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POETRY / I’m Not From Around Here / Ann Eleven


As the alien who once admitted in an interview with Vice Magazine 
that I want to eat everyone 
and subsequently became famous mostly for this, 
I briefly experienced a lucrative side of notoriety, the kind where people 
might think you’re disgusting 
but want something from you.
I became someone invited to parties where hosts said confidently
ha ha Horb’gul I hope you won’t eat any of the other guests! 
but there are plenty of canapés.
I went on talk shows where panels of women with immaculate hair
and secretly bitten fingernails leaned on the arms of their chairs
and asked me in intimate tones if I meant it
when I said I want to eat everyone
and I always said yes and then we talked of my appetites.
Appetites are relatable even if they’re despicable. 
That I understand was my charm while it lasted
and there was no dramatic shift, it’s not like
I ate the Pope or a small blonde child or anyone’s dog.
I’ve only ever been interested in what can say yes and mean it.
Still in time my hunger inspired no more empathetic consideration.
I had to leave my penthouse, and then my apartment, and then
my bedsit. The publication of my memoir was indefinitely
suspended and its made for TV movie got held up 
in pre-production. My agent disappeared and no,
I didn’t eat him. I received gradually fewer invitations to appear
on the talk shows. This shouldn’t matter
but I was far less in the tabloids. I used to have such fun
I fell out of nightclubs, roiling, turgid, pink, and glittering. 
In the years since
I have had some professional difficulties.
It was different when I could build a career of being outrageous
and a little scary. The truth is I hardly needed to build it. 
I was a Strange True Story everyone clicked on. 
I saw when I licked my lips 
how everyone shivered
the way people shiver when they are afraid
and enjoying themselves. 
In that time I was desired for the scope of my desire, for the pleasures
others allowed to themselves while sitting beside me,
creature of most abhorrent hungers. Women and men
here on earth still wanted to sleep with me,
even though they had heard what happened to others. 
After all I had only said I want to eat everyone
but I hadn’t eaten everyone.
I was then even praised for my restraint.
I had what you might call apologists and defenders, even fans,
and even fans who wrote and begged me in breathless tones
to eat them, who said on national television 
there couldn’t be
a hotter way to go. 
I do think, from the time I’ve spent amongst you,
people are aroused by the idea of being consumed 
as much as the act of consummation,
being wholly used, like being entirely swallowed
the sheer and utter and total abandonment 
to something that’s final, to the self being finished
like cake.  

Now I have a hard time finding hourly work, let alone anyone
who wants to put me on television 
or lie down with me at night. What was acceptable as spectacle
no one wants in a janitor or next door neighbor. 
I have been reduced to work as a hit-person and hiding under beds
for shock value, both of which distress me. I infinitely prefer
to eat people who moan with delight 
as I swallow. And I think it unfair 
that this should be my lot,
as what I was, as what I am, is honest,
as what I want was once ordinary to speak of to others,
as where I come from we might compare you not to us 
but to your own useful and delicious beast, the cow,
as an infinite spectrum of genders alike confessed to me
they could only be sated if tasted, if masticated, if at last
devoured. They whispered this longing into my ear
as I opened my mouths. On some deeper level,
those people, I think, they got me. I think 
I got them. I think they must have understood
what it is to be the only one left 
in the bed, alive in the morning.

Ann Eleven is a queer non-binary writer and librarian. She lives in Chicago and tweets @junkyardattic.