There was an old queen at the end of my block, growing up, that would paint his face in the morning. He would hum low as he did. The neighborhood kids would tease, as they often do, when he would make his way down the block. And I knew, even back then, that I could not allow myself to become that. Fierce but alone. Exposed to the jabs and knives, and piranha and other things that come out to bit and maim.
I wanted to be out in the world. Wanted to take this life and make a shawl out of sunshine.
I wanted to sing a righteous gospel and make even the coldest winters in peoples bones melt till their chest opened like arms exposing love.
To love and be loved.
I wanted to be out in the world.
And I wanted to love a man. Hard. Wanted to find that one man, whose arms were designed specifically for me to fit into. And at night I wanted to rock with him into a deep intertwined sleep.
Not a man, who would take my love and put it in the bottom of his shoe and dance about town, stamping it into a nothingness.
Yes, ever since I saw that old queen I been trying hard not to become that. Been fashioning me and my wears as to be ready. So that when the big twilight comes I would be wouldn’t be caught wanting.
And my search has led me to dungeons. Flanked by able-bodied men looking to rip me asunder. Each one snatching at my boyhood. Slowly leaving me with nothing. As I lay spent, watching some white man’s back or some brotha exist the door once they were satisfied using me as a rag for their exotic curiosity or their emotion outlet.
My protests were all met with the same. “Nigger get outta here with that shit” speak.
The same “what the fuck else do you want?” speak.
The same “So we gonna fuck or what?” speak.
The same “If I wanted to hear what you thought I woulda took you out.” speak.
Using my back as a bridge to their salvation as I lay face down drowning in the wants and needs I don told my self I had to have.
And I’m left not knowing the sound of my own “no” because I so desperately wanted to not be an old queen painting his face in an attempt to cover up the stains of tears, permanently etched like scars, from years of misery and rejection.
It’s ironic. The joylessness of a punk’s song. The silence of his life. No color anywhere. And here is what else I have come to know.
To be Black and Gay is a contradiction of terms
Black is a word and condition unrelated to us because real niggas ain’t faggots. And those of us looking to beg our way back into the community can only offer payment with our tongues.
There are scores of us sitting mute in pews. Swaying in the breeze. Content to no longer paint our faces if it means someone will love us.
And so it seems a sad and cruel thing
To be a faggot and hope to sing.