The Gremlin’s Library: Broken and the Broke by Archie Bongiovanni

I got Archie Bongiovanni’s poetry zine ‘Broken and the Broke’ through the Wiggle Bird Mailing Club on Patreon, which sends out zines by trans/queer poets every month! In fact, I subscribed specifically because I saw a bit about this one, and I felt my brain go ‘oh….yes… this sounds like my thing’. So, here we are!

Turns out my brain has excellent taste, by the way. ‘Broken and the Broke’ is 11 pages of dazzling, bluntly fierce, queer punk poetry. It’s short, but that just adds to the effect, and it means the lines slam home with all the more impact. “God bless those trying to hide their sissy wrists.” “Self-sacrificing is fun and you will write a lot of good poetry because of it.” Bongiovanni’s conversational almost-prose almost-verse style just makes it all the more striking – half-Beat, half-grime, all-caps and the kind of thing that sticks with you.

It’s tough to pick a favourite especially out of ten poems, but I think my favourite excerpt is from “for when those in power screw us over (again)” for the sheer power of the imagery and how much it felt real.

“My pals led me into the bathroom until i got my sobs under control but if i can’t handle a person selling god damn beanie babies to nobody than how am i to comprehend the enormity of what one man will do for a dollar.

take solace in that we have beating breathing thriving tender hearts and they are soaked in bitterness and anger but they feel they feel they feel they feel.”

“for when those in power screw us over (again)”, broken and the broke, archie bongiovanni, page 4

I am very excited to read more of Bongiovanni’s work – I’m particularly enchanted with the trans-as-default perspective that’s at play through the chapbook, whether or not it’s on purpose, and it’s one of my favourite things about reading indie work from trans creators.

Archie Bongiovanni’s twitter is at @grease_bat. They sell zines and pins on BigCartel here, and zines at Bookshop here!. Wiggle Bird Mailing Club’s patreon is over here!

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