Charles Theonia


I agreed not to describe even vaguely
each thrilling although unpretty anything
wasn’t for me but you liked it so I did

anything we do is now called glitter
unlearning touch my face
trust in consensus reality

everyone clicks til we get here
evening’s executive functioning drift
you ask and I do something sideways of it

small glitter is made from bigger glitter
I don’t like everyone but you
know those inklings once in awhile

break down mid word and keep on wording
worried about tomorrow when it comes
they don’t want anyone to know it’s glitter

disposable takes one thousand years to degrade
when the light goes purple and you whisper Prince
can I come in?



before I went too far and added violet
at the last minute without exchanging
a word we forgot to break the rules
I could have popped the bottle when
Mona said champagne on the road is better
absorbed I dream you’re mad at me waiting
outside the front door we fuck on the soft
air above a pond expectation
is a narrative error marking the hours
by how often you have to empty
the rain bucket is better than labor
it is recommended that we reserve
dream reenactment for the third date
or later walk in the belly between our
apartments full of news I kiss you against
a public wall to trade the morning for
warm winter sun prosecco a bad secret
with each new person arises an ever
more highly specified self-consciousness
I would like to believe you don’t mind that
I reset skin distance at each beginning
could go on forever as the morning had
extended itself down a pink hallway
we met without sending our thoughts ahead



say what you will about cats, but I don’t see
any of you breaking into the bathroom
out of love for me

I really do savor the moment I open the morning
door and liquid cats spill in

a favorite thing about plural cats
is, listening, you have no idea
how many there are

their foreheads’ light milk smell

a likeminded person across the world
designed a perfume called Fluffy Brow

I’d like to visit the island
where cats outnumber people

and the parallel islands of foxes, rabbits

lucky for us we dream in landscapes
beyond our experience

desert mountains scrolling by

into silver monkey and capybara
hot springs float with steamy oranges

into passionfruit, its pink egg
into two white cups, form
holding itself open
messy hair of the rambutan
its pearly egg into its own glow

blueberry vinegar
in a canker sore
brightens the mouth

a walk on the sunny side

into Kelly’s 7-hour disco
research playlist

the extended cut, a technology
for sensing forever

Wild Heart dressing room video, 1981

into mallet instruments, when Carly
drops the beat on don’t give it UP
when Gerard says my heart
in hiding / stirred for a bird

the bouquet in my lobby said Kayla I’m an idiot
and an asshole

every year I can hardly believe we live
on a planet where flowers grow on trees

our gay beach nutcracker sociality
communal limearita into pink plastic chalice
the piss fence, rainbows, literal dolphins, all of us
human chain into riptide, vomiting
saltwater back on shore to straddle
each other on hot sand, cheering
when the clouds part back
into octopuses underwater
turning colors in their sleep

their arm brains, visible
thoughts, light
they see with their skin

Hannah says we shouldn’t stop
eating octopuses because of how smart
they are but how hard they try to escape

into pleasure of knowing
how something works, revulsion
at how we found out

into our expanses of bleached, silent reefs

I haven’t even made it into human pain
I spend my time writing poems
and Wendy says we need those
less than a brick through a window as she
keeps writing them too

if the poem into is all those
who swipe it forward
sit for court support, manage
a bail fund, spark a rent strike
bring meals, share
meds, walk friends home

there’s a lot to go looking for
via Agnes’ room at Dia I had no reason
to worry it wouldn’t be there each
time I returned, by cellphone
photos of the 17th-century still life
lizard reaching their forked tongue
up to a tulip, via Picard arguing
before a Starfleet tribunal that Data
should be referred to not as it, but he
by June becoming, in front of us, a menace
to her enemies, via Alice always crotch
-naked for music, unowning all seeds

and when Bernadette goes nothing outside
will cure you but everything’s outside

when Arthur goes it’s a big old world
with nothing in it / I can’t wait to see you
another minute

I feel both of that

my external endocrine system
advances in vegan cheese
your ass ascending a staircase
into rain on the shower skylight
I look forward to pickles especially pink
endorphins, of any origin
what we do after the nation and after the police
my hand up your overall shorts and happy
animals running into me



“THE WASHING AWAY OF WRONGS” incorporates language from Caity Weaver’s investigative journalism on glitter.

A recording of “EARTHLY REASONS” previously appeared online as part of The Poetry Project’s House Party.



CHARLES THEONIA is a poet and teacher from Brooklyn, where they’re working to externalize interior femme landscapes. They are the author of art book Saw Palmettos, on hormones, community, and the brain-time continuum (Container, 2018) and chapbook Which One Is the Bridge (Topside Press, 2015).