by Aeon Ginsberg
This poem was awarded the 2019 Peach Bronze in Poetry by guest judge Dorothea Lasky.
"The form of this poem is deceptively cold and clinical, as is the repetition of its binary code. No, this poem instead is about deep and hot feelings and it drew me in quickly with its human emotion. I love the way it discusses gender and hormones in this formal way, with this glorious phrase “The Archive of Gender,” and the way it seemingly attempts to gain control of its language but then you realize at some point that it really doesn’t want to. I also really liked how the poem used the word “tension” in interesting ways, as tension really is something to consider, especially in how it plays out in almost every aspect of life. This poem is truly magical and I wonder a lot about what other poems might surround it in a book. Thank you to the poet of this poem for writing something so exquisite!"
Intramuscular Cyborg #1
Note: this poem is best viewed on desktop due to its formatting.
There’s a layer of tension when you first prick the skin, and then the second tension to get through the muscle. 01000110 01101111. Intramuscular. Subtweet my endocrine. First I saw a girl and poked through the first layer of skin, and then I saw a girl and pushed deeper. Unpack this. My therapist doesn’t like when I refer to injecting hormones as “shooting up” but there isn’t another way to describe it. It feels criminal to become yourself. First I wanted to be a girl and had to break the tension to get girl- pills, then I became a girl so I could be allowed girl-injections. The Archive of Gender needs to be destroyed. The Archive of Genders in my body needs to be destroyed too. It’s funny to me because I will never be the girl I want to be, and even then I do not want for girlhood as I want for nothingness. After market parts fill the trolley car I data-mine. Canary in the hormone hole. Sell my body and see what I can get out of it. The tension is that transitioning is making me an extra option between binary genetic coding, the spaces between information. I have dumb bitch disease on the absence of intellect. 01000110 01101111. The tension is that becoming feminine is like becoming human. To become myself fully would be to assimilate and then to decimate the idea of myself again. The tension beneath that is being human means never getting to be feminine and also a girl. There’s the skin, and then the coding beneath the skin. The needle goes angled into me, and it goes further into the coding. We should have never ascribed punk as a suffix when curse was right there. The clinic never taught me how to fill a syringe, and one day they may never let me get syringes again. The tension is that the days are getting longer and Heat death will destroy the planet (system overload) so what is there to do but try and actualize something that seems worth it to die in. When I slide the needle into my thigh my skin elasticizes around it, and again my muscle follows. 01000110 01101111. Intrabinary injections. The funny thing is there will never be anything I can do to myself that will fix the issues I have with being alive. Scrap the parts of myself that cannot be done better by a machine. The tension in it is no amount of after market feminization will make me want for less than a do over. Return to character creation. 01001110 01101111. I actually am not more or less the sum of my parts, so I make additions. Back alley body mechanics. Symbiotic mass. Injectable nanodes to corrupt the parts of me that make anyone think anything but what they see. The tension is the existence of synesthesia, and the tension beneath that is becoming synesthesiac. The existence of life in a machine is considered a ghost in the shell of the self. The existence of nothing in the shell of life doesn’t have a word yet, but let’s call it intramuscular. I shoot up girl-fuel like cybercurses and my therapist gags at the sound of the word blood. The tension in the room, in all rooms, is existence and the second tension below it, the funny one, is my sentience.