The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Monkey Was Here by Jasmine An

This selection, chosen by guest curator Addie Tsai, is from Monkey Was Here by Jasmine An, released by Porkbelly Press in 2020. 

Cashier Calls Monkey “Sir” in Ben & Jerry’s

I am an Oriental. And being an Oriental, I could never be completely a man.
            – Song from M. Butterfly

I am an Oriental Macaque.
White man, don’t reach
under my fur skirt. I pack

with a silk bag full of peach
pits. I will always be harder
than you, yet just as lost. Breach

birthed, I was born of a blunder
towards your masculinity,
yours of the ever larger

cocks. To strut convincingly,
I need the largest junk.
This, you tried to teach me.

But, white man, I debunk

you. Peach pits are no phallus
and weren’t meant to be.

My iron staff grows longer
or shorter on my command.
Most days, I keep it tucked

behind my right ear, the size
of a toothpick. I strangle you
with my eyes. Wake every morning

and dress myself with my own bare hands.

Jasmine An comes from the Midwest. Her poetry and non-fiction can be found in Black Warrior Review’s Boyfriend Village, Michigan Quarterly Review, Nat. Brut, Waxwing and Best New Poets 2020. She is author of two chapbooks of poetry Naming the No-Name Woman (Two Sylvias Press, 2016) and Monkey Was Here (Porkbelly Press, 2020) and Poetry Editor at Agape Editions. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Michigan

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.


Leave a Reply