published Nov. 11, 2018
In thirty-three, the spine pleads to its owner to be compassionate and to realize s/he is nothing without it. I explored the literal and the figurative concept of whatever the opposite of “straightness” is. In other words, I attempted to interweave my scoliosis with my queerness. While I was composing the poem, the image of a curved spine reminded me of a serpent that we not only see in the Bible, but also in the symbol of medicine, which turns out be inspired from Asklepios’ staff. The harmony between the serpent and the straight staff on which it rests interested me—their very difference is what holds them together. The poem is also about insecurities regarding our physical bodies, especially when it is obvious but not obvious enough for people to sympathize with, like scoliosis. However, it is not an attack against the condition, bur an attempt to better understand my relationship with it (and its relationship with other identities within me) by wearing the voice of my spine.
i beg you,
tell me i’m a
or that i look like thirty-three
Reese’s Cups stacked on top of each
other commissioned by a seven-year-old,
who runs to the kitchen where his busy mother has to listen
to her son’s tower of Babylon.
i already have Evolution
telling me that i’m a failure & Creation
has yet to respond since i abandoned
the corset commissioned
for normality, for straightness.
it gets better worse
metal bars rising from
& until i am
accepted you will continue
to let weakness delight in you.
but please don’t think
you aren’t straight because
i follow the movements of serpents around me.
i am still
the staff of Asklepios
so lean on my
body, which is
made of solids, of concrete phenomena
unlike you & your weakness
& you complete me. you are my
serpent. i am
thirty-three years old & there are
disc of mine & so don’t abandon
your messiah. you & i, like friends.
two in one, like two spines
we perfectly intrude into the
emptiness in each other, carved out
by serpents, swimming away from Straightness.
& the boy’s Babylon loves
its curving roads, leading him
to the thirty-third floor, but no higher.