Four Poems by Jos Charles



when i was 3, i could sing
the batman theme.
the family was impressed.
uncle would request
batman tapes from
that guy mom
knew across the way
from grandfather’s place.
i was told i had ‘speech issues.’
i would often misuse
‘a’s. warm became worm.
harm became home.
i’ve mostly figured words out,
except with a cock in my mouth.
u swallow and take a body
out a body. later u shit a body.
i won’t get into why,
but when i was five
i thought a gay man
was a stay at home dad.
when i told dad’s friend
he was the first gay man
i met, he kicked
my ass. when i said shit
shit and got scared
and came in ur hair,
it’s cause i remembered.


fell asleep in text
of lover. an other
presumed tongue.
book want undone. book
wanna have fun. too steamy headlight
pressing on toward night.
father-book on mantle of
elm eaves. me easy lay, book say.
word to a fault. me like home.
like woman.
a spine to it.
ashen n smoke.
no getting round
afternoon of ur
reality cult /
engender weight of /
color as sign as taste of.
book say, script the new
book say, sure boy can read,
but cant have both ways.
u choose too
late. space
the new moon


i have never acted.
i have never acted except in solidarity with those who were the conditions for my acting.
male flesh: a fiction we can’t afford
and yet i swallow.
reading that motherfucker you love and sympathizing with the directive real of hate.
claudel, “what is the use of being a woman, unless to be gathered.”
watch me fill the wound
your fullness makes.


my ass was here
before you found it.
take your loss
out from inside. take
off the gloves. place
your hands in
mine. grab something
and sniff. this
is the goddamn scientific
method i’m talking about.
make evaluations
and improve. confirm. repeat.
get it right asshole we both
know you’re dying
Jos Charles is a southern-California writer and founding-editor at THEM—a trans literary journal. Their poetry publications include Denver Quarterly, BLOOM, Radioactive Moat, the YOLO pages, and Metazen. They also have writing featured on Huffington Post, Bitch Magazine, The Fanzine, and variously online.

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