Our newest Featured Artist - Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu!

Wildlings, this week’s Featured Artist is Nigerian poet Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu!

Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu is a Nigerian poet and essayist whose work has appeared on Popula, Ake Review, After The Pause, Brittle Paper, and elsewhere. She is a 2018 fellow of Ebedi Writers Residency. She writes from Nigeria where she is currently rounding up a law degree. Connect with her on Twitter @WaasiShaffii and Instagram @waasishafii
Today we introduce Hauwa with a previously unpublished poem, selected specially for Animal Heart Press.

the body as destructive tool
once,ibundledamanintoanexplosive, placedhimoppositeaboxmarkedsafe. isetmyheartlooseandsaid,gowhereyouwant
thememorypullsmebacktotheunspokentruthofbodies: howtheyleapattouchof

The (Re)Birth of Billie T. Stark

On Billie T. Stark's final day as Featured Artist, we asked Billie to look forward to the future, and think about what it might hold. Here's what he had to say.

"What will it be like for me if I can ever find myself in a safe space, if I can fully be myself? It's hard to answer that. I don't know that I've ever even thought about what it would be like to be truly safe and free. Of course, I despair that I will ever feel that way completely, even if circumstances ever seem to support that feeling. I've been a prisoner for so long, I think I am my own jailer. I hold the key to my final liberation. Will I have the courage? I don't know. But I suppose that, if I reach that state — and even if I don't, actually — I want to put myself in service, to try to bring joy and comfort as I can. My goal would also be to all but expunge that first-person singular "I" pronoun that "I" — there it is again — use so much from my language, soul and …

Saturday Night Billie

Today, wildlings, we asked Featured Artist Billie T. Stark to meditate on Saturday nights - what they're like for him, or what he wishes they were like. Here's what he came up with.

"Here'e one option — or one fantasy — for Saturday night. I'd like to dress up cute, knowing I'm gonna get stripped naked later. Then I'd visit my hot boyfriend and smoke a bowl and fall in bed, or just on the floor by his couch, and have him fuckme.He'dbe a little rough, but NOT mean. I like nice boys, NOT bad boys. But then again this IS just fantasy and will likely remain so. In my life, I've had brief sexual encounters fewer than 10 times with no more than 5 or 6 different guys. And I'm an old girl now... so that is all over. Another fantasy for me — one that is more realistic — is that I have a Saturday night, or afternoon shading into night, when I get to hang out with another nice queer guy and just go to a gallery and go eat pho or something and go home and s…

Billie T. Stark Ain't No Man

Wildlings, our Featured Artist Billie T. Stark is on a journey of self-discovery. Here we are fortunate enough to enjoy one of Billie's poems on his identity.

Billie Ain't No Man
I ain’t no man
I take a notion, have an idea
It pops from my little brain
A flower from my pot, from my little clay belly,
like a little sissy boi Buddha

I ain’t no man
              I wanna be with the Womyn
And I wanna write but not like a MAN

How does a man write?
He measures      marks      demarcates
Surveys his domain like a      boss      Lord      patriarch
Then pulls out his ugly ol’ blood sausage
Pisses from it yellow & stinky like
A sideshow freak
Pisses & puddles the clay
Dribbles his pus down a copper plate and makes a green snaky line
Leading nowhere except to ANOTHER goddamn prick...

Another MAN on the schoolhouse wall

Men have their stylos & pointers & pens & pencils...
They use them to mark, make deep cuts, leave their brand
I won’t write this way
Maybe I won’t ‘wri…

Everything Billie T. Stark Doesn't Need

Today, rather than ask Featured Artist Billie T. Stark what he needs, we thought we'd explore what Billie doesn't need - what Billie's world can do without, in Billie's own words.

Billie T. Stark on...

Today our Managing Editor, Amanda McLeod, played a kind of word-association game with Featured Artist Billie T. Stark, to get Billie's thoughts on - well, lots of things.

Billie T. Stark on....

Secret identities:
Queer people know all about secret identities. Keeping things secret — keeping our true selves secret — has been essential for us to survive, to avoid being shunned or abused or even killed. 

I know gender means nothing, at least the way society constructs it, but I admit I’ve chosen my allegiance. I worship womyn, the female. And even though I’m feminine, a “sissy,” I know womyn should NOT be trapped in one idea of what “femininity” means.

Coming out (or not coming out):
I want to totally come out. I NEED to come out... but it’s STILL scary — even with the progress we’ve made.

Being a womxn in a man's world:
I’m not biologically a woman and I don’t know what that’s like, but in my soul I am a woman. I am, at least, NOT a man. I know what it’s like to not fit, to se…

Billie T. Stark - The T is for Triptych

Featured Artist Billie T. Stark is an avid collagist as well as a poet. Below is one of Billie's collages, with an unpublished triptych of poetry he created in response to the patterns in his creations.

Lipstick is my Life

Oh gawd gurl       I LUV lipstick Used to kinda smear it but I learned to do it right Red is my fave y’all… ‘whore red’ my mommy said First I snuck in & used hers… or girls played dress up with me Then I bought my own, ignored hard looks from clerks Then I wore it outside!    Glorious day! Sun shining on a little fag boy Don’t hurt me    Don’t kill me Don’t burn me like a fag witch

I Love my Jesus
I love my Jesus… the queer Jesus… not the straight Jesus I love my Jesus… but not the one with white skin... Not sure I believe in God or Goddess  but oh gawd I luv my sweet sweet Jesus... I swallowed him whole… Jesus came for me … just for me… so late it was early He filled me with his love…. his garden grew inside me When I luv myself I’m filled with luv Wanna channel luv like Jesus …