butch mercutio first time in drag at capulet ball

Shelley Feller

beat for the gods, etci take it insense, feel it, i’m a prettypiece of flesh, his fishdipped in ranchdraw thy tool, u man u beastw. horny rage, yr torture princebeseeming ornament                [weird old men depart]swung his sword & broke wind withalhiss’d in porn’s interpellatingthrust & blow—butthurt, came more&moretill the prince came                        O, where is romeoprivate in his chamber pens himselfan artificial night sosecret to his bit budhis wormy sweet soundingbucking young studscome, romeo, such is love’s transgressionprest & propagated EXEUNTromeo,                            doth thy boff my vex’d & choking sea?so in sadness, on the DL, do i live dead to tell it?scruff ye slush-drunk leaky sleazed his cakey pissoir swaggerall haloed rotting lordship, mammalian, and i, by godso ripely bridal’d, do feed that dogma till i diehorrend            brute feudal’d underi bade him come & yeah, quoth he, dost thou fall upon thy face?& yeah, quoth i, then lay yr wormwood to my dug& in the sun, under dove-house wall, my lord dug& felt it bitter, pretty fool, with jest & gambol suck’da big sore tooth ((tut tut tut)) i know the language, i praythee        come, knock and ENTER, & no sooner inbut betook him to his legs & he was doneo senseless cock-a-hoop stick’st in such muckwhat have we                in bed asleep i dream’d of youdumb coltanon a nonce a nose, you foot it, boynuzzled my crupper, sluttish hairs, & smelly pig tailthis is the trick, this is the hagi lie on my back                    expect nothing, beget nothingwarts words bloom in spectral legions along our lonelyour pilgrim lips & bitter industry        O trespassthe “weft” of mehas “slipped”give me my sinagain

Author’s Note

“butch mercutio” adapts a quip from Pete Zias.

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Shelley Feller is a former figure skater living in Atlanta. Their debut collection of poems, Dream Boat, was published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center in 2020.

"'behold / this litmus of longing,' Shelley Feller begins in the linguistic triumph that is their foray into extending the conversation that Hart Crane began in the last century. With Dream Boat, Feller anatomizes, churns, palpitates, then spews onto the page a powerful exorcism of self-loathing that non-cishet, non-binary souls like them have been forced to imbibe and digest all their lives. Feller does what others have not dared. They literally turn upside down, inside out, even metaphorically flip off the gaze of those who come to the page for easy catharsis. Don’t expect the sense-making that anesthetizes the pain and suffering you've come to want to see. That Feller's speakers refuse to be anything other than their fleshly, full-bodied selves is the genius of this debut. O how fortunate we are to hold in our hands such a wondrous, hope-filled work of art."
—L. Lamar Wilson

"What a dream, to be 'sissy-cathected to death!' With generous helpings of cut-throat aplomb, Shelley Feller hacks up the hierophantic hairball of homo sapiens’ compulsive language-ing and pokes it with the genius-stick until something falls out: ack. This book is a delirious conveyance to the viscid otherworld that coats the inside of this world’s jeans. It’s a sticky zipper, a gemmy hologram, and it’s truly, truly, truly outrageous."
—Joyelle McSweeney

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