New Trans Voices: Hear From the Trans Poets Workshop NYC

Members of the Trans Poets Workshop NYC offer pieces from their diverse bodies of work.



Charles Theonia


The day after a blizzard.
Among the uncollected trash bags
there’s a mop planted by the curb,
proud flag staking claim to its grey peak.
We stay inside and talk fathers.
Chrístopher says dealing
requires the patient willingness
to be deficient.
It’s how I say
Please, Charlie, they,
and mine says
Police, fascist, grammar,
until we’re screaming
in the still snow of the street,
not yet waiting for patience.

In my dream David and I travel through Alaska
speeding, unbounded, open to everything
as if on an invisible train.
We come to a glacial crest
and from its height suddenly see
the gleaming mountains
we’ve passed through unnoticing.

It’s been our way,
in our continuous parting,
grasping each other loosely,
yet we still hold over
and over, so I’m reminded
knowing isn’t done once.

means telling your father
if this continues
he may never know you
and letting him
make his decision;
letting your throat go soft
beneath its scarves;
turning to leave; it means
holding yourself,
the swan lying
on the frozen pond
tucking its neck over its back
like an arm over someone
else’s shoulder; it means
waiting to see.

Charles Theonia was born and remains in Brooklyn. Their work has appeared in The Artist Catalogue and Volume 1 of Zine of the Trans Poets Workshop NYC. They teach CUNY Start remedial reading and writing classes at BMCC. For more, see