Becoming

I am
becoming
satisfied
with the
idea of
myself,
the way
my brain
maps my thoughts,
the way
my body
maps my responses,
the way
my journey
maps my future.
I am
who I am
becoming
who I am,
an ouroboros
phrase
that you
can jump in
anywhere
and to all
those who
share the
slightest smattering
of shared humanity,
I say to you,
walk with me
for as long
as our paths
travel together,
and our travels
will be that much
lighter and brighter,
for I will always
welcome a fellow.

Grief Pickles

On the days 

when I forget 

to eat anything 

but my 

weed laced oatmeal, 

sometimes I still have 

Grief Pickles. 

When my depression 

or my disordered eating 

grabs a hold of me 

and prevents me from moving, 

I can lift a Grief Pickle 

to my mouth,

the temptation

to feel again

too great. 

In a moment, 

the tiny sweet gherkins 

yield to my teeth, 

meaty matter crumbling 

into itself 

along the structures 

that created it, 

and I remember 

my Grandma. 

I remember 

every Saturday night 

when she would 

consider it 

something special 

to break out 

a frozen pizza 

and some 

potato chips 

and some 

tiny sweet gherkins. 

Not a balanced meal, 

nothing like her 

homemade roasts 

or goulash 

but she thought 

it was special

(probably because 

it took less work), 

so I thought 

it was special. 

I bite into a 

Grief Pickle and 

I remember 

my Grandma, 

who kept the house 

at 76 degrees 

for two years 

after my 

Grandpa died, 

never thinking 

that she could 

change it to 

what she liked. 

I remember 

my Grandma, 

who played 

strategy games 

as if she didn’t 

quite fully 

understand 

everything 

she could do 

to screw 

other people over, 

until the time came 

that she didn’t quite 

understand 

strategy games 

that deeply at all, 

not for the benefit 

of others

 or herself. 

I remember 

my Grandma, 

who would 

subtly rib 

on my weight 

by suggesting 

things like, 

“perhaps you 

should check 

the weight limit 

on the chair.”

I remember 

my Grandma, 

complicated, 

human, 

trapped 

just the same 

in a society 

and a family 

with such profound 

generational trauma 

that we don’t 

speak of emotions 

much less feel them. 

I remember 

my Grandma 

on the hospital bed, 

looking lost and tiny, 

a wrinkled fetus 

abandoned in the 

slow gradual breakdown 

of the prison 

that holds 

our consciousness. 

I remember 

my Grandma’s 

hand, small 

and soft and spotted. 

I take another bite. 

Unfinished Daddy Issues Poem

My father says I can’t be a man because I express too much. I’m a slave to my emotions, and I’m using a gender transition to stuff my trauma. 

I feel. 

I sit. 

I process.

and everything I make is steeped in emotion, every drip of paint or drop of ink or flash of flame or cut or weld or arc is sacred feeling encapsulated in a single moment on canvas or metal but then 

I feel.

I sit. 

I process.

and I abandon those loving harsh moment of truth in closets because they are past truths and they are therapy and they exist for me. 

Growth Work

I’m learning a lot about both making art and processing trauma. 

You have to trust the process above all else. 

It won’t look pretty at a lot of stages but you are doing the work and that’s what counts. 

It’s the layers of tiny details that build up to make a whole image. 

If your system doesn’t account for mistakes, your system is broken, not your work. 

At any moment you may see what you are working on and declare it beyond repair, but ultimately it is you who decides when you are finished so the only way for it to stay flawed is to stay unfinished. 

Don’t give up until the work is done. 

Did you think the work was done? Think again. There’s fresh ideas to be had. 

You will never be pleased and nor should you. The brilliance of growth is that it is unsatisfied. 

Pride in craftsmanship shows and people are drawn to the light of vulnerability. 194A6857-7BE9-4736-9E94-AEDC26DB9D60

A Poem for Dr. Ford

“I feel like I should be imaginary.”

I stop myself before I send the text. I can see that it’s not a fair thing to put on someone else and besides, underneath the words, I feel something else stirring.

Some people like to say that some emotions are secondary. As an example, you may feel angry that your cat knocked over your grandfather’s ashes, but what’s really under there is sadness and a feeling of guilt that you hadn’t put them somewhere safer.

Oftentimes this is illustrated with an iceberg. We can see those secondary emotions in the visible portion of the iceberg. Behaviors that come from it are obvious. But the true emotion is lurking underwater, invisible to the naked eye.

So in this vein, an emotion that gets expressed by “I feel like I should be imaginary” is like a klaxon alarm for the ship captain. There are big things coming. Listen to these feelings.

The void is calling.

As a trans man who has been raped, during this battle over Kavanaugh I feel like my voice is needed but I also feel obligated to pass the mic to women.

Every day my emotions eat my insides into a raw goo. and I find I’m held together by spite and optimism.

So I will listen to my voice, and I will listen to the void, for they give me warnings about what I need to work on next.

I will not fear speaking, for one more voice among millions is how the world is shaped by the resonance.

Here is a poem for Dr. Ford.

Viscerally
in the mucosa
of the brain stem,
somewhere in the
lizard brain,
I get it-
and I hope
she finds peace
from the memories
while we all
get to live in
the retraumaery
and the harsh grim reality
that speaking her truth
barely slowed
them down
except now
more of us see
and with
that knowing
comes action.

Words of Wisdom

My Very Wise Friend said 

“If your family 

demands you perform 

what they perceive 

as your You-ness 

in order to be 

part of the family, 

that’s not family 

and that’s not love.”

My family has struggles. 

Every one does. 

I think we battle 

more about 

my You-ness. 

See I can’t restrain my me-ness 

and all they seem to think about 

is imaginary penis 

while my brain attempts to run from all 

of these problems with expert fleetness 

but really could I be less

Worried

Ashamed

Real

if I wasn’t truly here 

or am I pretending that my absence 

is a problem solving algorithm 

when the question posed 

by the riddle was always

“How do you have your best life?”

and the answer to the system 

was never supposed to be

“Tap out, give up, it’ll only get harder,”

but instead the lesson was

“FIGHT. Fight and YOU’LL GET STRONGER.”

Feel

I don’t feel inspired to write. 

But here are words, 

evidence of slogging. 

A pace of clacking 

set to the the 

music of numbness. 

I don’t feel inspired to write. 

I feel a clog in the 

underside of my chin 

and above my left eye 

and probably somewhere 

in a ventricle. 

My therapist once told me

 that these are called emotions 

and I am to sit with them 

and name them 

and feel them. 

They are leaden 

and mucus slimed. 

I don’t feel inspired to write. 

But suddenly I am allowed to feel. 

PTSD

I have PTSD
which does not stand for
Pretty Truly Sucky Drama or
Panicky Trifling Solution Denier or
Performing, Trying, Slowly Dying
but there are aspects
of those things in
every meltdown,
every flashback,
every nightmare,
as I recall the thick coagulation
and the fingers dragging loosely
and the furor
and the passion
and the way a man
turned into a little boy,
curled up in a hospital bed,
waiting for his stitches
no longer yelling
about the bitches
who didn’t love him
so he stabbed himself
once
twice
thrice
and now my brain pan
is stuck with the same scars
that laced up and down his arms,
isn’t that nice.

 

Before the Before

Life turns around quick
because only one moment
separates people from
a “before” and an “after.”
Only one trauma,
one car accident,
one slip up
and your whole life
can change.
And life is a
series of moments
like this,
forks in the road
where decisions
were made
for us
and we have
to learn to cope.
This is where
empathy comes in,
and the more
you know empathy
before the “before,”
the softer you’ll land.