person Rax King, two poems

Rax King is a dog-loving, hedgehog-mothering, beer-swilling, gay and disabled sumbitch who occasionally writes poetry. She authored the collection The People’s Elbow: Thirty Recitatives on Rape and Wrestling (Ursus Americanus, 2018). Her work can also be found in Yes Poetry, Dream Pop Journal, and Five:2:One.


The Lord will keep you free of every disease

Boys were faith healing
in every furry chest, priestly
              in every dimpled chin—yes,

              I believed! I spoke in tongues
for boys, made hymns
of love songs, believed in the firm

              of knobby fingers tapping my sap,
in tongues plumbing
the sick of my throat. I tithed

everything to boys. But boys
have no place at bedsides
              like gods do, but those arms

              live to pin me down, but those hands
claim they can’t lay on me
full of something so dull as healing.

To be sick is to learn the falseness
of your priests. I left the sickbed
              one day to an emptiness of boys.



My money depends on the body that they want to shackle to the hospital for a week, a month, longer, longer. The money that pays the doctor is distasteful to that doctor.

My doctor tells me to get another job. I tell him there are no other jobs.

There are. I could pull caramel-colored espresso shots for $12 an hour. I could serve lunches to worker bees for $20 of tips an hour, on a busy day. I could type and file for $14 an hour, in an office with, maybe, one of the men who’s felt the dire weight of my ass in his lap like the end of the world.

Sugar, a nurse tries to tell me one day, through the cheery gap in her teeth. You can’t strip forever. I don’t know how to explain that I don’t plan to do anything forever.

I pray, I wheedle, I try to reason with every feckless gurgle in my gut. I hold my pills in front of my gut like if she sees them, she has to obey them. It doesn’t make a difference. I wilt sick and, then, sicker.

Work is going to kill you, my doctor tries to tell me, his white teeth good-boy straight. I don’t know how to explain that there is nothing in the world I wouldn’t let kill me.


The People’s Elbow – recitatives – Rax King

The People’s Elbow
recitatives on rape and wrestling, Rax King
Ursus Americanus Press, 2018


I will never not obey the meanness of men. – {from} 11

Even if you’re the wrong person, Rax King’s The People’s Elbow is the right book. It is cerebral, whole, and deeply creative. It is singularly repetitive. If it says things twice, it is to avoid emphasis and engage the future to be more influential. There is no ask in this text and it is not a verse in which one gets lost. Reader, you will need to be yourself. You will need to be fake enough that your reading does not deter you from knowing what’s been written. King makes of person a fifth season. Rips the word from scripted moments and chews it like gum at the feast. Look, clarity has no weakness. And, as such, this is a moral and breezily devastating work that relegates reclamation to the role of nostalgia while announcing itself as present and here to straighten the nails that fell from the dream. Rescue has no vision here- and that is a kindness. I don’t think one should stare.


reflection by Barton Smock


book is here: