Two Poems by Stephen Ira

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

“Can You Make It Rain Harder?”

  — for Bryn Kelly, a trans woman writer and artist who died in 2016.

Months follow her funeral and still not all her mourners blow away.
Not enough wind in the world. Cruelty lives on too, inheres in you,
travels through the back of love like a spine. Locks of red that are gone.
Locks of blonde. You will buy grown up clothes, you will fail more people.
The sky tricks you with warmth, then, like her, leaves you. No good
woman no more, and why. We lined up, we looked handsome, we did no good.
The Thane of Fife had a wife, where is she now? Outside the karaoke room
I heard her broad voice through the glass: Purple rain, pur—rple rain,
but stayed outside talking to Joss and pressing my stupid fat face
on the window. Oh honey, look where the wind never seems to blow you
no matter what game you talk.


Performance Proposal

Knitting an enormous piece of fabric
onto which is projected a progressively
clearer and clearer image while Mandy Patinkin’s
recording of “Liaisons” plays. Maybe take
my clothes off as he slides into “Send In the Clowns,”
whole instrument at work. Maybe I would
drop a railroad of stitches, how clear is the image,
how clear do I need it to be and what is it?
A picture of a conversation, maybe, yellow bubbles
of words on white. Stupid cruising in stupid art!
But should I be so cruel about it? To myself,
I mean. If I used Grindr it would be cooler
to leave holes in the cloth-like, to apologize—
Either way, I’d like you to come out at the end,
although “Send In the Clowns” is about the lover’s departure,
so I wouldn’t even be making a point, just inflicting us
on everyone, maybe naked, embracing and making
no point except perhaps that we are here
together in too much context, greiving,
that I still need your love after all that I’ve done.

Photo of Stephen Ira by  Chris Berntsen

Photo of Stephen Ira by
 Chris Berntsen

Stephen Ira is a co-founder and co-editor of Vetch: A Magazine of Trans Poetry and Poetics. His poetry, fiction, and cultural criticism can be found in Alien Mouth, Ignota, The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard, and NewNowNext, among others. He is currently an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writer's Workshop.