Alé Cota: Confessional Poetry and Queer Expression

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Alé Cota (She/They) is a trans Latiné performance artist, educator, and poet. She holds a B.A. from Carleton College in both Latin American and Gender Studies. Her work primarily focuses on poetry narrating queer and trans experiences through a framework of place trauma theory. Her confessional style anchors despondence with an inclination toward triumph. She explores memory, nostalgia, and the poetics of violence within intimate, familial structures.

We are pleased to showcase a sample of Cota's poetry below:


Originally published in Switchgrass Review, 2021

Ma, there is a winged girl atop your rooftop. Enveloped in 
Night, she exhales a birthing cry. Death is cyclical like that 
Remember?–the first must be the last. She faces forward, 
Her toes curled on the stone edge. 
Goodnight never comes softly to womanly silhouettes.  
The gossip of bustling cars & doors shut from overtime appears  
Mute to her volume of hair–wearing your scarlet feathered dress– 
Lifted and swaying. 
It’s layered, folded to hold past selves, shelves of mangled men.  
Men who solicited her to throw away.                                       Find myself another tranny.  
They spit, erasing her. But there is a witness tonight.  
The cement waits for her–yearns for salacious pigment– 
Her splatter to color his hunger. Ladybird  
Takes a downward flight. Passes windows filled with 
Men holding different lives, men  
With different wives.  
Falling is to become, Ma.  
The ground catches her flesh–bursting.  
She figured out the meaning of life, mid-flight. 
Maybe to be alive is to be half
            Half                                                                                         dead.  
Halved in                    two, 
Against gravity, is the  
Situation. The memorial, crimson-feathered. 
                                                                                             Trans woman murdered,   
Another man fed. Ma, maybe the  
Bird does not sing but  
Bleeds in half-flights.  

Alé Cota selfie blue shirt landscape

The Teeth of the Night  

From Poem/Video Essay/ Collection "The Teeth of the Night" showcased at When Cement Hails, Upstairs K-Space Studios April 2024 


   But as I die without resisting 
   my unhappy lot, my only wish 
   is you allow me choose the death I like                
               - Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz 
Tattered     I lay my ear     to abandoned floor. 
Permit the morning frost       to trickle in 
& hear man’s       machination succeed. 
You’ll almost miss it. The muted choir 
in suit & tie     adorned with fatherly breath 
believe themselves Adam         & confuse the boom 
for life-making.                       Listen–  
the azaleas warm                    & frail they echo 
into daughters.   
I am a woman besieged           by snow 
snug avalanche blanket.           It’s here.  
The reaper’s blade                   the cane of grass 
I grasp                                    the surrender.    
The moon’s testimony arrives 
to break me    against dawn. 
My frigid flesh           someone’s son’s 
ashtray     the soot bruises        evidence for trial 
the water inside    still slow   hurry 
hurry you’ll miss  it  no  
me no it       oh too late the sward  
has swallowed my memories 
             the eulogy to bloom 
at spring sometime.    
Underneath my bed  
in the old house          a mile          back 
before the night replaced it       find our manifesto 
lifelines we planted      sometimes in cement  
some    times in cents     sometimes in chests 
open that music box    the swan tutu dripped  
in pink glitter gloss      peer below the torn  
photo of my mom & I   my gender irrelevant still 
relevant tangents           glide your thumb twice 
across the cross             unseal our letters 
the river of vermillion   I called my hair is thickening 
remember always: 
my sisters deserve to die as women too             
              go on        bouquet me nicely 
before the men return  
We’re dressed for the occasion  
             mere hollers and sneers 
blow us         back to little girls in boy shoes   
We teeter the cliffed benches 
             of downtowns with winded names 
my life is a road’s shoulder  
The street        a parable 
for                  migration  
We rather sleep on the street 
go without things we need 
              when a dressed genital 
              obliterates roofs over heads  
it’s choosing how to die 
the skin               a card to shiv 
out this month’s groceries  
              & year-long curses on men  
we swim in pit stops 
swirl pools of spit 
to the face                                        I won’t remember our history 
                                                              dive into my veins 
                                                                      the water there will 
                                                                             trace it back to my smile 
                                                                                     & free me. 
Alé Cota headshot in red

Alé Cota is a headlining reader at the Corpus Christi PRIDE Poetry Night and Open Mic on June 20, 2024. The event takes place at the Art Museum of South Texas (AMST) in the HEB Theatre, from 6pm - 9pm. Performers of every kind are encouraged to attend and participate. 

Pride Open Mic 2024 general flyer

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