Colette Arrand | Poetry

runner up for the 2018 Poetry Prize judged by Tommy Pico

WHEN MEN REGARD MY BODY

They say, I wouldn’t know
you were trans or, I bet you pass
more often than you think, but never
you’re sexy or I want you. They ask
me what I’m afraid of and I say
my body……………………………in space,
like it’s the thing I’m most aware of,
like it’s an astral body which other
bodies can’t help but be drawn to,
tonight’s Facebook notification
informing me that there’s a meteor
shower of fists that is visible
from this Waffle House I’m drunk in.
Trans women are expected to write
about bathrooms, we get paid
to write about bathrooms like cis men
get paid to write about trans women’s
bodies. Do you understand
what I’m afraid of? Um, the cis man says,
and I disassociate as he goes into this piece
from The New Yorker that he read
about how Seattle is going to fall
into the ocean and how he’s biking more
because he doesn’t want to die like that,
you know, in case he’s in Seattle one day,
as white boys often find themselves
in Seattle. There are sheets of ice
that are thousands of years old, and before
I die, it’s likely that they will break away
from their continent and plunge
into the sea. When cis men say they worry
about dying in the floodwaters of a former
sheet of ice, I think it must be nice, the privilege
that allows a cis man to worry about drowning
rather than the violence of his people. I’ve had it
with the concern of cis men, the men, we need
to do better of cis men who have nothing to lose
in doing better—for better or worse,
they’ll drown in some flood. There are cis men
who say topple the patriarchy and there are tv producers
who say the same, but when a trans woman says
they’ve been harassed by their cis male co-star
it’s like the patriarchy is a system that exists
so that everybody can enjoy the first
two seasons of Arrested Development
without feeling bad about trans women.
I have to tell the cis man whose cock
I’m interested in sucking these things
because he wants to get to know me.
He doesn’t like when I call myself a fat
faggot because he doesn’t like the idea
of sleeping with a man. But I am fat
and I am a faggot, and I am more comfortable
in these words than I am in my own skin.
Fat Faggot, words I can swallow
like a fistful of honey. Words I can swallow
the way I can swallow a man’s fist.
There’s a villain in Marvel Comics
who does this, but they call the things he swallows
“planets” and “stars,” because of course
the gigantic space faggot exists to destroy worlds.
What a reputation to have, like being given
the title “The Blow Job Queen of Hollywood,”
which was something I aspired to until I learned
that Nancy Reagan was the Blow Job Queen
of Hollywood. She earned it, but me? The cis men
I want to go down on won’t reciprocate;
they even object to fisting. One straightens
his tie and says and get shit on my hands?
like his hands are fine china and my asshole
a can of Chef Boyardee. Like he’s never heard
of a shower shot. He asks me what it’s like
being queer and I tell him it’s like weeping
at something indescribably beautiful
and like weeping because you’re tired
and can’t fall asleep. You’re awake
for three days or three months or three years,
time so irrelevant to your body that every minute
bleeds out into an eternity, that your body
is a sheet of ice that is thousands of years old.
When he looks at me I appear much younger,
but I have been waiting for the right moment
to plunge into the sea, to let go of my person and feel
my body melt in the warmth I’ve been denied.

Colette Arrand is the author of Hold Me Gorilla Monsoon (OPO Books & Objects 2017) and the co-editor of The Wanderer. She publishes zines, blogs, and produces podcasts under the Fear of a Ghost Planet banner. She can be found on twitter @colettearrand if you’re looking for some bold takes on pro wrestling and Star Trek.

2018-11-26T18:19:09+00:00