Two Poems from Alain Ginsberg



in the short version of the story
I will say I was fired and it is sad,
will joke and laugh and say
how many arms we were up in.
fuck the boss man and his prejudice
and how unsurprising for this embrace
to find my shoulders, to be let go of
and not have to worry if it was me
or who I am and not tell the parts of the story
where I take the money slid
between the folds
of my last paycheck,
will call this blood money,
call this the time where
I collect my body back from the grave,
broke bread and shared wine
as the criminal sent to the gallows
but only after the burial,
how all of my sins are crimes
for their ability of keeping me alive
and for this we must find other ways.
how mortal I am for thinking I could work
the job and not be broken until I am broke.

in the version of the story I want
to share I will say that when
my hair is pulled back, you say that
you got a thing for working girls
and I’m comforted because I always work,
always try to find the parts of me to hide
and what to accentuate, how I don’t feel
the need to hide myself anymore,
when there is a halo around the moon
it’s because of a high altitude cirrus cloud,
that glow is also my gender,
and you the cloud, for this
I will pull my hair back and receive the text
from the manager whose mouthfire
changes me working-girl to just girl, maybe.
in this version I will tell people about
all of my free time and no one will laugh,
no one will talk about the hours we have sold
to eat, drink, survive and sustain each other
and how resilient we must be to eat the slaps
that feed us most, how full this stomach
has been and how red this face is for it.
in this version my coworkers don’t quit
with me and instead I drink less
and learn to knit, how good I am at holding
things together, how that does not
apply to myself.

in the version of the story I don’t tell
I thank the chef who saw this
body and found it unfit
for him to be lecherous toward,
how little I could be consumed
all gristle bone body sinew.
I thank the chef for being honest,
the first in a long line of aggressive men
to call the sun too bright to look at
and how much I do glow now
and how hard it is
to see me before
the storm, and
I leave.


Love Note to The Giant Squid, or Anti-Love Note to Humanity


Giant Squid and I met at the protest and how could I not

fall into it’s tentacles, feel bound by a thing that can kill me

and chooses not to, so naturally I became as obsessed with the Giant Squid

as most are, each new meet-cute or video is an adventure into similarity,

and once a Giant Squid, that same one, came to my window

and left a stack of literature on the sill

after I had decided to come out of a closet or /swim

out of a cage tied to the end of my grandfather’s pier / and that

is when I learned Giant Squids are not just cryptic things,

that this message is straightforward that their politics

are just anti-humanist, hence the disappearing act.

I once watched a video of a Giant Squid

swimming next to a submarine passing out fliers

about the history of Stonewall and how the first brick

was a cryptid too, how no one believes it existed

anymore, very woo, very mandela effect. I have seen pictures of mothman

holding the brick because he was there too.

I once came out to become more of a human

in the eyes of those who lacked the words to define this mess

of a self, and instead made more monster of these bones and once

a Giant Squid taught me how assimilation is a trap

after a bank bought out my sexuality, and a cop

marched in the riot ahead of the trans women

he would later arrest and now we drift through alleyway

like tentacles, hiding corals and bottles behind trash cans

so there is always a weapon when the people who poach come.

A Giant Squid and I are at the protest and National Geographic

takes a picture and none of the facial recognition

databases know where to place the eyes, and for this we have succeeded

at being an unnamed thing, a broken language,

how unsurprising for corporate gays to become codebreakers,

how supremacy works in a way that directly

boosts the capital of those that maintain the status quo

and how naturally white mouths co-opt pain they know

too easily how to deliver, and once

a Giant Squid taught me that fingers break like carrots,

therefor they must also be vegetables too and

humans are more likely to die from the loss of an eye

rather than the losing of it and we are such lonely things, and once

a Giant Squid named my mouth as a lonely thing too

and I realized the more anti-humanist I become, the more

I assimilate into being a cryptid and we are built of this solitude,

a body drifting in the only mass big enough to hold

all of us but only if we are willing to drown to get there.


Alain Ginsberg is an agender writer and performer from Baltimore City, whose work focuses on narratives of gender, sexuality, and mental health, and how trauma informs and skews those narratives. Their work has been featured or is forthcoming from Ghost City Review, Shabby Doll House, decomP, and elsewhere. Their first collection of work "Until The Cows Come Home" was published by Elation Press (2016). Outside of performing they Scream, and are a Taurus. Their website is

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