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"you’re so cute! why are you single?"
because my crippling expectations of romantic relationships
are consistently juxtaposed to the disappointment of swiping left
or right, double tapping, it’s a match!
and hoping to find a sharp needle in this **** of a haystack
only to find a blunt object blubbering
"are you masculine?"
because the chunk of flesh dangling between my thighs
or the beard on my chin
or the hair on my chest
isn’t an obvious dictation of
my status as identifying male,
because “masculinity” has now been decided by the masses
to be left to the chiseled neanderthals laden with testosterone
too doped up on their post-workout endorphins
to do anything about the internalized misogyny
that costs lives on the daily.
i used to piece together outfits like puzzles
hoping that when it’s solved, maybe,
on the off chance “you’ve” nothing better to look at,
"you" might notice me.
because i was raised in a society that taught me
looking good would get “your” attention
so you might want to open up the box
and begin piecing together the real puzzle of why we
treat our brothers and sisters like **** for
not conforming to your black and white box of
"masculine" expectations

"you’re so cute! why are you single?"
because i will continue to express myself as i see fit.
Sometimes I ******* hate being a part of the gay community.
when it hits,
the sheer weight is enough to force down —
first the head,
then the shoulders,
then a hook in the chest to pull down upon —
force me down through the soil into the
dark damp earth.
it’s here i wait and hope and wait that by some small chance
someone passing over will remember to water,
to share the tiniest bit of light,
and i might begin to grow into something.
lifting up to water myself is a chore
i can’t undertake — i am too ******* tired to remember
which direction the sun rises.
but, oh, how i want for my toes to root deep deep down
my mind to branch out east to west
and flower high, high! into the lavender sky
my arms to reach for the stars on my branches
to revel in their sweetness with someone who might want to stay
and just chat to this little seed
and watch it grow
over and over
and over.
My library was full.
When I went to trim the fat
I found pictures of you
and you and me
and those yellowed pages that were
torn from the middle of that book
I wanted to finish.
At first nothing,
my eyes glazed over as if
listening to a story heard since I was a kid,
a song heard a thousand times.
then all at once the air was squished
from my chest as I recalled
the familiar tickle of your fingers
pushing into my ribs
as if each bone were the ivory of a baby grand
and the untuned cacophony escaping my mouth
that grinded against your perfect pitch ear.
It’s painful how a song gets stuck in your head,
and no matter how long it’s been,
no matter how many songs you've heard in between,
you still remember every lyric.
Chilling, to think
"social media" (whatever that means)
is really just building up halls
complete with old tattered wallpaper
for our ghosts to haunt
like a rickety Victorian mansion.

Pinned to a wall by his van,
like a packet of paper
pierced by a preposterously red pushpin,
a coward is now getting off on being scared
and overwhelmed with intoxicated rage,
because he was trying to claw his way home,
no matter the cost,
like a fearful animal,
and excuse
and excuse
and excuse us for our lack of pity.

taken prematurely from your infant son,
your infant marriage,
your infant life,
you're still around, frozen.
Immortalized as you were,
tagged in photos.

"Desiree liked this"
bears an odd resemblance
to moaning from the basement
or footsteps down the hall
**** the bed
call for mom

Getting daily horoscopes
as though you still need
to figure out every detail
about your personality,
who you’re compatible with.
Virgos don't like spontaneity.
Scorpio is sensual.
Taurus are stubborn
in the way that
flowers at a tombstone
seem more sentimental
than script on a screen.

But then again the soul owns no
defined location,
no cage.

But, even more grim,
blow out the candle,
One day I'll be there too,
Plastered in white and blue,
When sleeping dogs should lie.
dedicated to Desiree Lynn Bragg.
Rest in Peace, Desiboo.
The whiskey in your pores is drowning me, and when I come up for air the tobacco in your breath chokes.
When you lay me down, naked in front of your colleagues and peers, I’m not a man but an object.
Plastic. You look at me like a vessel.
A cheap locket you bought at a convenience store,
you crack me open at the seam to place pictures of other people.
A collage of this man’s sensitive touch,
This one’s sensual sway of the hips,
Snips, snails and puppy dog tails.
"You inspired me," are the words found in the shapes of your smoke,
But they smell of your claws digging into me in hopes you’ll find what you’ve been searching for.
I didn’t inspire you, because I am nonexistent to you, though my body isn’t.

Who am I?
The heat intensifies with my lonesome tendencies, and
I fear palpitation from innocently brushing arms with a stranger.
But when I find myself in a stranger’s bed
(or a wineshop,
a car,
a park)
the thrill is missing.
I am a stereotype, a masochistic statistic. I am becoming the 20-something-sleeping-around-to-stave-off-boredom.
I am an archetype that’s been romanticized to death.
Save the romance, it’s greed and it’s hunger and it’s pure boredom.
These men become gold. Thread after thread
of secret affairs solidify into a piece of treasure,
Like 14 karat chain necklaces that get tangled
into an unfixable knot of links and claw clasps.
I carry it in my strut and that is exciting.
My walk is confidently direct at 3 in the morning.
In the summer, when the heat is outside and not in my bed, I am unsatisfied.
Yet when the promise of romance approaches, I allow myself to make poor decisions out of fear.
So I make a different poor decision to get me through the next hour.

— The End —