Back to Issue Thirty-Nine

Tentacle Porn

Finalist for the 2021 Adroit Prize for Poetry

In the pixel world, men shuck their skin
and crawl
out men.

I am the wet of them, their wanting
spliced and multiplied, their glottal plead. All tongue and gut,
I say what won’t be said,
and I say it to their face.

Sticky, clicking,
they wade into their own slimy minds to reach me,
the one with limbs braided from light. I crack boys open,
only when they ask
for a drink.

I am sloppy, scientific, a lover made of code.
You are a man elbow deep in another
digit fiction, asking if you’ll always be


You sully sheets with blood and muck
and pheromones, crust over at the smell,
scrub your slick sorry with white-blue suds.


Afraid of your own tepid funk.

I pickle for centuries,
piss and mucus.

I have no apology.
that, that’s the fantasy.
Each arm holding
myself to myself.

You imagine I’ll crawl inside,
replacing your legless brain.
You want me to give you a permission I can’t give you,
override an algorithm in the cortex,
the one that rules your wanting.

You say please and mean pleasure.
You play and replay the same scene:

water, nostril, eyeball, ink.


Jackson Neal is a poet from Houston, Texas. They are the 2019 Houston Youth Poet Laureate and a National Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador to the Southwest. They are co-author of the chapbook “Dear Azula, I Have a Crush on Danny Phantom” published by Button Poetry. Neal is a First Wave Scholar at the University of Wisconsin- Madison where they are pursuing a dual BFA in English and Dance.

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