In the weeks leading up to the release date of Shut Down Strangers & Hot Rod Angels, I'll be featuring some of the pieces and authors here on the blog! Our sixth feature is Sawyer Lovett and his poem "Just to Slip This Skin."
Sawyer Lovett is a writer who lives in Philadelphia with his wife, a dog and a hedgehog. He is the author of two books and his work has appeared in Apiary, Hoax, and Cleaver.
Which Springsteen song(s) inspired your poem?
Streets of Philadelphia
What is it about these songs in particular and/or Bruce’s music in general that inspires you?
I was listening to this song in particular the first time I ever feel like I really passed on the street as a guy, a few months after starting T and coming out as trans to my friends and family. I was still getting routinely misgendered and dealing with all the physical and emotional changes that come from hormones. I was feeling particularly bruised and battered, and still startled myself when I looked in the mirror occasionally.
What five Springsteen songs do you think everyone should listen to?
Thunder Road, Brilliant Disguise, I'm On Fire, Badlands, and Streets of Philadelphia (of course)
What’s your favorite line/section from this poem?
"I could be so anyone / in these streets." I think about this a lot - how anyone could reinvent themselves at any time. Marginalized people often do this of necessity, because code switching can mean the difference between getting a job that makes rent or avoiding physical violence. But I think there can be a joyful component to that as well.
Anything else you’d like to say, either about Bruce or about your poem?
Bruce is one of the people I looked at as a model of gentle, sensitive, intentional masculinity as I was figuring out the sort of guy I wanted to be. I'm so happy that this piece found a place in the collection in particular. Thanks for the opportunity to share my work with people (I hope) will relate to it on some level.