August A. Helpling

A white marble statue of a human figure with angel wings. The figure has no head or arms.
A splayed out hand in golden hour light.

Welcome. Follow the angel to read Augustus' work, or take my hand to read his author bio. Remember all roads will lead you home eventually. Thank you for stopping by.

Selected Works

1855 painting by Gustave Doré "Jacob Wrestling with the Angel." A man wrestles with a humanoid angel on a cliff.

About the Poet

Augustus smiling and standing next to a scarecrow in an apple orchard. Augustus and the scarecrow are wearing a comically similar outfit.

Photo by Anastasia Simms

August A. Helpling, occasionally known as Augustus, is a trans masculine poet transplanted and thriving in the American Midwest. When he isn’t writing, teaching, or working on his MFA, you can find him at home making soup, or out by the train tracks eating fresh figs. He holds a BA in English Creative Writing from Western Washington University. His work is featured in Angel Rust, Jeopardy Magazine, and Troublemaker Firestarter.

The Marigold Rabbit - An Excerpt from the essay On Quakerism and Poetry and the Truth

It is Sunday morning and I am sitting in a beam of white light on an upholstered folding chair in a still and silent basement, surrounded by people listening for the small voice of god. I am asking the small voice of god what it means to tell the truth. I am breathing in ancient book dust and golden divine light and the voice of god is quiet and mumbling. The voice of god, or the voice of me, or the voice of nothing, is saying… is saying… hold on. I cannot make out the words so I close my eyes to listen closer. In the blackness behind my eyelids I can see a bioluminescent marigold rabbit in the distance. I walk towards them but they hop away, leaving stardust in their wake. I pick up my pace but the rabbit moves further and further away. I am running through a warm inky expanse, breathing hard, and the stardust lands in my open mouth. The stardust tastes like dandelion honey and mountain peak sunrises and park bench laughter. The rabbit is not a rabbit but a child, still glowing, still skipping away. I am closing the gap between the child and I, and when they turn to look back at me I can see that the child has my eyes. The child is me and I am fourteen years old, and I am twenty-one years old. I call out to them, I ask them “What is the truth?” And they say, “Hold me.” I am still running but they have stopped. I reach out my arms and when I finally, finally catch up we collide in a heap as all of the air leaves my lungs, my ribcage is empty except for the golden light of stardust. I am holding them. I am holding me.

parentified children falling in love as adults

maybe it is enough to watch
you stir a pot of angel hair
from my seat at the kitchen table.
maybe it is enough to kiss your nose,
stick my tongue out at you, before rolling over
and closing my eyes, so the last thing i hear before drifting to sleep
is your gentle laughter.
maybe it is enough to sit, holding one another,
beneath the only tree on the playground, reading our favorite
poems to one another, pausing only to brush
a little yellow spider out of your hair.
maybe it is enough to see and be seen,
to hold hands under the table,
to call you baby in front of our friends.
we have spent lifetimes giving
and i will never stop giving myself to you
but maybe we are both finally ready
to receive and receive and receive.