mud howard

when I think about the future, I try to tap into the pulse of the past. I think about my (our) trancestors: Marsha, Leslie, Sylvia, Stormie, all the others, unnamed. what dreams of the future kept them up at night and which ones got them up in the morning? I use their intimacy, pain, and visions to help me survive. I believe in the backbones our trauma gives us. I believe that technology is not synonymous with violence. I believe that trans and gender non-conforming people are magical beings who have been sent here to change the shape and the shame of this planet.

I thought the internet was going to make us all love each other more

assume I’m not wrong
assume the sun is a single mother who will never burn out
assume your reservoir of heartbreak was man-made
assume these men who broke your heart always (secretly) wanted to be carried
out of the rubble of their lives in the arms of a cheerleader
dad bod all seized up

assume that we all have pristine visions of the sissy inside us
multiplying into entire orchards
of sour shapeless fruit
assume your gender is always under some process of crystal-ballification
look at the fat clumps of data we’ve become
walking through the matrix
of intergenerational miscommunications

we lost:
the slowness of time

we gained:

when this tree blossoms
we will talk about the future

techno songs about heaven play on the radio

in the South they skin snakes
summer is clean and streaked with bodies
the soft, moldy eye of the storm winks
& your gift is your shyness

the synthesizer urges you to come forward
place your hands on the magic
amputated strips of astro turf
& inhabit your life

the new world will be built
by allowing gentleness to gather within you
subterranean trust in another person’s
body breaking down, atomizing into sleep

ignore love
name a planet after yourself
memorize a phone number
get held

today you are a teenager
tomorrow you go

mud howard is a non-binary trans poet from the states. they write about queer intimacy, interior worlds, & the cosmic joke of the gender binary. they hold an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster London and are currently working on their first full-length novel: a queer trans memoir structured like a tarot deck and packed full of lies. they have been published in journals such as THEM, Foglifter, and The Lifted Brow. you can find more of their work at