These two poems are based on the years when I was trying to decipher what it meant to be gay and not be someone who doesn't want to be ghettoized, not a category. While I recognize my privileges as a man, the strikes against me for being gay, my appreciation of women and their complexities, the intimacy one, if fortunate, can have with a lover affirms you are a person, a risk worth taking.
On long walks after work,
our feet are finally ours again.
Bosses return to their yearning
to corner the market of their
wine-whining lives. You and I
are poor, poured like syllables
in a long-winded tale sure to
cure nothing: but we beat the odds
by meeting. Multicultural
mannequins have no eyes to close
against the tired sun. Drunk
dogwalkers make puppetry look
simple, monkish, silly. Piano bars
post bouncers with elegant haircuts.
We’re in love with the here world
squeezed out of bowing paychecks.
As if happy hour lasts forever, as if
my true love needs to be a truth
without time off for good behavior.
Hey, we live in Boystown, two
men as witnesses against submissions
that lead to paychecks we spend on
each other, after years of shoplifting.
Big boys don’t cry
My future man doesn’t do clubs, doesn’t sweat
his way to amen, doesn’t get what’s the big deal
about being invited to be in the calendar, Heaven’s
Hunks. He listens to my music in the cryptic car
he bought to take me to the country to prove how
many plants I can’t name. He loves that I make
up Red Pirate’s Goatee, Moonboots, Wind’s Lover.
I’ve been many a man’s Bible, been unbelievable.
He leaves, and I’m relieved that I’ve the talent not
to ask for anything. How terrible to learn that in this
world that I lack the talent of betrayal. Friends have
died, and exhaustion doesn’t get anyone a medal.
We’re a nation of men trying not to cry. My future
will be defined by a man, yes him, and I don’t care
if that’s wrong. He will trust me because of my flaws.
Rane Arroyo is the author of 12 books and can be contacted at myspace.com/rane arroyo or at ranearroyo@gmail. He's gay, Latino and somehow writes and thrives in Toledo, Ohio. His tragedy: he is an optimist who is sure art makes us all family.