Three Poems by Tyrone Palmer

“Filius Nullius”; “Breaking and Entry”; and “Piss Christ”

Filius Nullius

bred of slaughter
                                                  born                                      to bleed
corporeal blunder          wrought                of
nothing       non-          no                                            body
not                   nègre                   noir.

baptized in an abattoir
                         your father — an apparition
                         your mother — an appendage
                                                                     filius nullius                                   child of no one
your birthright is


Breaking and Entry

“the more you break it / the nearer it comes to whole.” – Mark Doty

Like a burrowing,
each time it gores me,
tearing the flesh
the black back split,
the black hands
harnessing nothingness.

Each time, leaving more
nothing than before — breaking
the body, the black back
caves, the black hands tear
at the earth.

Each time, saying words
like need, words like more, words like
please. Each time, screaming.

A thing screaming is a thing being broken.

Each time, this scene of supplication,
the breaking
               the entry, the leaving
with nothing.
                                        saying words like
nigger, words like slave, words like beast.

Each time, thinking:
I am a broken being.


Piss Christ

Like any man, I take
what is given me.

Each syphilitic kiss
a deferred wish.
Each lesion a lesson.

What is this body
if not
a receptacle?


Once, a man said
Show me your rosebud.
I obliged him, thinking:
Some day I’ll bloom.


This is as close as I’ve come
to Christ:

Hands bound,
A man’s body
Anointing me.

What is this body           if not


The Offing is grateful to Texas-born, London-based queer multi-media artist, Michael Petry, for permision to reproduce this image from his Nature Mortre (still life) series of sculptures. The wavy rim of each of the vases is the “portrait” of someone’s anus (Petry invited men and women on the internet to send an image of their sphincter for the basis of the portraits). For more on Petry’s work, please visit (Michael D. Snediker)


"Your friend has entered the tribe / of those who’ve buried their mothers"