Two Poems by Martina Dominique Dansereau

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


After Jeanann Verlee

His fists. His veins. His blood. His daughter.
His good father. His charismatic. His genial.

His business. His polished shoes. His mask.
His hole-covered socks. His lizard tongue.

His don’t-talk-back. His go-stand-in-the-corner.
His house. His rules. His control. His patriarchy.

His misogyny. His punishment. His crime.
His yellow tape noose. His throat. His swallow.

His wounded. His guilt. His made up stories.
His fake. His sorry. His better-than-that. His obliged.

His take-up-space. His supper. His eat. His victim.
His you’re-not-the-victim. His brooding upstairs.

His excuses that aren’t excuses. His blame.
His can’t-do-any-wrong. His gamma ray.

His eruption. His ash. His devastation.
His clean-up-the-mess-you-made. His innocence.

His unsullied hands. His pointing finger.
His daughter. His disdain. His acid-rain gaze.

His burning-away-skin. His critical. His concrete.
His Drama-Queen. His too-sensitive.

His gaslighting. His invisible whip. His crack.
His fracture. His wrists. His father’s wrists.

His not understanding. His it’s-all-in-your-head.
His blindness. His not-even-trying. His refusal.

His harsh. His swearing. His jaw tremble.
His voice tremble. His voice. His voice.

His you-can’t-do-anything-right. His commands.
His grab you by the hair. His shaking your shoulders.

His iron-fanged anger. His power. His hurt.
His power. His threatening. His hooked hands.

His dragon claws. His razors. His cut. His bleed.
His blood. His daughter. His own. His almighty.

His terrible. His hurt. His hurt. His hurt.


Execution of the Condemned

My violence sounds
                                                                               like laughter. Laughter like
schoolyard kids, like  
                          that was so funny, let me
                          push you down again —

                                                    like     we’re having so much
                                                    fun without you freak.  

My violence tastes like iron, something
                                                       that rusts,
like the blood in my mouth when I bite my
            tongue silent, bite my tongue         invisible,
bite my tongue take-up-less-space.
                                                            My violence tastes
like desert, sands scorched dry by
the winds of fear eroding me naked,
                                                 eroding me skeletal,
             eroding me disappear.

My violence feels like                       isolation,     like a hornet
                                                                      nest stomach, like pins
and needles in my heart when
                            Loneliness cuts off my circulation.
My violence is a ghost limb, something tingling
           that is always with me no matter how many times

                                  I try to amputate it.

                       My violence sounds like silence, like

after locusts devoured crops barren,
                                                          like the silence  
            bred in too many classrooms, passed down  
like pre-owned clothing from too many teachers
who hide hate crimes under the soft blanket of
                        BULLYING, name it
                                               SUICIDE instead of slaughter,
           call it a                        TRAGEDY instead of an epidemic,
           label it                        MISTAKE instead of systematic

My violence is the more than fifty transgender
people who were murdered in 2015 alone.
                                      And yes, I’m counting suicides, because
             those who were driven to kill themselves
were driven to do so by other people’s hands.
             Do not call this suicide.
                                                  This is an execution.

My violence is the guillotine, and the endless  
                        she’s     and     her’s     that hit me
            like rotten fruit, like punches in the throat:  
bruise my windpipe, take away my                   voice,
           no one ever listened to it anyways.

My violence is the smell of mildew
                                                              closets with closed doors,
            is not being able to come out
            because it isn’t safe, is not being

safe in my own home.

My violence is               queer,
                                      is     dyke,
                                              is     bitch
                                                      and    cunt
                      and          slut.     My violence is the sound
of my heels  
in the heavy quiet of night, how each             click
            sounds more like a bullet fired, another
warning of being a casualty in the war           for my body

in a man’s hands. My violence is the subtle scent
of his    aftershave, the way    he fills a room when
he enters it, how his      voice cracks when he is angry,
             the                                                                                crack
of a leather belt made
ready to kiss skin.

My violence sounds like                      laughter. Laughter like
            brushing away, like                         oh, you silly, silly girl —
                        like                                      you call that abuse? —
like                  it’s all in your head.

My violence is     invisible: nobody sees it,
and if they do,
            they say it isn’t real, even though
                        I am covered
in bruises.
My violence is, these bruises are
a lot

Photo of Martina Dominique Dansereau

Photo of Martina Dominique Dansereau

Martina Dominique Dansereau is a non-binary lesbian writer and performance poet from Vancouver, Canada, who spends the majority of xyr time blogging, snuggling snakes, and crying over spoken word. Xe writes about trauma and abuse, mental health (and navigating relationships through that), and being a marginalized identity, all through the lens of firsthand experience. Xe has work published or forthcoming in Literary Orphans, Vagabond City, Oddball Magazine, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Berlin Artparasites and more, and xyr first book Singing the Soul Electric was released in April of this year. Xe is passionate about anti-oppression, radicalizing self-care, and going on late night walks in the rain. Click here to find more of xyr writing online.