imogen xtian smith


Writing poems is somatic play ({}{} 

-{}{}). i rap at my limits & it’s not always 

pretty. Words, thrust beyond event 

horizon. Hands beg questions. Alt 

vocabulary. Nakedness— 

the final word. 

Gets tiring, finding 

new ways of saying. That fucking hurt. 

You were hurting a long time. 

Shit sucked & you didn’t handle it 

well. Messy. Extra. 

Can’t even tense it. 

Please don’t raise yr voice. At me. 

You were sad & sadness lingered. 

You were lost on a hill of expression

-ist thickets. Above the 

branches clacked. 

i cried & you were beside me. 

There once was a past & in it all 

looked futurefull. Com 

-posed of active remembrance— 

biome, full tilt. Ppl mourn 

their could-have-beens. It’s hard 

waking up in the morning. i understand.

i relate. i live w it. Sadness 

as much me as jealousy 

bitterness, gluten 

hostility, corn syrup 

envy—voice gorged 

on octaves, heart, overstuffed 

organ & metaphor, what empathy 

capable of muster. Tho i should have 

softened. Could’ve softened. Softened. 

Soften. They cast not a crumb 

of comfort but we get it. Relate. 

Walk a sec in shoes. How the body 

knows everything but once done 

no take backs. No iotas. 

Endless views. Inability 

to meet harm(s) survived means 

inevitably harming others. 

Life can slow to a straight line dis 

-appearing in formless normalcy. 

Full of can’ts & could never’s. 

Boyhood. Manhood. Themhood. Girl 

-hood. Constantly out of whack. 

In every feeling its antecedent. Bimbo 

chaos disaster. i collect

years. Childhood here & yonder 

where hormones grow breasts 

at 40, shift weight around 

shift what weighs me down 

like unrequited letters 

mailed from cells. How 

i grow jealous of a lover 

‘s lover. Jealous, having skipped 

the banger—the knots & whippings. 

You had to be there. Weren’t. 

Attached & insecure, no 

-thing fills this neediness. 

Yr scared too, right. Wrong— 

composed. So shiny. Regal in speech & 

apparel. Did you see how completely 

they ignored her. i felt for. 

Hot boy hot car—uncanny machines 

their life slouchier. Spoons & spoons. 

i want them to notice me. Recall 

touch & such. A balcony. 

i want them to want me like pop 

songs. Here’s a mixtape, an ed 

-ible in the park. i guess i just 

wasn’t. i guess language can’t.

Not so clever in commodifiable 

ways. Writing poems = body 

passion. Melody comes & you drink 

it as such—piss puss spit 

in yr mouth, stuff flesh do. Water 

passed btwn the parched 

ribald yet well-meaning 

eyeing the ingot, living for fur 

hitting every gala yet 

dying alone. Who believes it. 

Who stays & writes the tale.

Broke rhythms, inconsistencies. 

SUN rays same as rain. Winter 

summer ice cream man—cool 

off in yr spate of living. The body 

is proof—a touch biology, co 

-quettishly vampy 

a dilittant. Always 

new, always knowing. Some girl 

i am—get it right. Presumably 

there are many worlds. 

Have been. Will be. 

Verbs & garbage amuck. 

Swirl street cluster

i am Collector. Here is 

proof. Making poems 

my life lights up—bitter 

-sweet & hopestrewn 

(g)odplay ({}{}{}{}), pages 

in a book. Someone cries 

themself naked & look—a friend 

comes, sits beside them.

imogen xtian smith is a poet & performer living in Lenapehoking / Brooklyn, NY. Their work has appeared in Baest, B L U SH, Folder, The Rumpus, The Poetry Project Newsletter, The Recluse, & Tagvverk (among others), as well as in We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics. A 2021-22 Emerge Surface Be Fellow at The Poetry Project, imogen’s debut collection, stemmy things, is out from Nightboat Books.