from – untitled series
walk out again there before the beginning of it all. an intermittent letter sent to another. another self, another i. i spit you out. you, who hold the cruelties of the world in your jawbone. clutching the sky turns its face downward. grey gold morning. i lift you from your grave and place you back into my mouth. you who potted plants and placed them neatly on the bookshelves. you, who rearranged the furniture into illegible positions. you who walked out. you, turned away. you, shunted from your frenzied interior.
unfamiliar to mullein, san pedro, to jade. unfamiliar to lemon verbena, lavender, unfamiliar. to passionflower, to jasmine, to morning glory. and always the vines encroaching. cut back, thick, colonizing, trailing the landscape. this happened before beginning and is happening. you cut them back, endless return. i? which i? the garden takes the streets. masked and alienated. glittered and slicing. i lay in the red mud of my childhood gathering water. a change of clothes. a change of shoes. cut back. a place of no return. under threat. you lay down in the outline of your body. chalked. another i. another creek behind the chain store. slough. the creeping water. unfamiliar, to lemon tree, to eucalyptus. the three sisters you say, cupping seeds in your hand. the seeds deep inside you spreading. i return unfamiliar. to mugwort, wormwood, to yarrow. unfamiliar to sage. out of place. keeping my secrets.
i walk into the garden unkempt. in the absence of rain i water you. unmoored. still walking. punk house. ware house. mold-ridden, burnt, gutted. from the street the fires still rising. clouds take the sky. smoldering thick astringent. beams returning to charcoal. marked. a red square that lasts for months. i walk into the blackened hallway, the smell of loss clings to every garment. i stand in the hallway, look up through the ceiling opened unwilling to the sky. how many? a reminder. ash is falling from the sky there, you say, like rain. we hurl ourselves toward it, unable to remain.
ash-ridden we pluck ourselves from each others’ sodden mouths. our trauma takes the streets and we trail behind it. six hundred. i turn my phone to moon. waking to a flock of messages. panic-stricken. gutted. i walk into the garden. nothing fills me. to trim the rotten leaves. under water at the club, in the café, at the bar. at the plaza thronged by others a sorrow strikes us. a we dispersing. a we refusing to disperse. [illegible] others. our shields razed. this nothing we. which we? regardless. i raise my arms to shield you who blocked me and it’s complicated. unrelenting. throat clenched. what hand? what hand gripping. stricken in the meleé we strike. we thrust our bodies toward certain failure untamed.
My name is Emji Spero. I’m a white, queer, non-binary trans poet, performance artist, and activist. I am the author of almost any shit will do and a co-founder and editor at Timeless, Infinite Light. I am also bipolar, chronically late, and a devoted pervert. For me these identities are entwined with and inseparable from my poetics. My work occupies a hybrid space between poetry and prose, weaving together somatic ritual, performance, and collaborative experimentation. I work closely with other writers and artists, stretching the limits and potential of open creative intimacies, sociality, and the poetics of relation. Currently, I am obsessed with exploring and challenging Jose Muñoz’s notion that “utopia exists in the quotidian.” In my work, I seek to transform tired narratives about trans and disabled bodies through constraint, public exhibition, and poetic intervention.