Poems from ‘GenderFux’ Anthology

My second post this evening is sharing from the amazing anthology, GenderFux, which features poetry from Jem Henderson, Jonathan Kinsman and JP Seabright. “GenderFux is the collaborative work of three immensely talented poets whose work all exists in the same uncomfortable but enduring space. These poems are bursting with the desperation to be heard, and they leave you enveloped in the rich worlds sketched on the page, and the haze of everything else left unsaid in the margins […] GenderFux is a masterclass in full and complete portraiture that doesn’t leave anything out. It is tongue-in-cheek, brutal, evocative and electric – and will leave you with their words ringing in your ears” (Kathryn O’Driscoll 2022). GenderFux has also been nominated for best collaborative work at Sabateur Awards Festival 2022.

I hope you enjoy the three poems I have selected to share (and I am praying when I hit publish it does not mess up all the wonderful formatting these poems have! Forgive me if it does). You can buy a copy of the anthology here and enjoy the wonderful shapes of all of the poems featured.

‘birthday candles’ by Jonathan Kinsman

look closely now,
     can you see her, there in the flame?
               a swaying charcoal dancer,
                             her arms raised high
                    in the ecstatic conflagration,
    this pink and white spiral staircase
collapsing beneath her,
     and across the glazed skyline
        every tower goes up in reverence,
                       the darkness alight with song
                                        babylon burning
                                     for your sake.
                     don’t think of your father
               ascending floor after floor
       wax ceilings collapsing
over his shoulders
   sweet powder in his eyes as he
             searches, sugar in his lungs.
                      he’s here, match pinched
            between finger and thumb,
        laughing through
               a flat happy birthday,
                          dear amy,
                                 make a wish.

‘changeling in the cottage’ by Jem Henderson

stolen milk breath from the cot
replaced that mewling pudgy girl
with this – it does not cry in the night
                          like she did
only stares at you, it’s eyes
             blue as clear dusk

you gathered up
the mushrooms stewed
in tea until the good came out
through shimmering waves

             and a clarity
                           like a hand to the throat
             they showed you

father rocks it gently
              although it does not sleep
you hold it to your chest
and try to feed even though
its grasping fists
and toothed mouth fill you
             with grey
                         filthy waves

it grows – you feed it nuts and berries
meat and milk of the goat
honeycomb so sweet
it makes your jaw hurt
             sweets for the sweet
anything to stop the bitter words it speaks

it doesn’t play with other girls
preferring to fight with sticks-as-swords
tumble down until its knees are bloody
              and you have to clean them with boiled water
              say this might hurt
not expecting the crimson of blood

it comes to you and father
              says it does not belong
              says it’s not a girl
you knew all along
praying for the day
that it’d go to its kind
             and bring your baby girl back

‘Variable Penetrance’ by JP Seabright

I am a construct / of parts
 / dissembling / reassembling
not one thing / I am everything
 / all potentialities / nothing
neutral / neutered / nubile
 / a pot of possibilities / at the end
of the rainbow / some days
 / I wear all genders at once / other days
none / but I do not / feel naked
 / my blood / my identity / my bones & limbs
my breasts / my cock / my cunt / my clit
 / my father’s hateful / nose & eyebrows
my mother’s hateful / cleft chin & neuroses
 / I do not define myself / nor my inheritance
my variable penetrance


Henderson, J., Kinsman, J. & Seabright JP (2022) GenderFux. North Pennines: Nine Pens

Nine Pens (2022) GenderFux [online]. Available from https://ninepens.co.uk/genderfux [14 April 2022]

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Wendy Pratt

Poet, Author, Editor, Facilitator

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