OFF-WORLD, by Charles Theonia

Charles Theonia is a poet and teacher from Brooklyn. They are the author of Which One Is the Bridge. With Julieta Salgado, they co-edit Femmescapes, a zine of queer and trans affinities with femmeness, and they keep a mostly-poetry blog at qu-arles.tumblr.com


THE HARDEST THING IS TO GIVE OF MYSELF FOR MY OWN SAKE, BUT YOU MAKE ME (SWEETLY)

Among our friends, lovers
of pop science, an online rumor
circulates around ants and peonies:
in symbiosis ants eat petal
sap clear so the tight bud
can froth itself open.

I brought a bouquet home to you,
bodega buds radicchio-striped,
and they never opened!
I had to be the ants, peeling,
my fingers tacky with sap.
One of them filled with blue
mold, others with yellow stamens.
Like us they were dense,
held close to themselves,
and then petal
by
petal


NOT LOSE

In the dustbin
our home life

rose leaves
soft green wax

cat fur soft
dusty clouds

peels of gel
polish from
our nails
soft grey shreds

lost coffee
beans, really
berries, once-red

I adore you
I can see it
in our dirt

and when I
admit
to myself
I need you
I gain
not lose

Now do I
believe it


OFF-WORLD

(excerpted from Saw Palmettos)

/

Wondering: in the parallel
universe, we would probably
still be trans ?

I remember thinking I loved
you so much I would go live
in another universe with you
if you were leaving

/

What if we build
a world together
and then one day
you don’t want
our world anymore
You want off-world

/

Your ex said what we work on
is the rest of the world – love
shouldn’t be work. Like mine
she wanted you
to do all of it
and never tell her

/

As before I feel I could go on
forever not knowing when
not to

We talk about sobbing: what if
what we really want
is to cry literally all
the time

Maybe the only time I
ever give in to anything
is squirting and just look
what a tremendous mess
that makes

The only time we’re happy
in therapy is when our
therapists are laughing
at our jokes. As soon as
one joke is over you need
another one

/


LOSS

it’s like
we’ve always
been here


NOW

that I don’t have           to hide my body

I love the summer           but it is over


DESIRE MAKES ITSELF

when i am not touching you i am waiting to touch you
i can feel it coming for us – like lava’s hot crawl


PREDICTIVE TEXTS

girlfriend

it is a pleasure to keep my eyes still
and see that you have no idea how
much you can get it to be close in your
face and i love it to be a good one for a
long time no i should see it as an
example for me to be clear in your
eyes are so many do we need more
people would i stop being in such a
bad mood today and i’m not sure how
much i miss mysterious ways that have
been so much for me and on the other
side of the day after day eventually it
will become clear how to be a long
time here in your life