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Venus Thrash


Poems - Bio - Review - Interviews - Reading

Venus Thrash


Behind the Archipelago Hotel,
a stray donkey gnaws frayed
clothing draped on crude fences,

brays all night under a shower
of stars spilling across the sky
spiting darkness. Rastas,

rent-poor, asleep in dhows
beneath a floodlight named moon,
dream a rising sun to wait.

Muslim men in lengthy kurtas
in open sandals stroll the shore's
shallow waters hand-in-hand.

Women in twos, in hot hijabs
curse the sun, cradle bags
of rice or lentils mistaken

for a baby far away. Boys,
as big as ten, shamelessly
nude, somersault from stone

columns into the mighty sea.
Little girls, unconstrained,
in worn red dresses, footrace

shoeless, down narrow lanes,
chaste flesh coarsened by creed,
coated in the town's gray dust.


To The Fems

Who would love us
short haired, butch women,
our eyes unpainted,

our lips unglossed
but moist and ready, spiffy
in pin-stripe suits

& paisley ties, tough
in Timberland work boots,
balling in the latest

Air Jordans, our breasts
pressed close to the chest,
the curve of our hips

hidden in baggy jeans,
our big-daddy strut copied
from the men in our lives,

our muscled arms decorated
in various women's names,
packing plastic cocks

in crotches, punches in bars
smelling of patchouli
or Egyptian musk

our serious hard stare
our easy tears, our brazen
craving for juicy cootchie,

to flip-flop & be topped
by you who would love us
butches, diesels, dykes,

doms, kings, studs?



I was born last child of a first child.
Only daughter of an angry woman
On an angry day. An angry time.

I wear my mother's anger
as a badge, claim it for my own,
become its crusader.

I am a woman's voice
who's never been allowed to speak.

Now nothing can contain her silence.
My mother cannot forgive her mother.
I cannot forgive mine.

I nurse rage like a newborn baby.
Rock it. Cradle it. Love it. Hate it.
Like a mother's love, this will never end.


-from The Fateful Apple, selected by Guest Editor Phillip B. Williams


Poems - Bio - Review - Interviews - Reading

Venus Thrash was a finalist in the 2012 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize and the 2009 Arktoi Poetry Prize. Her poetry has been published in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Beltway QuarterlyTorch, Gargoyle, Folio, and the Arkansas Review, and in the anthologies Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First DecadeHaunted Voices, Haunting Places: An Anthology of Writers of the Old and New SouthFull Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC, and Spaces Between Us; An HIV/AIDS Anthology. 

She has appeared at Split This Rock, the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Schomburg Center for African American Research, Virginia Festival of the Book, and The Library of Congress.  Venus earned a Bachelor’s degree in Literature and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from American University and is a fellow of Cave Canem and Soul Mountain. Currently, she teaches fiction, poetry, and is a full-time mother. Venus is in the process of completing The Soul of a Man, a short story collection, and her second poetry manuscript entitled, Misanthrope.


Poems - Bio - Review - Interviews - Reading

A Review of Venus Thrash's The Fateful Apple by Molly Martin, first published by Compulsive Reader

Venus Thrash open The Fateful Apple deep in the heart of the Garden of Eden and moves toward Tutankhamen’s tomb, continues on to Atlanta, before  mentioning The Tree of Life, The Tree of Knowledge and womankind bearing the brunt of Eve’s disobedience. The reader is left breathless, but driven to turn the page and check the words coming next.

Individual elegies bear single word titles or short phrases, drawing the reader into the work to learn what the poet is offering in each. “Homage,” “Womanology,” “Uncivil,” “Home,” and “Twirl” are a few of the verses having single word titles. “Approva”l is one woman’s poignant yearning to have men view her as a woman who happens to be lesbian and not as one of the boys. Three separate works are devoted to Rincon, Georgia, while others adjoining those three, include poems that address growing up and dealing with the reality of prejudice and ignorance.

Self-probing verses ‘Cutting It Close,” “Let Me Come Back,” and “To the Fems” are offered as unambiguous examinations of personal identity. The work in this collection offers a multiplicity of subjects and emotions.  The Fateful Apple is a powerful work presented by a woman who knows herself,is satisfied with who she is, and sees no reason for apologizing for being herself. While I do not live her lifestyle, I admire anyone who faces life straight on, knows who and what they are, and marches into the fact of life with eyes wide open.

A finalist in the 2012 Jean Feldman Poetry Prize and the 2009 Arktoi Books Poetry Prize, Poet, Educator, Parent, Thrash received a MFA in fiction and poetry from American University, has completed a short story collection, and is working on a second poetry work.

This work is not for everyone, as it contains some stark, raw language, not profanity, but language with sexual suggestion, however, if you like hard hitting, no holds barred, tell it like it is, non-saccharine verses, then The Fateful Apple will provide a powerful change-of-pace poetry read.


Poems - Bio - Review - Interviews - Reading
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Venus Thrash

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