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3 poems by Torrin A. Greathouse – The Feminist Wire

3 poems by Torrin A. Greathouse

Definitions

after Keaton St. Micheal

 

BOY

 

/boi/

 

noun

 

  1. dirt stained palms & tar black feet. the soft prayer-mat of

bloody knees & eyes swollen a brighter shade of red from
holding tears like pebbles, tight in the fist.

 

  1. sharp teeth & broken nails. taught to fix everything that does

not bleed & hunt anything that does. beast, bird, other boy, but

most of all woman. taught lover & victim are closer than

synonyms—or sisters.

 

  1. you were taught this word like a second name. sharp sound like
    metal on skin, the sound of knives muttering an oath. boys only
    hold hands when there is blood to divide them, only pick
    flowers to strip them bare, only love their bodies for all the
    hard edges, only what they can make a weapon.

 

 

GIRL

 

/gərl/

 

noun

 

  1. crushed velvet & lace, flower stems curled like fingertips,

into a crooked crown. petal scented skin. shin carved with a
pale razor mark, as infant hairs break the surface.

 

  1. you have been taught for so long to grow like this, that
    your tongue has tread itself into an open field. every part of you
    —flower. your skin meant to blossom carnation, body meant to
    spread like petals and split like summer fruit.

 

  1. it is always girl who cries & always boy who cries wolf, till no

one will believe him. no one believed girl in the first place, so

she learned to cry fire. there is more safety in the mouth of
flame than man, or beast. after all, both of these are just hungry
things looking to consume her.

 

 

A Reminder

 

loving—sometimes—feels a lot like making peace with pain /

making peace / with the person that we call home /

 

some days i hear woman & think of all the things /

i will never be able to be /

 

heartbeat / a funeral pyre / in the flat plain of my chest /

i will always wonder if strangers see the burning /

 

the embers i have pressed to my lips /

& the ash that blooms from my eyes /

 

if they see the beauty in a fire / or only scorched earth /

that is this body / when neither man / nor woman /

blossoms from their tongue /

 

they speak my body into man—flame /

or woman—the fuel it consumes / to be anything else

is only to be the cinders / left drifting on the wind /

 

but woman is only as much fuel as it is forest / roots driven deep /

because woman is the strongest part of me /

 

when I hear the word woman it reminds me /

that I have a lot of growing to do //


The First Time I was Catcalled

 

i was catcalled             as a girl //

six foot tall / size two skinny jeans / cut tourniquet tight /

against my slender frame / & hair hanging down

past the curve of my waist / how could he be blamed? //

 

when i turned around [foolish enough to smile]

he proved his masculinity was only as fragile / as my boy face

lip split / canyon wide / blood making a halo on each of my teeth /

making rivers over my chin / & rorschach on the concrete //

 

school security looking the other way /

for the first time / i understood why women are so afraid //

 

after all / wasn’t i asking for it? /

dressing up like a target          or a woman /

as if to him they were any different //

 

before i was the boy he beat / like a side of beef /

hung from a warehouse ceiling / i was just another

piece of meat / to be consumed //

 

i still remember looking up at his face / the way his lips curved /

up at the edges like a meat hook / the way his eyes

flourished like a swarm of flies / at the scent of blood //

 

it took me years / to put back on these clothes /

to call myself anything but him / to undress myself

of this borrowed wolves clothing //

 

it’s so simple to forget / how easily i have become /

both meat & hook / deer & headlight / wolf & sheep //

 

but if you tell me that catcalling / is not an act of violence /

i will remind you that wolves howl / to signal their pack to prey //

**

Torrin_Greathouse-greathouse_biopic

Torrin A. Greathouse is a queer, non-binary poet from Southern California, and a Co-Founder of Black Napkin Press. Their work has been published or is upcoming in Rust + Moth, Chiron Review, VerseWrights, and Caliban Online. Their first full length collection “In Search of Stray Gods,” is upcoming this year.

 

1 Comment

  1. Ariel

    July 27, 2016 at 2:03 am

    IAA (innovative and awesome!)