C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

Salamat for Intersectionality; Post-apocalyptic; They Call It “LGBT Family Building”

By: Dani Putney


Salamat for Intersectionality

I’m not growing into a Man

under indigo sky, on saffron fields.

My swamp hemolymph perspires through Cebuano skin:

thick and brown, pliable and brown.

Manure-rich air depresses my joints,

supple as the wrist-flicks of white Man signatures

of 1776, of iced black –not green– tea, of Ben Franklin orgies.

I’m not patriotically un-Man,

just orient-ally brown, un-human.

My teeth are whiter than mold that dampens

my carcass, litter on a saffron field under indigo sky.

What remains is gelatinous, un-human scat

mixed with cow pats

+ Bud Light + Cattleman.

I’m not the pioneer un-Woman

nor the Cebuana manic pixie dream girl.

My closest relative is Kafka—

we bleed kaleidoscopes, scare cow(Men), repel suburbia.

Our faces don’t read West-East, M-F.

Man buries us in mud, smiles,

says God bless America.




Post-apocalyptic


1.

I wake among eviscerated liver-kidney-rectum,

wipe eyes with hemoglobin knuckles,

smile for the bile of yesterday’s

survival. Another romp

through our queer hellscape.

2.

My body thrives in our world’s transition

from falling apart to long gone—

I’m the interstice,

the guy or gal in Prada combat boots

and one-piece death dress.

3.

The infected come, come, cum

as I chop through necklines,

splatter Z-positive gunk on limb-ridden beds.

My comrades—partners in flux—

laugh at our slaughterhouse.

4.

Agender Ray and androgynous Jay

don’t know the power of our waste land.

I want to twist and shout every time

we kill among ruins of before:

their corporate reproduction.

5.

Comrades become

frozen fingertips, unshaven faces, flattened bellies:

O barely anything lives.

We own our bones here.




They Call It “LGBT Family Building”

You squeeze my slick palm,

we walk into our first consultation.

I’ve never thought myself a sweaty person—

bless my mother’s East Asian genes—

don’t worry, you interject.

I weakly offer my thanks-

but-that-doesn’t-fix-anything smile.

We’re just looking at our options,

your lips graze. This kiss,

it makes me think I want to marry you,

even though you saw me frown

too many times at your friend’s Big Fat

Irish Wedding, listened to me curse

assimilation during Queer Eye binges,

our legs entwined like couch sardines.

              Last night I prayed to a nameless creator,

              begged Them to make me infertile.

              50 percent chance of failure, I thought.

You first, straight shooter.

I hand you a checklist of pre-existing conditions.

Your eyes crack, not unlike

teary crows that flock

when you wrestle with favorite nephew

on our pit bull–trodden carpet,

erupt into action-figure Chautauquas,

gunfire and victory speeches,

succumb to requests to play video games,

pretty please, Uncle.

We sign the patient consent form.

              I’d rather become the alien in our home

              than war with a phantom.




Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, Asian American poet exploring the West. Their poetry most recently appears or is forthcoming in The Blue Mountain Review, Juke Joint Magazine, and trampset, among other publications. Presently, they're infiltrating a small conservative town in the middle of the Nevada desert.

"In writing this suite of three poems, I tried to capture a sliver of the capacity that exists with queerness. "Salamat for Intersectionality" is a reclamation of the queer monster trope and contemplates what it means to celebrate your monstrosity, whatever that may mean—queer, non-binary, person of color, etc. I often consider myself a grotesque poet because of the vivid—and sometimes flat-out gross—imagery I choose to use, but there's something inherently beautiful about that lens, I think, when it recasts the perceived grotesquerie of the queer experience. "Post-apocalyptic" imagines a genderfluid apocalyptic future where individuals can own their bones, so to speak. I'm often compelled by the apocalypse because of its potential, whether that be for good, bad, or something in between. Why can't the apocalypse be ruled by queers then? My last poem explores queer family building, which is a subject not only relevant to me personally but also many of those around me. There's such a tension when it comes to having a child, especially because of its heteronormative roots. However, it doesn't have to be heteronormative—as queers, we make our families whatever we want, and that's certainly radical in its own right. Still, I don't want children, so it's a struggle to navigate my life when the lives of many people around me include kids. It's complicated, what can I say—but then again, isn't that part of what it means to be queer?"

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