Original Sin by Christopher Stephen Soden


Original Sin


i couldnt say no when trevor turned

the storage shed into an altar

where he shifted objects and ignited

the coleman lantern never letting

the flame rise too high there were

french playing cards and viceroys


at the start after awhile we played

poker for clothes when i still

understood nothing of the world

unable to imagine what two naked boys

could do but chuckle and fart


he would think of stupid games

like Report Card or Uncles Lesson

or Kept After School tell me to watch

jesus heart wrapped in garlands

of thorn and flame or our blessed virgin

mother images taped to the wall


while i bent across his lap or clutched

my ankles looking back it was astonishing

how he summoned the elements melodically

spontaneously casting a spell i tried

to disengage as blows returned me


to my bone cage noticing details

that never caught my attention before

the rich magnificent layers of refuse

that turned our clubhouse into a kingdom

of spider nest and ghost eggs clusters


of slick shining hatchlings that could fill

your body in a day spit paper dwellings

for wasp and hornet shriveled purple

cadaver of what might have been

a rabbit or raccoon or possum before it lost


to teeth or time its too easy to say

it was not so bad the tingle i felt

or wisdom i bring with me now

to the bed the bar the alley the warm

wet dock houses with jewel eyed

invisible witnesses hushed


comfort of surf you never felt the cold

dread in your gut when trev showed up

ringing your doorbell over and over

determined to deliver the beating

you always knew was coming



Christopher Stephen Soden received his MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts in January of 2005. He teaches craft, theory, genre and literature. He writes poetry, plays, literary, film and theatre critique for sharpcritic.com and EdgeDallas. Christopher’s poetry collection, Closer was released by Rebel Satori Press on June 14th, 2011. He received a Full Fellowship to Lambda Literary's Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices in August 2010. His performance piece: Queer Anarchy received The Dallas Voice's Award for Best Stage Performance. Water and A Christmas Wish were staged at Bishop Arts and Radio Flyer and Every Day is Christmas. In Heaven. at Nouveau 47. Other honors include: Distinguished Poets of Dallas, Poetry Society of America's Poetry in Motion Series, Founding Member, President and President Emeritus of The Dallas Poets Community. His work has appeared in: Rattle, The Cortland Review, 1111, Peculiar, Briar’s Lit, Typishly, F(r)iction, G & L Review, Chelsea Station, Glitterwolf, Collective Brightness, A Face to Meet the Faces, ResilienceGanymede Poets: One, Gay City 2, The Café Review, The Texas Observer, Sentence, Borderlands, Off the Rocks, The James White Review, The New Writer, Velvet Mafia, Poetry Super Highway, Gertrude, Touch of Eros, Gents, Bad Boys and Barbarians, Windy City Times, ArLiJo, Best Texas Writing 2.