Poems and Texts

“The Palinode” by TC Tolbert

The Palinode

It is your birthday and you are a beautiful boy. We are beautiful boys on a motorcycle. You wave to
other bikers and the other bikers wave to the beautiful boys. Beautiful boys on a motorcycle waiting
for a train and your gloved hand reaches for me. We laugh and your gloved hand reaches me. Your
gloved hand and the motorcycle are missing. Your gloved hand waves to other bikers. Beautiful
boys, your birthday is over. Your gloved hand, beautiful boy. Beautiful boy, your gloved hand.
How beautiful. Beautiful. I’m cold.


Part of it is that we are at a gun show.
Part of it is that we are at a gun show
but we have not come together. The danger
of not coming together. Put the gun down, dear
and take the bullets out sweetly. Push them
one by one. Marry them
to the muscle that sits between our bones.


Let’s just say I remember everything. Eating a ham sandwich for the first time in your living room.
My leather belt and the way you loved its smell at eye level. Markered up lids of olive jars. The
gentle way the linoleum gave beneath you when you begged your knees into the floor. (New ending:
I am the red-winged monster curled inside you like a fist. It is not so much the darkness that
concerns me. It is the loose thing, the clambering thing I imagine inhabits your chest.)


As of October 21, 2006 I will officially be becoming a new kind of man.

You won’t forgive me for taking me away from you.

When, for the last four days I’ve dreamt about you, I’ve woken

up close to the ugliest thing I’ve ever known:


I love you and you are out gun shopping.
(Forgive me. For taking me away.)
I love you. You. No longer. So I’m told.

TC Tolbert

TC Tolbert often identifies as a trans and genderqueer feminist, collaborator, dancer, and poet but really s/he’s just a human in love with humans doing human things. The author of Gephyromania (Ahsahta Press 2014),Conditions/Conditioning (a collaborative chapbook with Jen Hofer, New Lights Press, 2014) I: Not He: Not I (Pity Milk chapbook 2014), Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (co-editor with Trace Peterson, Nightboat Books, 2013), spirare (Belladonna* chaplet, 2012), and territories of folding (Kore Press chapbook 2011), his favorite thing in the world is Compositional Improvisation (which is another way of saying being alive). S/he is Assistant Director of Casa Libre, faculty in the low residency MFA program at OSU-Cascades, and adjunct faculty at University of Arizona. S/he spends his summers leading wilderness trips for Outward Bound. Thanks to Movement Salon and the Architects, TC keeps showing up and paying attention. Gloria Anzaldúa said, Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks. John Cage said, it’s lighter than you think. www.tctolbert.com