The experience of Disabled people and/or people who live with chronic pain is vast, extensive, and incredibly nuanced. Even the umbrella terms used to describe the variances in our community are limiting. It is within this complexity that we aim to seek work that exists in, contemplates, and re-imagines the ableist systems that limit our bodies, minds, and spirits. Oftentimes, the onus is on the Sick person, the chronically aching, the Disabled person to navigate this world (including the literary and artistic world) in isolation. Moreover, many of the poetics and writing in the mainstream literary world accentuate select and rigid perspectives. This folio hopes to hone a central place for writing galvanized by those who embody the technique and experiences of Queer, Transgender, Non-Binary, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, Working class, Poor, Femme, and Womxn communities. Hybrid on hybrid, cross-genre, some works here could be unclassifiable. In this way, we blur the distinctions of where pleasure, survival, pain, elation, grief, and humor even begin. If you’re wondering what brought you to these works, my thoughts are simply, this is hella needed and sometimes we have to read the real raw as we live it.


Here, we hope to examine works that illustrate us within and outside of the tropes of the Disabled Body frequently called upon for inspiration without our work or self-determination at the center. Every contributor in this folio (all twenty-six!) offers an exploration of the body-mind, the crucial coalescence of how we, as full beings, engage with and are impacted by our brilliance, our madness, our movements.  This is not an easy read. This collection is non-linear. A reader will learn that to move through this folio one might need breaks, one might need to celebrate. You might feel seriously exhausted and exhilarated—we know there is room for both/and.


Here are the raspy swollen poems. Expect survival ascendance laced with contradictions in short fiction. Dance with a sick-bed-life essay. Many are anxious observations & PTSD-charged. In the initial call for submissions, our team requested: Bring whatever you, in your capacity and spoons, care to write. We recognize that writing on disability and ability publicly can wrongfully impact communities seeking supplementary assistance, therefore anonymous and pen-named submissions are honored and welcomed. This was indisputably accomplished. We recognize that writing on disability and ability are not mutually exclusive of other trappings of oppression. Let this folio be one capillary where Disabled and Sick people take the charge, spoon out, and seek solace. It is my hope that this collection of writing encourages works that acknowledge, investigate, and respond with a liberatory focus. By that I mean: The absolute chronicle of our breath is justice-worthy. Thank you to the sharpest editorial team, Kayla and Axel, for believing in this project and generously bending time with me. Thank you to every writer here who trusted us with their words.

—Kay Ulanday Barrett

Kirin Khan
MT Vallarta
A Gesture Toward—
Addie Tsai
How To Start Over
Wryly McCutchen
A Million Names
Chavonn Williams Shen
Why Not to Pick Scabs
Jesse Rice-Evans
Two Poems
Freda Epum
MARKED MANIFESTO & Segment on the in workings of a first-generation girl
Ashna Ali
Things said to (or near) me
Maya Owen
Show More
Chris Thibodeau
Two Poems
Bei Jie Si
A Dom Teaches Me About BDSM Or The Disabled Sub Redefines Pain
heidi andrea restrepo rhodes
Two Poems
Chahney Young
Genevieve Arlie
Acute Effects of Chronic Heroism
Cyree Jarelle Johnson
Two Poems
Wren Phelps
Resemble // Reassemble
Fayza B.
Geleni Fontaine
doralinda filled the world
Show More
Sara Bess
Two Poems
Kimo Armitage
Ina Cariño
Travis Lau
Two Poems
Lauren Bender
Nicole Oquendo
You're Too Fat to be Androgynous
Kai Pyle
landbodymind (in the city of wild onions)
Tanea Lunsford Lynx
they called it a super power
Show More


Kay Ulanday Barrett aka @brownroundboi is a poet, performer, and cultural strategist, navigating life as a disabled pilipinx-amerikan transgender queer. They are a fellow of VONA, The Home School, Lambda Literary Review, and Drunken Boat retreats. They are 2018 Guest Faculty for The Poetry Foundation, 2018 Writer-in-Residence for Poetry at Lambda Literary Review, and Co-curator at Asian American Writers workshop.  K. has been featured on the stages of The Lincoln Center, Princeton University, UC Berkeley, Chicago Historical Society, Brooklyn Museum, The  NY Poetry Festival, The Dodge Poetry Foundation, Tucson Poetry Festival, The Guild Complex, The Hemispheric Institute, and National Queer Arts Festival. They have been featured in Vogue, PBS News Hour Poetry, Asian American Literary Review, VIDA, RaceForward, The Deaf Poets Society, NYLON, Apogee, Entropy, among others.


If you enjoy Nat. Brut and consider yourself a reader of the magazine, please consider donating to us! We are a fledgling non-profit on a shoe-string budget, and our staff is 100% volunteer (all of us!). Every dollar you give goes directly back into the operations of the magazine. Consider giving today!

Sign up for our mailing list

Nat. Brut is a proud winner of a 2020 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize