* — July 26, 2017
from “Nature Poem”
Thomas Depenbusch, 2014

Before something like deviance can be legislated against, before people can
be sterilized or deported or institutionalized, something like Normal has to
be defined. The data has gate keepers. I’m starting to understand, like
a soar of sky after hiking for hours. Like the high ceiling in the main
lobby of the Natural History Museum. Like the scored edges of a cloud.
The panic
of something deafeningly unknowable.
Phrenology is dismissed as quackery. You can’t tell a criminal by the size of their skull, that’s fucking preposterous.
Some people are shot dead in the skull and the killer gets a million dollars.
The institution is very Normal. The audience is very Normal. The fear is
very Normal. I am a weirdo NDN faggot. I am incapable of making
anything worthy of this audience. In the room the people come and go. In
the room I realize I never left the room. I see my shoulders in the drawers,
my face in the file folders, my body pinned and writhing on the board.
This pain is not an equivocation, but a reminder to keep living
keep living
keep living
Ppl say never look back but I don’t have a choice. Sometimes the back is all
I have. From this point on land, it’s very hard to see the water.


Originally published in No Tokens Issue No. 3. View full issue & more.

Tommy “Teebs” Pico is the author of the books IRLNature Poem, and Junk, as well as the zine series Hey, Teebs and myriad keen tweets, including “Sittin on the Cock of the Gay.” Originally from the Viejas Indian reservation of the Kumeyaay nation, he now lives in Brooklyn where he co-curates the reading series Poets with Attitude (PWA) with Morgan Parker, co-hosts the podcast Food 4 Thot, and is a contributing editor at Literary hub. @heyteebs