On Tuesday, we featured Rogue Agent editor Jill Khoury’s essay on poetry, disability, the body, and the founding of Rogue Agent. Today, we’re excited to share poetry from Rogue Agent poet Travis Chi Wing Lau.

Khoury writes: “Travis represents the ultimate Rogue Agent poet. His work is tender, forthright, elegantly crafted. He dares to reveal himself with his words. I’ve included the three poems he’s published with Rogue Agent and also a new poem just for this profile.”


Issue 13-14, Apr-May 2016

I think the struggle for a bearable life is the struggle for queers to have space to breathe.
Having space to breathe, or being able to breathe freely … is an aspiration.
Sara Ahmed, 
The Promise of Happiness

Crescent lunge:
a prayer on bended
knee, for seconds do
become trials, as form
restricts function. Then,
a twisting open of what
is otherwise closed, of
shallow breaths shrinking
into shame. So he begs
my ability, to be victorious
(mighty capacity,
he demands): I am
fullest here even
as I extend my side
vulnerably into
bare space.

Eupnea even in this hour
of disorientation,
even when there seems to
be no space to breathe.

Issue 23, Feb 2017

Mooring shudders // beneath the // uneven balls // of my feet, // those that // seek the //
ground after // the freefall // between the // lightest of // hours (how // they grind // against //the creaking // hands). // I turn // to face // the long // gravity // of a bed: // where the // flashes pool, // where the // faces fan, // as the notches // become gothic // in between // the march of // charred lines // (for one // can only // dance madly // out of // Piranesi’s // prison).

Issue 32, Nov 2017

Bold shape,
that marrowed
thing, thrumming
with some other
a bastion coiled:

But forms
may reach
a point of
golden bowls
more vulnerable
because they
bear the chance
of singing.

a balm for
the pressure,
a kiss for
the risk,
a laying on
of hand:


The promise was
of movement:

me to the slightest
of motes,

though I feel
composed of

nothing but flickers,
what can be both

an instance and
an eternity.

I let him lay
his hands,

(trained as
they are to coolness)

and I am
sure to make

no wishes bound
for wells.

He tries,
and I permit him:

however fruitless,
body and endeavor.


About Travis Chi Wing Lau


Travis Chi Wing Lau recently completed his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania Department of English and will be a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Texas at Austin beginning in Fall 2018. His research interests include 18th- and 19th-century British literature, the history of medicine, and disability studies. His academic writing has been published in Journal of Homosexuality, Romantic Circles, Digital Defoe, and English Language Notes. His creative writing has appeared in Wordgathering, Assaracus, The New Engagement, The Deaf Poets Society, Up the Staircase Quarterly and QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology.


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