“Dangerous Creature” by Justin Holliday

Edwidge Danticat wrote that artists should create dangerously.

Art happens when I walk out the door wearing a rainbow t-shirt.

Stephen King warns that the adverb is the weakest part of a sentence.

In fiction words slide together to show the might of the pen.

Stephen King haunts me like adolescence: acne, ink stains, suicidal thoughts.

The pen is the sword; both are phallic, and I can’t shed my body.

In reality I used to be desperate to find myself in stories.

One of my professors taught Danticat, the only Haitian author of my education.

People believe fictions, which are more palatable than truths.

Rumor: Most Americans know nothing about Haiti.

It is dangerous that one day people will forget a sitting president called Haiti a shithole.

Identity politics is short-sighted; people can’t see beyond race, gender, or sexuality.

My high school teachers detested King, yet college professors loved him.

Identity politics is a fist turning my face to pulp.

Fact: Everyone says they hate violence, but there’s someone we all want to set on fire.

Danticat’s memoir: Her uncle died when held in a detention center after immigrating legally.

Identity politics is here to say I exist.

King denies his work is literary, yet his art replicates the horror I’ve felt my whole life.

Danticat writes about the real shithole that let her family die.

Horror unites us: the fight or flight, the fuck and run, the need to ostracize.

I used to dread lisping or gesticulating too much: codes to unlock my identity.

King wants to document reality turned in on itself, a parade of split-open bodies.

The skin of everyday people slithering beneath he surface is worse than any monster.

The horror of grammar is there is not one perfect way to say anything.

I create.


Justin Holliday is an English lecturer and poet. His work has appeared in Fire Poetry, Rogue AgentDreams and Nightmares, The Airgonautand elsewhere.