Dis-/Ease Control [Central]** [Lynne DeSilva-Johnson]

*dhē(i)- / dhayati, dhayah, thele, felare, femina, fecundus, daddjan

we are fetal, evidence of our vulnerable skins still
awaiting nourishment, awaiting permission to find ourselves here
to title ourselves alive

suckle, abundant, offspring, lamb

*terə- / turah, teirein, tornus, tiro, tirah, purh

En-title, I cross my self across my Self, trans-
gender, trans species, I give birth,  I beget my
Self, across, a diversity of bloodied letters

wounded, threshhold, to rub, rub away

*genə- / janati, janah, jatah, janman, gnasi, gentis, gecynd

to turn in different directions,
to bend
to turn aside

to raise, to lift, to hold suspended

these vowels       from- / their multiworld wombs
from- / the millioned mouths that said wheel, befall, to be changed

*wer- / aerein, svarr, schwer, vartate, rhatane, versus, weorthan, wyrd

Fecund filioque fellatio
I baste my wounds in eloquence, based in evidence,
the roots of my limb trees in gignesthai, in genius.
who I am but science-based, who I am but borne and born and bearer

Scilicet, sciolist, scission, scism, shiver, shyster, squire

*skei- / chindhi, a-sista-, skhizein, c’tim, chwydu

a stepping, I, permission. en-Titled. A fetus, I, the
secure ground from which operations proceed, the
destination of a runner

the bottom of anything

perceptible sight, a knowing
a Methodical Thing

tell me again how your hands came to hold
the title to story
how you knighted yourself use of my tongue


Lynne DeSilva-Johnson (they/them) is a nonbinary queer interdisciplinary creator, cultural scholar, and educator. They are founder of The Operating System, a radical open source arts organization and small press. After 10+ years teaching at CCNY, Lynne is now serving as a visiting assistant professor at Pratt Institute. Recent publication credits include Wave Composition, The Conversant, Gorgon Poetics, POSTblank, Vintage Magazine, Live Mag, Coldfront, the Brooklyn Poets Anthology, Resist Much/Obey Little: Poems for The Resistance, and “In Memory of Feasible Grace,” part of the Panthalassa Pamphlet series, among others. Their performances and work have appeared widely, including recent features at Artists Space, Bowery Arts and Science, The NYC Poetry Festival, Carmine Street Metrics, Eyebeam, LaMaMa, Triangle Quarterly, Undercurrent Projects, Mellow Pages, The New York Public Library, Launchpad BK, Dixon Place, Poets Settlement, and many more. They are always still beginning.

Inspiration: The fascist impulse to control language usage is ultimately one of our most constant reminders of the power of language (things not powerful don’t bear concern enough to control). These words are part of the ever-shifting landscape of evolving sounds we employ to describe the wonder and confusion of our human lives–and to mark these lives for ourselves, each other, and (we hope) our future generations, via story in all its forms. For this work I wanted to explore not only these words but also their origins–looking for their overlaps across cultures and traditions, how they’ve woven in and out of each other, and already how this short list represents a galaxy of human history.

I wanted to speak to our enduring search for self, and indeed our entitlement to that search, and its journey through and across languages, landing us here, where someone tasked with our protection instead portends to tie us into knots. This is a poem of refusal and of grappling, that knows that we and these words are an interchangeable body, belonging to no one if not to all of us.








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