“Hell, I know my superpower! I stare back 

at the solo sun & think, I could take you


down, right to the cool core if my mother asked it of me, 

or if I thought my father would


write it in his will, or on a simple day. 

See, I’m less scared of spiders than of what it could be like if


some people fly out the window of this world’s womb web 

& I never got the chance to reach for them, to tell them,

Save your last look for a better tragedy.


Fighting, scar-sweet in scarlet, measured 

like a middle finger, might not be a love song 

in your neighborhood but I’m a country bitch.”



An honest lyric, a mighty harpoon straight from the heart, Golden’s debut chapbook, A DEAD NAME THAT LEARNED HOW TO LIVE weaves poems, family photographs, & self-portraits to share a journey of survival & living in the American south. Exploring themes of loss & legacy, nation & love language, forgiveness & fortitude, Blackness & being, Golden continually asks–What shifts within & around us when we choose to name ourselves & our kin here–our tragedy & triumphs, our human failures & feelings, our desires to be free? Releasing on their parent’s 30th wedding anniversary (August 29th, 2022) as a dedicated love letter & living archive, this debut is an awe & ode towards southern Virginia & Eastern Shore Maryland, Black family pasts, presents, & futures, to Black queer beginnings & belongings outside and within the family home.


Cover & Photo editing by Mallika Vora (@mallikaphoto) and Golden

About the Author: 

GOLDEN (they/them) is a black gender-nonconforming trans-femme photographer, poet, & community organizer raised in Hampton, VA (Kikotan land), currently residing in Boston, MA (Massachusett people land). Their work documents the intersections between Blackness, family, and gender within the construct of America.


Golden is the recipient of a Pink Door Fellowship (2017/2019), an Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Luminaries Fellowship (2019), the Frontier Award for New Poets (2019), a Best of the Net Award (2020), a City of Boston Artist-in-Residence (2020-2021), a Mass Cultural Council Fellowship in Photography (2021), & a Women Photograph Project Grant (2021). Their work has been featured on/at Shade Literary Arts, the Offing, the Nation, Button Poetry, Vogue, Buzzfeed, i-D, the Boston Globe, & elsewhere.


Golden holds a BFA in Photography from New York University (2018) and is currently working on their first full-length poetry manuscript & self-portraiture series entitled, On Learning How to Live, which documents black trans life at the intersections of surviving & living within the United States. You can follow Golden's work on Instagram (@goldenthem_) and through their website goldengoldengolden.com.