3 poems by Trish Salah – The Feminist Wire

3 poems by Trish Salah

notes toward dropping out                (March 1995)


This is where I ceased—

Not to be too obvious,

or in

mutation, or distilled, transmogrification


Beauty queens don’t do so well in grad school.

Even if every body wants one

When you assume the shape, austere, assume anything.


Thing it, sister, thing itself, thing it loud to last your girl

Black Lips Cool and Quelled


In the ‘90s every white body wants a theory for becoming, other.

Don’t let D & G fool you, nobody wants one to become other.

Even if Saturday Night at the Pyramid, BoyBar, ClitClub or

just hanging out


If you want or do become other, it will be needling

you will be false-ly accused, charged with falsified access to a rare and dangerous



designed by I, Desire

grooming rumours and splitting mythoi

like rage and glass, sick with genre

for fun fun fun

not likely.


Nobody wants to become nobody.

And authentically so, they fear.


What if y = just being

Yours sincerely

Yours truly

Yours until the very end of days

Yourself? Being, as k. would say, “an edge predicament”

?    Beloved, in Kind.


There are two kinds of people in this world,

binary and

non-binary, or

Suppose we did say we were a third then that were a word for

capping it off, or anything more than

the tyranny of the couple, or

Momma and Baby and Daddy makes

moon enough and time…


There are two kinds of love in this world

Narcissistic and Anaclitic, or

Ana can’t get over how dependent upon

Narcissus she’s become lonesome after all these years.


Love to love you, baby, in theory

but     say you do get out of this library, theory, club,

how are you gonna make it North of the Wall again?


There is a cabin in the woods, a secret way,

a drunken ruse         time untravelled       stolen back


So, Mummers and co… children, etc…. Arty or Sexy, etc…

Abandoning Incest and Deconstruction no more than your God


If you are on the moon, or off the moon?

             If you are seeking a body or displaying one

run off dreaming carny, corny and carnal


Still no body wants to become no body.

Remember that when you are discovered

in all your figura

borders of the Real, surrounded

clashing arms and legs

even sleep is aching with it


while Glory bathes our moon with massacre.


Aloysius, stenographer



I will draw you in by breathing

I don’t like the way you dress

I am lost to the deep water

She said, go unto the people.

                                                                        My problem with literalization, getting drunk at Rob’s house in the woods means

I must want you. It doesn’t help

 you strip me bare, give me instructions,

but really it is just the echo of the townships

Put on a pretty dress and sexy

Breathe into my mouth a murmur

Heart it with your chelo sexy

And purple scrawl along her drawls.

To the extent that the triangle

is a repeating animal or you

took me violently or I invented you

(and you) missing you as a result

death is a slow cooker.

Thighs chalky and chunky and splayed

Tongued ringed and irritated sprouts

Hallmarks of a dragon torpor, Aloysius

In my life I loved them all.


Land Day (March 30, 1976)


The government said “Security and settlement” and called curfew

for Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Henna, Tamra, Tu’ran, Kabul

sent in 4000 police and the IDF…

Ysrael Koenig advised they “cement long term Jewish national interests” and “examine the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.”


Without land,

and your fear, you are not you

robbed of your face, spirit

and in no place to lie down, how

to turn, rise,

fly upon the moment?

We all want to be light

Know light’s plummet

Lose ground.


This is to come to land.


If a child is a land you may not own,

If this child is called Impossible morning

If our histories make us lie,

If down

If, in home, blood soaked


Too many trampled and trampling feet

too many laws bulldozers soldiers laws bulldozers

crowd where your house,

your olive, fig or lemon trees should grow.


How might you live, if you do not take back the land?

You may not own, but for land, they mass.

It is a word stolen.



Trish SalahTrish Salah’s recent writing appears in the journals Feminist StudiesJournal of Medical HumanitiesNo More PotlucksThe Volta/Evening Will Come, and in the anthologies Féminismes électriques, Sexing the Maple: A Canadian Sourcebook, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. In support of her research on the emergence of Transgender Minor/ity Literatures, Salah has been awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Grant. She is co-editor of a special issue of TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly on cultural production, which is due out in 2014, as is her new book of poetry, Lyric Sexology, Vol. 1. Her first book, Wanting in Arabic (TSAR 2002) was reissued in a new edition this fall (2013). She is assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg.