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Of  2018's Peseroff Prize-winning poem, prize judge Lillian-Yvonne Bertram had this to say:


"In expertly crafted lines, "I Was Looking For Dick..."  captures a snapshot of our millennial moment: the dating app. 'Everybody's....looking--& nobody needs/to ask for what.' In looking for companionship one finds an abundance of bodies yet a scarcity of understanding for the actual lived experience of the person. This poem makes me wonder not just what we are looking for, but who are we presenting ourselves to be, as a person who wants to be found?"

torrin a. greathouse

I Was Looking for Dick & All I Got Was This Lousy Poem
after danez smith                          

The phone app tells me I live

in a neighborhood of head

-less men. Their severed

throats whisper me a new

set of names: femboy, dick

-girl, tranny, victim. A man

asks me if I’m a sissy & I say

“Yeah,” thinking he means

like Sisyphus, right? Like,

none of us want to be here

rolling our boulderbodies


to the mouth of another

damp & willing cave. Wrong.

Instead, he is searching for

a convenient mythology,

old names for a new girl-god.

Another calls me trap & this

must be for all the door

he is imagining me, as if

by naming a thing, he can

make it swing open. Sometimes,

I wake to a picture of a man

his massive cock clenched

in his fist like a brutal key.

I mean, I imagine it would

leave me hingeless & painted

red with myself. He asks

if I want to fuck & I tell him

“Fuck is a word with such

untidy lineage. Some linguists

trace it to the Swedish fock

meaning penis, or the Dutch

fokken—to breed—or back

to the common Germanic

fuk, meaning to strike. & all

of these—cognates: trees

severed from the same root.

This is how we know language

was a temple built for men,

that one word can name sex,

lineage & weapon in the same

breath.” Sometimes, I wonder

why I still have this app at all,

its golden mask unblinking

every time I check my texts.

Seems like everybody’s profile

says looking—& nobody needs

to ask for what. The answer:

a body to bury themself inside.

This one time, a man told me

I bet u would look soo beautiful

as a boy & I said “I already look

like one’s ghost. All my curves

are chalk-lines. I took the boy

in my blood & buried him.

You are lusting after a flower

grown in that grave’s good dirt.”

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torrin a. greathouse is a genderqueer trans woman & cripple-punk from Southern California. Her work is published/forthcoming in POETRY, The New York Times, Muzzle,, Redivider, BOAAT , Waxwing , & The Rumpus. They are the author of two chapbooks, Therǝ is a Case That I Ɐm (Damaged Goods, 2017) & boy/girl/ghost (TAR Chapbook Series, 2018). When they are not writing, their hobbies include awkwardly drinking coffee at parties & trying to find some goddamn size 13 heels.

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