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  • Koss

Five Poems

Because Every Transformer Needs Hummingbirds in its Crotch: Redaction Poem on a Theme by Tony Hoagland (after Dean Young after Koss after)

I have a big DECEPTICON.

Most ANIMAL RITUAL goes into it.

Destroyer god with one thousand INTERCHANGABLE PENISES



I’m sure glad I’m not trying to pass through airport security

with this big ACTION FIGURE.

Those of you who also have ACTION FIGURES

may call them NECESSARY

but you are UNDERESTIMATING the word.

I suppose I could CHASE after OPTIMUS PRIME if I had to,

I could probably do some SELF CONFIGURING if I must,

but having a big ACTION FIGURE

makes you feel like there’s not much else for you to do


The PLOTS of which vary from

the DESTRUCTION of civilization (figurative)

to intercourse (literal) with the harmonic half of CYBERTRONIAN SISTERS

in the middle of MEGATRON’S oeuvre,

excluding the BRIEF BAPTISMAL period.

Also it must be admitted

some pretty messed-up behavior

which is the foundation of many video games

society WON’T be CODPIECE-BUNCHED about,

but I submit TO the result

of the suppression of the ACTION FIGURES’ beauteous expression


than any specifically ADULT PROPERTIES/NOVELTIES.

Indeed, an ACTION FIGURE, if not usually a sign of VIRILITY,

neither is it necessarily a DISTILLATION of PASTEL rage.

Some MAMMALS have bigger ACTION FIGURES than I after all.

So if you want to campaign against RORSCHACH testing

on laboratory CHIMPS,

don’t ask a big MEGATRON.

But knocking down A GRAZING COW? You bet!

Maybe there’s a CONCRETE PASTURE out there worth a look-see.

Hey, there’s AN ACTION FIGURE in a tree.

CUB SCOUTS had prepared this PLASTIC visitor


by installing gaskets and cushions and HUMMING BIRDS in its PELVIS

(to avoid SOCIETAL damage) AND, NOT TO MENTION,


Wow, look at that ACTION FIGURE go!



Write / Like Them / Deer Editor
(Whose Poetry)
Originally published in What Rough Beast

Dead deer poems

Dead deer poems

Dead deer poems

skinning / what white guys do

poetics of slaughter

some call it redneck

or writable rite of passage / manhoody stuff

poetry fodder / banal glory / hole

man hole / man cover / holy hole / white mite

straight narrow arrow / white schooled boys

write right / white write / write white

And furthermore:



wisteria whispered in breathy metaphor (think Marilyn Monroe)

winnowing across a creamy / linen / fat / edition

Whitman-coopted / a likable queer / worthy of eating

all dead now / all harmless / all whitely-bearded / disappeared

nature or nuture / how did “we”

get to this place / or you / me-them

this place of writing / of skinning / of publish /

of material-thin / of privilege / of ownership /

of word-other worldness / tradition

think / nothing much to write home about

or poems / “don’t be so serious,”

said the white-faced joker to the native girl

and the black wiry girl

and the thin queer boy

and all who didn’t “fit” in

and all of those lovely poet heads with their mouths full

of stories lolling along macadam highway shoulders

as the fast sleek cars full of exquisite bourgeois language slashed by

speeding towards their glory

to the colossal listening

those gobbling their mirrors

let me just say this / let the dead deer sleep

without affected elegies

you ate them after all

there is no redemption in your pen

people without mouths or tongues are dying everywhere

Abandonment Birth PTSD Poem – (Re)creation #1
Originally appeared in Mom Egg Review

Discharged two weeks early,

less than nine months of scrunched-up you

wrinkled pink ball wriggled—then popped

bloody, screaming, and ready for fight-or-flight

with your ruffled stump wings,

smashed arm, and crumpled shoulder

gnashing in birth’s trauma, where mother-god

connection snaps closed, and you’re left alone

in your existential freedom, so mount Kafka’s cockroach,

Gregor, and gallop happy, butt-slung in black cowhide chaps,

yee-hawing queerity across the embarrassing town

you were born in (Howell).

Howell never embraced you baby, but that’s the beauty

of it all.

A Modern Highway Death
Originally published in Spillway

I could be the dead dyke on the highway

Frozen to pavement, stiff as a scull, its ocean

Drained to the bone, when no one answered

Their phones the record cold night in twenty-fourteen

When my car died and burned on the freeway.

The world, you see/and don’t, is in flux between

Connections and short circuits. They all sat

On their couches, fingering their phone screens

All filled with emojis, fleeting OMG/LOL/distractions,

Waiting for the next random thing to stir them.

Ringers off, the snow forms a hull ’round my corpse

Barely covering my skull/my silenced eyes drift

Into the nimbus/through which the headlights glow.

A Dyke Cowgirl Takes Herself on a COVID Taco Bell Date
Originally featured in Kissing Dynamite Poetry and a BotN-nominated poem

All the single ones in the Taco Bell parking lot,

cars strung in a line, like beach people, lonely

in the COVID cluster. One guy sips a Coke through a crook

straw, occasionally checking out the others, flings chips

at the seagulls through an open window. They say

Mexican pizza is on its way out. Another thing to feel

sad about. I only occasionally indulged, once

in five years, but attach my sadness to its demise—

like flies on the week-old taco bits, curb-blown, missed

by the gulls. The drive-thru is jammed from dawn to close,

a not-quite-palpable girl voice calls me “honey bunny,”

eager to take my order. Two bean burritos with sour cream,

diet Coke, light-on-the- ice—less than five bucks.

I was always a cheap date. Hand a five to a large hairy man

in glittery bunny ears fixed to a plastic tiara, singing into his mask,

hump dancing, and in-the-moment-happy. They work sixty hours

with overtime that inches them just out of the poverty bracket

if you discount health insurance. Essential American fast food

to get us through the pandemic. Disposable workers. Yet here I sit

in my car, and this meal is all I’ve got today.

The honey-voiced girl passes me my Coke

and sticker-sealed bag in a plastic, no-touch container.

I feel a bit like a shit, as I, unlike them, am not essential,

and am without song, without bunny ears shedding

their glitter into the exhaust-filled air.


Koss is a queer writer and artist with publications in over 200 zines and anthologies including Best Small Fictions, Beyond the Frame (diode poetry), Get Bent (Bending Genres), San Pedro River Review, Moonpark Review, Five Points, Cincinnati Review, Spoon River, Prelude, Chiron, and many others. Find links to their work at: Twitter: @Koss51209969

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