We are trying to make it across the river.

We burn small animals on the deck

with white cloth and incense. Violence

in the name of peace. Our tongues break off

inside each other. Our thousand hearts hung on

low branches. Nothing is working. Our reflection

in the water, a starved devil. All brittle hair

and knobby knees. You tell yourself

you’re doing well.


It’s the same story. You try to leave something

behind, say, Silly mother, I will not need

your painted eggs where I am going,

Or, Foolish bride, I won’t need your

embroidered kerchief on my hero’s journey.”

By the end, their gift is the only thing

that binds us to this world.


When the traveling refuses to end

when it seems impossible that you

will ever arrive, like a cold, permanent fire,

time becomes visible then stops its passage.

You’re here, you cannot leave.

Grasping at blades of smoke

you begin to guess

the name of this new country.


CORINNA BAIN is a genderqueer writer-performer. She has worked at a rape crisis hotline, a detox ward, an abortion clinic, and as a volunteer educator responding to the HIV/AIDS crisis in Mozambique. At no point has she tried to be less intense, though recently, she has been trying to be less stupid. Her work has earned her a spot on four National Poetry Slam teams and as a representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam competition in 2004, as well as featured performances throughout the country, both solo and with luminaries including Dorothy Allison, Patricia Smith, Buddy Wakefield, Jim Carroll, Tobias Wolff, Nick Flynn, and Paul Muldoon. Her work has appeared in decomP, killauthor, theRumpus.net, Union Station Magazine, the Knocking at the Door anthology, and others. She recently toured with the performance art troupe The Femme Show. Currently, she is part of the staff of the louderARTS project, in NYC. Corrina lives in Brooklyn, and can be reached via email at androidhime [at] yahoo [dot] com.

6 responses to “Trying to Have an Orgasm on Antidepressants”

  1. J.M. Blaine says:

    let those who
    mistake intensity
    fall beneath
    the fire of our words!!!

    (I worked at the detox too!)

  2. Gloria says:

    I enjoyed both this poem and your bio.

    Welcome to TNB!

  3. dwoz says:

    I can relate to broken-off tongue.

    Even though I’m not genderqueer. I don’t think.

    and, embroidery.

  4. Jessica Blau says:

    Bravo! Intense,
    but intense in the best way.

  5. kristen says:

    Nice. Love those last three lines…

  6. New Orleans Lady says:

    “Our thousand hearts hung on low branches.”

    Love that line. Beautiful.

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