Cameron Awkward-Rich


Cameron Awkward-Rich is the author of Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. He is a Cave Canem fellow, a poetry editor for Muzzle Magazine, and his second collection of poetry, Dispatch, is forthcoming from Persea Books in December 2019. Also a critic, Cameron earned his PhD from Stanford University's program in Modern Thought & Literature, and he is an assistant professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Currently, he is working on a book about maladjustment in trans literature and theory. Source

The Cure for What Ails You

is a good run, at least according to my mother,

which has seemed, all my life, like cruelty —


when I had a fever, for example, or a heart,

shipwrecked & taking on the flood. But now,


of course, this is what I tell my friend whose eye

has been twitching since last Tuesday, what I


tell my student who can’t seem to focus

her arguments, who believes, still,


that it’s possible to save the world

in 10-12 pages, double-spaced & without irony


I’m asking Have you tried going for a run?

You know, to clear your head? this mother-voice


drowning out what I once thought

to be my own. I’ll admit that when that man


became the president, before terrified I felt

relief — finally, here was the bald face


of the country & now everyone had to look

at it. Everyone had to see what my loves


for their lives, could not unsee. Cruelty

after all is made of distance —


sign here & the world ends

somewhere else. The world. The literal


world. I hold my face close to the blue

light of the screen until my head aches.


Until I’m sick & like a child I just want

someone to touch me with cool hands


& say yes, you’re right, something is wrong

stay here in bed until the pain stops & Oh


mother, remember the night

when, convinced that you were dying,


you raced to the hospital clutching

your heart & by the time you arrived


you were fine. You were sharp

as a blade. Five miles in & I can’t stop


thinking about that video. There’s a man

with his arms raised


in surrender. He was driving

his car. His own car & they’re charging him


bellowing like bulls I didn’t shoot you, motherfucker,

you should feel lucky for that. Yes. Ok.


Fine. My body too can be drawn

like any weapon.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Strength & Resilience

Literary Devices:

Bleeding Title

when the title of a poem acts as the first line


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie

Extended Metaphor

a metaphor that extends through several lines or even an entire poem