The first time I was really able to envision femininity as a kind of power was while watching Paris is Burning in college, encountering the world of drag for the first time. The knowledge that my femmeness was something I could put on and take off, something I could play with and shapeshift into, made me feel so in control of it, and made me feel powerful for choosing it. The ability to alter our images and to play with the way that we present our bodies is a fundamental queer and femme superpower[…]we think that we understand ourselves and then use that understanding to write poems about our bodies, but it’s just as common in my experience to have written poems about my body for five years and then be like, Oh, that’s who I am?

[…]

I mean having a body is such a fucking trip, you know? The other day I was talking to Danez Smith, and they were like, Ugh I hate having a body, I wish I could just be a presence — which I totally sometimes relate to. But also, the body — our materiality — is the only way that we know how to exist in the world.

I’m always drawn to the language of the body because that language, which I was born into, has completely determined how I’ve been allowed to imagine myself. The first time I ever made a chapbook of my poems—printed at a FedEx and stapled together — I called it Women Only Write Body Poems, which is a joke that I still find funny. But for better or for worse, it’s a job that women who write have always found themselves doing.

But despite some of the poems in the book, I don’t actually think that the total transcendence of our material forms is what I’m after, because that also seems like a way of checking out of the whole problem. I think that I want to learn how to live in a dynamic and fruitful and sexy relationship with the body.

Franny Choi
Queerness, Cyborgs, and Cephalopods: An Interview with Franny Choi
Paris Review 21st May 2019

the land of dreams

August 27, 2019

in the land of dead dreams all shout — “yes, yes! no, no! more, more! stop this, stop that! do this, do that! do the fandango, do the bunny hop.

in the land of dead dreams there are shameful body aromas and different customized body styles.

in the land of dead dreams, everyone is equal, until someone punches
the clock enough to get a gold star, then they are allowed to keep punching the clock until they die.

in the land of dead dreams, hope is a commodity exchanged for desire exchanged for good will exchanged for a thousand free minutes on AOL.

in the land of dead dreams everything counts; three strikes—your out, second in line, a one-in a million-in-one, 7.8 % on all non-food items, $10.00 co-pay, 6% annual interest compounded daily by the hour or by the minute, each and every second of each and every day the clock ticks and your heart beats faster and faster . . . there’s something in the basement . . . the lights don’t work. . . . there is a gurgling sound . . . you know you must go into the darkness of the basement, alone . . . . .

in the land of dead dreams kingdoms are constructed on or in excrement, cigars, and telescope steam.

in the land of dead dreams . . . no that’s somewhere else.

in the land of dead dreams you have different clothes and special foods for every different occasion, and all the streets are the same name with the same gas station gourmet coffee gift taco shop every three blocks.

in the land of dead dreams, there is “the new white meat” for brighterwhiter bones and bigger badder teeth.

in the land of dead dreams, to get to the super bowl is what life is all about . . . that, and a good cold one, ay?

in the land of dead dreams there are endless options all based on one true-false questionnaire given at birth.

Kari Edwards

TRAVELERS IN EREWHON

August 23, 2019

You open your
Dress on the dusty
Bed where no one
Has slept for years
An owl moans on the roof
You say
My dear my
Dear
In the smoky light of the old
Oil lamp your shoulders
Belly breasts buttocks
Are all like peach blossoms
Huge stars far away far apart
Outside the cracked window pane
Immense immortal animals
Each one only an eye
Watch
You open your body
No end to the night
No end to the forest
House abandoned for a lifetime
In the forest in the night
No one will ever come
To the house
Alone
In the black world
In the country of eyes

Kenneth Rexrothe

No

August 15, 2019

I do not know how to say no.

I am so tired of being
Left open
Bleeding on the sidewalk.
Staining the white carpet
Staining my new lace panties I wore just for you.

You say:

Don’t you know you are only good for one thing? Don’t you know you are only worth something when I want you? When my cock is hard?

My body: a piece of raw meat for you to devour like a hungry dog.

To be a woman is to never ask for dessert even if you want it.

I have etched these words into my skin, bled them out, swallowed them with no water.

Yes, yes, yes, smile, smile, smile.

I was never taught to say no.

I am so tired of being treated less human and more dinner buffet.

so tired

All I can say is yes.

Becca Lansman

…the body has been for women in capitalist society what the factory has been for male waged workers: the primary ground of their exploitation and resistance, as the female body has been appropriated by the state and men and forced to function as a means for the reproduction and accumulation of labour…

the body can be for women both a source of identity and at the same time a prison, and why it is so important for feminists and, at the same time, so problematic to valorise it.

Silvia Federici
Caliban and the Witch

werewolf girl comes back

March 13, 2019

i am carving this wolf from my body
but he is not leaving
i am tearing open my limbs
leaving gaps large enough for him to fit through
but he is not leaving
why return to the cold
when you are still hungry
why leave a carcass
when there is still something to be devoured?

sarah kate

in east texas, i learned that my body
is less girl and more elephant graveyard.
here, i am the back pages of a history book;
i am a cathedral of almost-lovers.
welcome.
i am where you go to abandon your dying.
it will be like kissing, just not as violent.
come here to bury your dead.
all that aching must be heavy—i’ll carry it.
i have always been beast of burden:
pack animal.
buy a family plot behind my ribcage.
lay three generations of not good enough
down to rest.
you can love me like a slot machine, here.
shove yourself inside for the chance
of getting poetry out of it.
i can be lucky sevens, i can be anything.
i can be the first bar you got drunk in.
i can be a stomping ground for old lovers
who only loved the parts of me they could put their fingers in.
i’ll be the sycamore behind the high school soccer field
and they’ll carve their names in me with the stems
of broken wine glasses and call it love.
i can unlearn photosynthesis while they
drink fireball whiskey and tell stories of how
bad
i wanted to be touched.
yeah. i wanted to be touched.
guess my soda fountain heart was bad at being a wishing well;
all those copper pennies only ever tasted like blood.
and hope tastes like arcade fodder. it tastes
like the bottom of a mason jar.
does it even count making wishes in cities
too bright to have stars?
bodies are supposed to be temples, right?
well i sure did ransack mine good.
in my defence, marble is marble and stone is stone.
in my defence, nobody ever taught me that i could be holy.
in my defence,
wine coolers in texas summer can taste like praying
if you hold your mouth right.
so i’m the graveyard and not the dead.
forget this bone business and
for god’s sake, just let me live.
my body is a temple,
and my gods
drink vodka and gin.

Ashe Vernon

temple

January 6, 2019

My body is like a temple. Well, more like a Catholic church. Full of wine and bread. And guilt –

the shape of the universe

November 6, 2018

Jesus, Jesus he says, but he’s not praying to Jesus, he’s praying to you, not to your body or your face but to that space you hold at the centre, which is the shape of the universe…How does it feel to be a god…?

Margaret Atwood
Worship
from Murder in the dark

the birds of desire

November 6, 2018

She was like a forest, like the dark interlacing of the oakwood, humming inaudibly with myriad unfolding buds. Meanwhile the birds of desire were asleep in the vast interlaced intricacy of her body.

D. H. Lawrence
Lady Chatterley’s Lover