Janus Vacations in the Second Circle of Hell
trope is unhinged femme / prevents me from writing / Annie Wilkes hobbles a man because bipolar, because obsessive / Dr. Robert Elliott murders because transgender, because toxic masculinity, because self-hatred / Terri Ardor kills her mother & father & herself because bipolar / script calls for nudity, pulsating desire / calls for personal intimacy with showerhead / in my contract, I won’t do nudity on page / these kinks for me, not voyeur / every allusion to flowers, of course is about sex, even when it isn’t / I’ve learned to love my biggest organ / that’s not a sex joke / sensitive tissue, I’ve opened / lathered scar cream over / hid away and under thermals / why do we press such sharp instruments to body? / tell me without consulting a psych major, a therapist, or a “trained professional” / tell me sometime over a slice and a beer in the basement of Jerry’s Pizza / my least favorite horror trope is abandoned hospital / maybe because several suicide watches on the ward / nurse holding my eyes while I shit / I prefer unhinged femme reaching for heaven / a single oxygen mask dropping from the sky / god offering lifetime treatment / god whispering get back to work, before licking my ear / rejecting forced extraction / tubes hanging from my nostrils, being thrust forward in the wind / tubes scratching stomach lining / an ambulance crooning / lights flashing / in floating, I tangle in these tubes / sometimes, I’m ripping them from my nose like a magician’s never-ending handkerchief / up to my waist in a ditch of sins / just like mom warned me / forever a torrent of cold piss /
Shelby Pinkham (she/they) is a Chicanx, queer, bipolar poet from the Central Valley. Their work hopes to dismantle archives that honor institutions, systems, and policies before people. A visual poetix composed of collage, paint, and text. Her writing has been published in PANK, Honey Literary, and elsewhere. They earned an MA from Cal State Bakersfield and is currently an MFA student at Fresno State.