I want a swatch the color of trying to nap on the beach in August,
sandwiches wedged between bottles in the cooler
sand on the blanket immediately after it’s put down
waves crashing endlessly
eyes closed against salt and sun
I want to dance with you one more time
no strobe lights no weird gropey dudes no entrance fee
just songs we both know the lyrics to and sweat and hopefully some Outkast
accidental twerking and catching your smile from the corner of my eye
stepped on toes pivoting heels figure-8 hips
I want the mountains back
mica grown in granite covered in spray paint
drained ironed quarry filled with grass bathed in sun
falling down back first, summit having been met
meeting the bottom with shaking legs tremulous forearms quivering sternum
I want I want I want
I want a low commitment God
one that asks me why I’m sad and doesn’t press when I say I dunno
panfried offerings lavender incense tealight vigilance full moon wonder
one that reveals a path and doesn’t smite me when I can’t get out of bed
loving tall reliable watchful forgiving giving and quiet, so quiet
What does the title, “Emerging poet,” mean to you?
An 'Emerging Poet' is someone who is producing their work and showing it off. Emergence is that enormous midpoint between being too embarrassed or unsure of your poetry to even write it down, and having your lines tattooed onto other people's bodies. If you're writing poem fragments for Twitter, if you're taking a poetry class, if you're sending love letters, if you're submitting to magazines and getting rejected, you're emerging. And, I suppose, you're emerging until you've decided that you've made it.
Do you consider yourself an “emerging” poet? Why or why not?
Personally, I would consider myself an 'emerging' poet- as in, emerging to myself. I'm still figuring out my style and how poetry functions in my own life. Poetry isn't my primary grind, however, so I don't think it's completely fair of me to call myself an emerging poet when it comes to the scene at large.
What do you think it takes to be “recognized” in the poetry community?
I think it takes putting in the work, and just enough luck, to get your poems onto a highly visible platform. I think it means that a sizable amount of people see you and what you do, and care enough to tell others about it.
How do you think power politics shape the poetry community?
A lot of the poetry I interact with is spoken word, especially online. At least as far as the people sharing and commenting on these works, I feel like there is a lot of voyeuristic consumption of the experiences of marginalized people. And while I love that the stories of people who identify as POC, differently-abled, queer, and otherwise are highly visible, a lot of times what people praise is the expression of trauma without recognizing the incredible abilities in wordsmithing that these poets display.
What does community mean to you?
I've never been able to separate my identity from any of my crafts, and I've always sought community with queer POC. To me communities are people to live and experience with, and to share work with. Before I publish or submit a work, I always show it to a friend or family member. This is not to get a verification of 'goodness' but rather to see that they recognize me in it, because I know nobody knows me better than my community.
ALYSTAIR AUGUSTIN is a student in Portland, Oregon. They call New Jersey home and hold Massachusetts in a special place in their heart. They illustrate traditionally and digitally, love cooking and martial arts, and are an aspiring graphic novelist. They run a terrible art blog, a slow-going webcomic, and a phenomenal twitter at the following addresses: