close up photo of blue and pink crystal

Two poems by Josie/Jocelyn Suzanne

Content warning: colonialism and dysphoria

Quarantine walk

You walk the dog like it’s a dare:
‘Bet you can’t jeté from that cobble-
stone to another avoiding every puddle
down that conspicuously lightless alley also
it’s about to rain. Bork.’ You are still
quarantined, supposedly, at their house.
When you don’t walk the dog alone
you walk their baby brother together.
They call you doggy. Everything is doggy.
A silkworm is a small, lomg doggy; a cat is
a doggy with extra steps, plausible
deniability. An elephant is weird doggy.
You are in love, like a well
you emerge from, to shame mankind.
You walk the doggy past what you and they
take for an American consulate but no
it’s just colonialism. Lomg
colonialism turning into a moth.
The houses are massive: could all
be appropriated happily and made
into transqueer sharehouses. You and
they watch houses watch you:
their high cyclopean windows like
bad portraits where someone is insisting
on saying cheese over and over and over
for each shot or a school photo
where faces of students and teachers
have been photoshopped one over
the other. A dog barks and you jump a foot
into thinning air. The streets are blessedly empty.
You remember the anarchy doggo meme
walking across a zebra crossing, holding a leash
in its mouth, doing a self-governance.
Borka borka. You are in love.

photo of a black and white dog on a forest path sniffing the air


Remember that car journey back
from zombie tag: nerf guns
holstered around your neck
with scarves? Time speeds up as
you grow older,
X says
in the driver’s seat. For now
I don’t want to imagine you:
what’s that quote about the forbidding of
soothsayers? That every syllable of recorded
time is a chink in the bulletproof vest
a crack in the door through which
the messiah might – like a dust particle –
float over the threshold? Who knows if
everything will go back to normal, or if
there’ll be X future: maybe
we’ll live in crystal palaces as body
simulations, trade characteristics like Pokémon
cards, spit over the bridge of hanged billionaire
ghosts. There will be baptisms
of cat girls in virtual rivers; you will
retreat to beautiful valleys and watch wind
through the topiary. I unironically yearn
for this, with all my heart. I doubt –
even writing this – you’ll be so lucky. Even
refusing to imagine the future/you.
You will look nothing like me
will have a different voice, with luck.
You will definitely have less money. I will
love you, conditionally, the way I always do
but maybe not. Leave it to the air. Prepare
the way, please. I am coming for you.

close up photo of blue and pink crystal

About the author

josie/jocelyn Suzanne is a freelance writer/would be translator. Their work has appeared in The Suburban Review, Rabbit journal, Australian Poetry Journal and Overland, among others. In 2021 they were one of the recipients of the Ultimo Prize for poetry and the Harri Jones memorial prize. They are a genderqueer transfemme. They live on unceded Wurundjeri land.

Crystal photo by Krystal Ng on Unsplash.
Dog photo by Tadeusz Lakota on Unsplash.

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