Three of my poems were published in print journal The Avenue‘s sexuality and gender themed issue. They aren’t available online, but the issue can be purchased here.
If you enjoy my poetry, you can always find more of it here.
CENTRING OUR CREATIVE COMMUNITY
Author Dianna Gunn wears so many hats, I’m starting to think she’s a hydra. When she’s not prolifically penning stories, recording podcasts, or helping authors learn how to market their work, she’s busy creating virtual conferences. There’s one coming up on February 20th called Worldbuilding Deep Dive. I’m particularly jazzed for the Accessibility in Worldbuilding: Understanding How Disabled People Move Through Your World panel. All of the panels are free, though spaces are limited. Writers can sign up here.
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.
My poem, In Patient, is featured in litmag Serotonin. It’s an oldie, written about 20 years ago while I was an inpatient at a mental health facility. Challenges related to my mental health contributed to the long pause between writing and publishing this poem. Publishing isn’t accessible to neurodiverse and disabled people, in part because it wasn’t built for us. Indie publishers like Serotonin are creating spaces built for us, by us and because of that, pieces like this can find a home. I’m grateful for the small shifts, but it does make me want more change, bigger change.
I will try to post again soon. Until then, may you find the eye of the storm and take a deep breath.
Poet and professor Orchid Tierney has organized a virtual reading series called Distāntia. She calls it “an experimentation with intimate social distancing through remote access poetry.”
My poem is about the value that people who are often forgotten bring to a crisis. The wisdom of survival doesn’t always wear a three piece suit. Sometimes it wears a Chewbacca onesie and hides out in its blanket fort, thank you very much.
by H. E. Casson
(CW: Eating disorder, gender dysphoria, body discomfort)
I ate a thin girl for breakfast today I heard her bones crackle as they gave way I watched my belly grow in size I saw the fat distending my thighs She tasted like two-day-old gristly chicken I thought, as my arms touched my sides as they thickened
I ate a skinny girl for lunch I heard her crunch
I ate a slender girl for dinner She didn’t even flinch She swallowed the air until she was thinner Counted every inch
I ate a thin girl for breakfast today (I used to be like you, I grinned) In keeping my promise I fed her a steak Then carefully shovelled her in
I ate a thin girl last night as a snack I was a thin girl and I’m not going back
At times I hate you, Emily Though as a poet my love is due you
I hate the legendary words That grew in your ecstatic solitary The words that have said it all So simply That my prose is a tease Seeking attention With unnecessary frills
I hate the room on the second floor Where you hid out the world Denying the worth of any Save those words All voices, to you, were letters Shrouded in only white The scholars say You shut the door And turned us all away So every moment that I do not hold Every thought that I do not translate to perfection Every distraction I indulge in Makes me less a poet than you
Still, I love you, Emily Though as a poet my hate is due you
I love you for how little you lived For now your words remain Unmarred by an overshadowing woman Until you are not Emily the poet But Emily the poems They seem to have been birthed from the very ground Organic and untainted by human intervention Poetic purity with no intercessor
I love you because you are already dead Any your poems are a record Of a poet before therapy And self-help books And Oprah made us whole And stole our words Abandoned us, silent By unburdening our hearts And curing our muse
Emily, I love you For as a poet, my love is due you
“You eat meat?” She asked, incredulous I said no Then I said yes Sometimes I suppose It feeds my gut And teases my nose It sits in my throat And flavours my tongue It’s comfort food From when I was young And mother would feed me A chop so big I forgot when I tasted That it was a pig
But then, she cares Her eyes are wet She is a cow, in dreams I’ll bet (Just look at those eyes) So I rationalize
That I was hungry for almost a year (No politics for that, I fear) An empty belly made me see That I eat them Or they’ll eat me
And lettuce didn’t fill me up And orange juice didn’t please my cup But a pizza pie with bacon strips Pleased my lips
Reminding me of mother’s chops The happy smell in butcher shops And times when hunger was not there And times when I had food to spare