We are excited to share poetry by Wren Hanks and Tracy Mishkin, whose chapbooks have been selected by editor Kiki Petrosino for inclusion in the Mineral Point Poetry Series this fall. Wren Hanks’s The Rise of Genderqueer will be available August 14, and Tracy Mishkin’s This Is Still Life releases September 18.
Poems by Wren Hanks
from The Rise of Genderqueer
Dear Daddy Pence, A List of My Luminous Indiscretions
It’s her mouth on my cock in a unisex bar stall / my hand squeezing his cock under the greasy table / it’s my girlfriend on the marble countertop / while I’m breaking a wooden spoon / against her ass / Daddy, it’s me in a car / at 16 / convincing a Catholic boy / to put his hands on my breasts / it’s that you think / I’m a dyke / when you see my shaved head / like definitions / will protect anyone / from me / Daddy, I’m coming / for your daughters / I’m coming for your sons / coming for the dog whistle genders / in between / perhaps I am / the dog whistle / in between / Daddy Pence / don’t wait up
Dear Daddy Pence, meet me at Olive Garden
We’ll compare notes on nuptial bliss / on nights staring at Seven of Nine’s tits / while our wives drink reasonable / thimbles of wine / on ironing shirts / (tomatoes off the vine, Daddy, / and garlic bread too) / on spitting our Crest into those sinks / rimmed / with cat hair / I’ll take your hand / and ask you how long it’s been / really / since one look / at a man’s / brought your pulse up / I know the answer, already, Daddy / It’s the camera-ready red / this soldier’s aiming for
Daddy Pence, when you kiss your wife is it like
stars and stripes / your tongue an eagle’s wing / no wait a talon / do you make her mute, daddy / the way you wanna make me / a silent statistic / de-transitioned with those / chewable / bubblegums hips / Daddy, were you ever / the beauty / on someone’s bed / have you ever been / a fucking object
Wren Hanks is the author of Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press) and Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press). A 2016 Lambda Emerging Writers Fellow, his recent work appears in Best New Poets 2016, Foglifter, Jellyfish Magazine, The Wanderer, and elsewhere. He is an associate editor for Sundress Publications and co-edited Curious Specimens, an anthology of the strange and uncanny. His third chapbook, gar child, is forthcoming from Tree Light Books. He lives in Brooklyn, and you can find him on twitter @suitofscales.
Poems by Tracy Mishkin
from This Is Still Life
The Deadweight Machine
As if a tectonic shift has dumped a mountain on his chest, my husband slumps in the easy chair. Five weeks until the homeowners insurance drops us, stacks of useful junk around the yard. The deadweight machine measures how you hold up against tension and compression.
When he begins to snore like Rip Van Winkle, I imagine an organic grocer’s typo has created a display of orgasmic blueberries. I eat them all without paying. A man in a green apron restocks the shelves with tender hands.
Before the war, people weighed beginning again in a new language against the coming storm. Every time I think of leaving, he catches a death rattle in my car, stops the house from flooding, sweet-talks a raccoon out the kitchen door.
This is Still Life
The house has a fresh coat of pain. Screwdriver and utility knife abandoned on the bed. Drawers choked with plastic forks. Receipts, seeds, and batteries. Needles, carpet tacks, an open blade. Red string streaming from cabinets—the battle flag of a man who throws nothing away.
I should have split when I first saw his apartment, crammed with power tools and old TVs. Barely space to sleep. But we weren’t sleeping, we were burning. Falling. More room in my heart for crazy than I knew.
My mother knows I’d rather get wet than wait. She warns me not to fight to reach the items on the highest shelf. Lightning isn’t fair, she says. Arugula doesn’t make it healthy. When you need a Phillips, all you find are flatheads. She calls my house memento mori: orchids, bonsai, sun-bleached boards.
After the yellow tape and the dark blood, after the wallet with our family photos is released, after three days of paid bereavement pass and the jar goes round at work for casket funds, after I dream of identifying the body, after the cops come back to question us again, after praise for the Lord and the embalmer’s skill, after whispers of revenge and today we do not mourn, then the first breath without a sob.
Tracy Mishkin is a call center veteran with a PhD and a graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing at Butler University. She is the author of two previous chapbooks, I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s (Finishing Line Press, 2014) and The Night I Quit Flossing (Five Oaks Press, 2016). She been nominated twice for a Pushcart — both times by Parody — and published in Raleigh Review and Rat’s Ass Review.
BMP Celebrates National Poetry Month
Maybe you have lines living in you. Maybe you’ve been walking around like the speaker in Maggie Smith’s “Good Bones”: “This place could be beautiful, / right? You could make this place beautiful.” Maybe you’ve been inspired by Isobel O’Hare’s erasures, and have an urge to address some things. Maybe you’ve woken up in the spiked night, with a line swimming out of the deep. Maybe you have a story to tell. Or, maybe you memorized Jericho Brown’s “Colosseum” and have been repeating to yourself: “I cannot locate the origin / Of slaughter, but I know / How my own feels, that I live with it / And sometimes use it / To get the living done . . .”
These poetic efforts have touched me in the last few months, in that strange trigonometry of language, chance, and seeking, that we readers and writers do. Brown’s lines resonated with me, brought me low, and offered something – if not quite comfort, then a kind of recognition.