Brazen rural queers are busy

Jaiden Dokken Clallam County’s first Poet Laureate.
Posted 6/12/24



We watch the Olympic Mountains undress in the spring heat,

our last year’s pride flags tattered from twelve months tossed in storms.


We, too, have …

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Brazen rural queers are busy




We watch the Olympic Mountains undress in the spring heat,

our last year’s pride flags tattered from twelve months tossed in storms.


We, too, have frayed edges,

our hearts a little threadbare,

and so we gather here today

to replenish,

to righten our colors,

to recommit to the tough work at hand.


We brazen rural queers are busy.


There’s farms to tend,

rescue dogs to spoil olden,

laughter to slather over yesterday’s wounds. 


We’ve got first ever pride marches to organize

and hair to buzz short and

chosen names to caress in our mouths,

wet tongues slick licking over new sounds.


It takes a lot of time,

Practicing saying

"queer - trans - lesbian - gay"

loud and louder

proud and prouder

in the hardware store and the taproom and at family dinner.


Our schedules are hectic,

teaching our cousins about neopronouns,

stomping goat poop out of our Doc Martins,

stocking free food pantries and

gifting gender-affirming panties and

raising kids who get to choose who they will become.


We are occupied,

occupying spaces and

carving out local news headlines with our

bravery and barb- wired hope

because good god sometimes this place doesn’t deserve us

But we want it to,

so f*cking bad.


We know too much about hate crimes

so let’s do some more love crimes together,

get into that good trouble,

me and you,

all of us,

lipstick gliding under mustaches and

mustaches painted on over stubble-free skin,

calloused hands, chipped nails, clasping together as we hold the line.


And we have a lot of lines to hold,

pushing liberation on every front,

because in the same way that a rainbow requires every color

to blend its splendor across the sky,

we know there is no queer liberation unless there is total liberation.

We are not free unless everyone is free.

We know that all people deserve safe homes,

accessible community spaces,

food on the table, affordable healthcare,

bodily autonomy,

access to education and good jobs and creative outlets.


We deserve a world that isn’t pocked with bombs and festering gashes of capitalism,

a world where instead of voices hoarse from demeaning basic human rights,

our throats tingle with hours of singing and cheering together,

faces sore from smiling so much and so wide and so often.


We are not a monolith but

we let that cis/het normative sh*t erode away and

what’s underneath is some rock-hard beauty,

a solid chunk of self that has always been here but maybe not always visible.


I thank every brazen rural queer before me that has let pieces of their facade crumbles away,

the risks they tool so that we could be here, be seen, and pick up where they left off.


I know we’re tired,

but I also know that together we can find our way home through this mire

one muddy, trudging step at a time

because I have never felt more held than I do with you all, right now, here on the Olympic Peninsula.


Brazen rural queers are like this, the warming glows of our separate bonfires a constellation mapping the story of our resilience, our joys and struggles, our deep-belly belief in working hard for what is right.


You brazen rural queers are working so hard for what is right.


So, today we take stock of one another,

we lock eyes and hands and maybe lips too,

and promise to keep each other whole,

to acknowledge the toll that grief and rage can take,

and to move towards more days like this,

vivid with community and gusty delight.


We celebrate capital p Pride because people like us knew

that legality and morality are not always the same thing.

Like us, they knew our futures are irrevocably bound to one another.

Like us, they knew sometimes you need to throw a party,

and sometimes you need to throw a brick.


Today is our party.


And tomorrow,


Us brazen rural queers know how to get our hands dirty,

So we will roll up our sleeves and back to that world-changing work.