I recently watched the documentary Hail Satan? which profiles The Satanic Temple. While you might associate The Satanic Temple with animal sacrifices, evil deeds and church burnings, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In truth, The Satanic Temple functions almost entirely as a social justice organization, pushing back against the oppressive elements of religion, and supporting humanitarian causes across the world. Tenants of The Satanic Temple include that “One should strive to act with compassion and empathy towards all creatures in accordance with reason.”
In Little Rock, Arkansas, a statue of the Ten Commandments was placed at the State Capitol, symbolizing that our nation is a Christian nation (defying the separation of church and state). The local chapter of The Satanic Temple took note of this and in response constructed a statue to be placed near the Ten Commandments depicting Baphomet—a winged horned deity figure on a pentagrammed throne—with two children at his sides. Controversy ensued, but The Satanic Temple spoke up, reminding the populace of religious pluralism—that where one religion has freedom of speech, all religions should be allowed that same right.
The content in this issue functions simly to that maybe-not-so-evil statue on the steps of the Arkansas State Capitol. Inside the pages of our winter issue are many pieces that challenge established societal ideas of what is holy. What is beautiful? Where do we hold our values, and where should we?
In the poem “Fucking Flowers,” Jane Ripley questions the merit of flowers. Later in the issue, folx who experience monthly bleeds share their intimacy or lack thereof with this cyclical process. In his poem “Dharma Cums,” Matt Clifford explores where God is, often in relationship to his sexuality. In Jesse Livingston’s short fiction story, a cat freezes in time, defying the laws of the universe as we know it. Erica Hoffmeister explores a body that has been through the experience of motherhood, and our Editor-In-Chief, Amanda E.K., sits down with the local owners of Denver’s only women-owned sex shop to talk about the importance of holding inclusive and sex-positive space in a male-led industry.
Social justice and its fight to change society is often depicted as this huge external process; loud signs at citizen-led protests come to mind. Through my experience, I’ve come to see that social justice is also an internalized and somatic process. We look inside ourselves to ask: What are the stories that we have inherited for better or worse? What layers do we need to ritualistically shed to make space for new life? There are so many beliefs that we have internalized deep into our cores, but by sharing our stories, we make space for compassion, for empathy and for a better freedom.
I hope that the words and images of this issue challenge you, or that you find a sense of solidarity in finding herein an experience or thought that resonates with your own. We all owe it to each other to be vulnerable. I’m proud to be the Poetry Editor of this Denver magazine, published on delicate paper, that is unafraid to say what is necessary.
By Brice Maiurro
Brice Maiurro is a poet, writer, publisher, editor and community organizer in Denver, Colorado. He is the author of two collections of poetry, Stupid Flowers and most recently Hero Victim Villain. He is a cofounder of Punketry! along with Matt Clifford of local psychpunk band, Black Market Translation. His poetry has been featured by The Denver Post, Boulder Weekly, Suspect Press, Birdy, Beats Periodical, The Lune and Poets Reading The News. In January of 2019, he was recognized by Westword as a Colorado Creative, recognizing his contributions to the arts community in Colorado.