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/nicholas goodly

Withdrawal in Drag

Dear pores, squeeze every venom out of us. The floorboards are unwell. Leave no wounds. Thinly shapeshifter, come gaping crow come broken city. Practical scaffolding temple taking beatings, Scars, you are now a giant woman. Porous mary, you are longing. Miss your drink. Lick grenadine from your claws. Penitent medusa, eat a liver every day. Chew our chances in half. Change the form of your grit. Safely trade your ice pick for a Lisa Frank ice pick. Become extraordinarily beautiful, that is your ability. Old phoenix, last call. Take up as much room as you need. Open yourself towards a thing darker than a person. Yellow head soaking through the pillows, you are made for dissection. Steady my hand, the one at your breast, no blade or precious fire. I don’t want to know you anymore.


I ask a magic-8 ball if Jesus is real poetry is untelling a lie I smile when my friends have bad news I try to leave something beyond repair in every sacred space candle wick and chalice the moths close their wings I watch hours of brothers and sisters slamming their fists into each other some days I wish I was both of them I want to roughen up souls yank a fistful of someone’s hair I drank like hell the night before the funeral Thundercat is a poem so is bad drag I am drawn to people that deserve me the least I could easily be a worse person how many people am I and where is the body I crave hung poems here is a bird in an airport I have wet dreams that end in cold blood I order a man to kneel for my affection and he does it oh boy am I capable of sweet heart I am good at the yoke I have sympathy once I heard a man say nigger and wanted him to mean me a poem doesn’t have to mean anything a poem is a fire with no end if given another chance this life I’d make peace with getting weaker everyday I ask God to come inside me God opens his mouth and creates the sky waves of old cold stars a poem sharpens the wind everything is true I need to be told what to believe

Nicholas Goodly is the writing editor of Wussy Magazine, a Cave Canem fellow, and team member of the performing arts platform Fly on a Wall. They are the runner-up for the 2019 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, recipient of the 2017 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship and received a teaching fellowship and MFA from Columbia University.

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