Three Pokémon Poems

Self Portrait As A Pokémon Yellow Playthrough
Professor Oak asks you
if you are a boy or a girl. 
You shrug & check your
squirming pants. Yellow
ears pop out. Today,
gender is electric. 
Stormy, even. Filled with
Your rival asks you
if you are a boy or a girl.
You say, water gun. 
You say, vine whip.
You say that you are
ember, slowly pulsing
across health bar like
alarms scrambling for potions. 
Today, gender hasn’t
evolved yet. It’s growing
like a bulb, like a candle
inside a dragon’s cave.
Your rival stomps away,
says smell ya later. But 
does gender smell? You 
sniff your balls, all six
metallic red & white
as scentless as the 
Pokémon Center. 
Misty asks you
if you are a boy or a girl
& you say just give me 
the bloody badge.
Brock asks you
if you are a boy or a girl. 
Actually he doesn’t;
you Nurse no Joy.  
Team Rocket asks you
if you are a boy or a girl.
You unzip your fly & out 
floats a ring of Clefairy. Tonight,
gender is metronome, is spinning
star, is blasting the villains off
into space. Into their own business.
Mewtwo asks you 
if you are a boy or a girl
& you say that you have trapped
legends in pills, swallowed myths
like candy, like tongue is wild
grass where monsters live.
You say that the gender of one’s
birth is irrelevant. Gender isn’t the
gift of life, but the wrapping paper
& the bow. It’s the box inside the
PC, pixel deposits incubating in
                    You ask Mewtwo
if they are a boy or a girl &
they say                         “No.”

094. Gengar

“Should you feel yourself attacked by a sudden chill, it is evidence of an approaching Gengar. There is no escaping it. Give up.” – Pokémon Moon

During the seventh lunar month, you must never turn your head back when the shadows call your name. They want to steal it. They want what comes with your name. Keep walking straight. Even if fog tickles your breath. Even if fingers brush against shoulders.

Yet in the day, they call you by a different name. The name drags its hair across gravel. The name chatters & contorts. The name wears a thin white dress. The name drips across your spine like wax. The name tugs at your clothes with coffin-stained nails. Begs you to look it in the eye. It does not want offerings of incense or burnt Hell notes. Instead it is a getai song, constantly screaming in your head. Instead, they call you by a name you wish to forget, a corpse you haunt. They spin syllables that slither around your soul. When you turn around to answer, you feel the joss-sticks die. Your soul, a mote of ash in the wind. You answer the name that is not yours & forget how to live.

778. Mimikyu

“After going to all the effort of disguising itself, its neck was broken. Whatever is inside is probably unharmed, but it’s still feeling sad.” – Pokémon Sun

You are still trying to name yourself, still scribbling on your tombstones, still threading through sutures. You are partition & parenthesis. You are still trying to remember your myths, untangling knots of flesh & fate. You are folklore & family curse. You self-exorcist.

When a man touches you, does he see a twinkling pixie, or a meat mannequin? What colour does he see in your irises? Whose voice does he hear? Which cheekbone catches the light? Will his impish smile lead to nowhere? Will his fascination fade at sunrise, like every other boy before him? Or will he want to store you in a jar? When the crypt of your neck cracks, will he flee from the mogwais within? What does he want from you? Your ghost-parts, your fairy-parts, or the parts that are neither?

The mirror stares back every day. You don’t know what shade you’re looking at. You don’t know how skin feels like. Only silk. Only chiffon. You don’t know how a man’s tongue tastes like. Does it lick like lace? You pull at the seams of your parts. You don’t know which part needs a cross-stitch. Maybe you need a lock of hair. Maybe you need the spell of someone else’s fingers. Maybe you’re fine with not knowing.