[from ‘winter: fish (swallows)’] like a small creature take me out of myself i will ask it of you, a bruised hangnail a laboring moody i[a moody creature]will drive you back and forth out of yourself if you want in the morning \you can ask me your dreams ; i will lower myself into myself a highway with a single car in it, i will take long drives at night on a whim with the wind pick up a book and let it fall open arrest a wonder, a //desire will hitch myself up taste a calyx your angled sweat your honey [forehead or on the small of your back] do you disenchant yourself also ? as you wander from dampness do you ache at the wandering or at the damp and if you leave me a pair of orchids behind i am tough, i can take it. it is a slow spider in me with big legs and a purple body, spot colors of the clouds setting of the shape of the clouds existing as both one +the other i will get good at getting up if that is what you need , i have already picked the fishbones from my teeth i will get good at binding myself, at the clouds going green at looking in the mirror bearing witness
¹ selfportait on a highway, selfportait w/out self
TRANS HIGHWAY 412
[from ‘interlude’] so drives across the country all alone they thinks a lot more about gender than anything else like else there are always those eyes ]u know the eyes eyes look eyes trying to make out from curves i am trying to hide what eyes look when i am, eyes carry more heat sweatsoak everything slowly drip off i’d go in a bathroomLADIES in d.c. wearing a binder and eyes sideways sideways eyes i’d go in a stall + squeeze myself out i’d exit and feel like an entranceTITS in new cities i just let myself be erased to maybe apologize for existence , as self + in situ MISS knoxville, tn: 1-minute miss for $3 best fried chicken drive-thru i’ve ever had miss drove thru too afraid to get out looking half a boy with my house on my chest going home o i am settling into that inner they that ‘when i was all alone’ that they as movement forward that gendered bathroom again :hard eyes soft eyes double-take cigarette boy double-take cigarette girl not be part of it anymore being the only constant getting used to kid they for the long haul this purple bloomy stain who can’t do anything for herself not being part of a chore being in my chest make a gerund out of body how to slide off the highway + wash my hands of myself, how no one else even knows where i am how no one knows the movement of my body see there is freedom in this thing how to do it when i felt it in situ in who knows where i am but it looks like oklahoma or virginia in nashville at the top of kissing hill + kiss the cactus falling down there, didn’t take a picture to send to mom there, tulsa got me drunk + i kept looking tulsa looking eyes looking down at myself looking at the eyes in the mirror in tulsa looking at the fireflies climbed looking up kissing hill looked back at brittle snow + kissing under wash myself + pray + wash myself + drive again be louder than it stretched in front of me the rain stop + u don’t see another car in hours lonely kid pee off the side of highway 412 stretches ways out towards nowhere stretches forever out towards nowhere lonely kid hold the wheel , squat +arrive at gender moving towards it lonely kid move towards
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
maia vlcek (theythem; gemini sun, virgo moon, gemini rising) is a chronically ill trans griefpoet from western massachusetts. their poetry takes many forms and they work in many mediums, including photography, letterpress + printmaking, sculpture, sound, + bookmaking. they are especially interested in the selfportait and in ways of seeing the self. (you can find the music they make as ‘alls’ at soundcloud.com/allsups or on twitter @allsupscowboy.) they spend most of their time driving or in motion, for now between santa fe, nm + oakland, ca. maia briefly attended st. john’s college in santa fe + more recently earned a BA in literature from mills college after writing a love letter to melville’s moby-dick; or, the whale. their work has been published in sage persing’s how to wait: an anthology of transition and exhibited at the growlery in san francisco. often they are picking their skin or translating sappho. they are trying to figure out how movement forward relates to gas stations and also transness and also loss and also desire. there are a lot of words moving around inside them. sometimes the words look like fish, sometimes like eggs.
ABOUT THE MANUSCRIPT
this thing is a tender work of poetry and grieftheory. it grew out of cavernous loss, upheaval, and encounters. its purpose is to write from the inside of grief instead of about it or around it. this has required some movement of self, of language, + of body. (fortunately, grief requires some movement of these things also.) in the middle of loss language collapses. what is left is stutterings, symbols, motion. what is left is what the body remembers and the places in it where loss lives. punctuation stumbles. the body is a home for collapse, and in collapse there is motion. holding it still will make it into another thing. it is at home in the act of collapse (which is the act of encounter).
there are four seasons to this thing (winter, spring, summer, and fall), and two main voices (the fish and the egg). there are four verbs (swallowing, getting born, driving, and picking), a few selfportaits, bits of sappho (as translated thru a dirty window), and enough of motion sickness.
in motion there is transness. this body is a vehicle for transness; later, driving in the vehicle, the body moves forward. (that is, ‘transience,’ ‘transcendence,’ ‘transportation,’ ‘translate.’) it is hard to see the body even when looking closely. none of this can be linear. the vehicle is a vehicle for transness: the body is a vehicle for grief, and waits until grief opens it up and moves it forward. this thing is: while driving, considering the loss of what loves, considering its return and the subsequent time, passes; transition, considering falling down the stairs and receiving a bruise at the bottom.