Oliver Baez Bendorf | The Gospel According to X

The Gospel According to X. Poems by Oliver Baez Bendorf, selected by Dan Vera and Ron Mohring as Number 12 in the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Series.

Publication:  November 2, 2019 [100 copies]
25 pages
ISBN 978-1-949333-57-2
$ 9.00

Featuring two alternate cover designs by Kim Charles Kay.


Oliver Baez Bendorf‘s second full-length collection, Advantages of Being Evergreen, is just out from Cleveland State University Poetry Center. His first book, The Spectral Wilderness, was selected by Mark Doty for the Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize, and named a finalist for the Thom Gunn Gay Poetry Award. A queer and transgender Latinx poet, he is proud to be a CantoMundo and Lambda Literary fellow. His work has been anthologized in Best New Poets and Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, and recent work can be found in American Poetry Review, BOMB, Poetry, and West Branch. Born and raised in Iowa, he is an assistant professor of creative writing at Kalamazoo College.

A Mixing of Metaphors

X wonders about the etymology of repentance. He
packs pickles and wild honey and goes into the wilder-
ness. The whole kingdom inside his campsite. Is he
still forgiven if he goes not into the river, but on it?
Canoe as red as the shiny red toolbox. Red like a
mosquito’s basic identity. The whole entire kingdom is
red in some places. Red for secret pronouns, red in
the face waiting for justice to come down. I want to
tell him he does not need to confess himself, does not
need to be sorry, has not sinned, but what do I know?
Shame is also red and consequently everywhere. So off
he goes to whisper in the woods. And we wait.

–Thank you to Dreginald for first publishing this poem.

  • Order Oliver’s chapbook here. Thank you for supporting this poet!