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The Queer Voice: Reparative Poetry Rituals & Glitter Perversions


for Michelle Tea

“Who we are when we are not love has always caused us shame.”
--Akilah Oliver

“Touch me. / We’ll become less one.”
--TC Tolbert

“Nobody wants to become nobody.”
--Trish Salah

Someone asked me if I ever thought about what it would be like to survive a plague and I said I do not need to think about it. My boyfriend Tommy died of AIDS and many of our friends and neighbors also died. It was all around us for years, the clinics, the experimental drugs, the fundraisers, and of course the funerals. And also the paranoia from families and the general public had to be confronted. Not to mention the paranoia about our own bodies. If my tonsils had the slightest swelling I was certain I was next, it seemed inevitable at the time. In 1995 I went to Albuquerque to study healing herbs, but did so with little money. I sold my plasma, but in order to do that I needed an AIDS test and I was surprised when I tested negative. They paid you $25 and the hospital only allowed you to sell your plasma once a week but a friend told me about a clinic across town so I biked to both every week. The hospital played TV game shows while the clinic had The Empire Strikes Back video on a continuous loop. “Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter,” Yoda said, and said, and said. At $50 a week I felt plasma-rich until I calculated that I was breaking even with food I purchased to produce it. And I was dizzy in herb class from my blood being removed, separated, the red cells jammed back into my arm. There is only one thing I miss about that time: the anger. We queers were so angry back then and we were not taking shit from anyone anywhere. You would have never convinced me in the 80s or 90s that by 2010 gays would be putting rainbow stickers on machine guns on behalf of the United States military.

“Our glitter covers the world!” This is Henry Ruschmann’s slogan, our triumphant inventor of modern glitter. Plastic, metal, grind it up, keep it in your shirt pocket in case you walk by a very sad place, then sprinkle a little red and purple with a touch of gold. Glitter will turn any unhappy thing around. Let me enter the murder scene after they have taken fingerprints, hair samples and photos of bloody boot prints, I can dust the carnage with a shimmering cobalt blue mixed with silver and emerald green. Glitter is not enabling denial of the world’s pain but instead helps us endure the bleak results of those who are in denial of how we need one another. If you have a scar or bent nose that has become the center of your life trust me when I say own it and apply glitter blush directly, immediately. Before you die join me in loving our flesh, loving our lives. Our attempts at living beyond the judgments of others do not always work, but it is worth a try. I am not much for religion, but I would follow The Ruschmann Glitter Cult. There would be a very shiny commune for us with edible glitter in every cocktail and plate of food, glitter flowing through us at all times. After a night of prodigious glitter ingestion the toilets at The Ruschmann Temple would sparkle like no other toilets; the dirtier they get the more glamorous they become.

In January 2015 the HRC (the so-called Human Rights Campaign) released their document, “Best Places To Work for LGBT Equality.” It taxes the soul to see companies like Lockheed Martin on that list, a company that is the largest American weapons manufacturer, lobbying to keep the eyes of their shareholders and “our” government on the profits of war while killing millions of people of color and making millions of others into refugees. Wells Fargo, a company that whistle blowers admitted to the New York Times as having deliberately targeted African American’s for high interest sub-prime mortgages, charging more than three times what they charged white customers. Monsanto a company whose genetically modified seeds have enslaved and impoverished India, responsible for more than 250,000 Indian farmers’ suicides, because as environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva says the seeds are “not bred for that area, for rain-fed agriculture, so they fail more frequently.”

For more than a million years the hand axe reigned at the cutting edge of technology. Stone tool expert Phil Harding says, “Once they had been invented they just never changed the design. And I think that is the ultimate compliment to the design of a superb tool.” Henry Ruschmann’s glitter factories of New Jersey are a result of tweaking the ancient flecks of mica and gold dust that Cleopatra wore to accentuate her ancient eyes and cheekbones. Black & Decker moved the hand axe into the modern age with table saws, gas-powered wood splitters and electric drills. Ruschmann took glitter out of the prehistoric powdered mineral age to finely shredding colored metal and plastic, tons and tons of the stuff every single day! Let us walk on floors with glitter several feet thick like walking through a milkshake.

The main pro-military gay angle was to argue that the issue of “gays in the military” and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were separate issues. I said, “No, I will not discuss the bullets separate from the gun.” When we look at that photograph of the initial bombing of Baghdad in 2003—you have seen it, the one with the terrifying fiery mushroom clouds blooming over the tops of buildings, killing thousands of people and obliterating their way of life in a single night—I do not know about YOU but I do not care if the gay and lesbian American soldiers who did that were in the closet or not because that invasion was a war crime! The campaign to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was the American government’s window dressing to make the military appear politically correct so the wars could continue with less and less criticism from the Left. And they won. And it is important to say they won and that those of us opposed to war lost because admitting defeat is the only way to gather our senses. It was my mistake in thinking if I spoke to conservative white gay men about the wars as racist that I would find empathy. It was amazing to witness not a tremor of care for the question of race, choosing to not care with the privilege of not needing to. White wealthy gay dominance was controlling the conversation with impunity, even when I would further point out that our own American Revolution better known as Stonewall was fought in the street almost entirely by people of color who were trans and queer. Eventually I got sick of trying to make them understand and would just say it “Trans people of color fought the police with their bare hands to make room for everyone, even our white asses!” Another arguing point was that I did not care about working class gay and lesbians who wanted to use the G.I. Bill for college. My response was, “Actually it is YOU who does not care about the poor because no one is asking the children of the wealthy to risk their lives and the lives of others for college.” This argument came up the same way so often that it was eerie and disturbed me. On December 22, 2010 when president Obama signed the repeal to allow gays and lesbians to openly serve in the war machine I began to think of that date as the end of Queers and the rise of Gay White Supremacy. White gay money eagerly stepped forward to accrue profits in the corporate spoils of war with pride. Over and over we started to hear white gay men talk of voting republican “for fiscal reasons,” a typical shield to hide behind while in the end it was always the money being made on our racist wars that was keeping the wars in motion. And now with the 2015 HRC “Best Places To Work” list published it has never been more obvious this level of cruelty the fiscal-voting gay republicans have come to embrace. The burden of gay assimilation falls upon those unwilling to uphold the white power structure. You could say those queer ones would be cut off. You could say we already have been.

When I was sixteen I picked up a can of peas in a grocery store and could feel from the can that it had just been touched by a man who would love me better than anyone had ever loved me and I panicked. I remember this future love bringing immediate panic and I walked quickly around the store looking frantically at every man and there were not many men and then I saw the back of a man’s head in the distance finishing paying at the register and I knew immediately it was him, and walked very quickly but the aisle seemed to grow longer the faster I walked. He was gone. I started to keep a journal called Letters To A Future Lover. When my stepfather found it he burned it. I pulled the cover out of the burn-bin, the glitter a melted splotch, months of glue and layers and layers of orange, lavender and rose-colored glitters. When he found it again in my room he confronted me, extra stoned and drunk, “Listen here cocksucker, no more of your filthy pervert letters! And you better not let me catch you sucking cock in my house or you’ll be sucking on mine!” I always thought that was an interesting punishment if he caught me having sex with another boy. Rape, I am going to rape you he was saying. And I thought if he ever forced his way onto me I would castrate him with my hunting knife, always kept sharp, only needing one clean swipe to his nut sack, an instant sex change operation and it is free so he would not need to even check his health insurance policy to be sure it is covered. A few years later I was in love with a Sociology professor because whenever he turned his back he looked exactly like the man in the grocery store who touched the magical can of peas. One day I confessed to him, and to my utter delight he grabbed me and kissed me, and from there it was a few months of completely engrossed sexual explorations, as deeply as we could get inside one another we were doing it. When I found out he had a fiancé and intended to marry her I put red glitter in his shirt pocket when he was not looking. A Glitter Hex I call this. I refuse to live as someone’s dirty little secret. It ended the wedding when she found it, and I never wanted to see him again, man of the magical canned peas or not! Sprinkle a little glitter on almost any problem and it will go away!

In the 90s we queers had no interest in assimilating, we were not asking for acceptance from the dominant white heterosexual paradigm because WE did not accept THEM. We had absolutely no interest in joining their corporate wars against women, people of color, and the environment. We were Generation X, we were Queer Nation and we were pissed off, asking for nothing short of revolution in the streets. If everyone had their own religion it would probably be impossible to ever again marshal our resources into the battering ram of war. As a boy growing up in rural Pennsylvania I would stare at a tree during a snowfall, stay focused on the tree until suddenly I could see ALL the snow falling around me at the same time. Luxurious crystals of snow glittering from the sky and I remember coming out of the trance, looking around and thinking WHAT THE HELL IS THIS PLANET ABOUT? Why is this amazing thing happening right now, all this crystal snow riding the long frigid streams of air into our laps declaring the angelic Earth as Normal! Walking back into the house where everyone was watching television was always a strange and difficult transition, glitter of snow crystals quickly melting away on my eyelashes to become any drops of water. How many drops of my personal 75% water weight had been crystal snow glitter in the past? Maybe all of them billions of times for billions of years, snowing, melting, and evaporating back into the magic winter clouds where water transmutes into rapturous crystal snow glitter; my every pound of water-filled tissue a percolation of ancient snowdrifts, how harrowing, how magnificent, creepy, and entirely familiar.

When my boyfriend Tommy was dying of AIDS our mutual friend Mark Holmes (aka Earth) was a tremendous help with ACT UP comrades lending support with money and connecting with health care, massage, acupuncture, food, etc. And Mark was there for me after Tommy died, and unexpectedly became my boyfriend. A few years later in 1998, just as I was starting to feel recovered, Mark was murdered in Tennessee and it took days to actually believe it. I was sitting, holding a spoon over a mug when the moment of acceptance pinched my entire body, a jolting contraction into the morbid reality of how we keep destroying one another on this planet. Just when my new depression arrived all my nightmares about the police came true. They roped off the cave where Mark had been bound and gagged, tortured, raped, covered in gasoline and burned alive. The sheriff’s official statement was that he had committed suicide regardless that the coroner and paramedics said otherwise. Either the sheriff did not want to bring attention to a brutal hate crime in his jurisdiction, or he knew who did it and was protecting them, or he did not give a shit about a dead faggot, but whatever the fuck was going on I snapped out of my depression and was ENRAGED! On the phone the sheriff said to me, “Listen faggot you just stay up there in Philadelphia and learn to keep your mouth SHUT! If you come down here again I’m going to arrest you and have you committed to the funny farm where you belong! Do you hear me faggot?”

Does the faggot hear you, was the question.

To this day the faggot hears you.

We could spend time talking about the police but they are the same kind of gangsters all over the world. I was enraged and then I was depressed again. It is important to talk about how poetry can bend in the muscle of darkness because I loved him. It is love doing this and always is. I would visit the Cy Twombly paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Achilles, Patroclus, Hector. When Hector kills Patroclus the painting of Achilles is a tidal wave of flames titled “The Fire that Consumes All before It.” Achilles loved Patroclus. It was love that did these things and always was. Poetry is proof of survival and I do not want that taken lightly, ever. Mark’s death was a MARK upon me and I would wake in the morning to MARK the wall next to my bed with a purple pen, MARK it, MARK it, until months later Mark was filling my wall as if he now lived in the purple darkening the white paint. After fucking a man one night he asked what the purple ink was all about and I said, “It is my only portal to someone I loved dearly.”

has one missing piece
and all the beauty’s
about it
--Eileen Myles

I think of the rather conservative literary critic Marjorie Perloff accusing Eileen Myles of writing transparent poetry because Myles dares to write of her body, her queer body. It was a breathtaking moment seeing Perloff try to publicly smash Myles’s face, but then miss, taking us further into the moment of awe. As soon as I read it I thought, “Is it possible Perloff has no idea whatsoever how hard it is for queers in the United States of America to not destroy ourselves?” The very reason it takes so long to beat us down when we are attacked is because some of us have already – usually more than a few times – at some point tried to annihilate our bodies with drugs, alcohol, knives, getting us ready for anything the rest of you have to offer. How could we queers not utterly need to write through our bodies, even out of sheer disbelief that we can actually still exist after coming so close to the razor, literally? Even so I am always surprised when smart people say stupid things.

Poetry and the Venus Flytrap have always been the same to me and sometimes I am the fly tripping hairs on the surface of the flower to spring the trap to catch and digest me. Sometimes I am the plant producing creamy nectar to draw the delicious fly fattened on the shit of the world. Whenever I need to sign my name I draw a Venus Flytrap next to my signature, mouth open, a poet ready to eat and be eaten. It is through (Soma)tic poetry rituals where I have gained a determined footing in our world. These rituals are creating an extreme present and the notes taken inside them become the poems that would never be able to exist without the rituals. “AIDS Snow Family” is a one such ritual where I made two tiny snowmen and placed them in my freezer, one for my boyfriend Tommy Schneider, and one for me. I visited all the places in Philadelphia we would visit when he was alive: where we first met, our first kiss, first argument, and last goodnight. I wrote letters to Tommy when visiting these places, then read them to the snowmen in the freezer, later letting them melt on the kitchen table together while I stridently read my notes aloud to unlock the poem, which is titled, “Qualm Cutting and Assemblage.”

It had been unexpectedly liberating after the story got around high school that I was a faggot queer. I no longer needed to play by the rules of normal people because I had been kicked out of acceptable society. I raised my hand to the mirror and vowed to never apologize for my love of glitter. The day after being Outed, purple and orange glitter appeared on my notebooks and eyebrows, glitter was my sacred shield as the other kids referred to me as Faggot so often they seemed to forget my real name. This war was on and I was going to win! I had just a couple more years left and I was out of this stupid dirty illiterate country town of mindless rednecks. I would make out with my boyfriend Jason behind the coffin factory where everybody’s parents worked. It was safe there, no one wanted to be near the place, not just because of the coffins, but because all the kids dreaded the idea of working there after graduation. Not me, I said, no way am I making boxes for strange dead people all over the world. No WAY was I going to allow my creative work to be looked at by sobbing children and inconsolable widows, then quickly buried under dirt to be forgotten! What kind of life of art is that! My family was making beautiful boxes for dead people all day long, but no one likes death, especially those who claim to have made good with it. I had a Buddhist boyfriend once who was always bragging about how death was just another phase, regeneration, transformation, on and on he would go about karma and reincarnation. One night we were held up at gunpoint and he went screaming down the street to leave me risking being shot while slowly emptying my pockets. No one likes coffins, no matter how beautiful they might be. No one takes pictures of their mother’s coffin for the family photo album. My uncles have photographs of every coffin they ever made, very proud of their jobs, and they pull these coffin snapshots out of wallets after too much whiskey at the family picnic. When I hated my life the most as a boy I would ask to see the photo of the small coffin, the one for the boy in Oklahoma City who didn’t know how to behave himself. This was the story my aunt told me, that the Oklahoma City boy wasn’t listening like he should have and rode his bicycle into an oncoming bus and got himself killed, but I think she was lying. It was probably a kid who died of cancer, but she hated how defiant I was and wanted me to obey at any cost, telling me how horrible the bus driver’s life probably was now, having to feel bad about accidentally killing an ignorant bullheaded boy. When she died I was so happy that it was almost impossible to look sad at the funeral. I still remember the men talking about her coffin, what it was made of, and how much she would have liked it. They did not say much about her, but her coffin got quite a lot of conversation buzzing, about the handles, the pillow, the ornamentation of little roses and how they were inlaid with certain tools and applied with heated pressure. They had spent lifetimes devoted to the concealments of death. I hated my family when I was a boy, and I would say to myself, “This town is not worthy of glitter, and I am getting the hell out!”

Death is laziness I realize when I sit with the giant redwoods of California. Death is stupid and YES people will chime in and say why death is a necessary part of life, but I still don't like it, but also know it will happen to me when I am at my laziest. I have seen a lot of death, having survived a plague, watching many others slowly succumb. But the laziness of how we no longer (maybe never did) have the proper tools to engage the 3 children dying a day in Afghanistan of war. Not to mention the lies told of Americans living longer when really the NPR announcer means a certain class of white Americans. The laziness of the ear for the radio. The laziness for starving families in every single town while the redwood entangle their roots, holding one another in the space underground, giving one another water and nutrients when one needs and the others have more, growing together not in decades, not in centuries, but in millennia. I defend my stand that we are lazy to act in time for one another. We are a fucking disgrace. And it makes me sad driving across the nation when a thousand cars pass me on the interstate, not a single window open, air conditioning blasting when it is 72 degrees. Laziness of leaving lights on, blowing up mountain tops for the coal to keep those fucking lights on. We are downright slothful as a species. Plastic and more plastic, I catch myself not recycling and say What The Fuck Is Wrong With Me? And then I DO recycle the next time. Then forget then remember, fucking lazy American that I am. When I was a boy in the 70s hippies were trying to get our county to recycle and at church with my grandmother the pastor gave an entire sermon where he would repeat, "DON'T THEY KNOW JESUS IS COMING!" preaching that recycling is pointless when Heaven is all that matters. Lazy, lazy, goddamned fucking lazy!

The first time I realized I was an older poet was when a younger poet sent me an angry email accusing me of not saying hello to her and her boyfriend at a poetry reading. “What did we do to deserve this!” she wrote. Oh no, I thought, this shit is real. No one warned me I was going to have to start saying hello to every single person at a poetry reading when I got older. There I was silly me just going to a poetry reading the way I had done for over thirty years. They expect me to be, well, I really do not know what they expect me to be, but whatever it is I guess it is not who I really am. All I cared about was what on Earth can I do to avert all of this Hello How Are You work, I was exhausted just thinking about it. I am a poet, not a motivational speaker. And I am not a joke-telling fag trying to put the straight people at ease either. If you even knew how many times I have been told, “My gay male friends like to tell funny stories and make me laugh.” I just look at them and say, “Do you know how many children were blown up by our nation’s drone war today?” That shuts them up! I really resent being told about the jokes of their gay male friends, like it is my fucking cue to START THE SHOW! Don’t these people realize gay men have been entertaining them for years to avoid being a patsy, to appease the master caste? “Eat Shit and Die” is the name of my show!

When my book Advanced Elvis Course came out it was like Coming Out all over again to yet another hostile tribe of idiots. Some of those Elvis fans lost their minds that a faggot would dare write about his love of The King. The death threats were inventive at least, better than the standard DIE FAGGOT email. Still, it is important to write back to people who have read your book, even if they hate it and insist that you die slowly and painfully, which is really just a little allegory for how they want to have sex with you with a burn on the slowly driven flesh. But for each hateful homophobic email I replied with a photo of my middle finger, the nail encrusted in bright violet glitter. For the photo I aimed every light in the house on that nail until it was the most glamorous FUCK YOU I have ever seen in my life! I was almost in tears looking at it so blindingly purple and magnificent, my fingernail was beautiful, and it was my fingernail and I loved it, and I said, “Fingernail my dear when we get together with Norberto tonight you will have a very special visit with your favorite hole and his favorite hole.” I’m quite good at keeping promises, especially the important ones. But with the photo I also sent the bigots my deconstruction of Elvis’s blockbuster hit “Jailhouse Rock,” one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 rock songs of all time! Give the lyrics a brand new close listen, no female pronouns or names, and then that delicious line, “You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see / I sure would be delighted with your company / Come on and do the jailhouse rock with me.” Yeah, that’s right, Gay Prison Sex Fantasy 101. I love to imagine their ridiculous exclamations after my reading of Jailhouse Rock sinks into their thick skulls, “NO ELVIS NO! PLEASE DON’T BE A COCKSUCKER ELVIS!” It cheers my soul! How is it possible that so many are so naïve, I mean take a look at the clothing Elvis wore: fringe, glitter, sequins, glitter, rhinestones, glitter, HA, that my friends is a wardrobe born out of a dick sucking episode and let there be no doubt about it! Elvis was having far more fun than most people realized! He never let a couple of extra penises in bed get in the way of having a good time! There is enough lettuce for all the rabbits as my Nana Conrad used to say!

I tore my Greg Louganus poster off the wall after he sobbed to Oprah Winfrey about his boyfriend beating him up. Are you KIDDING ME? You are a gold medal Olympic champion who lets your boyfriend beat you up? You need to learn to fight back Grrrrl! Next time he pulls that shit grab a red-white-and-blue-glitter-coated tire iron from under your pillow and knock his teeth out! He’ll leave you alone after that! Then pile his shit in the front yard and set it on fire, all of it, his Armani suit, his leather jacket, cell phone, passport, birth certificate, burn it, BURN IT ALL! Then find a boyfriend worthy of an Olympic champion’s love and tell THAT story to Oprah! And I was never so happy that Michael Phelps was straight when he went on TV to apologize for smoking pot. Are you KIDDING ME? You have won more gold medals than anyone in the history of the world Olympics and you listen to your mother and father about how to spend your Saturday nights? When Kellogg’s pulled your Corn Flakes ad you should have held a press conference wearing a gold glitter suit with a fat joint in one hand and grabbing your crotch with the other while ordering the Kellogg CEOs to SUCK! YOUR! COCK! What’s the point of being a champion if you cannot be a badass enjoying his life?

Before Mark’s murder I had been macrobiotic for ten years. He was working part time at a very expensive health food store and after Tommy’s death he would steal the most delicious organic collard greens and tofu for me. He kept me going. He kept me wanting to be healthy and focused on my poetry. We would go to demonstrations and once I stayed up all night sewing POWER SISSY shirts for us, the letters in bright red sequins on neon pink faux fur. I loved him. I still know his smell exactly. He changed his name to Earth and that is how we came to know him. We planted rogue gardens together throughout Philadelphia after I had attended a macrobiotic workshop in Boston where Michio Kushi said to not till the soil. He said to throw the seeds among weeds to make the kale, cabbage and cauliflower fight to grow. He said these plants would be filled with a tenacious desire to live that would embolden our lives and properly feed our own proliferation of cells when eaten and transmuted. We planted seeds in abandoned lots and along riverbanks. We would piss on the seeds to give them our nitrogen. We would make love and ejaculate on the seeds to give them a little of our love and respect. When he was murdered it took some of the best days of my life to the sharpened blade. After months of depression I began to think that this was now the condition of my life this darkness. It felt like I would never be happy again.

It took me three tries. (Soma)tic poetry rituals could heal me, I was sure of it. I loved Mark but wanted to live again. My first attempt was a poetry ritual titled “Double Shelter” that I did while staying at my friend Joshua Beckman’s apartment in Seattle. Joshua is one of the best living poets and my trust in him and his poems gave me the strength to try this. The main portion of the ritual was to lie on the floor and listen to Philip Glass’s song “Music In Contrary Motion.” Glass was the perfect vehicle for time travel, to meditate back to the trauma. The dream that night was of Mark in a beautiful garden, but he could not see me. The flowers started to talk, not with mouths, but their centers mashed up and down as they told me he could not see me now because he was busy repairing. Life on the planet had been very hard on him they explained, especially at the end. The resulting poem was quotes I gave to the flowers, “crying in private helps no one.” And, “touch a gill of light down there.” And, “never use ‘permanent’ in a sentence containing a noun.” And, “if dancing is prohibited LEAVE at once.” This was a small window of relief this ritual, but I was convinced the depression could be driven further from my body.

The second attempt was to visit the rouge gardens we had planted and to meditate on the origins of every ingredient I put into my mouth for a week. For instance when eating sesame seeds I would stare at a photo of a field of sesame plants. Sometimes fields had webcams and I could watch sudden gusts of wind rub a hand along the tops of corn and wheat. I felt much better after this ritual but the third one was the one that changed my life forever. The last time I saw Mark alive he gave me a small clear quartz crystal that he had been carrying around for a year. After his death I put it away, it just made me feel like going to sleep and never waking up. The MacDowell Artist Colony accepted my application for a residency and I brought the crystal with me. In my little studio in the woods I put the crystal under my hair wrap, pressed against my third eye. For a decade and a half I had an angry movie in my head. The sheriff who called me Faggot and threatened to arrest me for causing him trouble when he refused to investigate Mark’s murder was always in this movie. It tortured me, playing over and over on a loop, especially my invented courtroom drama where the murderers were finally captured and I could see the backs of their heads and I sat in the room trying hard to not scream while the judge passed sentence on them. After meditating with Mark’s crystal for over a week the movie disappeared. It just went away, and it has never come back I am happy to say. Poetry led me to this and I am grateful, and relieved. The serial poem from the ritual is titled “Sharking Of The Birdcage.” It feels lucky to have finally gotten to a place of solace. Under the power of Mark’s crystal came the lines, “paint over the / dead end sign / are police writers? / yes they are writing into / books our / little cherub of / misunderstanding.”

We need a new glitter invention for the adorable boyfriend. A product in power bar form or delicious milkshake that turns his semen to glitter jizz, and we coat each other’s faces with it then go to the club. You just know it will be the new rage! The DJ will turn on his black light and everyone will scream with joy as faces glow turquoise, green, pink, and red from glitter jizz! Dance, dance, dance, dance on the dance floor smelling of sweet, sweet, sex, it is going to change the nation I just know it! The ejaculate will take on a new experience, both of you, or all three of you waiting for his cobalt blue cum to shoot into the air, what a fantastic still photo of sperm caught riding its own sparkling blue wave! Of course there will be side-effects, children born with lime green complexions or coughing tinsel-coated phlegm, but everyone has to sacrifice something for the fun and gleaming new world!

One night I was out at the bars with my new boyfriend Alex, one of those magnificent nights when the sky is filled with stars. I said, “It is hard to imagine how much life must be out there orbiting these balls of fire suspended on the currents of the Universe.”

He said, “You know you’re really annoying when you talk like this. My friends all think you’re a freak.”

“Your friends only care about real estate and which bar makes the best martini so fuck them. What I care about is that I am standing here with a man I am dating who just told me it is annoying to talk about the stars in the sky.”

“The stars are there, they’re there and we know it so big deal!”

“This is not going to work out between us, you realize that don’t you?”

“Oh c’mon! Don’t be so fucking dramatic!”

“DON’T BE DRAMATIC? Every single night of our lives there are billions of speckles of light in the sky, GLITTER tossed overhead! It is one of the most amazing things, and it barely makes sense when you look at them, and all we can do is rely on the information from scientists who are probably behind telescopes at this very moment studying them! We are ALL FREAKS so tell that to your boring friends! We are amalgamated particles of matter, glitter resulting from these stars, killing and consuming plants and animals all day to keep alive, fearful 98.9 degree Fahrenheit animals who want to keep that inner body heated. We are the stars not wanting to burn out. Ambition is fear of death and the most ambitious people fear death the most. No matter how beautiful life is it is ruthless to the core. Please do not call me again.”

Originally Published: June 22nd, 2015

Poet CAConrad grew up in Pennsylvania, where they helped to support their single mother during Conrad's difficult youth. Influenced by Eileen Myles, Audre Lorde, Alice Notley, and Emily Dickinson, Conrad writes poems in which stark images of sex, violence, and defiance build a bridge between fable and confession. In a 2010...