Apparently I’m having a moment of reading contemporary poems by gay men.* They’ve all been great, but this is probably my fave of the bunch by just a little bit. As a collection, it feels so cohesive with poems about being a black man, a gay man, HIV-positive, and the intersections between them. Favorites include “dear white america,” “every day is a funeral & a miracle,” and this one:
at the down-low house party
don’t expect no nigga to dance.
we drink hen, hold the wall
graze an elbow & pray it last forever.
everybody wants to touch a nigga, but don’t
we say wats gud meaning i could love you until my jaw
is but memory, we say yo meaning let my body
be a falcon’s talon & your body be the soft innards of goats
but we mostly say nothing, just sip
some good brown trying to get drunk
with permission. sometime between here
& being straight again, some sweet
boned, glittering boi shows up, starts voguing & shit
his sharp hips pierce our desire, make our mouths water
& water & we call him faggot meaning bravery
faggot meaning often dream
of you, ﬂesh damp & confused for mine
faggot meaning Hail the queen! Hail the queen!
faggot meaning i been waited ages to dance with you
* see also: When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities and Madness