Brian Sonia-Wallace

Brian Sonia-Wallace is an intimacy worker who creates collaborative public poetry about hopes, fears, memories, and dreams, mediated by the technology of the typewriter. He is the West Hollywood City Poet Laureate, a 2021-22 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow, and the author of The Poetry of Strangers: What I Learned Traveling America with a Typewriter. He runs a queer open mic in a trashy gay club and just lost his housing for the fourth time.

What We Leave Behind – by Brian Sonia-Wallace

Burnt out from two years of pandemic Zooms and losing my housing, year after year, I started to paint again for the first time since I was a teenager. Acrylics. Bodies. Landscapes. Whatever was in front of me as my world shrunk and I struggled not to shrink with it.

My space over these years had become a doomsday bunker, as I, the millennial hermit crab, danced between sublets. I lugged around B-horror movie paintings I’d inherited from a mentor when I had a whole house to fill with art, shedding a few at a time as I crammed myself into increasingly smaller rooms. Rents kept rising. It was just over a year after my dad’s death and I was digging out who I was from the wreckage.

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