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slab of the possible🌻🪦 | by "Ponyboy" author Eliot Duncan

we drew flowers on the slab of the possible

Hello! PTK here! We will get to Eliot in a second but first, a little intro from us! This is coming to you a few days late, and we would apologize but fortunately we don’t need to because we know our readers understand that people come first at PTK. Life happens, death happens. Deadlines, and due dates, and schedules sometimes need adjusting. Thank you for being patient.

This is Eliot’s second submission in his PTK takeover! You can catch the first one here, as well as Larissa’s poem response to it here.

We would also like to include a content warning as this post mentions transphobia and anti-trans legislation. While Eliot handles this important topic with earnest care and beautiful hope, we understand if it might be difficult for some readers.

HOWEVER, please do stick around because at the end of this post will be the announcement of the PONYBOY book giveaway and writing contest!!!

Xoxo, ptk

Ok, now we hand this page over to Eliot!

"i wrote this poem at the same time i was finishing PONYBOY. i think it belongs to the world of the book”

slab of the possible🌻🪦

pulsed full w/ death. ours: self-winged.   we, fearless trans-ghosts are a well-attended ceremony. we used to get by on shame but said enough: trusting there would be another to trust. and when we were right and there wasn’t another, we drew flowers on the slab of the possible. 

we see void not as lack because void as lack is what history wants us to be. needing us flattened back into obscurity, vanished before we form poems of ourselves ::  the world sees us not but we see 

every slope of their ancient sphere. each of us, a looking back, a seeing before sliding to die. choosing to be, with all that carved before. smacked cold, moving into ourselves, we listen to cities from window, 

dreaming ourselves moving as ourselves down any avenue, the dream,     the wish, that we could do so and not fear ours (another) death.

i wrote this poem at the same time i was finishing PONYBOY. i think it belongs to the world of the book. i am, this second, in rural georgia, in the blue ridge mountains with some of my family. my great uncle died. i thought about this poem again in the context of anti-trans legislation. cherry log, where i’m staying, is ultra-conservative, malicious americana energy. i am pretty sure that i am the first trans person most of my family has met. like most people i meet, they are kind and who i am doesn’t feel up for debate. for that, i am lucky.  being here reminded me of this video i saw where a person was saying something about how queer and trans people always have and always will survive. we don’t need a state to sanction our existence. we will find the things we need, be that hormones, allies or other people like us. i’ve been feeling pretty disillusioned about the notion of ‘safe spaces’ and ‘community’ lately. mainly, because i resent an assumed consensus based on identity. what i do feel connected to, though, is that initial plunge into transitioning, into telling and showing people who you are. most of the time, gender feels boring and i don’t think there’s anything particularly interesting about mine. i guess, the spectacle may be that i was raised as a girl and don’t feel girl. but even that feels kind of boring. the part that is spiritual, i think, and what i hope this poem gestures to, is that i think there was a collection of singular moments, where i decided, like a lot of other trans people, that i wanted to live. i didn’t really know any trans people, didn’t know there was a life to be lived as an out trans person, but somehow, i chose to align with some banal, internal knowing that i was a man. against what felt like an unmovable socialization as a girl, some other truth arose. despite my own disbelief and my self authored illusions, i trusted that i might be right about this part of myself. it’s a confident shrug, a connected sense of presence, that insists, i exist. projected shame, matrices of legislative power and the murk of internalized transphobia don’t stop me, and will never stop me from drawing flowers on the slab of the possible. 


🎁 Giveaway & Writing Contest:

Enter to win a FREE copy of PONYBOY! Terms and Conditions apply.

Giveaway Instructions:

  1. Enter via the form below

  2. You can double your chances and make another entry by following  @poetrytrapperkeeper on instagram and commenting on the pinned post (“PONYBOY GIVEAWAY”) by by 10pm GMT on June 7th 2023. 

  3. Four entrants will be randomly selected on June 8th, 2023.

Enter via Form

Writing Contest:

  1. Comment a response on any of the ELIOT DUNCAN X POETRY TRAPPER KEEPER Substack posts OR email your response to This response can be a poem, reflection, anecdote, story - whatever you are moved to write!!

  2. All entries must be received by 10pm GMT on June 7th 2023. 

  3. Eliot will choose the winner, and we’ll announce it on June 9th, 2023.

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📬 Preorder:

PONYBOY by Eliot Duncan US Cover
Ponyboy (US cover), courtesy of Norton Books


PONYBOY by Eliot Duncan (UK Cover)
Ponyboy (UK cover), courtesy of Footnote Pres


Poetry Trapper Keeper
Poetry Trapper Keeper
Poetry Trapper Keeper