I remember catching glimpses of it growing up,
brazenly displayed on the shelves of little indie book shops –
a title so queer and unapologetic my pulse raced.
the covers graced by models captured raw/hairy/nude and always smiling unabashed.
long before I knew I was their brethren,
they called out to me,
artists, poets, musicians, all queer men.
and now that I have grown
the time has arrived like a rite of passage,
a collection of their greatest hits living on the coffee table,
all my very own.
Let your mind roam
to all the places you were never meant to go
all the rules you’ve broken
Non, je ne regrette rien
not a single lover or friendship laid to rest –
not a breathless night lost in karaoke
cursing, crying, drowning pain in whiskey
dancing in the wilderness
wild child running through the city
For that’s the charm of growing up
there are no real mistakes
read me, scrawled out like half-finished poetry living in the margins of your favorite book
leave me – tea stained, dog earred, worn and re-examined like its pages
take me, as once I was, am now, and will be
there is no in between, no settling
(recite it like an oath)
poison dripping from their tongues as they kiss our feet yet inside they’re all just dying to feel some semblance of complete
rapt from the moment you walked in
fear no man and no opinion
letting your love abound instead of waiting for the world to love you
soft slow kisses
our hands interwined, holding onto the moment our cells meet
skin caressing skin
when those compassionate eyes lock in with mine the tides rise, the sun sets, the city stands still
adventure with you takes form in multitudes
a trek through the wilderness, a trip across the country, an afternoon letting honest lips betray secrets
no mystery in our love, it overflows like the big brass horns on an Ella Fitzgerald tune
arrives warm and sweet like bubble baths and dinner paired with merlot over candlelight at home
in the end it all comes down to this, you’ve enraptured me in with your boundless tenderness
scraped knuckles, teeth clenched,
notes crinkled, piled up in the waste bin.
half-finished thoughts and ill-conceived poetry
lines circled then crossed out in runny ink,
a once gifted orator with mouth now devoid of the right words.
so easy to emanate kindness, yet so hard to reserve a little for yourself.
every day a battle, finding healthy outlets for anger and pain, healthy ways to feel good,
even if it’s only fleeting.
After all, if there’s one thing you’ll learn (again and again), it’s that nothing is permanent
except chasing light through the endless darkness,
shouting out after love and happiness.
I recently had the pleasure of discussing poetry, activism, and life as a black bisexual millennial with Ryan Hollingsworth on their podcast, Wed & Woke. Listen and download the episode here.
Follow the show on Instagram @wedandwoke. You can also subscribe on Apple, Stitcher, or Libsyn.
no longer waiting patiently for access,
all dressed up and gunning for it.
no longer craving attention,
all grown up and swimming in it.
years of bruised elbows and broken hearts to transcend to these heights,
bask in the glory of all this self-confidence.
dark skin and deep brown eyes, born in the fire,
quick wit, cold style, let it envelop the world.
kiss him in the streets of San Francisco, in alleways in New Orleans, on the beaches of Florida,
and hold back nothing.
two lessons, trite but true – not a thing can hurt you without your permission, and this life is what you make of it.
get carried off like carrion
arms limp, eyes pried open
gawking at the waning ground
clouds sliding past your feet
blood still hot and dripping from you
from scene to scene in vivid color
mistakes may appear larger than triumphs in the mirror
try not to be too alarmed
died to feel the burden of someone else’s thoughts,
the heat of passion, the shame of lust
rebelled a thousand times just fall in line, eventually
laughing at all the men you once thought you wanted to be
there are no bright lights here, no angels
only imperfect beings doing their best to survive