Queer love and other Dis(ease)s

i.

I use to imagine myself a girl

kissing boys in games of boyfriend and girlfriend:

renaming ourselves away to escape detention,

toward the fun of rehearsed adult games

that always existed elsewhere.

 

Moffie,

was what she called me.

As if some bug had stung me before my brain had formed, and now,

exposed, I watched myself with her eyes.

 

ii.

(No swaying hips, no twirling wrists, no high pitched yells

no tears for words that were sown into the lining of my tongue)

 

Her breasts were peacock-feather-stuffed pillows in my hands

(the toilet cubicle walls pressing into-onto me)

But nothing: she fell through - a waterfall,

my body not catching a single drop.

 

iii.

Aliens carry the burden of home on their back

where I was once a girl in a boy’s body

oblivious to chronic dis(ease).

 

There was no word for the game him and I played:

hip bone against hip bone, the smell of Stay Soft tumble drying the air,

brittle hardness snapping, dissolving in a union,

our bodies double-stitched against and with each other.

 

We aren’t moffies,

but he didn’t believe me,

somehow knowing my ironing-board body could not offer

a safety of holding patterns and milky retreats.

 

iv.

Disappearing behind dis(ease):

naked torsos in magazines,

queer skeleton bodies in mortuaries,

a Savior crucified to cure my sin

anonymous chatrooms crucifying Alyssa over my name

praying for a different story.

 

v.

What was in me that held a key

to homeless nobodies, drunks on the street,

prostitutes and genocidal machete-wielding phantoms

who know only of the dis(ease) in their bellies

and a history that’s betrayed their humanity?

 

vi.

Only an exchange of words could salve

the stigmata of an archaic Roman nail.

Put your hand in my side; now do you believe?

Only broken skin can heal.

Only blood brought to the surface can coagulate.

Only broken borders can offer to renegotiate;

a nation remade in a bodiless image.  

 

vii.

What happens when belief meets dis(ease)?

When a boy, a man, a nation faces the naming wasteland,

chanting mangled-mixed incantations to alien flowers just beginning to take root

and shoulder through the sediment?

About Jarred Thompson
Jarred Thompson graduated from Alabama State University with a Summa Cum Laude in English. He has been published in Typecast Literary Magazine, Type House Literary Magazine, The Best New African Poets Anthology of 2016, New Contrast Literary Journal and was longlisted for The Sol Plaatje Award and Anthology of Poetry. He currently resides in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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