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Benjamin Garcia



In the Victorian language of fans // como se dice //come hither

I am the three-headed // head giver // Heather Heather and Heather


be my Veronica Sawyer // but you’ll have to dye // your virgin hair

let me make you over // a quien le importa if they say // she’s a man-


eater // they’re not wrong about the latter // I expect a booty call later

from my whereforeartthou Romeo // come use my trellis as a ladder // I am


pansexual // with omnivore vigor make you breakfast // the morning after

see me wavering // waving my spade impatiently // for any lad or lass


come shake that ass // booty-bump-a-bump // let me whet your appetite

with my siren waters // seamen // which is what a man’s come is called


I want a man // that comes when called // I want to have a better name

for when women climax // meanwhile my secret is vaginal // secretions


gender fluids and fluid genders // see how come can mean // collapse

of distance between objects // to the point of overlap // until two are one


as is the case with come // love // in Spanish those four letters mean come eat

they fold into each other // like a handfan // come you’re almost skin and bones


and meat and legs and wings and // carapace // cara mia come at your own pace

but come // down my throat follow your gut to my gut // come Narcissus come


to your sissy prissy boipussy pitcher // I’ll be your catcher too // the game is lost

my fans are in the stands // doing the wave they’re cheering you on // come on


roll your love into a ball // if we had but world enough and time // I would woo you

to kingdom come // but life’s a stuff will not endure // so gift me your endurance


damelo duro papi // forgo coquetry’s etiquette // I’ve got your ticket down here

where bodies float // traverse the manhole cover // draw the curtain and do


mind the man behind // I’m flashing my fan as hard as I can // ready for my close up

I am the Victor with a capital V // thank you for your participation here’s // a trophy





in the language of hormones // I want to say // I’m sorry

that you don’t know // the gulf between the words // venom


and poison // between // the father the son & the holy

crap I just got stung // let me explain myself // enzymes


are my hello // goodbye // I’ve been told I have a terminal case

of resting bitch face // the facts // there is a difference between


venom & poison // it’s all about who // is doing what to whom

bite me // and it’s called a poison // venom when I bite back


this is what wars have been // fought over // in the holy name of

whose key is unlocking // whose keyhole // another way to think


of them is venoms // are the tops // they’re active and push in

while poisons are the bottoms // the tubers the roots // the locks


of hemlock haired // fuck boys // the cads & the rent-to-owns

you know how I know // you’re a poison // it’s cause you’re lazy


daisy & docile // I lift my sail a while // and why not be

the Portuguese // armored war ship // that’s my namesake


I am small & still // I contain multitudes // I wonder if Whitman

might have meant // dudes he knew // husked & hulled & filled


his debonair // crowned with windswept hair so // devil-may-care

unlikely though it may seem // I’m not the jealous // kind of fish


even if I may not be // kind to you // pain’s the only way I know

flesh from friend // you know a relationship is extra // toxic when


one dolt is left stunned // defenselessly doting // no thanks I am

like the Iberian newt // that would rather push his ribs // through


his own skin // to deliver the venom than // let a man touch me

that’s really fucked // but I don’t know any other joke // except


how does one hug // a box jellyfish // the punchline is you don’t

I bet you didn’t // think this was love // poetry when it started


it isn’t // except I don’t know any other way // to love or to be

loved but for this // I want to be done with you & you // with me


do what the men of war do // to the ripped torso // of the surfer

I won’t let you suffer // alone & not for long // I want to do


with you what I’ve been told // human urine // does to the fists

of pink hydrangeas // in the spring // before the blue blooming



in the language of consent // I revoke // in the affirmative

but I’ll tender for you an enthusiastic // get bent // my body


isn’t up for debate // so you can go // shave your palms now

drop dead // bitch I might // take a page from female dragonflies


that fall on their backs // spread their legs // and wait for the man

to go the fuck away // but with my luck // he’d be a necrophiliac


creeps will touch you // and touch you // and touch you

and then // they’ll claim that it’s not true // movement


just your common // hydropump action // an easy trick

turgid and ready // and even came // loose with the swipe of a finger


they’ll call you beautiful // they’ll call you and call you // until

you relent or rebuff // their advances // claim they climbed into your pants


regardless // call you // coy cloister closet case cunt my mistake

if ever I made any // was not being carnivorous enough // nontoxic


or maybe not remaining my own // flowering clusterfuck // self-pollination

as self-suck // this is a man’s true fear // to be not needed


they’ll swing your head // by your hair // and call it snakes

the blood that drops // a new genus // of undiscovered poppies


named for some cis het white // halfwit // who would and should have died 

without pity from so-called savages // who had their own name for this // rape


so they call me // a touch-me-not // dormilona when I’m wide awake

holgazana // can you believe it // when I’m paying his goddamn light bill


it was a man // of course it was a man // who named forget-me-nots

forget-me-nots // who can remember his pathetic name now // not me


-from THROWN IN THE THROAT (Milkweed, 2022, Finalist for the 2022 Kate Tufts Discovery Award), selected by Fall 2022 Guest Editor, Michael Walsh 

Benjamin Garcia’s first collection, THROWN IN THE THROAT, won the National Poetry Series and the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, in addition to being a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He works as a sexual health and harm reduction educator in New York’s Finger Lakes region, where he received the Jill Gonzalez Health Educator Award recognizing contributions to HIV treatment and prevention. A CantoMundo and Lambda Literary fellow, he serves as core faculty at Alma College’s low-residency MFA program. His poems and essays have recently appeared or are forthcoming in: AGNI, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, and New England Review. His video poem “Ode to the Peacok” is available for viewing at the Broad Museum’s website as part of El Poder de la Poesia: Latinx Voices in Response to HIV/AIDS.


Victoria Chang


Victoria Chang

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