He – confident and at ease
since his coming out – had slowly come
more and more into his own
with every year spent
far from our southern home.
And tonight, he vowed to pop
my gay-bar cherry, to plunge me
deep into the pulse
of their communal heart.
But here, in this upper west side suite,
a hot den of same-self love,
his newfound warmth had run cold,
reverted to shyness – his quiet
of so many forgotten and hushed
howling moons before.
I, however, was never more
relaxed. As neither the caster
nor the catcher of affections,
there was no one in here
whom I longed to impress
or hoped to undress
later on that night.
No figurative or literal
fucks were given.
This, this is what confidence feels like –
the realization that none of this affects you,
nothing here can harm you,
nobody can drive you to harm yourself.
Tomorrow, life would carry on for me,
unchanged by the events of the evening before.
Then I turned back to my friend,
saw him straining to uncoil himself
with the guarded clutch
of his fourth 5-fingered whiskey,
watching all his concentrated energy
drain from his body with each effort made
to impress the boi bantering beside him,
chatting so easily, laying friendly
hands upon adoring fans.
He’s always been more
backstage crew than front row actor,
and his jealousy, his anxiety throbbed
off him with the heat of a hundred stage lights.
The popular shows, the few that even exist,
never display this facet of gayness –
as if awkward intimacy is only ever reserved
for the straights, and everybody else
just gets crumbs of caricature.
The flamboyance, the boyishness,
the leathers, the BDSM –
the fringes of so vastly different communities
tied together to blanket a people falsely,
to cover up our misunderstanding,
to force ourselves to forget that –
just like every other human –
they want to be wrapped
in the warmth of another, fighting
the chill of a snowy Sunday morning, together
beneath a thinning bedsheet of shared communion.