when phoenix flooded
A downloadable chapbook
this book is named for a memory, when it rained for three days in a city in the desert. we spend so long praying for what we need, and when it arrives, we are so rarely ready. these poems are my most overflowing blessings, bittersweet, mournful and miraculous.
when phoenix flooded is my first chapbook length collection of poetry, originally published by Jamie Berrout as the 16th chapbook in the Trans Writers Collective chapbook series, which has since re-formed into the River Furnace collective. I am now making it available here, on a pay-what-you-want basis. I believe that poetry should be accessible to all those who desire its gifts, especially for my fellow trans women, Phoenicians, Tewas, and food-industry-punks.
Without Jamie, I'm not sure this book would exist. At the start of 2019, I was selling copies of my first zine, DE+H KUL+ when Jamie approached me to ask if I would like to publish with the Trans Writers Collective. I can't overstate how important that was. In terms of creative confidence and financial security, that offer helped me to step into my own as an artist during one of the most uncertain times of my life.
This collection includes poems written from 2016-2019, especially the winter of 2016, the summer of 2017, and especially the summer of 2019. They are, essentially, all letters to my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona- and also letters to the future, of which I am terrified and in love.
I owe a special debt of gratitude to The Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam for nurturing me as a poet, and to the poets of The Phoenix Poetry Slam for their time, attention, and love in the summer of 2019. Knowing that every week I would have a place to go, test material, be inspired and share space with other poets is what gave me the courage and patience to collect, create, and edit the materials that became this book. I am especially grateful to Atlas St. Cloud, who is a passionate and talented writer who has since become a dear friend. We spent many late nights sharing poems over cigarettes, long drives, and pancakes, and the book you can read here is basically the version that I found most satisfying to read out loud to Atlas.
In the words of Jamie Berrout:
The transcendent anti-capitalist realist poems of when phoenix flooded range
widely, both in subject and in form, driven by a fluid process of fragmentation and transformation through which they sprawl across the page, like the urban landscape where they’re set, and break apart before reforming with a new unity in a sonnet, an ode, a burning haibun. But even here, near the imperial border, as the world ends and St. Longinus walks into 7-11 with “blue tape around his bicep from giving blood” and a question for you, there’s light and joy, and there’s just enough time to joke about dancing on Joe Arpaio’s grave, may the day come soon.
About the Author
WREN CUIDADX ROMERO-GILHOOLY is a bird repeatedly reborn in Phoenix, Ari zona. They write, research, perform and pay rent in Boston, Massachusetts. They believe in miracles, el chuco and wildfires. Their goal is to motivate you (us) to be come an antagonist of history, so that you (we) can bring about the end of goals.
POEMS: p4. The Cold / / any, any thing; p6. Heat / / the last five years; p8. If All Patterns Remain Consistent And I Start Buying Money To Buy A House; p12.
Nostalgia is the most insidious and american complex; p13. in the house of dead bees and lost sisters, while the bereaved watch Joe Rogan on Youtube; p15.
Ode to the Bills on the Kitchen Counter; p16. A working theory of history based on what I learned in the back of my friend’s box chevy on our way to practice
in a barren field on irrigation day; p18. The Greatest Ever Dance Troupe You’ll Never See Live; p20. Sonnet for a Man Named Robert, Who Sold Me Flowers
At The Bus Stop. He Does Tattoos and Cuts And Braids Hair, Too, So Hit Me Up If You Want His Number; p21. The Recycling Plant By The River Is On Fire;
p22. Ode to the Costco Foodcourt in Christown Mall; p24. FOR ST. LONGINUS (WHO PIERCED THE SIDE OF CHRIST); p26. a light; p28. 12 Trans-Border
Elegies for [prince] with Barbed Wire, Needles, The Rio Grande / / and No Singular Pronouns; p34. for Adrian / / the weather; p35. Sonnet for Manuel Gregorio
Acosta, the Fat, Gay Saint of El Paso; p36. at night, big and bright, deep in the heart; p38. Names I Have Been This Week; p39. when phoenix flooded
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