Tanya Olson

Tanya Olson, Senior Lecturer and Director of Writing and Rhetoric


Dr. Olson’s poem, “Let Me Not Forget Me Not,” was recently featured in the DC Pride Poem-A-Day Series.

Click here for a video of Dr. Olson reading this poem.










Let Me Not Forget Me Not 

Let me not be the last

lesbian who remembers

our bars Such smoky

bars Everyone smoking

Serious smokers Cocktail

smokers People smoking

outside People smoking

in Smoking Marlboro Reds

Camel Blues Smoking

American Spirit cigarillos

and cloves Waking to a reek

of stale smoke the first

reminder you had been out

the night before Let us

remember these sticky

bars For we drank and

drank and drinking spilled

Spilled Budweiser Spilled

Zima Spilled Jaeger

Spilled Slippery Nipples

Spilled Sex on the Beach

Spilled bottom shelf

tequila Spilled every rum

and coke I ever ordered

Spilled them on ourselves

Spilled them on each other

Fought over the spilling

Forgave each other

for spilling Drank because

bars were the place to look

Bars the place a trueself

shown Bars a place

the trueself seen Straight

people seldom in our bars

then Straight people with

better options than bars

with latenight stickyfloor

pushyshovey fights Fights

over love Love real Love

imagined Bouncer steps

in to breakup the fight

Bouncer a bulldyke

in boots hat and tie

Hurrah hurrah for

these bars and dykes

Remember them

both forever


Let me not be the last lesbian

who found her people on a screen

Not the last to recognize herself

in the light butches of TV

Tatum Kristy Jodie Jo

Let me not be the last who

learned to crush through

the screen MaryAnn Lori Kelly

No one knows who you look

at when you watch TV No one

knows the way you see

Let every lesbian always

remember our long promised

Dusty Springfield biopic

Let us count the number

of gay boy biopics made

during those same years

We must always make them

make our movies Remember

the annual rumor of who

this time would play her

KD Melissa Adele Nicole

We must forever remember

Whitney and Robyn We

must never forget their love

Remember how Cissy

and the brothers tried

to make them hide their

love We heard the words

that screened their love

We saw through love’s

tuneful disguise When

Whitney confesses I get so

emotional baby everytime

I think of you we knew

who she was talking to

When Whitney states Ain’t

it shocking what and then sits

for a moment in the heart

of that beat before she pivots

and drops the line back

in the track what love

can do we hear the name

in the gap Whitney dead

now Dusty dead now May

we always hear the love

embedded in their soar

Let me not be the final

lesbian to believe

Dolly and Ann Richards

were a thing Not the last

to see them together

and recognize it as a love

Dolly so solid in polkadots

and sequins Ann permanently

handsome in those Rose of Texas

boots Hurrah hurrah

for these stars and dykes

Stars and dykes forever


Let me not be the last butch

stranded on Last Butch Island

Let me not be the culminating

bulldagger Not the terminal

stud Not the concluding soft

butch Not the ultimate stone

Somebody has to bring an end

to the diesel dykes Someone

will be the final Butchie

McShorthair in town Surely

I can’t be the last to wear

my hair like Elvis Not the

closing flattop Not the crowning

pompadour Let mine not be

the finale in a long line of high

and tights If I am let me say

I am sorry Butches had a real

chance to make change and we

blew it We lived so far out

we thought getting in meant

progress Lived so far beyond

we felt both diseased and immune

When they opened the door

right in the middle of our

kicking it down we took that

to mean we had won And let’s stop

this story before it goes any further

Butches aren’t being erased

Butches aren’t being replaced

It is simply become our time to go

Extinct only means swallowed

by the earth Extinct happens

to everyone Extinct just says

someday diggers uncover

our bones Assistants turn up

buckles from our belts Tourists

buy commemorative keychains

Students sift for boot scraps

and wallets An intern designs

a sign for the site and queer

teens graffiti it the next day

A theorist speculates why we

played so much pool Some historian

earns tenure debating whether

80s butches were imagined or true

The museum installs a diorama

where too tall butches spread out

across a too bright bar Everyone

is frozen in a distinct moment of action

Smoking Drinking Gawking Lewd

It is shocking these far future scientists

conclude Simply shocking what

love can do