What Do I Know of Desire

by Spencer Williams on October 29, 2017


I say to you, bring me the meat
of my maker on a golden plate.
Tip his mouth to mine and force
the honey from it.
Kiss the bitter of the unbeliever’s
tongue, the parching red.
Notice: a burn present
on the underside of my left arm,
grinning. Notice too the bone
between my lips, like road-kill
trapped beneath the chemical
girth of the sun.


In the trappings of night,
I gleam with aftermath,
sweet dew imprinted on a bed sheet
in a room with no windows.
Let my coarseness be
the window, organs framed beneath
malicious light, reflecting.
If I know anything, it is the maw
of my historic caught fooling
in another man’s mouth.
Touched Nerve. Bodily Insult.
I stain myself for warmth, see.
I lather in my stew.


At night I touch myself
and it is the same as crying.
Once, in a wild misinterpretation,
I tried to picture myself all the way
through and became so distracted
by my slack-jawed expression
that I could not complete.


This is where shame kicks
down the wooden door and tugs
at my arms. I shake my head like
the rain is holding it. I blame my
cum on something else. I cum and
feel ashamed that I had nothing
at all to do with it. Perhaps my
body, in a biblical sense,
is synonymous with a physical
shame not immediately felt,
though inflicted gradually
by way of ubiquitous haunt.
For instance, I tremble in rooms
I know to be warm. I lift my skirt
and bones orchestrate their clatter
on the kitchen floor.


The story of Jesus
and the adulteress has no place
to call home. She is blamed
for her pleasure and stripped
of a name. The man she communes
with does not constitute an utterance,
is never once threatened by
the surface of a killing stone.
The adulteress is saved
only in the promise that she
sleeps alone, or only with the man
who is a ghost in this story.
In my version, I sleep with
many ghosts, birth many
oceans. My skin, lost beneath
the surface of my hands. I sin,
repeat. Repeat.


As if solitude demands it
I sleep now in the nude beneath
the buffer of a corpse cold sheet.
Once, over cheese fries,
I asked a friend a question that answered
itself: Am I insecure?
She responded:
You’re eating cheese fries.
Later on, I told her I could masturbate
without using my hands.
This is a lie. I did not actually
tell her this. But pleasure is a finger
-less talent of mine. It is one
I have been doing this entire time.

Spencer Williams is a transgender poet from Chula Vista, California. She is the author of the chapbook Alien Pink (The Atlas Review, 2017). Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Cosmonauts Avenue, Fractal, Potluck, and earthwords.
What Do I Know of Desire - October 29, 2017 -