Self-portrait as Asu in the Gutter
Crossing boroughs during the hurricane, I was off
to give my body to a friend
who wanted it as a man.
I'm good like that, changing
for a friend in need.
Earlier, A hydrangea busked in prospect park.
Suddenly: Rogue Dior and feminine hips.
Suddenly: kissing every person in the tunnel
laughing at how bad they are at kissing.
I walked home stilettos in hand,
what a sunny day that was.
The city streets seeped into my heels
as I listened to each block
bloom into its respective static.
By the time I reached the sewer
I was parched and ready to turn around.
I cupped my hands in drenched supplication,
scooped the muddy eucharist from the drain
and placed it to my lips
It tasted like copper movement.
It tasted like asbestos and gym class.
like cherried salt. It tasted like
like a sour kiss through a chatroom.
And suddenly, I was a bro: My beard and pecs
glistened with rainwater as I burpee’d
all the way to her house, downed a 6-pack
of muscle milk and fucked her in missionary
It’s was so nice, to be wanted and know what I am.
Ryan Cook is a genderqueer Brooklyn-based poet currently getting their MFA in poetry at Columbia University. They have been published in Thimble Literary Magazine, Some Kind of Opening, Lava House Arts, and many others. They are interested in the power dynamics that go into syntax and form. Connect with Ryan on Instagram: @Poems_by_ryan.