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By Jay Besemer

 the unknown has hold of me and its grip is strong as honey on the underside of a spoon   
the unknown i mean is not the usual one the future the tomorrow of survival         
but the past and what happened in the name of the name after mine and in the name of the name before mine     
i do not know enough to speak i do not know enough to remain silent        
there is a fear that holds me and it sounds like wind it sounds like katydids in catalpa        
ah the tall grass of the days before i knew there was a before me    
where do i live if there’s no home remaining
where do i live if the home i helped build can never be mine and the one i was born into never was         

Jay Besemer, “the name before the name before mine.” Copyright © 2019 by Jay Besemer. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow.

Source: PoetryNow (2019)

  • Living
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Jay Besemer
Jay Besemer is the author of the poetry collections Theories of Performance (The Lettered Streets Press, 2019), The Ways of the Monster (KIN(D) Texts and Projects/The Operating System, 2018), Crybaby City (Spuyten Duyvil, 2017), Chelate (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2016) and Telephone (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2013). He was a finalist for the 2017 Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature. See More By This Poet

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