Colette Arrand is a transsexual poet from Detroit, Michigan. She is the author of The Future Is Here and Everything Must Be Destroyed (Split Lip Press 2019) and Hold Me Gorilla Monsoon (OPO Books & Objects 2017). She is the co-host of Gear Switch, a podcast about the fashion of professional wrestling, and runs Fear of a Ghost Planet, a zine press. She can be found on Twitter @colettearrand.

1 poem

by Colette Arrand

mother

 

tell your children

that music is only

a weapon in the right

 

hands. tell your

children any machine

can kill fascists: a guitar,

 

a voice, a trans woman’s

hitachi magic wand.

true, there was a video game

 

where you rescued

aerosmith by shooting cds

at the people who abducted

 

aerosmith, but let me say

that a trans woman’s orgasm

is more important than

 

aerosmith, more wonderful

than most music. i don’t care

how heavy the riff is, i don’t

 

care which trans woman,

i don’t care if the cd you shoot

to rescue aerosmith is danzig

 

by danzig, which is the cd

i would shoot if i had the

money for cds or the kind

 

of heart that allows a person

to shoot another person.

once, my father took me

 

out to the woods to try

out his new handgun.

what i didn’t anticipate

 

was how easily the trigger

gave, like the guns attached

to arcade games but more

 

solid, more consequential.

i could see the hole the bullet

left in the paper (it was not

 

clean) and could picture

the bullet traveling until

it came to rest in something

 

living, and i have not

pulled a trigger since.

though it’s true that a machine

 

like a gun might kill a fascist

more easily than a trans woman’s

shuddering in the night,

 

the world is full of machines

and some work more secretively

than others, more fruitfully,

 

at least, than a white woman

handing a cop a pepsi

at a protest rally. when they wrote

 

the song i’d like to buy the world

a coke, i wonder if nazis

were included in the world.

 

probably not. it isn’t pleasant

to think of coca cola and Nazis

co-existing. it isn’t pleasant to think

 

of nazis, but they exist, just as sure

as the music of aerosmith exists.

it is hard for me to hear the word

 

“mother” in a voice that isn’t

danzig’s, without the imperative

that follows. my mother listened

 

to harder things than danzig,

so she never told me anything

about him until my sister

 

got into the misfits, about whom

she was unphased. we believe

different things about the degree

 

to which a person can be horrible.

i worry that she worries that i grind

out my days hopelessly. but hope

 

is a relative state of being. my hope

is that the machines i have are enough

to kill a fascist, that if i die

 

things burn in my wake. this hope

rips through me like the voice riding

the riff of a guitar. sometimes i hear

 

it until all i can hear is a tuneless

ringing. i have been ready to die

for as long as i have known this song

 

by danzig. it is not a song about

my mother. being ready and being

willing to die are not the same thing.