Contradition IV: Chrystal

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These three poems were written by Chrystal, read at Contradiction IV. We thank the writers for allowing us to publish these works on our site.


self-expression or self-release?

ink on skin more like blood seeping through

art and architecture colliding

on surfaces and within

the body

is beautiful. her body is beautiful.

a landscape genius with shading

and smooth curve.

an entire canvas – a work in progress

with drawings that misdirect, drawing

attention only to

a gun which recognizes we are all to blame

its nozzle pointing in, its handle open for your grasp

I grasp her arm and she lets me

puts the trigger to my anxious untrained fingers

and I have hurt her

in my defense of expression and release

too many times

her heart once worn, red, on her upper left sleeve

now lower, worn out, perhaps, or still falling with hope in gray flames, still burning

waiting for my silly searching to end where it began -

a nautical star for direction and a banner left blank

with an invisible inscription. her name written in permanence.

this landscape

is genius.

five feet and four inches and the occasional additional seven and a half strapped on

a version of our aversion to the need for heels or height

a little lean and you learn that when it’s all laid down, the world

will slip into reach just right.

but the landscape is genius. in dim light.

a skyline crafted like odd-lengthed crayons in every shade of Crayola’s blue and gray

scraping the night as if god’s ass is bare and daring

the boldest, tallest, to take him on.

fool enough to try and fooled enough to stand

before the lobby

at street level and shrinking.

but away from that city

such erections are mere shadows

cast upon faces like masses of clitoral vindication.

so let’s make art with our bodies

and war with our voices

link arms, build walls so great in front clinics

and around women

exercising a right not given by statute

but by the inherent allowance to choose.

see, that’s the art of creation

each individual with difference

and on that level – equal

in innocence.

guilt implied only by those above judgment

those who have proof of absolute truth

and I will say not even science is very much more than theoretical

but aesthetics are pleasing. unexplained. mysterious.

like favorite colors.

favorite contours.

so the direction of my gazes is, quite frankly, none of your business

specifically if you deal with laws and �infringements’

the fringe of society will always be here where you put it

whether you like it

holding in place the outline of your weak definitions

constraints and restrictions you man-made normality

you nurtured into nature

non-conformity is the frame around your masterpiece

and what’s truly genius

is the landscape

and the escape from textbook terminology

and the noise.

life and art

are the colors of skin and the contours of choice.

In the Streets

recently, with the attention from the random schoolgirl stalkers and the truly crazy girls,

every time we fuck i wonder if this is how they see me.

on top but way too bottom.

more skin undressed in a single frame than anyone else could account.

your seven and a half inches of what it means to be free..

seven and a half inches within me.
and god, do i get loud…

it’s so odd to think about.

i imagine them glimpsing us in that hot clammy wet moment.

can’t feel my toes or grip your hair any tighter.

can’t hear my drippy mucous thoughts

over a voicebox in my throat that switched channels.

can’t stop the tremble in my thighs or press our chests any deeper.

when all i can is come.

butch on the streets and femme in the sheets.

i don’t believe in that.

i don’t believe in gender.

i don’t believe in codes that formulate a system of authority.

they’re just roles we play in the dark.

i believe i cracked the passwords, beat the boundaries, and defeated the purposes we were expected to accept.

without question.

but i came.

and i asked.

who am i if not in some form some way someone i’d be assessed to be?

expression and identity are knit too close.

like my breaths and my gasps when your hand is down my pants.
when i look in the mirror i see what i want to.

what i want them to.

i see a dash of arrogance that means strength in the bulk of male muscle.

masculine terms that i want my chin to speak

before my words have their chance.

when i look in the mirror i furrow my brows.

i am defiance. i am real. i am man. – or boy,

because my dimple charms and jello smile and pissed-pants eyes reveal.

too much.

so i am not defiance. i am not man. that is not real.

and when i look in the mirror i furrow my brows to deny, defy,

a toddler

with cheeks too chubby to know the arch of man constructs…

architecture of the home, the rod, the rule.

the triangle was gold, not pink.

but I never followed the hint.

when i talk to myself, i’m a hundred and twelve percent boy.

albeit sensitive and introspective.

And i don’t know myself any other way.
the day i cut my hair off (it only took me seventeen years)

i stayed in front of the mirror for hours.

negotiating what i saw.

resolving who i had always been.

it was like staring at your twin, separated at birth,

and that internal reconciliation.

putting the parts together.

like always knowing there was someone out there who had stolen your identity and left you with someone else’s.

and then seeing your self walking down the street right across the street from you.

i don’t know myself any other way.

yet you know me that other way.

you know the way my jaw drops and locks, the way i bite my lip, the way my neck throws back.
i’m no actor.

i’m not the best liar.

i guess i’m versatile but you somehow lube up my dichotomies just right…

we’re faggots and toughguys and leather dykes and fruitcakes…

and god knows i love the sounds you make when you’re almost.. quite… there.

My Definition

my mother wants to define this

as if

sex came with

a gender clause.

this uniform skirt is control

exercised by culture

and laws that dictate

over external genitalia, wombs, female fetuses, and the space we�re allowed to exist


a norm of petite, polite, post-marital slave

and we carry our heels high

to be crippled

we acquire joy

from the vanity of requiring continuous assistance.

so my jeans will be worn, knowing

the price that accompanies�

this awareness that this world was born


a woman�s pain

this responsibility to react sensitively


taught his story and his terminology that recites fair game.

my god is my maker; his word is my sin

you are my judges, judge, judgment

qualified by manhood

raised, erected, waving like a wand

your command

but she, she is my conscience

and for that thrust, i will stand.

the truth is out there

a simple search, keywords, on the world wide web

take away politics, religion, ignorance and

add a dash of self-worth and

it will be found that the mystery is stellar

and it lies in here.

in these words, this supposed poetry

of language and languor

lies irreverence and love and its stolen midnight motion

if only in respite.

i was told by an artist that art empowers scientists

that laws are enacted by politicians and embellished

by poets

well i write and i paint, but not enough to make change.

canvas does not sound like the alarm, the crash

of three airplanes headed for history.

but we�ll go down on your daughter

before their husbands understand and

we�ll plan our revolution under conservative family tables

by holding hands and

we�ll respect their laws of nature, stare it down like fighting prey

while they turn away from this physics of gravitation

alike to and amore so than theirs, since the anatomy�s the same.

but i digress.

i�ve been inspired, and i�ve been told that this thought is a weapon and its ammunition

is the voice to reveal

it�s some gift of the gap, a trap, I appeal the decision

for you ration your rationalism, spread too thin to comment

but I realize

that guns serve best pointed at the ones holding

and the gap, well it�s a fucking ravine and i�m drowning in it.

having to sleep to a head in chorus and in cry

the alcohol helps it stop, temporarily pause, distill, dilute, comply

but most nights these days

i�m dry

and i�m dreaming

of better times, better places, more liquor in my drawer

but i continue to wake

to our current state and current current events and

the stench

of my un-recycled page and sweatshop-made pen.

and i mention them

because in every torn nation and through every impoverished people

the boys have it better than girls

who bear the brute of an already blunt butt.

and i�m not saying i�d rather none make do

i�m just questioning

the mentality that equates this equality.

and i�m no feminist. i�m barely feminine, in quotes.

but i do hope the first term did not stem from the latter

since that would render both words

unjustified to my vagina.

maybe perhaps that�s my soul agenda

to say the word real loud in public � vagina vagina vagina.

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