Bottineau, North Dakota

Bottineau, North Dakota

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed rang like a dense lucent gong


for a moment I twirled on that bridge

between sinking reality and hallucination

 a flash where my brother wasn’t an addict/I knew how to ice skate /we read Langston Hughes on a lake/but the snowfall was drips of blood

we unfastened our jaws let it stroke our tongues

 I have opened my eyes again just like the first time




I was cut out of my mother’s womb umbilical cord necklace hung past my heart both poor and transgender

battered and hooked


a kindhearted existence,

covered me in a sweaty sheet of sorrow.


Wedged on the border


a Chinese restaurant that offers a “Sheriff’s Special”


if you light a match under a running water faucet you get a glass of fire


the only mechanic in town “misses the force”

population: 2,211

Like a rag past it’s time I absorbed:

This Week’s Pipe Bombs Show the Dangers of Political Incitement How the Media Normalizes Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Trump Administration Erasing Transgender Identity

This hotel mattress is a tightrope hovering above fatality

and a made-up home, one hand holding firm my other calling you in; come celebrate with me!

day-to-day has tried to kill me and has miscarried.

*Hello Basil here. I am the founder and Executive Director of Transilient. We travel the country interviewing trans and non binary people about things outside of their physical and social transitions. Our car broke down in Bottineau, ND two days ago. This only happened a day or two after the Trump admin released the memo surrounding transgender identity. We’ve been stuck in the middle of nowhere waiting on a repair. I woke up from a nap and I don't usually write "political" poems because lives aren't really political. I hardly feel as though the President deserves to be mentioned in my work but I wrote this.

ALSO this is Bottineau :

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Basil is a man of transgender experience, writer, photographer, intersectional activist and Southerner. He is the founder and Executive Director at Transilient. He has been published in numerous publications in print and online. He majored in Creative Writing at The New School with a concentration in poetry.