Two Poems by C. Russell Price
Self Portrait as Rapunzel’s Hair
First, I was comb controlled,
a straight-teeth, barely-banged
mini pig-tailed temple.
Today, I enter a hay thrasher
for a braid machine.
I cover myself in an acre of blue bows.
I keratin, I frizz, I fuck him.
Naked, he lays his breastplate aside
and swims within me like fine spaghetti.
I stink like his pits. He greases me down,
Frenches me until sunrise.
The trapeze free fall I feel
when he says “let down, let down,”
is like a Tower of Terror drop:
how a collapsing fault-lined bridge must crumble.
I kiss the hostas ‘round the stone chemise.
I let spiders hitch rides into R’s room.
Birds pick split-end strays to make mansion nests.
When he climbs me like a POW,
he goes straight to her thirsty body.
He looks into her dumbass eyes,
he watches all of us ungulate in the mirror.
He talks to her, but he came here for me.
My Sexual Identity Is A Toaster In A Bath Tub
In the last heather field,
I keep sane with pop sugar:
I’m the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral
can’t understand what I mean//you soon will.
I have the tendency to wear my mind on my sleeves,
I have a history of taking of my shirt
and I say and I sing
lines I never loved
the first go around, but everything’s sore,
I’ve made myself a siren too often.
If somebody heard me and loved me:
they would have told me by now.
Love, I’m squalling about your nose
tomorrow when I reach what’s left
of Texarkana. It’s been 888 nights
since I finally left the house
we could never afford. Your dead body is
seven cities away and that house:
all Mr. Blue Sky shingle crowned burned down.
How? Let’s say—why save something
that never felt your footsteps?
I’m living in this constant museum,
this world of Why-I-Miss-Yous,
my beard a half halo of lavender,
an everyday red-faced-soundscape
of what’s left and what else is left.
If something like you still walked upright,
he’d find me on this last single patch of parakeet green,
and shaking me, he would stop
the sleep-singing, the coo of “I’ve got so much honey,
the bees envy me.”
C. Russell Price is an Appalachian genderqueer punk poet originally from Virginia who now lives in Chicago. They are the author of the chapbook, Tonight, We Fuck the Trailer Park out of Each Other (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016). They paint, write, and play piano in Rogers Park. Price works with The Offing and is a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University. Their forthcoming full-length collection Human Flesh Search Engine explores a hyper-queer apocalypse and neo-confessionalism.