Previous: R.A. Villanueva reads "On Kindness" by Aracelis Girmay
Next: Phil Kaye reads "Two Bills"



View count:3,752
Last sync:2023-03-19 15:15
J. Jennifer Espinoza (she/her/hers) reads her poem, "My Trans Body."

J. Jennifer Espinoza:

Brought to you by Complexly, The Poetry Foundation, and curators Charlotte Abotsi and Sarah Kay. Learn more:

11 issues of Poetry, subscribe today for $20:

Follow us elsewhere for the full Ours Poetica experience:

#poetry #ourspoetica #JJenniferEspinoza
My name is Jennifer Espinoza, and I'm a poet living in California.

Today I'm going to be sharing a poem with you called "My Trans Body." It's from a collection of poems that I wrote entitled, Outside Of The Body There Is Something Like Hope. I've chosen to share this poem today because we are currently living in a time in which trans people and our bodies are under a great deal of scrutiny.

And that scrutiny can often create a kind of psychic weight that   that we have to carry with us throughout the day,  and that can be really painful and difficult.   And I think that poetry is a space in which I can  reclaim not just the conversation about my body,   but my body itself. And that's sort of what this  poem is grasping at or trying to articulate. I pick up the phone and send you some words about my trans body.   They float across America and are careful not to touch anything between us or worry about who sees them.

They just crackle and spin and soar through the air observing scenes of everyday events— many birds moving like a single animal, trees swaying in place, men being men to everything’s detriment. When you hear my words it reminds me I’m solid matter.   In some sense I am the daydream of an alternate universe. In another sense I am far too present here.  I say look at my shoulders, look at all I carry, but all anyone sees is their shape.

No one hears what my legs do or remembers how I built them from nothing.  How I trudged through the dull grey shit of a gendered life until I could no longer take it.  They make movies about us being sad and dying but they never talk about what it is for us to be alive,  to love life so much we choose this brokenness just to have the smallest taste of it. I’m not trying to play with your emotions. I don’t want to be your inspirational object.

I’m saying I am here now, embrace me or get out of my way. I have big plans. They involve staying alive.

They involve claiming my space and never being quiet again.