WUSSY is proud to present poetry by Atlanta writer, Benjamin Stevenson.
If you would like to send in a writing submission, please contact Nicholas Goodly.
My mother was too drunk
to give birth, so I was never
born. I was delivered.
My father always reminds me,
When you swooped out
of your mother’s pussy, you were
silent. Remember that.
He says not to name a baby until you hear the screams chirping
from its mouth into the air.
I didn't cry until he hit me, so
can you tell me what my name is?
My house has many rooms, I occupy
only a few. The rest go unvisited.
I cannot forget the spaces on the walls
where a window should have gone, or
the absence of light, and it reminds me
I do not have a name, and of the few
thoughts my mind refuses to lose.
I go home, and hear the whispers of blood-
stained carpets, the snapping of bones,
the crows, the gurgling of waters that
used to fill the tub. The crows. Little
red floaters in my eyes fly through
space like a warning, though too
late. It is June, and my father
has broken my wings.
He withers away as I heal. These days,
sirens don’t reach the depths
of a broken man’s well.
I think he promised
me something. Have you seen
the dead birds in the rose garden?
They flew into the walls.
My name is missing. My father
foolishly gives me crutches
to nestle underneath my wings.
I wish I could I could bash them
against his skull to teach him
the meaning of penance. But,
I know that God takes care of her
sparrows, and that even crows
can be redeemed if you touch them.
There’s a sense
in the theatrics of it all
a true dissatisfaction
with the status quo.
for a dwindling
the self and
over time it
reaching like that
you start needing
to face the fact—
you aren’t her.
Then, what’s left?
a stack of fruit
a bump of blow
an unmade bed?
What I Know
If a man fucks you in the dark, then how do you know your body is beautiful? Is it the way each of his fingers carve your back into a playground? Something along these lines. Me? I think it’s more than that. I know god gave me two legs to run with, and a mouth to suck. I know this body was a home to my lover’s best mistakes, but that letting him put it on my face didn’t make him stay. I asked the man at the liquor store if he remembered your face, but all he seemed to recall was the dingy button on my worn-out jeans. You know? Most men say they’ve seen the hell in me, because it’s the same hell they live in. But I wonder if they’ve ever seen it in the rain. Bruised knees never made a difference. Still, he once told me he loved me. I wish I had heard him over the moans, coming from the man thrusting his hips into my back. Now I know that beauty is something far more sharp than a simple reflection, and a concept far more tangible than these words.
Benjamin Stevenson is poet and movement artist from Alabama. They attended Emory University, where they received their bachelors degree in Political Science and Arabic. In addition to their primary studies, they were privileged with the opportunity of taking part in the Creative Writing program headed by Natasha Trethewey. Upon graduating with their bachelors, they made the decision to focus on my creative writing and performance art, as means of facilitating insightful dialogue on topics such as mental health, social issues, sex, love, death, and both personal and group identity politics.