In Which My Mother Intervenes in My Sexual Education
Your body is divine / my body is impossible.
Your body is pure / my body is a doll I fondle for pleasure.
Your body must be hidden away upstairs / my body is my last vestige of power
Your body introduces shame / my body is ugly but tits
Your body is made of light / my body does not listen to me
Your body is too easy to see / my body is depository of the pain I need to see
Your body is hunted / my body is hunted.
Your body marked forever by sex / my body an experience
Your body is something to be careful with / my body keeps me alive
Your body blessed by covenant / my body more than sex
Your body is not yours / my body is carrier of my joy
Your body is good after marriage / my body is not yours
Your body is impossible / my body is mine
Drag Queen Application
Are you looking to be a drag queen or a drag king?
Girl with a mustache,
Freddie Mercury impersonator,
I’m picturing an audience I know -
an auditorium of beloveds
who know me
by my walk,
my animated gestures,
the quarrel of my hair -
beloveds who see me
and can still be surprised
by all I can be,
part time girl part time swirling orb.
I was named once. I can be renamed,
I can come when called. In the dance
recitals of my youth, I wouldn’t wear
glasses on stage. My little made up face,
dollar store red lipstick, hair wrangled
and gelled, bangles jangling on my wrists.
Too young for contacts, so every performance
was a test in remembering where my mother
was sitting, my blurry vision narrowing
as my eyes sought hers. Will you still be there
on the other side once I arrive?
What are your pet peeves?
Don’t get distracted by props, by frills,
by the way I can make my hips move.
I am asking you to stay enamored enough
to see right through to me, to trust
me when I say I don’t need a blanket
and offer me one anyway. I am not asking
you for too much. I hope you enjoy the show.
What gets you horny?
Have I punished myself before? Ripped hair
from my skin, shamed the good stink of my
pussy, undressed/redressed/regressed before
any event where someone else would see me?
Yes, yes of course. But on stage, I can reach
for the furthest ends of gender, bend around
corners, render myself new. I wish to own my pain,
my joy, my confusion. And I’ll cleave
down to the meat of me, so you can know it too.
What are you trying to accomplish?
I’ve spent lifetimes in one lonely night searching
for the warmest part of my bed. I still
spend whole days trudging through the cold
mud of this world. So yes, I do want a shining,
blistering moment of spectacle, of performing
myself and every translation of me. I do want
a packed house, a dance floor covered in dollar
bills, a legion of bodies, their cheers and applause filling
the air, one hand ready to catch me, on their toes,
clamoring to come touch me kiss me twirl me
around backstage after the show.
ARATI WARRIER (she/they) is a queer South Asian American poet from Austin, TX, currently living in the Bay Area. She featured on the final stage at Women of the World Poetry Slam 2014, is a recipient of the Andrew Julius Gutow Academy of American Poets prize, and is a 2014 national collegiate poetry slam champion. You can find their work in Junoesq Literary Magazine, The Aerogram, and BOAAT magazine. Arati's other interests include dancing, reading, and loving intentionally. She is a part time vegetable enthusiast, a full time youth and community worker, and co-author of the chapbook Longing and Other Heirlooms forthcoming from Eggtooth Editions.