Dearest Checkers-Out,

How are you? It’s been hard to answer this question of late. It seems like there are so many qualifiers necessary to get at the complexity of what Carmen has called “the joy pocketed within grief.” But I’m gonna be bold and just put this out there: this week I’m in a Nina Simone Feeling Good kinda mood.

Spring has exploded in LA in a summer-feeling way. This weekend, one of the two people I see IRL drove us to Malibu, where we invited ourselves to walk up some rich person’s large hill to watch the peachy wisps of the sunset over the green hills. “When was the last time you saw the ocean?” she asked me, and I couldn’t remember. Watching that massive body of water undulate, like it does on every shore, like it has for all of human time, made me feel a new undercurrent of connection.

In short, I’m inspired by certain kinds of newness in quarantine: the great pleasure I took in conversing with strangers on a random queer Zoom speed date session, the way the light looks in my apartment at 5:38 PM, the act of imagining tasting a tender piece of sweet & sour fried chicken that a friend described to me in great detail.

I hope something refreshing has been revealed to you too.




How To Quit Smoking by Abeni Jones

It kinda makes sense that so many people become smokers, not as an active choice, but because in our society, coping is a way of life. Learning to ditch the habit for real is about much more than the logical.


14 Knuckles: The Bad Domme by Mary Ann Thomas

Vulnerability is at the heart of the most mind-blowing sex, but it also means taking risks. The journey to letting go involves surprises of the sweet and unsavory variety.


Vida Ends as It Began: A Queer Love Letter to Chicanx and Latinx Communities by Carmen Phillips

“Who plans on having a painful, electric, exhausting coming-of-age story well after you’ve grown?” In case you need a reminder that we’re never done transforming, the final season of Vida is her for you.

Year of Our (Audre) Lorde: April’s Arithmetics of Distance by Jehan

Jehan started this year-long sojourn into Audre Lorde's writing with the idea that the Good Lorde has already gifted us with the tools we need for our survival. That's never been truer than now. Lorde's final book of poetry "The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance" is perfectly tuned for those just trying to make it another day in the house.


I See The World by Jamaica Kincaid

Are we not, currently, in some ways, present at our own funerals? The question is more rich and less melodramatic coming from a legendary writer, but our usual lives do look different from here.

While We're Here

Everything About Ramadan Is Different This Year, But We Need It More Than Ever by Fariha Róisín

Just wait for the date and the pulpy lemonade.


🎧 The VS Podcast hosted by Franny Choi and Danez Smith

Because it’s National Poetry Month and you deserve thoughtful queer poetics.

💎 BLK MKT Vintage

Where to find all the vintage Black treasures your life requires, curated by founders Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart.

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The QTPOC Speakeasy is a collective of Autostraddle's writers of color.
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