Sleeping Hermaphroditus

Emmet Klaseus

The Louvre was breathtaking
So many masterpieces in one space
So many people

Sleeping Hermaphroditus
Stuck out to me the most
It is a life-sized marble sculpture
The son of Hermes and Aphrodite

He was lying on his right side
Left knee bent and head facing away from his abdomen
His face and hair were feminine with a voluptuous body and breasts
His back was to us and facing the wall was his flaccid penis

The others snickered at the statue’s androgyny
I was enthralled

My tour guide explained how he used to be displayed in the center of the room
Where he could be seen from all sides
Until adults said a group of school children were confused by him
So he was banished to the corner
With hopes passersby would think he was only a woman

Isn’t that how it always is?
Someone different comes along
People don’t understand
They get scared
Diminish the newcomer’s existence
Until they either fit in or disappear completely

I saw a sculpture of someone similar to myself from the 1600s
That was purposefully pushed to the side
But it could have been worse
The museum could have taken out the statue completely
Could have destroyed it even

People like me are dying, have died and will continue to die
As long as others keep pretending we don’t exist
Or worst call us monsters
People like me have history
It is messy, dark, and beautifully complex
Just like everyone else’s
It deserves to be seen

Human or Monster

Ray Boone

Human or monster, is what the question seems to be
What is lurking, what is showing, what is hiding in me

In the first half the day, my wife is a person
But as evening approaches, her statute seems uncertain

Sometimes when I’m with her, her form starts to shape
Her eyes turn yellow and I fear she’s a snake

She says to me: “But you are the same,
I will say who you are, before you continue to defame

Your face is unsightly, your neck has teeth
Sometimes when you’re angry, I seem like something to eat

The holes in the wall are what your talons will make me
Lest I bow to your will and succumb on my knees

Monster or man, is the question you claim
But when you ask me, I say they are one and the same”

I disgrace my horrid wife as she spits me out
From the fangs she doesn’t know hide in her mouth

Villainous me, oh yes I agree
But blameless is nothing I ascribe to she

My fist may have punched the first hole in the wall
Yet she decides to forget the stairs which she made me fall

We both are humans in the day and creatures in the night
We are pleasant to each other until we start to fight

Sharing My Poems for the First Time

Emmet Klaseus

I reach deep inside myself and rip out my
Still
Beating
Heart
I look away as I hold it up to you
Embarrassed by the bloody mass cupped in my hands
A mess quickly pooling at my feet
You called it beautiful
I whipped my head back and stare down at it
It looks like a dissection done by a failing biology student
It looks like it belongs on the side of the road after being hit again and again
It looks
Like how I feel
But when I look up at you I see love in your eyes
And I want to scream
Your supposed to be horrified
You’re supposed to be disgusted
You’re supposed to leave
Instead you’re holding me
I don’t know when that happened
My eyes are wet with tears
I don’t remember that either
You tell me it will be alright
I’m not sure if I believe you

et al

Casper Sullivan

tuft-tuft toothy tumble,
the animal’s gullet ever-rumble.
switch in hand and fire on wick,
against its flank a beatin’ stick.
daw-daw claw and maw,
a’other jab to its willow-whipped flank,
and as indemnity, a’other ship sank,
ne’er there be a beast with so many’a tamer—
life’s lion,
the generation-blamer.

Poetry King

Alexandria Kayce

I need to get this written. It’s for an assignment. Why do I have to be so bad at poetry?! I need to get this done.

“Whatcha doing?” I look up at my friend and he smiles down at me.

“Trying to write a zappai.” I tell him, going back to counting the syllables. Why is this hard?

“Ooo fun! I love zappais!” He exclaims, sitting down across from me and picking up a pen. He starts writing… and he has five zappais in no time. “This is so much fun!”

I am not good at poetry. I glare at him, and go back to writing my ONE zappai. He peers over at it.

“That’s wrong. You have one too many syllables on the top line.” He points out. I grit my teeth. Why am I so bad?! I go back and fix it.

“That’s still wrong.” He tells me, going back over and writing the top line how he would write it. He had the right amount of syllables. I huff.

“Let me try again.” I try over and over again, and I’m always one syllable off. My friend has started to talk to me in zappais. He can count the syllables without even thinking.

“Leave me be, Poetry King!” I shout, storming out of the library. He is the poetry king and I am not good at poetry.

Poem about Nothing

Emmet Klaseus

Waking up next to a space where your lover used to lay
It still smells like them
Fabric softener mixed with warmth and a tinge of sweat
It is a southern summer of course

The window is open and a fan on
A thin breeze blows past you
Wiping the sleep from your eyes
You wonder out of the bedroom and into the kitchen

There they are
Pouring a bowl of cereal
In nothing but boxers and a white t-shirt
You stare

Realizing you can look at them doing the most mundane things
and think they are anything but ordinary
You swear the sun shines out their skin and their smile glows soft as the moon

They look up at you, smirk
Ask “What are you looking at?”
“You” you respond earnestly
They smile, blush and return their gaze to their cereal

Odds are you are straight
Odds are your partner is straight
Odds are neither of you are transgender
Because of this your morning feels ordinary
Almost insignificant

For people who are queer
Loving someone is an act of rebellion
Against all the people who told them
“You’ll never find someone to love you”

You are so lucky
To be with your lover without fear of being ostracized, imprisoned or killed
To be yourself loudly and proudly.
How does it feel?
It’s all I’ve ever wanted

Retail

Ray Boone

Why should I have to be a machine?
The last customer in line must think I’m animatronic
Another expired coupon, it’s not even a deal from my store
Common sense earns me eyerolls from the customer who follows me after I clock out

She glares at me in the bathroom
As if it’s my fault she’s in hell
But my will doesn’t bend to her
My body and tongue may succumb to those like her in the morning
But at 5pm I flow with my own sea

“Yes, ma’am,” I turn to her and say
“Retail employees have to use the bathroom too”