This week in the PEN Poetry Series, guest editor TC Tolbert features three poems by Jos Charles. About Charles’s work, Tolbert writes: “As a trans person, I’m always searching for trans poets who utterly rearrange how I experience the word and Jos Charles does just that. Their work never fails to bring me newly alive to the world. It is a sincere investigation of the singular multiplicity of each and every body – if not a celebration, at least a loving insistence. Theirs is an unabashedly beautiful poetry of unflinching attention coupled with delight.”


                                                                   i care so

                          much abot the whord i cant

                          reed / it marks mye bak

                          wen i pass / with

   a riben in mye hare /           undre the principld

                                                                                                         skye / ther is no

     vulnerabilitie /                      onlie wut

     protrudes / & thees lyons

                          leckynge mye woond / expecktynge

                          2 finde / a woond /    ther is historie

                          inn this / wood


                          neckter is not

                          fore the lip /   ur

                          inn it / this is its

     forme /     2 be lyrick / with oute

                          sownde / inn the end even

                                                the be / clothed

                          inn tactic /  everie wher

                          the sirface extends / &

                          it is tragyck /  bieng undre

     stood /      any 1 off us wuldve dropd

     more /       if wee culd


                           unforld mye folde /      lik

                           a chylde debarkynge the old

                           treee / ekspektynge a hole /

                           mye fase 2 the flore

  off a feeld / becums me / wut is

  a hole if not a thynge 2 emptie /     wee laybore

                                               at mornynge /   this is not

                           its seeson /  i wil

                           herold the seeson



Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).