November 19th, 2011


My insecurities, let me show you them


Sometimes I see their shadows on the wall
dancing in flame, or in the flaws in glass.
And envy them, because they have more class
or cuter looks. I am the one that all

the bad things happened to, got raped, grew fat;
had even good things turn to ash and dust.
I lost my loves, I lost my looks, my trust.
And they're the lucky ones who dodged all that.

The ones who kept the girl, perhaps got rich.
And I'm the one who got the poetry
and I'm the one who'll live. Our name will die
in all those other worlds. Call me a bitch

for envy of those women who would kill
to have the gift I have. I hate them still.

One of my saints

Pope Joan

To feel the golden crowns press down upon her head
the three tiaras, and to hold the keys
to heaven and to hell, boldly to seize
command of all the living and the dead

even for weeks, knowing that shame would come
that they would find and kill her, scrub her name
out of the records. It was not for fame
she let it happen, not the slightest crumb

of that would they allow her. It was pride
perhaps, that Joan felt, worthy of the seat
and worthy in god's eyes. She washed the feet
of penitents, for six weeks could decide

the surest path to god, whose finest jest
on men she was. Cursed, martyred, also blest.

A poem for bankers perhaps

Ancien Regime

The Marquis tapped his snuffbox for effect.
'Your majesty,' he said, 'the poor can die
by thousands. Nothing changes. You and I
get ill and die – there's no one to protect

the country's borders; no one to employ
all of our servants -that means they would starve.
Perhaps you've seen how icebergs melt- they calve
into weak fragments. Those who would destroy

all order shatter first our right to rule
with petty quibbles, say we spend too much,
on banquests, rape their wives. To yield to such
weakens us. If you do it, you're a fool.'

Men hanged the Marquis slowly until dead.
Showed mercy to the king, chopped off his head.


When we think of their deaths, talk of their lives;
talk of them walking down the street so proud
with legs yards long, and shouting shit aloud
to their best girlfriends. Not of men with knives

or guns, but women sitting in a bar
or watching television half-asleep
or young trans men pushing a needle deep
into each other's flesh. We live so far

away most of the time from where they die
most of our siblings who we mourn today
there's something false in anything we say
about their deaths. It's more true when we cry.

Because their lives are ours – that saying's true.
They said the things we say, breathed as we do.