My name’s Javier Kennedy Gutierrez and I’m a trans Chicanx man. Born and raised in California, I moved to the east coast at 18 and started my life as a serious artist. I’ve been living in San Francisco for 13 years now, continuing my passion to grow as a writer.
Why do you write? What compels you to write?
I want to be heard. I think growing up in the Central Valley of California gives you this type of underdog attitude. So much is misunderstood about that part of the state and I really believe that translates into the people. That on top of being trans and queer has really driven me to be louder about my experiences. Writing helps me feel seen as a complex being even if the subject matter isn’t explicitly about myself.
What are some of your artistic influences/inspirations?
Music and colors are my biggest influences. I’ll hear a song and a specific color palette will come to mind that invokes a feeling and I’ll just go from there. That’s how my fiction work comes to be. As for my poetry, Anne Sexton is by far my biggest influence. I discovered her in high school and instantly connected to her style.
What upcoming writing projects are you working on?
I’m currently working on a noir fiction piece that I’m really excited about! It’s set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during WW2 and is centered around a gay interracial love affair between a white homocide detective and a Chinese bartender. This project has been really satisfying for me not just in a creative way, but I’m also a huge history lover, so doing the research around queer Chinatown has been a lot of fun.
Men Like Me
Men like me toss and turn at night,
The burning of our scars confusing both pain and pleasure,
Yet never knowing either.
Men like me suffer in silence at the abuse of almond shaped nails,
fire engine lipstick and waist length hair;
Wondering, if we count when you beg to believe victims.
Men like me stare in shame at the empty space between our legs,
Praying against another morning of stained bedsheets,
An intrusive, aching womb.
Men like me were not designed for this world.
We were born to be statistics,
A number in an article that you’ll never read.
When you say you will fight for trans lives,
Does that include men like me?
Anatomy of a Dying Memory
I sit here and remember;
Thinking that you have probably already forgotten.
I can feel the rough cotton sheet,
Your breath tickling my neck.
The window cracked open, letting the damp fall air creep into our bed,
If I move just so, I can shut it without waking you.
Leg to hip,
Head to heart;
Let sleeping boys lie.
I remember, don’t you?
She probably tastes better than I do;
Free of nicotine and whiskey.
I bet she doesn’t raise her voice or try to argue with you
Even when she knows she’s right.
You most likely see her imperfections as something endearing,
And when you get that faint stinging in your chest
Maybe from the loss of something long ago,
You pull that rough cotton sheet over your bodies;
Leg to hip,
Head to heart.
You forget why it was that you felt pained at all.
I sit here and try to be happy
While you probably just are
I mourn you more than I mourn the others.
You don’t deserve my kindness or my forgiveness but we know I would eagerly give you both.
I could never stay mad at you.
You always felt like home to me.
You were hot summer nights with cold Tecate beers and lowrider oldies.
Broken Spanish and made up slang, wiping the sweat from my cheeks.
The shrill scream of the BART trains running past your bedroom, covering the sound of furious hands and wet skin.
You were the sun peeking through the curtains, falling across our bodies, tired from the night before, refusing to open our eyes and meet the day.
If we kept them closed long enough, maybe we’d fool even ourselves.
Sometimes, when it’s hot and I can’t sleep, I think of those nights.
My body still lights on fire at the mention of you.
I remember the way you would kiss me; the feeling of your hands on my face.
Would you still kiss me the same way now?
Would you care about the stubble on my cheeks scratching at your palms?
When the scars across my chest ache, I wonder if it’s you they ache for.
Did you feel betrayed by my body? Or did you feel betrayed by me?
Years later, I still yearn for closure, for understanding.
You exist in washed out daydreams and in the fictional characters who love me back, but the painful reality lingers.
You were buried long ago.
Our plots carefully placed together; you tried so hard to drag me back in but I told you I was afraid of the dark.
The closet is a lonely place to die and while I said I loved you, I never agreed to die with you.