A photography of a crowd from above, listening to someone speak through a megaphone. One member of the crowd holds a sign that says "Trans rights are not debatable."

Photo by Daniel Sarah Karasik

radiant incipience

and if some came to say trans rights 
and others came out since they thought 
it’d be a big old party, 
celebration of fuck the police, 
a moment when the rules 
might be suspended, 
that’s all good. I mean, 
the contradictions 
of mass gatherings 
interest me, it’s not 
that I’m incurious, 
but that I find those motives 
are all one.

when the police locked comrades 
in the library and lied 
about it, our chant said 
trans rights are human rights, 
but what we meant was 
rights won’t save us 
if we don’t protect each other.

a comrade said 
the read-in of trans authors was 
the happiest she’d ever been 
at any protest except 
possibly a kiss-in once.

the revolution will need savvy 
party planners, capable 
of seeing 
how the carnival’s already here.

a radiant incipience.
just waiting to be generalized.


“radiant incipience” was written shortly after the #TakeBackTPL protest against transphobia in 2019. This poem is an excerpt from Plenitude © 2022 by Daniel Sarah Karasik. Used with permission of Book*hug Press.

Daniel Sarah Karasik (they/them) is the managing editor of Midnight Sun, a magazine of socialist strategy, analysis, and culture. Their most recent book is the poetry collection Plenitude (Book*hug Press).

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