Cento Between the Ending and the End

Cento Between the Ending and the End
By Cameron Awkward-Rich

Sometimes you don’t die

when you’re supposed to

& now I have a choice

repair a world or build

a new one inside my body

a white door opens

into a place queerly brimming

gold light so velvet-gold

it is like the world

hasn’t happened

when I call out

all my friends are there

everyone we love

is still alive gathered

at the lakeside

like constellations

my honeyed kin

honeyed light

beneath the sky

a garden blue stalks

white buds the moon’s

marble glow the fire

distant & flickering

the body whole bright-

winged brimming

with the hours

of the day beautiful

nameless planet. Oh

friends, my friends—

bloom how you must, wild

until we are free.

About This Poem

“‘Cento Between the Ending and the End’ is composed of language scavenged from the works of Justin Phillip Reed, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Fatimah Asghar, Kaveh Akbar, sam sax, Ari Banias, C. Bain, Oliver Bendorf, Hanif Abdurraqib, Safia Elhillo, Danez Smith, Ocean Vuong, Franny Choi, Lucille Clifton, and Nate Marshall. All of whom have made for me a world and for whom I wish the world.”—Cameron Awkward-Rich

Cameron Awkward-Rich is the author of Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. He is a Cave Canem fellow, a poetry editor for Muzzle Magazine, and his second collection of poetry, Dispatch, was published by Persea Books in December 2019.

Also a critic, Cameron earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University’s program in Modern Thought & Literature, and he is an assistant professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Currently, he is working on a book about maladjustment in trans literature and theory.

Just a quick FYI: “Cento” is a piece of writing, especially a poem, composed wholly of quotations from the works of other authors. (I did not know this until I looked it up.)

@cawkward_rich

cawkwardrich.com

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

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