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
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.
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.
October is the salt on your lips, still stinging from our last kiss
Brighter than the final flash of light before sunset.
Open arms – in retrospect
say little, demand respect.
Cast as Caesar, then as Antony
Adventure and enduring love
all rolled into one.
October is the honey on your fingertips – lingering for a moment before you lick them clean.
It’s the death of innocence, of coveting the pristine.
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
Strolling down Bourbon Street, centuries of pain and beauty beneath our feet,
Dancing on the heels of the greats to a rhythym the city seems to make from out of nothing,
à La Nouvelle-Orléans,
We’re alive, like the jazz, and smoke, and black magic floating through the air,
we’re wild, we’re free.
I love you, I love you, Je t’aime, Je t’aime,
Down by the Bayou, drunk on Rue Dauphine, on St. Charles Street,
Tracing the footsteps of Degas,
of Hemingway, Capote, Williams,
Sweet city beneath the sea,
Hold steady, hold on tight.