The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: a simple verb by JJ Rowan

This selection, chosen by guest curator Addie Tsai, is from a simple verb by JJ Rowan, released by Bloof Books in 2019. 

the simple verb is only as good as its distractions. the brain is good for a ride if you hold on. the brain takes a breath / memory evacuates. the pen is in an undisclosed location. the song pulls you firmly into the seat of a car. fuzz goes the voice of the future. fuzz goes the voice of the lovers. you are making a distinction here. you are holding the blank in your hand. you, the immediate soft crumble.

pressed between two safe bodies in an undisclosed location you watch understanding bloom. one hand to okay you. a reenactment of forever’s face and its sick trill.

you & i & the immediate instinct to blank.

somewhere nearby a series of people walk to a series of destina-tions. some seal a thought in plastic before dipping it deep into steaming water. an idea takes a breath.

a memory chokes on itself.


we were separated from ourselves, the women from their parts, no one was alarmed by any of this, no one tried to put the women back together, no one tried to get her, no woman was such, no word like it among the parts.

the word doubled: the sorrow doubled, too: left us a cloud. the cloud never dies.


the simple verb tends to remember.


JJ Rowan is a queer poet and dancer living in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley, looking for the places where the written line and the lines of the moving body intersect. Their poems, hybrid work, and VisPo have appeared in Phoebe, the HungerDream Pop Journal, and others. Their collaborative sonnets with Nate Logan were recently published in where is the river and in the chapbook mcmxciv. from Shirt Pocket Press. Their most recent chapbook, a simple verb, is available from Bloof Books.

Addie Tsai (any/all) is a queer nonbinary artist and writer of color. They collaborated with Dominic Walsh Dance Theater on Victor Frankenstein and Camille Claudel, among others. Addie holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel Dear TwinUnwieldy Creatures, their adult queer biracial retelling of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Jaded Ibis Press in 2022. They are the Fiction Co-Editor at Anomaly, Staff Writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor & Editor in Chief at just femme & dandy.


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