Mayhem Literary Journal is proudly sponsored by Te Whare Wananga o Waikato, The University of Waikato
issue 5

october 2017

issue 5 - october 2017

The Hol(e) Triptych - essa ranapiri

Jesus is a spread-eagled corpse on my bed – been that way for years now.
A statue to straddle in my sleep.
Wandering fingers finding more questions than answers.

But I’m not looking at him
(he’s just the same as always)
there is a painting hung from a staircase cupboard
and on it a 
wooden coded-woman form
arms raised / horns like fumes / a skull blast holding the same hue
dragged by fingernail 
raked purpose.

I scatter / eyes skitter for a father in Christ’s deterioration-
unable to find the fucking words for son in the language of my gender.

Eyes bleed already on the second painting
writing words in black ink that dry black
wrists spitting red /drying brown.

My friends are safe 
in the knowledge paint can dry brown too.
A crystal white womb uncorrupted by liquid plastic.
            
And I found the word father in the bible before I found it 
on your face
or in your hands
turned into broken water for the first time.

A song is playing forgiveness in 3/4
I scream I still love you because I like to sing along.

I feel the failure of the third 
a blue face 
with red mouth and orange flesh
yellow bones of a
heated exclamation
driven by the dot
right into my forehead
what beastly self-portrait is this?

Unlisted as prodigal you just wanted to escape me.

And when I look back             
Jesus is corpse dust 
on the window sill now
I never heard him utter Eloi
because the mouth couldn’t invent forsaken
or father.

We Were Never of Dust and Shall Never Return to It - essa ranapiri

the word

you get a ten-dollar bottle of wine 
and i get some potato chips and dip 
we take them up to Polhill
find a pallet to sit on and share

we look like background characters from Harry Potter 
me in a red tunic and you in shimmering blue 
your hair as long it gets

we sit on the slope

constellations poking through
the scarce cover
of the surrounding trees

you can only see two stars without your glasses on
one for each eye

we talk about the lit scene
and expectations of gender
til the wind picks up and
it gets cold so we start kissing each other

i don’t think about your partner 
much
and i don’t think you do either


the breath

in my room we sit reading poetry 
Ronald Johnson had a ship to get on
and wrote about beauty as beauty 
instead of pain

and when you’re in my bed on top of me
you don’t take off your shoes 
because you don’t want us to go as far as fucking

it basically works

transitioning between your legs
a shuddering call and response
a hand behind my neck 
massaging the base
of my skull 
feels like it could 
split 
my fingers crawling around your legs and waist 
a journey i seldom make 
the word pilgrimage would carry all the wrong connotations 
so i think of the hyphen in G-d instead

mouths press firm on mouths 
emotional interiority performed 
in the clatter of teeth and 
the laughter that follows it

make my lips turn to dusk
the liquid on the window sill
of my many vibrating parts
that take the sample of greenstone from your neck 
how can you prefer something shapeless 
to filled space 
it swings into the mole of your collar 
you’re a patchwork from head to toe 
you’re wearing fucking nothing 
i’m digging fingers into the 
crevasses of your thighs

the site of the body feels more like a battlefield than it ever has
more connotational slippage
but the reality of
nerves hit on nerves
is a violent reality

you pull my hair 
you scratch my skin
you bite my lips

but you are gentle 
in letting me go

there being a sigh of the gate that rises to a screech of the hinge and a clap of the lock

E N B Y - essa ranapiri

I
let
up
I
sev
er
I
ailmen
to-be
a line

There is nowhere so centromere. And after the S phase I challenge your identical claim.

Walter Sutton and Theodor Boveri found me while I was cutting fuck you’s into desks and strung me up from the hair on my chest and between my legs. If you strip me naked and (only my nan and two others have done so) you would find a perfect biologically functioning male. And by that I mean a cock and balls.

I’s
roll
back

Colour of soma. Your yoga body fuzzing inside of what one called a vector of heredity – genetic load.
I am numbers 47 and 48 continuously copied and wrong. Poecilia reticulata holds the correct number of chromosomes – pot at bottom of rainbow metaphor. The guppy has another name; millionfish. See how it swims to the surface and licks the air bubbles, sea glinting (give us a wink for a wave).

Cri
Down
Edwards
Isodicentric 15
Jacobsen
Klinefelter

Languorous list of aberration how can a mistake be so long – when does the rule you make start to look like overcooked pasta left to dry in the strainer.

There are genetics
laid like mozaics
carry your X and
your Y
& XY
inter-patterning.

Someone colonized our bodies but I cannot lay the blame at the feet of two scientists just doing their jobs – blam less the worker bee stub

science medusa cull the dis-order from the body with
cistematic distruction
But all bodies are functioning messes. Do you deny that your blood and guts are not curving on a ratio of 1.62 stop.

My point being my skin is no distraction from my self.

The nonbinary individual in terms of biological science can exist anywhere on a spectrum of XX to XY, have any form of gonad or any thing from vulva to penis, testicles to ovaries, (the appearance of a spectrum as linear is false but frequently the only way to suggest clearly to the “unwilling” that there is an out). The nonbinary individual need not exist within an in-between space. They/xe/he/her etc. (pronouns are not necessarily related to gender – or there is no one rule) may exist on all the spectrums. Time itself can play a part in the gender of a person. Like Richard O’Brien a nonbinary individual may conceptualize themselves as 70 percent male, 30 percent female. This is not a rule. The nonbinary individual finds rules difficult and looks at them like how they look at knives that never need sharpening. Trans and cis constructs are indicative of another false binary – one that is more reconcilable than man and woman (I would like to change the base there but how?) Gender nonconforming is not necessarily trans but can be; the nonbinary individual has full say over what they are – “as long as they are of sound mind”. Farcical. The scientific community found in many inane discussion threads littered all over the internet would argue that no nonbinary identity exists and isn’t insane. Their binary is looser; man/woman/mentally ill. This community was raised on hot dog sex education. Their discourse is by its nature transphobic. The nonbinary individual is biologically nonbinary. The gonad does not determine gender.

The nonbinary individual may suffer from gender dysphoria (this technically only counts in the DSM so that there may be help provided for those that experience this) the body is not by nature but by cultural necessity gendered. However, in the nonbinary individual’s personal experience they have a deep hatred for their own body – promoted by the cultural signifiers that idealize certain types of bodies as male and certain types of bodies as female. There is nothing about their body that is unfemale or unmale – there is nothing unsatisfying about crushing a snail underfoot aside from the death.

This shouldn’t tell you much because gender shouldn’t tell you anything.
About
a
person.
I make smoke 
and foam 
into whistles – 
I live 
liminally and nominally. 
More whitecap than whitewash. 
Splashing impotently over black sandy beaches.

Contributor's Note

essa ranapiri /// writes about the world coz they live in it /// gets words out coz they aren’t dead yet /// not a man ; not a woman ; they them theirs /// came in to this world with a scottish whaler on tainui

 

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