Oh, Geminis. As the inspiration behind hundreds of memes and one of the most frequently referenced zodiac signs, the Twins can have an infamous erratic streak and a penchant for drama. Behind these tweet-worthy stereotypes, however, Geminis also carry traits we all wish we possessed: a curious nature, cunning intelligence, and devotion to letting loose and prioritizing the fun side of life. While the popular image of the Twins can cause people to label them as two-faced, the truth is that Geminis pack a serious complexity and duality. This leads to a natural predisposition towards the arts. From Tupac and Marilyn Monroe to Walt Whitman, countless Geminis flock to music, acting, visual art, and—you guessed it—poetry. These four Gemini poets and their work embody everything to love about the iconic summer sign.
“a song in the front yard” by Gwendolyn Brooks
The incomparable Brooks, born on June 7, published her first poem at the age of 13, a testament to Geminis’ well-known affinity for writing, language, and communication. The poem embraces the adventurous spirit of its Gemini writer, beginning: “I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life / I want a peek at the back / Where it’s rough and untended and the hungry weed grows.”
Along with a sense of adventure, the poem sparkles with whimsy and spontaneity. “I want a good time today. / …And I’d like to be a bad woman, too, / And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace / And strut down the streets with paint on my face.”
“Walking Down Park” by Nikki Giovanni
Giovanni’s poem showcases the playful power of Geminis’ imagination and their fierce ability to seize joy. “ever think what Harlem would be / like if our herbs and roots and elephant ears / grew sending / a cacophony of sound to us / the parrot parroting black is beautiful black is beautiful / owl’s sending out whooooo’s making love… / and me and you just sitting in the sun trying / to find a way to get a banana tree from one of the monkeys / koala bears in the trees laughing at our listlessness. / ever think it’s possible / for us to be / happy.”
“A Supermarket in California” by Allen Ginsberg
Geminis see even the most ordinary outing as a chance to soak up excitement. In this poem, emblematic Beat poet Ginsberg turns a visit to the supermarket into a magical-realist foray into Whitman’s psyche. “What thoughts I have of you tonight, Walt Whitman, for I walked down the sidestreets under the trees with a headache self-conscious looking at the full moon. / In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations! / What peaches and what penumbras!”
These vivid, quick-witted images lead into more thought-provoking questions, revealing Geminis’ inquisitive, analytical side. “Where are we going, Walt Whitman? / … Which way does your beard point tonight? / Will we stroll dreaming of the lost America of love past blue automobiles in driveways, home to our silent cottage?”
“Short Talk on Geisha” by Anne Carson
Carson published seven poems titled “short talks” in BOMB Magazine, carrying a philosophical tone that matches Geminis’ characteristic intellectualism. “The question of the geisha and sex has always been complex,” Carson considers, endowing the whole poem with Geminis’ complexity. Geishas, traditionally known as some of the most independent women in Japan, also serve as a symbol for Geminis’ admirable self-sufficiency.
In the poem, a geisha stands out as the focal point of the poem, commanding attention and awe like a Gemini: “She is coming along and the grass is stirring, / a tomato in her palm.”
Happy Gemini season! Whether or not your birthday falls within its range, this time invites us all to be social, and to engage with deeper ideas and conversations.