Feature: “Salamat Sa Intersectionality” by Dani Putney

Release Date: May 18, 2021
Publisher: Okay Donkey Press
Genre: Poetry


Dani Putney’s debut poetry collection, SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITY, is a lyrical triptych that traces the evolution of the speaker’s identity as a queer, non-binary, mixed-race Filipinx, and neurodivergent individual. Each “panel” of the speaker’s life represents a distinct period of growth: a youthful beginning, which features important interactions with the speaker’s parents; a sexually charged middle period that demonstrates the speaker’s explorations of queer sexuality; and a contemplative third section wherein the speaker reckons with their various “selves.” Imagery of the American West percolates through the collection to ground the speaker in their intersectional identity.


“In their triumphant debut poetry collection, Salamat Sa Intersectionality, Dani Putney kicks down your door to announce they have arrived. With familiars of scorpions, rattlesnakes, and bees (and tattoos of Plath and Woolf on their thighs), Putney sets fire to all boundaries as they navigate multiple identities in the harsh desert landscape of the American West. As I read this collection, I found myself unable to put it aside for fear that the pages were still burning behind me while I raced to the end. Putney’s language is as fearless as their subject matter: they move with craft and audacity through the intersections of tenderness and violence, violence and lust, lust and rage, rage and family, family and love. Read this book with a fire extinguisher in hand and a bucket of ice water at your feet.” – Beth Gordon, author of Morning Walk with Dead Possum, Breakfast, and Parallel Universe.

“Dani Putney’s most striking talent is to burrow into the heart of both place and self, presenting an American Southwest full of budding possibility. The poems in Salamat Sa Intersectionality deftly interrogate notions of authenticity as it relates to ever-expanding notions of family, gender, and the attainment of real personhood. When Putney questions, ‘—am I pregnant? yes yes / to the flesh I’m growing,’ they are crafting a space in which their considered, desired body crashes against the grit of an external, roughly experienced world. These are poems which speak of begetting poetry; how selfhood roars deep within the earth and then blooms upon the surface. But this is not a process which abides without becoming burdened—as Putney writes, ‘I’d rather become the alien in our home / than war with a phantom.’” – Danielle Rose, author of At First & Then


200-mile-per-hour airbags shot me
in Hazen, Nevada. The alt-rock song
playing on my speakers
devolved into garbled static,
my ears began to ring.
I swear I heard silence
within the chemical fog
suspended around the car seats.

I existed in a space between reality
and fiction, where I was dead
and alive inside a toy car on a toy highway.
It must have been sabotage,
whoever left that truck tire on the road.

The welts on my arms healed quickly,
the tire disappeared quicker,
but I can still see the trail of antifreeze
and pieces of plastic skin
I left behind
in a ghost-town turnout.

Desert Tango
You and I played monkey-wrenchers
as we passed yellow tractors
scattered around our dusty path.
We catapulted rocks at metallic beasts
like amateur saboteurs—
this desert was ours. But Abbey
didn’t teach us sabotage,
we only wanted to be men
for each other.
Burnt soil captivated us
with its Pollock-esque facade.
We saw lavender in the rough
against subtle tonalities
of uprooted bedrock.
Today, our memories
are colors—blink—
we’re a two-person gang again,
our skin whipped by sand.

A Token Isn’t Worth Anything
I fasten a donkey button onto my chest
—I’m trapped:
At the campaign gala,
clumps of invective-stuffed dirt
rupture my taste buds.
Politicos and I condemn elephants
outside the room, celebrate
my colorful DNA with fine
wine glasses, toast to shared freedom.
But men’s kindness is a mythical fuel,
powered by super PACs,
poured into their pseudo-
Democratic mouths. I’m their flag,
brandished by suit after suit
who will never know the touch
of another man. I hope
their corporate walls crumble
to expose rainbow-blinded zombies
—take my guts,
savor the taste.

Pre-order from daniputney.com.

About the author

Dani Putney is a queer, non-binary, mixed-race Filipinx, and neurodivergent writer originally from
Sacramento, California. Their poems appear in outlets such as Empty Mirror, Ghost City Review, Glass:
A Journal of Poetry, Juke Joint Magazine, and trampset, while their personal essays can be found in
journals such as Cold Mountain Review and Glassworks Magazine, among others. They received their
MFA in Creative Writing from Mississippi University for Women. While not always (physically) there,
they permanently reside in the middle of the Nevada desert. Salamat sa Intersectionality is their first
poetry collection.

Author website: daniputney.com

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