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Dirty, Beautiful Words

Dirty, Beautiful Words


In poet Brooklyn Brayl's debut collection, she addresses trans and domestic violence issues

Growing up poor in the Bible Belt with a mother who worked as a maid and a deaf father who was a retired coal miner, Brooklyn Brayl moved to New York six years ago to embark on a new chapter of her life. A transgender woman, Brooklyn feels that New York has been a formative place for her. "I feel like I was made in Brooklyn," she writes, "Which is where I reside and where I got my newfound name."

With her poetry collection, titled Dirty, Beautiful Words, Brooklyn is looking to share her story with the world. "In many ways, this is my creative way of trying to break out of my own prison," she explains. "While it's true that most people never look in the mirror and wonder if they were born in the wrong body or understand the pain associated with that journey, we all go through a process of untangling the 'Who am I?' question."

The self-published book includes more than 20 poems that comment on both general and trans issues from multiple standpoints, with poems such as "Kate Moss For President" that imagines a world where supermodels are in charge and "God's Handwriting," which asks what tools God uses to influence our lives.

Of particular note is the poem "Bones." Inspired by her passion for music, Brooklyn decided to create a spoken word short film to illustrate the piece. The video, with its short, punctuated statements, black-and-white visuals, and themes of domestic abuse, comes across as a hybrid of the beatnik bar scene and a noir film. Disclaimer: The video contains depictions of and references to domestic violence and may be distressing to some viewers. For more information, visit as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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