size acceptance. Some of her poetry (and, I believe, some of her workshops) are about survivors of sexual abuse. She writes columns that run in many gay and lesbian periodicals across the country, and some of them have been reprinted in a hilarious book, Out of the Closet and Nothing to Wear.
Ode to My Hips
Look out boy
these hips are coming through!
These hips’ll knock you off your feet
if you don’t make room for them to move.
These hips sway
these hips sashay
these ain’t no size 3½ slim Brooke Shields
teenage boy hypocritical hips —
these hips are woman hips!
These hips are wide
these hips hypnotize
these hips fill a skirt
the way the wind fills a sail.
These hips have chutzpah
they think they can change the whole world!
When I take these hips out
for a walk on the street
and the sun is shining
and my bones are gleaming
I place my hands on these two hips
and let them speak the truth.
Love Me Like You Mean It
Love me like you mean it
like it was the very first time
that night last May
with your neighbor’s TV blaring downstairs
and your dog whimpering and twitching
in her sleep
and you trembling so hard your bones
rattled against each other
and the bed squeaking on its four unsteady legs
I tell you it was like a regular symphony orchestra
in that small room
and I was making so much noise myself
it’s a wonder I heard any of it.
Love me like you mean it
like it was the very last time
not the next to last time
or the time before that
but the this-is-it-never-again-
because some day it will be
though we probably won’t know it just then
since that’s the way these things usually happen —
one of us will die
or go away
or decide she needs something else
So love me like you mean it
like this is the only time
I’ll ever have to give myself
to you completely open
taking you in as far as you want to go
and then farther still
for only you can touch those places
deep inside me
where I wrote your name
a thousand years ago
in a language I had never heard
before you came home
to speak it
Love Me Like You Mean It, Copyright © 1987, 1993, by Lesléa Newman, published by Clothespin Fever Press