community. Throughout his life, there has always been a figure that abuses him. Even in something he loves, ‘A poem’, the use of personification implies a controlling relationship. Last weekend, 15,000 protestors gathered in Brooklyn in support of black trans people. The most important technique that Brown uses when constructing the poem is repetition. If you are beloved by your police force, by your government, by straight people and cis people and white people, you have nothing to be proud of. I was only a few weeks away from turning 25. I realized I had to use the bathroom and asked the tired woman behind the bar if I could, and she said sure, and I sat down on the toilet thinking, I’m peeing in the Stonewall! As I write that, I’m reminded how, today, we all live in a new era of risk related to touch. Add her to my growing list of dead trans, queer and gender-nonconforming friends, lost to what sociologists call “deaths of despair.”. I had two better reasons. I even had a friend with an apartment that overlooked the parade route. Brown suggests that those who survive through abuse are plagued by reoccurring memories. He is also the author of the collection The Tradition, which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and the winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Two words stand out in this line for me, the first being ‘gesture’, the second being ‘home’. I can’t feel gratitude and shame at the same time. To go through it, you need two things: to know the world is not enough, and to do something about it. Please support this website by adding us to your whitelist in your ad blocker. At 21, I moved to the Bay Area and went to my first Pride parade. But the solitude that came with that heartbreak allowed me time to learn that sex isn’t an absolute sign of who I am. Hit hard as a hailstorm. Remembering that is actually what makes me shake my head. And it’s going to be great! This can be further seen in the repeating words across each stanza. A Roundabout Route. Memory is the central force that connects the present experiences of abuse with Brown’s past memories. People seem surprised when I tell them how I came to my own sense of pride. At the end of that first time together, we lay there panting with triumphant smiles on our faces. Thomas Page McBee is the author of “Amateur: A Reckoning with Gender, Identity, and Masculinity” and “Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness, and Becoming a Man.”. Another theme that Brown explores within Duplex is memory. I first made love to a man after a parade. People are protesting a society that does not value black lives, a government that lets one group of citizens murder another group of citizens with near-impunity, a nation that would rather cede its power to a white-supremacist police force than hold itself accountable. and working in the mayor’s press office. It seemed right. I was 20 years old and five years into a queer life defined by protest politics, postmodern gender theory and queer punk bands. That’s probably why she hit me. More techniques that Brown employs in Duplex are caesura and endstop. I love a parade. José Esteban Muñoz, a queer Latinx academic, called queerness “that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing.” If only the queer community’s most privileged citizens — white queers, cis queers — saw their queerness as the call to action it has always been. Starting with his ‘father’ who ‘leave marks’, and continuing through his ‘first love’, someone has abused him. Many people have said it, and they are right. I was naïve enough to think his physical beauty made him a candidate for a first time I could look back on without shaking my head. When I began my transition in 2011, my internal sense of time grew increasingly nonlinear, even associative, as I tried to bridge a coherent sense of self across bodies and lifetimes. Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest and greatest poetry updates. I froze in shock. His second book, The New Testament, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award […] My love for him is not why I had sex with him, though. This repeats throughout his life, strange connections being drawn between his father, first lover, and last lover. In his 2005 book, “In a Queer Time and Place,” J. Jack Halberstam writes that queer cultures produce “alternative temporalities,” or “queer time,” by allowing us to imagine futures for ourselves outside birth, marriage, reproduction and death, those “paradigmatic markers of life experience.”. Beauty abounds in Jericho Brown’s daring new poetry collection, despite and inside of the evil that pollutes the everyday. My queerness is more political and thematic than it’s ever been, and this Pride, for me, is about connecting the struggles of my queer ancestors to the liberation of all people — and especially honoring the debt white queer people like me owe to the black trans activists, like Marsha P. Johnson, who started our movement by standing with protesters fighting for racial justice today. It also introduces the duplex, a new poetic form. Metrical pacing is incredibly important in a poem, Brown using this to place emphasis.