Two Chapters from R E D, by Chase Berggrun

Chase Berggrun is a trans poet. They are the author of R E D, forthcoming from Birds, LLC in 2018, and the chapbook Discontent and Its Civilizations: Poems of Erasure, published by jubilat in 2012. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Lambda Literary Spotlight, the PEN Poetry Series, Pinwheel, Sixth Finch, Diagram, The Offing, Prelude, Apogee, Beloit Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. They received their MFA from New York University.

These poems are from their forthcoming debut collection R E D (Birds, LLC, Winter 2018). They can be found on the internet at or @patriphobe.


I threw grief-written lines all over my papers

I studied the necessity of no remorse

survived long centuries as an inmate

alone and hidden in the ground

I hastened towards the moment

I care for nothing now except brute action

It will take thousands of men to hold me back

I had been accustomed to obey

Now the old habit was just a nightmare


There was something so unhuman in

the snarl and stare that cut through the wide stream of my face

I love this wild beast in me

I was thinking of my appearance

my own sublime animal heat

and clung to hate

The word sounded like music


You must be pitiful to your husband when shrivelling his being

I will crush my husband in the folds of my dress

his night shall never end


My hate is drifting reefwards

sleeping in the softness of the sunset

Though I am weary

I must try to startle darkness

I must become an oblong disc of light

I must change my own sad dreaminess

to rigid red intention

Though I do not know what I am doing

though it may be too late

though danger on earth and under water

I must follow him to hell


Where there is                 where shall be
blood                 blood                   blood
soon                     and                     final
blood                                             blood
               where there might be
blood               a dense                 blood
again                 blood                   again

My language was of blood
and full of movement
of fog         and morning far from fog
mouth made for speaking firm
the first forceful master of this monster form


            and warlike

without aid from common men

I tasted enemy tongues to whet desire

to grow greater in the midst of greatest peril

I was still unclean

I still fear his poison

the power that compels my confidence to break

I will inflict a great campaign of preparations against the wolf

then hunt him hollow


I curved my shadows tenderly

I felt infected with trouble

a dreamless         maybe         everlasting emotion

too great for human endurance

I go forth to flood him with agony

I fasten to a faith in steel

We are now drawing towards uneasiness

I am sure         some new end