Three Poems| Dani Smotrich-Barr

How to Perform A Bad Reading
of Lee Edelman


The narrator clings
to the epithet, the child
to the queer faith
of theory. I say this

to say that boys grow chain
to the site of meaning.
Meaning, I do not want
to drive the void machine.

I want arbitrary, pathetic
pleasures. A billboard
proposing a fictive passage
through a foreclosed bar.

Or one waif day,
spinning a tomorrow
unseen by the future.
A gap in the grave.

Language scavenged from “Queer Theory and the Death Drive,”
after Tyler Bradway’s “Bad Reading.”


How to Perform a Bad Reading
of Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick

Gap pleasures. Delay
the spectacle. Part
the texts. Lose
a few objects
in evacuation.
Lump the double
entendre. Attach to
the markers. Demand
the fantasies you think
the text denotes,
hurling to find
the pushy
impulsion
of the
self.

Language scavenged from “Tendencies,”
after Tyler Bradway’s “Bad Reading.”


How to Perform a Bad Reading
of Jack Halberstam


Dani Smotrich-Barr grew up in Michigan and recently graduated from Wesleyan University. They have work published or forthcoming in Vagabond City, Birdcoat Quarterly, giallo, Cease, Cows and STORGY, and won the 2020 Dorchester Prize from Wesleyan. You can reach them on Twitter @smotrich_barr.

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