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Why you must read Brooklyn Brayl’s Dirty Beautiful Words


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Dirty Beautiful Words is a transgender coming-out story told in visual poetry. However, the book really does encompass much more than the search for identity — the struggle to overcome trauma, pain, addiction and heartbreak is also documented. There’s something for everyone.

Yes, but yet it’s a personal story, isn’t it? It’s all true, all you.

Tell us about your journey.
Transgender is an umbrella term. I’m currently living on the gender divide. I haven’t officially taken on any label and this book is about that conflict — the boxes society tries to cram us into and the process we go through to break out.

You called it ‘visual poetry’. What’s that?
Contemporary Poetry.

Can you give us a sample?
Black sand shores 
Raveling seams 
Hair-like tentacles 
You go deep 
Broad strokes 
Blending waves 
Reaching caves 
Coral reefs 
You swim effortlessly 
Through the currents 
And sea-kelp sweat 
Until you reach the pearl 
Between seashell legs 
Bobbing heads 
Slimy torsos

Tell us more about yourself.
I grew up poor in the Bible Belt of the Appalachian Mountains to a mother who worked many years as a maid and a deaf father who spent tireless hours underground as a coal miner. I never fit in. There are photos of me as a little boy in dresses and heels. This did not go over well with the overly religious community in which I lived. I knew from a very young age that something was different inside of me.

We’ve been touched by your story and your poetry. Who else do you expect to be similarly affected?
A wide spectrum, but definitely misfits and gender outlaws, unpretentious hipsters and artists, the broken-hearted and ANYONE seeking the truth.

Are you on social media?

Have you written anything else that we can read next?
Working on a full-length novel — and by working, I mean watching it sit on a shelf until I find the guts to dive back into it again. It’s been under construction for a few years now.

In that case, we don’t mean to nag, but what the hell have you been doing?
My goal is to bring portions of Dirty Beautiful Words to life on film. I thought this would be a cool, different and modern way to bring attention to the book. I’ve been working with a fashion photographer and a director on this concept. We actually shot the first clip last summer — it’s this spoken word/short film/music video-esque piece. It will be released soon. It’s for the poem Bones. I’m excited, but also very nervous/anxious and a little insecure about it, since it’s coming from such a vulnerable place and since it’s the first time I’ve ever played a lead role in a film.

We cannot wait to see it. Tell us your website so we can keep an eye out for it.

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