I DON’T HEAR CANTONESE IN CHINATOWN ANYMORE

I hear tourists whisper, with the shiver
of a cheap thrill,
about driving down that strip
on East Hastings
windows up doors locked
past boarded-up bakeries and empty apothecaries
dried shrimp just don’t sell
like they used to
the city knows
where we spend the night
drinking our Postmarks and Thirty-Threes
our powdered noses on dirty keys, dancing
at parties in sweaty
streets with real character and grit
so we can tell stories
about living on the edge
stories we rented with
fifteen-dollar cover
and vodka crans
there are devils
in this city
worse than you
devils in suits that speak your language
claim they fight for beauty
while smothering a culture
with a 1600-thread-count pillow
the city sees them too
this city speaks veganese and venti
a prefab vocabulary born of
swallowing its history, with new money
in its teeth
this city has no mother
tongue
this city speaks only
one language
this city sees you

still

EFNIKS aims to support queer & trans poets of color across our platform. To be considered for paid poetry publication, visit our Submissions Page, or write to our Poetry Editor at poetry@efniks.com. To donate to our volunteer-run platform that pays its contributors, head to our support page.

Dear Colonizer

Dear Colonizer,

Do not romanticize my spirituality.
There are days
When I’m more capable of hiding from Father Sun
Than I am of sending out a quick prayer of thanks
Before a meal.
My flaws have been forced by your supremacy;
A tree struck by lightning.
Now I must work endlessly to realign myself.
To ignore this will only please your ancestors.

Dear Colonizer,

Do not ask me to bless this or that of yours
And only offer coin.
Yes, the price of my head is lower than most
And, yes, my blessings are valuable
And have turned the miserable into glistening bubbles.
But know I hold no value in any of the white man’s paper.

Colonizer,

See me as someone who you continue to
Steal life from
Land from.
Rights from.
Tradition from.
History and home from.
This is something YOUR presidents will never correct.

Colonizer!

If I accept your money, know that I’m doing so
Out of the need to survive
Because your society is doing its damnedest to end me.
My hand is coerced
And I am not proud.
I will have to sing for myself more than I will for your blessing.
And then after your paper has burned through,
We will both be in the same place as before.

Colonizer, yes you.

See me as Niitsitapi
Not indigenous
Not indian.
See me as human.
See me as Two-Spirit
And when you approach me
With consuming eyes
And wondrous ideas of how to
“properly” acknowledge your crimes
And my glory
Recognize who the fuck you’re talking to
Because I will not tell you again

EFNIKS aims to support queer & trans poets of color across our platform. To be considered for paid poetry publication, visit our Submissions Page, or write to our Poetry Editor at poetry@efniks.com. To donate to our volunteer-run platform that pays its contributors, head to our support page.

1995 Frame of Mind Part 2 (Booty Clasping)

Home-grown servants mix with drop-off laundry like colored stockings. Chosen people raising steel pyramids on the incline of a spine, following white picket drones leading caravans of streaming muslin along summer dream horizons of hidden suburb pensions.

Commerce percolates what caffeinated city isms drain. A cobblestone plugs the manhole mouth to aged dumping ground; overflowing by now it spews invisible gases thru avenues, up Park, past millionaire mile, flaring the nostrils of skeletal descendants clasping at booty chests. Debris sweeps inland landing on uptown window sills with the strength of a rolling blackout, freezing the frames of fifty-two million unemployable bodies.

EFNIKS aims to support queer & trans poets of color across our platform. To be considered for paid poetry publication, visit our Submissions Page, or write to our Poetry Editor at poetry@efniks.com. To donate to our volunteer-run platform that pays its contributors, head to our support page.

Self-Portrait as Erotic Asphyxiation

i place myself in the dungeon play
room, where metal braids into metal and hangs

off the ceiling, slide into leather straps,
to match the anon dom

in wet black leather
with fixed studs across shoulders and chest.

i free my muscles
into the clamps.

The signal:

synthetic latex gloves
smacking on cognizant skin.

On my command,

the cuffs come out, bond
my wrists above my head and restrain
my toes from stroking the ash slate.

One hand rivets my trachea,
the other teases with a flogger

then strikes—nerve receptors
transmit to my larynx, stopping short

of a moan, groaning oh god!
but the sound travels into myself—

a power in my consenting silence.


EFNIKS aims to support queer & trans poets of color across our platform. To be considered for paid poetry publication, visit our Submissions Page, or write to our Poetry Editor at poetry@efniks.com.

RPG

RPG

Load game.

Press start.

Are you a boy
or a girl?

Pause game.

On the one hand,
I could play
as a girl.

Chun Li:
street fighter
clad in blue
with thunder thighs
and lightning kicks.

Lara Croft:
archaeologist
packing treasure
in her bag
and guns
on her hips.

Norma Beatty:
spellcaster
floating carefree
like golden bubbles.

Sometimes,
I'd rather play
as neither
a girl
or boy.

I once
played a game
that let me
choose my form.

I felt like
a child,
gleefully playing
dress up.

I tried on
hairy torsos,
long hair,
and spiky legs.

Settled on
short hair,
brown skin,
t-shirt,
a skirt.

My avatar
became armor,
protection against
axes cleaving
me in two.

Male or female.
Straight & cis.
White
and maybe Black.

How can I
have four hearts,
two extra lives,
but only one way
to play?

Let me be
a hero
through golden good,
ebony evil,
or silver chaos.

Let me be
more than
an NPC
with no destiny.

Let me be
myself more often
so I stop pausing
and finally
press play.


EFNIKS aims to support queer & trans poets of color across our platform. To be considered for paid poetry publication, visit our Submissions Page, or write to our Poetry Editor at poetry@efniks.com.

Bacchanalia

Take a chance, taste the red wine on my lips,
lean in close. Can you smell the plums and poppies,
a hint of cacao, soft and tender? Mind wanders
to maenads and tigers, blood on your hands...

Bacchus would drive kings mad, execute them
to the frenzied hands of mothers, wives and daughters.
But what’s a taste: flowing like blood, red as sin?
In the day, hot is the sun, but at night,

seek the sun along my skin, running your hands
down my back as I draw you near, lips brush against
ear, and I whisper—I don’t really love you.
And still the wine on my breath. Crushed poppies.

EFNIKS aims to support queer & trans poets of color across our platform. To be considered for paid poetry publication, visit our Submissions Page, or write to our Poetry Editor at poetry@efniks.com.