Jovi Radtke – BOI Writer

Hi! I'm Jovi, a queer writer from the Bay Area.
Full Website Coming Soon!



They / Them / Their

Jovi Radtke is a Spoken Word activist who recently relocated to the Bay Area after calling Sacramento their home for a little more than 18 years. They can be seen hugging strangers, freelancing in web development and graphic design, adventuring with their wife and dog, and trying to write their first great American novel.



When we talk
We all speak in gender
Fluent from the tongue
Are the soft pinks of she's
And the militant blues of
Pronouns never had a choice

My voice is a Sir
Bigger than my courage will ever give me credit for
But I can't afford to shut up
I can't afford to ignore this binary society
I can't afford to
Un-see your evil
Un-hear your evil
I don't un-speak my truth to keep secret your evil

My voice is a Sir
This means that
I salute my vagina
While compression binding my breasts
And at best
My thrift store jeans might just cover up my mother bearing hips
This is the gender identity I live in
And I, too, never had a choice

My voice is a Sir
In that old fashioned
Men still have manners
Kind of way
In that hold doors open and send flowers
Kind of way
In that make breakfast for your lady the next day
Kind of way
In that cuddle all night on top of the covers
because that's what real lovers do
Kind of way

My voice is a Sir
I am the best of both
And the worst of neither
I am pink oil changing arms
With blue laundry folding hands
I am somewhere in between society's need to call me a color
Paint my gender by your numbers
But start by calling me 'they'
And if you don't know where that is
I'll give you a hint
It's a mix of grey
And I don't give a fuck what society has to say

My voice is a Sir
And it packs
A larger than average sized hard on
For gender variant acceptance
Boi does not mean dyke
Just like
Sir does not mean dick
We pick these words up from our lifetime of training
And it takes a strong person to admit when they're wrong

When we talk
We all speak in gender
And fluent from the tongue
Is a lifetime of wrong
Is a lifetime of needing to check the easier box
Is a lifetime of having nowhere to belong
And never having a choice

So, I'll call my voice a sir
Until we forget what that word means
Until we stop wrapping our babies in pink and blue apologies
Until we stop believing in needing to Technicolor each other one or the other
Until our gender tongues finally become bilingual

Call my voice a sir
And call my gender by its real name



When I was 5, I knew
I wanted to grow up to be a madman
A wild-eyed reflection of white crazy hair
Where we all drive behind time-jumping wheel
Requiring "1.21 Jigawatts" to get us anywhere

But by the age of 10, I'd learned better
I knew I was supposed to be a Gangster
A Goodfella
A Joe Pesci hard ass case of,
"How am I funny?"

And it's funny
The things we're trained to think are possible, even glamorous
Movies telling us stories
Fabricating actual events because we're trained to think they're boring

So here's something true the movie never told you
Action: it was December 31st, 1993
Winter-colored and freezing
And my 12 year-old queer Nebraska eyes
Were reading horror stories of Brandon Teena

And I swear
I could hear his last tears hovering in the fog of my breath
See his screams pleading for mercy
Behind the screens of closet doors 90% of ignorance slams shut
And I would to stare at the sky and wonder
What it's like to cry beneath the brutal body of a madman
A man who doesn't understand the hand that feeds him,
"God doesn't live here"
Are the words i would etch on his grave
While replaying the pain of Brandon's ghost
How his bones were left broken and shivering
in 90 degrees opposite humanity
How his cheeks were beaten fresh meat for the wolves
Wearing the evil of sheep's clothing

And I swear
Knowing what people are made of doesn't always make us wiser
It turns some people into killers
Others into prey
While the rest of us only know how to hit "play"
And hold our breath until the next commercial break

Wasn't just a boy who cried
He was a boy who cried wolf but never lied about the hunt

And they say
That some predators like to play with their prey before they pounce
And an ounce of human blood weighs 1/16th of a pound
But Brandon's death was the cost of men in pints
That night the world shut down
Sacrificed its mother skin
because she didn't want to be responsible for holding this
She turned eyelids into curtains uncertain of the outcome
But she did it anyway
For all the world to pull the rope open
Hoping they'd see
That predators don't belong here
Gangsters are only funny in movies
Proving evil isn't made of fiction, y'all
Sometimes it's born from men

And I swear
There are still days
That I can feel the weight of Brandon's death around my neck
His burning body bag ashes wrapping my clavicle in apologies
For those last few breaths he wept from not knowing
That death is a release from this hell
And his fear has turned tears into the water source of wells
The same wells we make wishes on
Turning pennies into possible
And pray
That we never meet a predator

But Brandon died crying
And there is nothing funny about his last breath
Beneath the brutal body of a madman
And I'm so glad that I learned better
Because maybe this means others will, too
And nobody else will ever again ignore
A boy who cries,"wolf!"




i live in a world where i fuck
with the lights on
in broad daylight
in the middle of July
on a Monday afternoon
in the busiest room
of the biggest city restaurant
during lunch rush
wearing nothing but a t-shirt made of ziplock

this has not always been the case

as women
we're told to shut up and lie down
to lie down and spread out
to spread out and like it
to like it or lie about it
to lie about it and take it
to take it and fake it
to fake it or shut up

this has always been the case

we are masturbation prep school
bodies made of porn stars
rose colored hangovers
with whiskey breath bragging rights
we are Tylenol frat mistakes
always one fake orgasm away from actually getting off

these are all reasons why i have never fucked a man
but Goddamn if i can't fuck like one
thrust like one
make her cum like one
and don't they wish they could love like me
the technique comes naturally
what doesn't are the intentions
the thorough inspection of her entire body
with the tip of my tongue
AND fingers
this is where we fully achieve...
gaining the knowledge that there's an entire breast surrounding the nipple
just like
there's an entire woman surrounding the vagina

this has always been the case

she calls me pretty with the lights on
i turn them off and call her liar
back on she repeats pretty
i turn them off and wonder what that means
pretty is for princesses
i've been called sir since i was 9
lights on she says pretty
lights off
we've been doing this for 11 months
lights on
and she's never wavered
lights off pretty
lights on pretty
lights off pretty
lights on
and i wonder if the neighbors think we're ravers
practicing our dancing for burning man
and i fucking hope so
she is the ecstasy pumping serotonin into my love
draining spinal fluid from my self hate
giving me back what society has violently taken away
lights on she says pretty
lights off she asks,
"why can't B.O.I.s be pretty, too?"

and she's right
why can't i be beautiful boi
handsome and girl
pretty and butch
putting one stereotype inside the womb of my wet dreams
letting the screams of my "i can be anything" 6 year old mind
live bright inside my now
right beside my wrinkled zip lock t-shirt
she whispers

she's wrong
but i can finally start to listen to her belief
with the lights on




Hayward, CA
Bay Area Proud
(916) 208-1939