An Origin Story



i lay / awake / wrapped in layers of clothes / and blankets / and fear / the night hums / hisses / i hold vigil for my innocence / a constant attendance / attention / to detail / the way the light shifts / under the door / the fact that there is no lock / that protection is a bedtime story i haven’t heard in years / and no one can hear me / here / anyway / i pass the time / creating galaxies between the stars on my ceiling / parallel universes where there are no threats / or where i can protect myself / or where the nightmares don’t follow me into my dreams.



i’m scattered across this / now barren place / i have been / picked at / scavenged / i have fed / everyone / and now / there is nothing for me / here, so i / leave / i haunt the space between the stars / until the hunger for a home / catches up with me / i return / i bury my hands in my earth / and it remembers / wilderness / must be kept / unconquered / everything, i create / everything, i destroy / everything / is mine.


there is truth / here / in each moment / every ruining / every revival / I skip between worlds / and they are all me / what is a universe / but possibility / infinite / the chance to be new again / i / supernova / and summon the shattering / begin again / i gravity / and am no longer alone / in this becoming / i manifest / i will / i black hole / i am / everything / i inhabit myself faithfully.



i flux / light and chaos / promise and imperative / i don’t know how not to cycle this way / can’t be anything other than what i am / sometimes / i still try / i asked the moon / she said she doesn’t know either / but hopes to find a better system soon / one where love knows that / this phase / is as true as / the next / i don’t know how far away that might be / but / when she tells me / i’m her favorite constellation / i know / i don’t ever want love / that don’t glow / just like that.



“What does genre mean to you and how does it build/unbuild your work?”


i’ve always struggled with the truth in my writing. feeling compelled to tell it and letting that choke my process. as much freedom as i encourage in others, reflexively, i am relentlessly rigid. It only occurred to me recently that I *could* lie in my writing, or tell impossible stories. cathartic ones. the ones i wanted, wished for. the ones i maybe shouldn’t tell.


recently, i had a health incident that upended a lot of my internal shit. in wading thru it, i’m realizing that choices that i made when i rebuilt myself the first time no longer seem quite right for the me i am now. different parts of me have surfaced and i want to try out some other possible selves. other possible stories.


while i’ve always done mixed, or at least maybe not strict, genre work

i used to be interested in telling the t r u t h the way it n e e d e d to be told.

now, I’m more interested in telling the s t o r y the way i n e e d to tell it.


i’m still learning how to be new. changing. i want something for myself this time. genre builds/frees my work, helps me to resist shaming and silencing. it’s risk, understanding where i exist beyond what i tell myself to settle for. i am here to re/create, and sometimes that means discarding boundaries that aren’t even real in the first place. i’m still learning.





Chahney Young is an educator, advocate, and maker from the US Virgin Islands and based in Brooklyn, NY. They are a dreamer, insufferably concerned with nuance, and think that everything is possible whether we like it or not. They learn and love adventurously. Chahney is a 2018 Pink Door Fellow, and will be published in theBeyond Resilience: Sick/Disabled Realities Folio November 2018 issue of Nat. Brut. You can find them on ig @chahneymakesstuff and on their website if they ever stop getting distracted.