While you were gone
i slept on your side of the bed
i climbed the stairs backward
i stood on the porch and howled at an absent moon
with your panties on
the red ones which i then
put neatly away
Bottles clustered like bowling pins
dishes piled like buildings
i took them down with terrorist finesse
a perfect strike
I kept the ball-peen hammer in the freezer
i chased squirrels from the yard
i consulted runes
rued the result
i scared ghosts from our pantry
got drunk three times and
ate blackeye peas and gruel and bratwurst with honey mustard
i thought 72 immoral and lewd unlawful acts
committing several without even trying
i masturbated using only my left hand
i bathed in mayonnaise
i found your diary and your dildo
i couldn’t help myself
i read your dildo
but i did not insert your diary
somethings cannot be
with you gone
i feel i know you better
than when you are here
I know too much about you already
“While you were gone” is reprinted from Four Corners.
Larry Crist has lived in Seattle for 20 years and is originally from California, specifically Humboldt County. He has also lived in Chicago, Houston, London, and Philadelphia where he attended Temple U receiving an MFA in theatre. He’s been widely published. Some of his favorites are Pearl, Rattle, Slipstream, Evening Street Review, Dos Passos Review, Alimentum, Floating Bridge Press, and Clover. He was a 2013 Jack Straw writer.
My identity is the abandoned house
to tell frightening stories about.
I know which ones they believe.
My identity is a black joke on Father’s Day
a ghetto butterfly in the suburbs
a porn studio
is not a window
I stopped looking at
others in order to understand
I am a bearded woman
a mid life crisis
a body bag
a place to dispose all of my dead weight.
I am an unkept bedroom.
I know where everything is.
I am trying to be as fluid as word
I want my character to be
rearranged and made better.
I am a poet.
I write to make love to my existence.
I am an old folks home.
There are war stories in my make up.
Sometimes I grow tired of fighting.
I am an antediluvian breath who
can hardly hold themself in.
I spend so much time thinking about
I forget to thank ancestors who
drink heartache like wine.
I am twenty,
and I am trying to understand my place in
this world so I document the person
my sadness makes me.
When I believed I did not have a right
I stopped writing about what I
I wasn’t the person I wanted to be
so I evolved
became someone who wasn’t as
near as then.
I am unlearning all of the selves
who have been created for me.
I am trying to be my own god.
I don’t want someone else to take credit for saving me.
A self-described “gender fluid person,” Amethyst Dauphin was part of a slam poetry team preparing to represent Seattle at Brave New Voices, an international poetry festival. Dauphin aims to document the path taken to understand their gender, and reflects a deep regard for language rooted in the experience of growing up in a household where English, Spanish, French and Creole were spoken on a daily basis. Dauphin is a teaching artist, and has performed with Kwame Dawes, Rafael Casal and Buddy Wakefield, as well as Seattle-area musicians.
To judge by outer detail is frail n will fail most don’t see souls so I close my eyes n sail through my dreams connecting to different galaxies to me complexities appear simply split personalities make me learn quickly the downside though is the same thing that I love hurts me, the same I love hurts me, what hurts me I love why I question why, look up in the sky see one figure holding my heart n see numerous ones holding the broken side, god is here, god is here but something in me loves these devils inside.. Soon as I get the first opportunity to escape I will ….see my people killin ourselves everyday off the alcohol n pills… I wish I could tell y’all it’s a movie but This ish is real….lemme show you how danger feels don’t get addicted to the thrill….. Sounds entertainin looking into our lives but this pain n sinnin is never endin man I ain’t pretending… Lemme take you to the beginning…. Young bucks down on they luck drinking in smokin before the age of thirteen where in the world did life get so mean we used to be running around playing now pay attention to what I’m sayin……last night there was partying n wildin come home from school flirting with the girls smiling ….enter the room yo mommas eyes black n blue the violence is constant man why she stickin with this fool…swear when I’m bigger imma pay him back frustrated as hell no time to relax… Oh no they on a binge sneak out the window go stay at your bestfriends… Next mornin same thing again all the adults past out see the drugs in the syringe…man I’m starving no food in the cabinet… So you start to steal n that becomes a bad habit…so now your stealing got the feeling it’s easy thinking you made a big score… So you give money to your older homies to get as much from the alcohol store…drink till you poor.. It’s surprising you Not realizing your doing the same thing your tryna hide from…life goes by life goes by damn now you gotta son! Who with… who with? The girl you used to love now you only refer to her as a bitch! Wasnt you just innocent?? Now look at him you don’t care bout buyin diapers you’d rather get high huh? Now watch the cycle begin! I hope he escape though I hope he escape though find someone beautiful n be faithful work hard so the innocent won’t turn fatal..
john defuca writes, “My name is John Robert Pritchard III, however I am one of those guys with a million nicknames. I am grateful to be labeled a Makah, I love my culture deeply. Anywhere I go in the world, I know only I will know my language, songs, and dances. My dream is to see the world and witness others perform theirs. I fight for what I believe in, whether I’m right or I am wrong; it’s going to be righteous in my spirit so may the lord forgive me. Don’t place myself above or below anybody, ultimately I believe in equality. That’s impossible to most but scientists could tell you stars are just dead rocks however they are still beautiful to me. Muhammid Ali hands down is my influence on performing slam poetry. Too many words to explain why, I am always amazed of how strong he speaks and stands alone because a lot of people are scared to speak their truth. I am not, I had a rough childhood. I never play the victim role, it made me who I am. Only thing I despise are cowards, God bless.”