The following cycle of poems is an excerpt from Isa Guzman’s project “I Think Body,” in which Guzman examines trauma, language, and their personal journey of gender-confirmation within the context of the Puerto Rican diaspora. You can listen to Guzman read “I Think Body” at the Exiles on 12th Street SoundCloud.
I think with observable sunsets my mother’s bodily purging calm hums abstracted pigeons awake along a broken wall of context the way the hip doesn’t curve won’t ever the alienating anatomic bone structure of verbs growing winds and winding contours of hysteria anatomical witchcraft another day another extension of empty cribs a nurse’s confusion composition a woman’s hand which edged the profile which named me
I think sometimes it is the end the distinct boundaries of military desire tactics my cousin’s biblical references the end-it-all rituals of the wrong waters under-over a bridge body attests to under-repetitions puberty book-ended by free fall the carrying around the letting nothing go until explode
I think of relatable entries Venus surviving city gorgeous earths found under a bed in the long run it all ends up the same way strangled sick in sound design I don’t feel anything in the mirror nothing codified by papal decree this vague sense of wandering the lavish fiat imagination and the blur which disturbs them hunger while others mean surviving body made annulment who did it reduced to the double negative of police archive
I think in two nothings
I think amid noise remember peace silence far surrenders good terms speak listening dull stories avoid hexes to the spirit compare the bitter vain achievements enjoy the plan keep interest however real the possession however unchanging the time exercise affairs readily the world but be blind for what many strive on high ideals life full of it be yourself feign cynic love face disenchantment kindly the years surrender nurture spiritualism in things distressed like the dark imaginings of fatigue fear loneliness wholesale universe no less than stars and your right to be here among them clear or not unfolding peace with conception whatever your apparitions noisy and beautiful keep peace sham and broken dreams there is still time to strive to be
I think role violation aggressive capacity for cognition following baths burnt tongue palo santo dios perdona troublings the regulatory function of golpe contra corona tendencies direct method anxiety artificial elusiveness lies in subsequent contact que dios bendiga display toughness por qué estas llorando scripts the impact data que dios bendiga y you don’t love me anymore statistics active choices the frequency of bofetada muñeca muñeca reinforced toddler a gender threat participant recorded a punching of independent variables note the y que es esta golpazo operation pressure subset manhood readily assigned se fue el solo se fie el mismos el
To learn more about Guzman’s poetry, read their essay “I Started Transitioning This Past Summer” at Public Seminar.
Isa Guzman is a poet, artist-coordinator of the Titere Poets collective, and MFA candidate at Brooklyn College.