Read time: 4 mins

Chaos Theory & Non-binary Worship

by Nnadi Samuel
20 April 2022

Chaos Theory


I go gently towards the ruin, cradling a lover.

we loot the street’s nominals, trying to shop for the right pronouns,

trying to outguess all possible ways humanity has to trim us.


as I dress this manuscript, there is someone out there opting out of the binary.

my straight mother, grieving through the boy I did not bend to be.


exit was too much luxury.

yet, she mourned the boyhood I left behind.

I picked a different nominal that defies her blessings:

anything to keep me out of her mouth.


I shoplift a noun too aggressive for her prayers.

I want her without hurt, still

when she beats her tongue, the words arrange me by bits.

I know the efficacy of vowels.


girlhood beads like soft wreckage over my skin.

each female I’ve known glories in the accident.

dying hits my feminine side,

and I bow under the sharp weight of inheritance—stone-cold

and intimate with the loss.

of what use is empathy for a world ebbing towards chaos?


at dusk, my lover and I palm the ruffled cigarette,

and flame a riot from there.

our lips, incinerating grammar.

each female I’ve known could outlast an uprising.


I, a pronoun this perishable.

I shouldn’t be seen fragile, but for the rules governing this body.

Its mere syntax.

how I come to terms with knowing that English has my sexuality at heart

far more than the world.


binary is aging arithmetic. I attempt subtraction, and my folk calls it misfortune

befalling them in simpler terms.

they build the ruin into a protest the poem sustains a thorough gash in.

everything else stays dead.


the smoke abates. I outlast the flame, half-baked.

kitchen shoutouts to all females, effeminate kids

and those risking their lungs to tear gas.

I wanted a poem without corpse.


I go gently towards the ruin, cradling a lover.

mallet and a proem in my hands.

they seek destruction and prelude:


what way to acknowledge those we lost to this.

what sobbing tragedy. 


Non-binary Worship


giant pine of tall task decks the muscled prairie.

the cloud, fibre thick atop like a double-decker.


‘this ferry imagery that spills you here.

I too stumbled on nature late.’

a hand that should be Riley’s splits open the toppled veranda.


I meet that adjective with the knowledge of our foreplay.

how else to convince me;

we are eco-friendly at making out.


assume I stumble on rough nature, say cliff.

my thought—a wild cat, toppled over and over again.


on nights that stuns grammar, the prairie comes off-white with love.

the air, notorious with the gift of a first try, toughens from the ground.


I’m at liberty with lavish.

at will, I reap a Siamese fruit but don’t do what I must

because the vulgar resemblance stinks strongly

like they too have been seeing each other.


like how I etch my weight on your topless thighs,

till it juts a bony weapon of bliss

quick as the kylie of leaves you wave to let me by, Riley!


it’s the ease at which five-finger becomes an entry point that spurs me.

how this hour is something others somehow haven’t lived.

or did so, profiling the outnumbered queer.


the sun roasts over these words,

as the thought matchmakes in the many poses I invent to laze around this topic


positing first that: straight is ennui,

and no one should be loved to ashes for making a quick hairpin bend from the normal.


I chew the scenery back to this unloved lawn.

at the snap of trees, my hiss trellises the pathway:

a ripe outburst for tough negotiation.


I eye-speak.

till the miry clay, to know ennui as being a handtool for the soil.


I shoplift the articles of a queerbait.

read the journal in all its nonconforming glory.

mouthwash a letter, the hours my tongue permits.


the coolest thing about a writer’s block is:

that Ice to smash and read from—since the words won’t come in newer fonts.

the toughest aspect is being undeserving of the minute hand on a timepiece.

your hour, ticked from within.


late breeze knocks me into the thighs of a lad.

the air, dirty with my scrote on a moving crate.

hands that dress to shape with my windbag.


someone loved this filth with the audacity

someone detests it.


I meet that verb with the knowledge of my mother’s face.

About the Author

Nnadi Samuel

Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English and Literature from the University of Benin. His works appear or are forthcoming in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, Native Skin Literary Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly West and elsewhere. He is the winner of the Miracle Monocle Award for Ambitious Student Writers 2021 (University of Louisville), Penrose Poetry Prize […]