Welp, for the first time ever I’m creating an awards eligibility post. Small but mighty, I’m proud of this list of what I’ve accomplished in my first year actively and consistently submitting. Thank you for giving my work a look! —H. E. Casson
Title: Wings Pulled To Body Genre: Poetry Publisher: Scifaikuest, August 2020 This is a short poem about reverse metamorphosis.
Title: 12 Tanzen Lane Genre: Fantasy/Fairy Tale Publisher: Cast of Wonders, September 2020 Published as an audio play, 12 Tanzen Lane is a queer retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses fairy tale, set in a group home. It explores gender, trauma, mental illness, and love. It’s informed by my own time spent in the group home system growing up.
Title: Weeding the Experiential Archives Genre: Speculative Fiction Publisher: The Quilliad, November 2020 In this experimental short story, you are cast as the archivist, deciding which experiences will remain in your collection and which will be discarded and sold. The experiences are gleaned from the near past, present, and near future.
My first published shape poem, The Labels on Shampoo, is in Ang(st)’s 4th issue, which can be read here. Ang(st) is a feminist zine with a focus on the body. The other works in this issue cover so many moods and styles. There’s likely something in there for every experience of hair. I’ve found some brilliant new writers to follow in this issue.
Funny side story: when I wrote this poem, I went to my local drugstore to take pictures of all the words used to sell shampoo (which, lets be honest, is just wet soap). I took so many photos, a guy at the store thought I was casing the joint. I had to explain that it was all for poetry. I’m not sure he bought it.
CENTRING OUR CREATIVE COMMUNITY
BTW, if you’re into zine culture, there’s some impressive work being done at the Wiggle Bird Mailing Club. There are a few different levels of support you can offer on their Patreon, but every level includes at least some of their bright, gloriously designed zines from trans and queer authors. If an ongoing monthly commitment isn’t feasible, you can also support them with one-off purchases at their Etsy shop.
I stumbled across a poem I wrote a full two decades before I was open about the queerness of my gender. I sometimes feel like I was leaving myself breadcrumbs so that when I finally realized how lost I was, I’d be able to find my way home. This is one of those breadcrumbs.
For folks using text readers:
The clothes, they feel wrong But the fault’s in the wearer In terror of being Exactly myself With the clothes That I chose From the piles on my shelf I’m pretending I’m someone I’m not Someone else Someone normal And happily lost in the crowd When I’m lost in this shroud In this lie Over-false Truer walls around feelings That don’t match my pulse
And I’ve twisted around From the me I should be That even my clothes Have rebelled against me
Saying, “There are some things That we have to discuss. For we’d rather you naked, Than fake it, With us.”
For the second time, the wonderful Kristin Garth has included one of my poems in her journal, Pink Plastic House. It was part of her 31-day collection of Halloween-hearted poems. You can read it by clicking here and scrolling down to October 17th, the day my poem was featured.
The Autumn issue of Thema Literary Journal features my poem, What Were You Wearing? I wrote this piece in response to the question inevitably asked by police, social workers, doctors, friends, and lovers when talking about sexual assault. You can purchase the issue here.
If you were a North American GenX kid who didn’t understand the appeal of sports where people hit things and didn’t wear sequins, you might enjoy my poem about figure skating’s most epic battle. It ‘s up now at The Daily Drunk.
For the first time, I’ve dedicated most of my efforts not just to creating, but to trying to share what I create. That part has always been the wrench for me.
About two years ago, I left my job. When I say I left my job, what I mean is that I got onto a bus, rode it to the subway station, got out and stood on the platform
My body rebelled. I full-on froze. My mouth tasted like I was chewing tinfoil. My heart was a wind-up toy from the flea market let loose under my ribs. I called HR and told them I couldn’t do it. I quit.
You don’t need to know the details of what happened at my job to spin me out. It was an echo of a recurring trauma, played out like a house of mirrors and it triggered my flight or flight. (And I’ve never had fight. Not ever.)
I left. I got a part time job to help with the bills and started sending words out.
I live in a neurodiverse bubble that makes enjoying my own accomplishments complicated — even impossible. I’m sharing my nominations because I want them to stay in my brain. I want them to imprint as deeply as the bad stuff. I want to remember how I felt when I heard. How my body reacted. What my mouth tasted like. What my heart did.
SCIFAIKUEST is a journal of short form science fiction and fantasy poetry published by Hiraeth Books. The August 2020 issue features my poem, wings pulled to body. I’ve received my copy of this issue in the mail and its full of small bursts of creative wonder. If you like your speculative verse in bite sized form, this is for you. The issue can be purchased here.
by H. E. Casson
(CW: Sexual assault, child abuse, pregnancy)
If I ever liked the night If it ever liked me back That was so very long ago So long ago In fact It may have been Inside the womb Ripe with the smell I remember it well Of his cigarettes And her ice cream cones The sound of their fights The frenzied tones Through the thin skin walls I remember it all
If I ever liked the dark With the sparklers In the park Enough, ablaze To scare away The nighttime To convince the day To stay (which was impossible) At a festival in the early fall
If I ever liked the moon When he came into my room Like the fights Inside the womb An exploration of my Skin Thin, like hers Afraid, like him