1 poem

by Alexis Aceves Garcia

Alexis Aceves Garcia is a first-generation genderqueer Latinx and Indochinese poet that believes we should abolish the police. You can find them on Instagram and Twitter @loveloaf_.

This poem was awarded the 2020 Peach Bronze in Poetry by guest judge ALOK.

"sometimes the most devastating poems are the most beautiful poems. it’s not so much that the pain, it is beautiful, but rather that there is beauty in finally being able to name the pain... poetry finally being that space where we can name inconvenient truths, dismember all the noise that goes into pretending to be able. ODE OT TRANS BOXING CLASS is so beautiful it hurts. it hurts because of what it says (and what it does not say): how when you live in a body already marked for violence, where there is no outside of it, sometimes relief comes from being able to choose your own poison. the poem asks us: 'in a world that dispossess us of so much, can we not at least maintain choice?' this is why i chose this poem: because it makes me uncomfortable, because its honesty burns like a ginger shot, because it captures so effortlessly how desperate we are (and perhaps how dexterous we become) in finding a way—any way—to make it work. to make us work."

—ALOK

ODE TO TRANS BOXING CLASS

when Liv wraps my hands

on a platform in the middle

of an almost barren Bushwick gym

i am the most dangerous i

have ever been

haven’t thrown a punch but

my whole body weaponed

in black wraps n gold

gloves, surrounded by bodies

who have never been inside

a boxing ring but know

the dance, a choreography

of defense against death

our feet in holy holy rhythm

here, we are all alive

n kiss each other’s

mouths: my glove, yr lip,

yr glove, my lip,

n when Nola reaches

their fist to my ear i want to hold it

there w/ my cheek

n when they wink after

swinging a slow miss

i have never wanted to be

punched in the nose more

please, jab jab cross me

in the glasses

take a padded fist to my ribs

i am a beating thing

wanting to be beaten

only here am i safe to want

a fight to choose who ends

me