I Want Biodegradable Sex
polypropylene, moss, human hair, pine needles, cardboard, sheepskin condoms, coffee grounds
This sculpture reveals the demand my transition has created for the plastics industry over time. By melting plastic syringes into a compressed form, I hope to create an anticlimax by showing all at once the slow accumulation of material. When you observe me and then the sculpture, is the volume of plastic more or less than what you would expect? Do you agree strongly, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, or strongly disagree that certain plastics should remain single-use? By incorporating an assortment of organic elements, I wanted to create a sense of grief out of the cognitive dissonance. Plastikos, to form or mold, an art long before plastics were invented. Trans is a way of arranging the world through change, but plastic is durable, meaning it never goes away. Very light, gets blown along in gentle winds. It gets washed by rain into sewers, streams, rivers, and finally oceans. It burns forever in landfills, a sickening campfire around which we tell scary stories. It is pleasurable at times when a container fulfills the functions for which it has been designed. I hope to return to earth a little bit more every day, until I’m finally you again.
First Published in Black Warrior Review Issue 48.1.
Copyright © 2021 by Oliver Baez Bendorf.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Oliver Baez Bendorf is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Consider the Rooster, forthcoming from Nightboat Books in 2024, and Advantages of Being Evergreen and The Spectral Wilderness. He has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Publishing Triangle. Born and raised in Iowa, he now lives in Colorado.
The University of Alabama
Black Warrior Review is named for the river that borders the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Established in 1974 by graduate students in the MFA Program in Creative Writing, BWR is the oldest continuously-run literary journal produced by graduate students in the United States.
BWR publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics, and art twice a year. Contributors include Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners alongside emerging writers. Work appearing in BWR has been reprinted in the Pushcart Prize series, Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize, New Stories from the South, and other anthologies.
Black Warrior Review is indexed in Humanities International Complete, the Book Reviews Index, and the MLA International Bibliography. ISSN: 0193-6301