3 Poems by Vanessa Couto Johnson

Life by Ren Brian


how does the one nude with a jeweled belly / plastic smile / hair neon and
vertical // brush childhood

if all true trolls could be toyed / shelf-pulled, unplugged / would there be less
mania / without their in[terrupting] / -formation

// ruptures from a keyboard and clipart // let the abscoundrel huff in the bag
of their swindle

I want to blend their proprietary / and duck from quack // a pyramid seem /
in their full-mouth / sweet or smack / talk

what’s the kiss / that could dwarf what’s hatched / in their audience / though
// dis-hone the nest / where the earworm fished

have *, will travel

the hype cycle / is itself questionable // a landscape for a continent of tech //
a trough and plate / -au ordered as if a surface is linear

if you inflate / the craft, we / can travel / upslope and sundown / at peak

// a disillusiontent for sleep // each pole / charges our pockets // each hole
in the shamble / calls for [pro]duct tape //

a patch of wild / enlighten- / mint freshens / expected breath // venture
slotted nostrils


liquid / crystal *splays / *vide

I cannot / stand to see myself frail in old photos // fail and file // ail and
phial // nah I wasn’t ill / just meteless and not / yet hulked

melt the key / to new pad / no river without / [u]nit [p]rocessing

my phone is still flipped / not graded up enough / for virus from the spam
text / I fork into delete

be forewarned or be forwarded // ward this chip / in cheek until operating /
system says out

I have a bandaid / over my laptop’s camera lens / I unpeel and photo /
myself in flex // brawn star // my lifting videos fill over half my flash storage
// muscled curve glow easing the barbell down //

Vanessa Couto Johnson (she/they) is the author of Pungent dins concentric, her first full-length poetry book (Tolsun Books, 2018), and three poetry chapbooks, most recently speech rinse (Slope Editions’ 2016 Chapbook Contest winner). DialogistFoundrySoftblowThrush, and others have published their poems, and their creative nonfiction appears in The Account and FEED. A Brazilian born in Texas (dual citizen), she has taught at Texas State University since 2014. 

Ren / foul.lorraine is a 21 year old creator. Ren is person in recovery, and makes radical art about that. Ren also makes art about abolition and the small beautiful joys in a world that can be horrible. Right now, Ren making silly mostly radical illustrations of creatures for the modern kvetch! Ren’s Instagram is @foullorraine

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