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Poetry writing

Victor, A Frankenstein Poem

In May, I was fortunate to have a poem of mine approved by Kristin Garth to be featured on her site Pink Plastic House. It began as an attempt to flush out some ideas that had been brewing for some time. Over the course of a few days, things finally coalesced into an adequate poem. I’m thankful Kristin saw merit in it.

I had been playing around with writing a poem about Pygmalion. The thought had been stirring for a while after watching a series of vastly underwhelming science fiction movies. Flicks like Her, Ex Machina, and Blade Runner 2049 all pretended to be about pushing the limits of AI. But they were really were just about dudes wanting to fuck robots.

Earlier in the year, I had discovered Adrienne Mayor’s book Gods & Robots. As the Pygmalion thought stewed and I read, I also began to think about how Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein could be read as a trans tale. A trans man performing masculinity by literally attempting to re-create it. So I decided to try and write a poem from the point of view of this Victor Frankenstein I had in mind, filled with self-doubt, self-loathing, but also pride and desire. Someone pushing against, transgressing the boundaries of the masculine but entirely caught up in the toxicity of cishet conceptions of what is and is not attractive, beautiful, male/female, sexual or sensual.

                               …  Leering,

imaginary, it creeps

out of my mind through dreams at dawn

unawake, unasleep some

monster plotting to stitch sheathed

thighs to twisted haunches

hewn from marbled stone supple

in its emergent need to

be free. 

As with any poem of mine, what is created is only a sliver of what was imagined. However, I think the poem works. You can read ‘Victor’ in its entirety at Pink Plastic House.

                … You have always been

before I was, before I made this

image, collage, fantasy made me

this monstrosity. 

By Daniel Casey

Daniel Casey earned an MFA from the University of Notre Dame in 2003. His debut poetry collection, It's Not About You, is forthcoming from Atmosphere Press. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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