Flying On Invisible Wings

Pearlsong Press
Free sample

Small town boy journeys from Ponce, Puerto Rico to Manhattan: a riff on many famous movies and books. Except in this case the boy is gay, confused, frightened, and trying to find where he will fit in and be happy.


The story has a happy ending—of sorts. Boy from Ponce finds companionship, happiness, and his proud gay identity in the Big City. But it also has a sad ending—of sorts. Boy from Ponce finds out he has HIV, almost dies, gets almost well, then meets another illness—Inclusion Body Myositis. He is confined to a wheelchair. And yet—


In the same year he becomes wheelchair-bound, the man rediscovers an old love: writing poetry. He begins to write. He writes more. He becomes adept. His poetry soars. "This," he says, "is what I should have been doing all along."


As you read the poems of Félix Garmendía, you will say to yourself, "This is what I should have been reading all along." You will discern influences from Whitman, from Neruda, and also from the art of Frida Kahlo, with whom Felix feels a particularly strong kinship as a disabled artist. After all, he says, they both fly on invisible wings.


In this book you will discover poems light as the summer art in Fort Tryon Park, poems as down and raunchy as a honky-tonk on Canal Street, poems as pensive and stately as the Statue of Liberty and her pedestal. For in many ways this book also pays homage to New York, Félix's fiercely loved home since 1988.


Happy, sad, frightened, soaring, ecstatic, loving. Moods galore and then some. Images that magic you from deep anguish to utter excitement and bliss. Come fly with Félix. You will never read anything quite like these poems. You may even find your own invisible wings.

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About the author

Félix Garmendía is a poet, HIV+ survivor, and disabled—currently in a wheelchair—due to Inclusion Body Myositis. He has been married to his husband and caregiver Denis for seven years.

Garmendía writes about LGBT issues, which are very close to his heart. His life was carved around the experiences of surviving his early years in conservative Catholic Puerto Rico of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. He arrived in Manhattan, New York City, in 1988. His poems narrate his life as a gay activist, a poet and a storyteller in the face of illness and intolerance.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Pearlsong Press
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Published on
Jun 1, 2019
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Pages
156
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ISBN
9781597190947
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / LGBT
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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"Throughout [BLUD], McKibbens breathes brilliant life into language, forging lush, rhythmic poems that are both fiercely urgent and tightly controlled, dark and flickering with fairy-tale-like magic. . . . Stunning, unflinching, fearless."―Booklist Starred Review

"Chicana poet, activist, and witchy folk hero of the disenfranchised. . . . [McKibbens] creates these spaces of witness with her feral and boundary-pushing poems that speak unflinchingly of topics often swept under the rug: rape, domestic violence, body shaming, mental illness, prejudice."—Ploughshares

"McKibbens, a pioneer in the art of performance poetry, presents her audience [with] selfless honesty."—The Rumpus

"Rachel McKibbens . . . reminds us why poetry as testimony is so necessary." —Poetry Foundation

McKibbens's blud is a collection of dark, rhythmic poems interested in the ways in which inherited things—bloodlines, mental illnesses, trauma—affect their inheritors. Reveling in form and sound, McKibbens's writing takes back control, undaunted by the idea of sinking its teeth into the ugliest moments of life, while still believing—and looking for—the good underneath all the bruising.

From "untitled (lost love)":

To my daughters I need to say:
Go with the one who loves you biblically.
The one whose love lifts its head to you
despite its broken neck. Whose body
bursts sixteen arms electric
to carry you, gentle the way
old grief is gentle.
Love the love that is messy
in all its too much . . .

Rachel McKibbens is a poet, activist, playwright, essayist, and two-time New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow. She is the author of four books and founder of The Pink Door, an annual writing retreat open exclusively to women of color. She lives in Rochester, New York.

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