Photography © Lauren Shear
The thing of it is, is what we’ll exchange
will be momentary yet what you’ll be,
will defy impermanence. Still unchanged
in my mind’s eye, you will brave memory’s
blur as the imprint of your naked flesh
retains its sharp detail as years glide by.
This is not some fey delusion — a flash
of grandeur assigned to some random guy
who dozed off moments after our bodies
collided in a rented midtown suite
(upstairs from a minimalist lobby
equally ostentatious and discreet).
I don’t miss him. I miss the passing bliss.
I bet there’s a word in German for this.
Who was it who uncovered you, darling?
Not the peach-fuzzed twunk in your barber chair.
Nor the solarized DILF who came snarling
to rediscover youth through redyed hair.
These vain gents failed to note you, dear stylist,
outside of that electronic razor,
your flashing scissors and the free wireless
allowing for selfies in the mirror.
For my part, I left my iPhone at home;
a careless mistake that worked in my favor.
And so from the first snip to the last comb,
we flirted – consultation to shaver.
Then the door sign was flipped; the shop was shut,
and the cutter turned out to be uncut!
Anyone with half a brain would’ve soon
deduced that this was not your apartment
since we never “make it” in the bedroom.
Far from it, we crash in a compartment
that scarcely accommodates your sleeper
sofa. Correction. Not yours. Your brother’s.
As you’ve fallen in debt. Deeper and deeper
you go as you hold the ampule under
my nose. I don’t like amyl nitrate much
yet I snort like a pale horse just the same.
Inevitably, the oncoming rush
registers like a substandard cocaine.
Why we keep meeting is a mystery
that would mystify Agatha Christie.
“You’re the one! You’re the one. You’re the one,” you
wailed heartbrokenly in Capitol Hill.
You knew where I lived for I’d told this to
you. I’d cast you as my next paramour ‘til
I stumbled upon that VHS tape,
lodged in your player and paused halfway through.
The video showed a realistic rape,
of a man too resemblant of me. (Who
jerks off to X-ratedly sick vignettes?!)
Shocked dumb, I scribbled a quick sticky note
which I stuck on the now-discharged cassette.
“This scene creeps me out.” That’s all that I wrote.
[A neighbor ended your mad hollers of love
with “Shut the fuck up!” from one floor above.]
The gay life sometimes starts off with a lie
since homophobes abhor the truth we live
thus driving us to sidestep truth (or die)
or so it struck me ‘til I couldn’t give
two shits about what others thought or said
concerning how I looked or how I spoke
(the same on the streets as when I’m in bed
the voice of a barfly who used to smoke);
so as a fuck you to hetero prudes,
who hate homosexual overshares,
I came in a millisecond when a scruffy dude
blew me in a stick shift car en plein aire.
One’s first validation in being queer
can happen that quick. Coming out takes years.
Drew Pisarra is the author of You’re Pretty Gay (2021), a collection of short stories published by Chaffinch Press, and Infinity Standing Up, a collection of homoerotic sonnets published by Capturing Fire. He was also a literary grant recipient of the Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation (2019) and Curious Elixirs: Curious Creators (2021).
Lauren Shear is a museum professional, public historian, and lifelong resident of Massachusetts. She has been working with activist groups since college and has been seeking ways to support communities under attack ever since.