do you care more about sodomy as noun or verb?

Frantisek Kupka, Study in black and white, 1924. Courtesy WikiArt.

Study in black and white by Frantisek Kupka, 1900


m: unnatural witch
i summoned you and what


m: you are I, my hunger
pure dream, you exist & with mystique
and pen, you always already are – mine

            w: do you care more about sodomy as noun
            or verb?

m: name what you want
if i have to i will plagiarize
to make u citizen
i will

            w: writhes, ecstatically

m: we hear nothing
petty hysteria
what do you make of my suffering?

            w: laughs, silently

m: i’m willing to make a contract
i will rip open the honey for you
your mask is my stain, you are my pores
let’s make a deal

            w: why do we never use the whip i bought you for your birthday
            there it sits, rusting on the nail above the bed.
            you are always too tired, fuck you.

m: i thought we decided to only use it in public
from now on
your idea.
take this knife.

            w: slicing onions, beginning to cry

m: silent, as always
aren’t we fighting
for the same thing?

            w: i fight, i hallucinate.
            the more i read, i haven’t read.
            this tragedy won’t write itself
            you gaslight your own narrative
            it’s maddening. i don’t care
            how we are read,
            only how we are reading

m: you are not perceptible
there are rooms you can’t enter
your voice rings at pitches, many ears don’t hear

w: do you have anything to say? you keep changing teams.

m: you can’t perform an object into object
we are matter

            w: if all people are citizens,
            is anyone really citizen?
you need me,
            you see
            to see yourself

m: i think sodomy only exists as verb
i want to be a billionaire
i need expensive teapots, i need to skip the meetings
i need my reflection to move across shop windows
pure commodity

            w: i am scared, something about my soul

a glass falls from the table and shatters

m: it culminates in us all
but in none of us particularly
that is what pains me
that pain is what i cannot see


m: i fear my questions reduce you.
i’d like to extend an invitation to you
to my fantasy

            w: despite the snow i come
            archaic, to rsvp

m: there is too much information
to celebrate anything

            w: there is love between us
            there is after all

m: do you think
my poetry is too hostile?

            w: O honey of my masculinity
            i’ll never say no.
i am blind
            with submission
            i sit at your knees
            your fantasy of our relation determines us

m: despite the snow you came
despite the genre
now tell me – what is your real name?

            w: you are seeming out of touch
            consent is a literal myth
            yes can also mean no

m: i beg you to so you will

            w: draw me a bath and make me dinner
            i’m ready to believe, you think you hear me say
            i’m ready to believe
            to be liberated
            each morning i wake up and pray
            organize me
            who will organize me today

m: you mock me
i like the word halt
because it is immediate
and definitive
but it feels impermanent
on the other hand
may take a while
but lasts

            w: pls do both
            this is bad phenomenology
            or is it
            you are rhetorically

m: you are too bratty of a bottom
you are lucky to be in my story
are you asking to get slapped?

            w: the hardest part
            for us both
            is that you need my refusal
            as much as you need me to appear

m: our dialectic it
brings me pain

            w: you fall asleep first
            oblique, spread too thin
            the pain isn’t serving you

m: unrepresentable pain
i cave in the doorway
moss grows over my eyelids
i grow later and later
it has occurred to me
in such a way i cannot commit

            w: like dirt, I think
            you need reimagining

ROSIE STOCKTON is a poet based in Los Angeles. Their first book, Permanent Volta, is the recipient of the 2019 Sawtooth Prize, and is forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2021. Their poems have also been published by Publication Studio, Monster House Press, BigBig Wednesday, Flint Magazine, A Plume Journal, and WONDER.