UPDATE: 04/17/2021

Hello everyone!

I thought it best to let you all know what’s happening on my end that’s made posting on here difficult. So, here we go!

Firstly, I won’t be sharing poetry on this website anymore. Though the immediate feedback is lovely, I’ve refocused my energy toward getting published. In fact, this new focus has already yielded results; you can see new work from me this fall in both The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and the forthcoming LGBTQ Pride Month Anthology from Quillkeepers’ Press. Also, a selection of my recent poems won USF’s Estelle J. Zbar Poetry Award. Along with the rest of what life in a pandemic brings, my schedule has become unexpectedly full, but in a wholly positive way.

As for TranScriptures, the series will be taking a hiatus. I’m having to rework the format of this project, as I’m hitting emotional roadblocks. Religious trauma in the face of suppressed queer identity finds its way in most of my work. That being said, the bluntness that has come up with this type of writing has overwhelmed me. However, it is not dead, and TranScriptures will be returning with newfound purpose in the future.

Thank you all for your support. I hope you will continue to do so into the future, through name changes, life style shifts, and other such happenings.

Rose

TranScriptures: The Body as a Temple (Where Dysphoria and Dysmorphia Intersect)

CW: explicit details of eating disorders and gender dysphoria

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The first time I purged I was living alone (off the Gates Avenue stop on the J train in Bushwick, Brooklyn). I lived on the fourth floor, in a furnished bedroom with a window facing Bed-Stuy. It started as extreme binging, where I would consume enough food that the only option afterwards was to vomit. The taste of ginger ale, sesame chicken, and bile is still fresh in my palette all these years later.

The last time I purged was this morning.

I am seeking help from mental health professionals and am in a safe environment. However, I find myself at a divide, a place where my eating disorder often lands me. I am at the center of warring identities, as I began formal transition in late October 2020, after coming out a little less than a year prior. As I wrestle with this, I also contend with the fact that I have gained a great bit of weight during quarantine, and with that have awakened dormant feelings of self-directed fatphobia. Therefor, there is not a single aspect of my physical form that I am contented with. It is all a “work in progress”, decidedly dysphoric and dysmorphic in nature. I feel on all levels like an unfinished project, a highway that is always under construction. Spiritually, it is a temple needing maintenance.

It is worth noting that the phrase referring to your body as “a temple” in the Bible is another Paulism. He is using this metaphor to convince believers in Corinth to not engage in sexual deviancy (of which Paul is, suspiciously, a consistent critic). However, in this same verse he highlights that we “are not our own”. We are part of God, and every part of God houses the Holy Spirit. There is something to be gleaned from this, as thinking of my body as part of a larger whole does some healing. Thinking outside of yourself can be a way toward indirect self-love.

It is always worth noting that my temple is that of a queer woman, it is overweight, it is an addict, and it is loved. In small ways, that will in all hope become grander, I am reopening my temple. Bulimia arrives when control feels impossible. Perhaps the knowledge that we are life experiencing humanity (and not the other way around) may be enough to help me better trust myself again. Maybe not, but I’m happy to still be here to posit the possibility.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
– 1 Corinthians 6:19 (King James Version)

Patchouli, Sage, & Melting Nuns

God has no place in this pyre,
this combustible funeral scene,
surrounded by empty, leaky sockets
from inside frozen, waxen faces.

We are crying together, aware
by some third eye or premonition
that this is the last time for forever
we will manifest as a phantom pain,

as one sobbing mass, the leftovers
of our supposed trespasses, trauma
bonded at the hip and the heart,
wholly alone; some worn-out queers

confusing obligation for fate,
reading loosely formed fortunes.

Sky Castles & Fairy Treasure

This is more than a music box,
more than a key shaped USB,
and more than a video game.

This is flittering fantasy wings
carrying you and I skyward,
harps playing Type O Negative.

This is a marriage imagined,
a cardboard bowling pin, a piñata
I have since punched a hole through,

and it bursts with wishes, revelations,
an end, a poem never read, a Christmas
present that has long since passed.

Consumption

The gut is a cavern, a space
opera in an amphitheater, its stars
flicker dimly, illuminate an audience
of crumbs and empty wrappers.

This is high art, drama played
out by experts in physical
performance, Grotowski made
gluttonous, poor no more.

This stage only runs on matinees
and the curtain never closes,
ensuring a lethargic audience
and overworked players,

all with wide, dinner plate eyes,
watching on, ready for the rest.

a hopeless kind of reinvention

There are no homes where I am safe
from my own jawline. With every word
I highlight a sharp turn toward
a presumed masculine edge.

I twirl a tuft of hair which plumes
from my thighs, pull them taut,
then release, watch them cling
to my side as a reminder

that the Frankenstein’s monster
I want to make of myself
is at odds with the idea of a living
death, though death alone will do.

I feel as though another name
is calling from the center of my chest,
though my mind may assume that
is a joke I’ll make strangers tell me.

UPDATE: 01/05/2021

Hello all! Long time no see. Here’s a quick update as to what to look forward to this new year. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus due to some mental health issues, but I’m making the commitment now to post regularly this year. Anyway, here are my projects on the docket:

First, poetry. As is to be expected, I have a lot of poetry that will be finding its way onto this page soon. Additionally, though, I also have a digital chapbook in the works, so look forward to that as well. The subject is a bit of undertaking, but I’m excited to share it with you all. Updates on its progress will be posted frequently.

Also, thank you for all your responses to the first installment of TranScriptures. I want the series to extend beyond devotionals, incorporating interviews and more in depth studies in relation to faith as a whole. I hope you find them well. The next piece will be coming out Wednesday, January 13th.

Beyond that, I’m just trying to navigate life through this pandemic. As we’re being inundated with diet advertisements and weight loss obsessive declarations, I’ve been especially judgmental toward my body. So I say this as much to myself as I do you: thank you for being here. The truly remarkable result of this whole diseased era is that you remain with us, regardless of what drives you. Everything else is just scatterbrained noise garbage.

Stay safe, stay with us, and I’ll see you tomorrow.

Best Regards,

Sean

Pollination

Our eyes flit and flutter, 
becoming a hive mind through separate bees. 
We are kept, we are one, as men 
run their fingers through our combs.
Neither them nor bears frighten us.
We shake their hands full of honey.
We are the swarm, the buzz 
beneath their surface, and each other’s queens.

Catching Fly

Fly catches the Q Train,
but before that,
underneath a honey bourbon sky,
he spies a girl on the way to spin class.
She asks for cab fare.
Fly obliges.
Bye bye, lady.

Fly catches the M Train,
and he washes a tomato
with a Coca-Cola soaked rag
torn from his shirt.
He takes a bite,
and seed spills on his pants.

Fly catches the F Train,
and after that he rushes
to embrace a woman
solving a jigsaw puzzle 
on a scattered cross street.

And Fly always catches the 6 train,
just in the nick of time,
but at the last stop
his now clipped wings
cannot carry him home
the rest of the way
to wherever he came from
when once they spread.