Manifesto of the Lyric Selfie, by Becca Klaver

Our “I”s.
They are multiple.
We shuffle them
often as we like.
They can tag us.
We can untag ourselves.
We’ve got our
to-be-looked-at-ness
oh we have
got it.
We peer and cross.
Go lazy.
We’re all girly.
We’re pretty selfie.
We write our poems.
We write our manifestos.
While sitting in the photo booth.
While skipping down the street.
We think: if only my camera
could see me now.
There is a tranquil lyric
but we recollect emotion
with the speed of the feed.
We pose to show
the spontaneous overflow
of powerful feelings.
There are no more countrysides.
There are no more churchyards.
We smudge our vistas.
We flip the cam around.
What is burning in our little hearts?
Hashtags of interiority
licking like flames.
We had been reflective.
We have been reflected.

- Becca Klaver

A Song For Muriel, by Carolyn Kizer

no one explains me because
there is nothing to explain
it's all right here
very clear.
O for my reputation's sake
to be difficult, and opaque.

no one explains me, because
though myopic, I see plain
I just put it down
with a leer and a frown...
why does it make you sweat?
is this the thanks I get?

no one explains me because
there are tears in my bawdy song
once I am dead
something will be said.
how nice I won't be here
to see how they get it wrong.

- Carolyn Kizer

"Perfectly Human" by Miles Walser

So you were born backwards.
Your heart covers 80% of your skin.
It is huge—and it is fragile.
You don’t know how to chain-link fence your feelings.
You will find your trust abandoned and bruised on the side of the road—
Do not leave it there—
Dust it off and put it right back under your shirt.

If you don’t learn to stop apologizing for yourself,
you will mirage out of existence.
See, someday, that 80% is gonna get you hurt.
You will tell a woman over and over that you love her,
and she will say nothing.
You will sob in public,
and people will just stare.

They will want to carve their names into you
and watch as the pieces fall off—
let them try.
Your heart is a geyser and for that you will always feel strange.
Most people shut down when they get over saturated with feeling;
most people harden into hate
–into indifference–
because the biggest risk we ever take is to love without fear.

You are not afraid.
You are a cathedral waiting to be filled with hymns;
you are an infinite playground;
you are sky-bound and sprinting,
so cover your heart in goose-bump armor.
It will only beat stronger,
beat louder.

Keep hoping.
Stand up on subways and shout compliments to strangers,
dance, poorly, in public if it makes you feel better.
Love until it hurts.
Then love more—you know how.

There will be days when you’ll wish you were numb;
when you’ll want to rip your heart off your body
and find something easier to take its place.
Collect those days like bricks
and marvel at the buildings you will make.
Stand on top, chest open, head up—
Nobody will ever see the world like you do.

Never try to be better than the best version of you.
You are not perfect.
You are perfectly human.

- Miles Walser