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
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,
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,
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
My violence is, these bruises are
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.