Twelve: Closets

TW for incest/childhood sexual assault

I’ve never been one to hide my queerness.
Nor my heathen faith

I understand the safety many find within closets
How hiding themselves away from the world prevents injury,
Wrapping up in the comfort of conformity

I, too, escaped abuse in hiding.
I spent a childhood peeing on old clothing
In the back of your bedroom closet
Trying to avoid walking past my father’s hungry hands
Sneaking the soiled pieces away as best I could so young
While he spoiled the best of me
Year after year

But closets only served to reinforce the shame
And he was going to take from my innocence
regardless of where I tried to hide it.

So I’ve never been one to hide myself away
How could I imitate conformity
When closets never protected me to begin with?

Eleven: Epicured

An ode to pepperoni

If perfection existed as a production of the sum of human genius
It would be the delight before me now
Slicings of superior joy
A mastery in form and function that elevates all it touches
Cured savagery spiced and served like tiny offerings for the holiness of our mouths

Were we as a species ever so godlike in our ability to create
That we could conceive of such perfection writ small
A triumph in form and color and flavor such as the mastery of flesh
A sacred act of cleansing and preservation in purification
Gilded scarlet and anointed in oils
To be venerated thusly, or in great ceremony,
Kissed in the burning heart of our desires
Above the bubbling beds of gluttony,
Born of heat and pressure milked from each worshipful act
As to station such civility.

And thus, as gods, we feast divine
To serve such communion to community
For never again could there stand such a monument to voracity
That our appetites be slaked in the exaltation of such a hunger.

Ten: Cows Do Not Understand Love

Cows Do Not Understand Love

What is love, if not the sun soaked butt of a cow waiting for storms that never come?
Do they know that, in tipping, they fall closer to center with each muddy splat?
What is love, if not the bizarre juxtaposition of this prompt, where we ask what love is, coupled with this photo of a cow in a field? I do not love cows, therefore, I do not understand love.


Nine: Ten Words That Never Happened

Ten Words That Never Happened
Run on Sentence

I was cooking a raw beet in my father’s high school jacket when the ground began to tremor throughout the whole bayou and I fell and broke my elbow on a lightbulb but before I could rub cinnamon into the wound to stall the bleeding I tripped into a bucket filled with elk just outside my uncle’s carport.

Eight: Strings

After Max Richter’s “On the Nature of Daylight”
A Tanka

The sweetness of strings,
Whispering truth to starlight
is what love sounds like.
We are a bough’s smudged smolder.
We are the product of song.

Seven: The Illness

The Illness
A Viator

I’m so sick.
It’s strep, of course,
I mean, It’s usually strep
But it’s day one,
and I’m also participating in a marathon of poems

The poems come harder.
I’m so sick,
So each line gets stranger
With each passing hour
But no stranger than strange
So I suppose that’s something I can write about.

Or, instead, could I write
Of the infections of the world?
I’m so sick
Of politicians and their anti-trans hatred.
“The Trans Debate” is
“The Jewish Question” is
“The Negro Problem” is
The newest set of code words
Chosen to dehumanize the people
They seek to oppress

Because oppression is the only way
They know how to maintain the power
They wield over others.
I’m so sick
of rich cis het white men
And their rich cis het white money
Polluting the only planet we have.

So though I fever,
Let this fever dream stand
For something more
Than just an infection.
I’m so sick
And no amount of medicine will cure
The spreading contagion
That is capitalism.

Six: Koala


There is a vastness in the complexity of the galaxy
Which we may never fully understand

Or, at least, not in my lifetime. It is enough, for me here,
To stand amongst the wildflowers
Their fullness, heavy on the breeze
Petals softly swimming amongst the dust motes and the honeybees drinking up the light of the universe
How they dance together, a symphony in simplicity
And the softness of the pollen as my fingertips brush patterns into existence

Am I brave enough to dance here, too?
Do I see the way the world moves?

If I stand still, I can feel the earth shift. It’s rhythmic breathing, soft and slow, steady on like heartbeat to the spinning above
Where feathers dance like angels on the heads of pins
And I can smell the eucalyptus in the air
Bright and clean
A high note against the darker, musky florals of creation.
And if I am brave enough, would I taste the green of such knowledge?
To be the koala, instead of the world sleeping on his back?
His gentle acceptance, as that of a summer’s day, unburdened by the onset of the storms,
Brings the birth of new constellations.
And this too is his prevue,
For why, if such knowing is forbidden, would he smile so?

Five: Please

An Acrostic

Let me be
After the begging,
See myself as is,
Each breath a worthy offering.

Four: Pink


His hand in mine
Colors the setting sky
Blazing and reflecting back to warm every plucked blossom
And this is forever
In matching tulle rosettes
And sandy feet.

Chang, Frank; Unsplash

Three: Giraffe

(TW for racism, homophobia)

We are the stuff that dreams are made of.
Or, at least that’s what the dead man told us, but it was probably his lover doing the writing anyway, because everyone knows that queer love is a giraffe’s neck
By which, I mean
They tell us a horse with a horn is a magical fantasy but that spotted golden cow neck towers towards the sky so which creature is harder to believe in?
That queer love has marked every stage of history, always?
Yet somehow we’re unicorns. Impossible dreams that never existed.

It’s not mythology. It’s erasure.

And Tulsa said his name was Dusk, but we all knew he tasted like sunlight
And little brown boys loving one another is exactly what sunlight tastes like.
It spreads easy across the coming dawn like promise. Like tomorrow.
What I mean to say, is that loving yourselves is an act of defiance.
But you can’t bottle sunshine and sell it to Hollywood, so they beat the queer out of brown hides instead
Tanning skins
Hanging fresh to dry despite the tears of their mothers.

They lied about Emmet, anyway. It wouldn’t have mattered if he were queer. He’d still be just as dead.

But Baby, she sees the sunlight in his swollen face and calls it beautiful
Even in death
Because no noose ever swung open mouthed like a song for tomorrow. They only speak one language. Only sing the low notes of low men in their yellow coats
With their yellow teeth
And their yellow claws piercing the false flesh of their fingertips
They filthy the color because they can’t golden their feathers.
There’s no flight for monsters. The sky is a freedom torn wide for joy.

The roots are birthing blackness but the cotton tops were always white
Say woven families scattered to seed
Say don’t say gay and teach
Say pinch the tail and suck the head
There is only one right way, and it’s what they decide.
Ours is only to abide. They are sunlight, after all.
The sky was made for sunlight.

And if I could touch the braided coils, would they be worn with time? Would I see the age and mark the history as violence or as progress? Would the books still print their yellow bellies loud across the pages of our children’s desks, speaking to the skills on enslavement? I hear the cotton growing. It groans from the earth we traded for money. It poisoned our waters and the rice is thick with arsenic. The bodies are always dying. Always burning.

That’s what happens when you murder a sunlit child.

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