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.