Four Poems

TC Tolbert



American Apparel


It can be true that a dick is beautiful

and that I never really wanted a dick.

I don’t want to be one of those folks for whom

being in a relationship means missing

a phone call causes more anxiety than the 127-bed

private prison being built in Eloy to hold onto

any brown person who may or may not have hopped

a white picket fence. Here, our peep-holes are hive-

made. Everywhere I go, I come on my hands. I carry

my boxes with me. Even still. This pond is a fuckfest.

42 dragonflies and when they get after each other

they become the machine we always wanted to be.

The idea was freedom. A little facial hair, a little more

money. Who isn’t worthy? Reach. Or, don’t reach.



Hanging is a misnomer

for Colie Hoffman


don’t miss
like like like
like like
like like
even clouds
are pointed
at ground-
level the sun
is the epitome
of going up
have every
right to be
scared the
poking out
I was young
I was
an opening
keep not
the grass is
tall enough
to be
a species
that isn’t
I’ve got to
give it
to her
it’s hard
to die
standing up




Before place


When a grown man would put a finger inside the asshole

of a hungry little girl. A diagram may be needed. When

could be a noun or a pronoun but in this case, a conjunction

or an adverb. What is inside. We say words are deictic when

they point away from themselves. This is context-

dependent. Who isn’t a preposition. Underneath, behind,

around – this is what we were taught in third grade. When

we woke up to wetness. Proximity or relationship to a cloud






Where I’m from, every white person I know owns

a gun. The molded metal cage of that air-

conditioner on the front porch isn’t something

to be ashamed of. Little girls’ legs are

spread – you have to. It’s for your own good.

A bite from a deer tick can be deadly. It rains

a lot here. Water just stands on the road.



TC Tolbert often identifies as a trans and genderqueer feminist, collaborator, dancer, and poet but really s/he’s just a human in love with humans doing human things. Gloria Anzaldúa said, Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks. John Cage said, it’s lighter than you

Fanzine’s Fall poetry editor is Julia Cohen. Her most recent book is a hybrid collection of lyric essays, I Was Not Born (Noemi Press, 2014). Her other books are Collateral Light (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2014) and Triggermoon Triggermoon (Black Lawrence Press, 2011). Her work appears in journals like DIAGRAM, Colorado Review, Entropy, The Destroyer, and Kenyon Review Online. She’s currently translating with Jens Bjering the Danish poet Theis Ørntoft. She lives in Chicago and is looking for snow pants.