National Poetry Month Day 23: Bradley Trumpfheller

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Transgender Studies

I’m trying to be against everything to see where I end up faced, faceless. That’s the worry. Which is work, sans the toil. And the trap. Well, let’s focus on the image. A needle to me and a needle to you. I love books, I’m sick of them. What does a poem produce? Knowledge? Upper thigh. Pinch, punctum. I’d prefer to trick myself awake, an ash tree, biting down amid smokes. In medias res. Septemberly, the redwoods torch. Let’s say this is enough and someone pays me for it. The going rate’s a dollar an image and I’m shit out of luck so far but late on some loans. Look up kinds of flowers. Look up 1971, 1995, 2006. Let’s say someone is the government. They pay me without my knowledge. No, they pay me, without knowledge. No, knowledge, without, they pay me. This is the trap: not enough. I’m spectacular. So what, the skin punched-in, shot thru with pamphleteers and hand grenades. That does something to September, to January. Intrasmuscular. Subcutaneous. I have to imagine. If this were a poem, I’d call myself impossible. If this were a riot I’d put on my face.

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Photograph of Bradley Trumpfheller courtesy of Bradley Trumpfheller.


Bradley Trumpfheller is the author of the chapbook Reconstructions (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020). Their poems have appeared in The Baffler, Sycamore Review, The Shallow Ends, and elsewhere. They’ve received fellowships from MacDowell and the University of Texas, and currently live in Austin. More from this author →