lambda literary reading

It was an absolute honor to be selected as one of the Fellowship recipients at this year’s Lambda Literary Foundations Writers Retreat. Here’s a piece about why we need gay clubs in Indonesia. 

 

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gay men and body image

Matthew Dempsey, you talking about gay body image is just like people with no cancer telling people with cancer to deal with it and you know damn well why: because you’re not mainstream ugly and you can pretty much have and do anyone you want.

Let’s start with the list:

Thick hair: Check.
Good teeth: Check.
Good skin: Check.
Good body: Check. (Everyone can tell that you have sculpted arms under that shirt).

And believe me, when your mouth is open like that and you still look good, you don’t have the fucking right to say anything about body image.

Don’t you get it? You’re like the 1%.

I don’t know how ugly you think you are. Or how much of a struggle you have to go through every fucking day, every fucking time you take a look at your own reflection in the fucking mirror. Or how much you hate yourself for looking like you are, how much you want to kill yourself for looking like you are, how terrified you are of outside the world, how much you think everyone who looks at you funny judges you and laughs at you.

You don’t have the fucking right.

You are not one of us. You are not one of the ugly people. And now I know why people who never have to deal with cancer can’t say, “It’s going to be all right,” to people who have cancer.

Do you want to know what ugly is?

Ugly is that person with genetically bad, genetically yellow teeth, a huge scar along the leg, pockmarked skin, large pores, weird hairline, sucky nail bed, paunchy belly, bat ears, flat butt, eczema spots, and a small dick.

Ugly is that person who turns the lights off not only when he’s having sex with someone else, which is quite rare and often doesn’t end well, but also when he’s jerking off. Alone.

Ugly is that person who depends so much on the darkness and the sparse and playful lights of gay clubs that he curses when it’s last call and the lights go on. And of course, he’s still alone.

Ugly is that person who makes Jonah Hill look like James Dean.

So don’t tell me to suck it up. Don’t tell me to accept the fact that I’m ugly, because hearing that from guys like you make it even worse. I mean, come on. I’ll bet that you don’t ever want to fuck me, not even with a sack of cloth over my head.

Oh, that’s right. I’m not ugly. I’m just not your type. Or maybe we’re both bottoms. Regardless, my niche market is still smaller than my Asian dick.

Look. I don’t know why you’re doing this. Maybe it’s for the money. Maybe it’s good for business. For exposure. Or you’re fulfilling your HuffPo video quota. Whatever the reason is, find something else to talk about. I mean, if Gwyneth Paltrow can do it, so can you, because right now, you’re the bully who tells the smaller kids that they shouldn’t be afraid.

You’re the mean girl, Matthew, and I’m taking my business to Lizzie Velásquez, someone I can actually relate to.

mean-girls-movie-quotes-19

 

a little hello

I dreamed about you.

I don’t quite remember what it was. I just remembered you, in bed, in your grey brown shorts, in your olive green shirt, you wore a hat, a cap, the cap I knew so well.

You looked at me and your smile just said everything you’d wanted to say, everything you’d been trying to say, all those years, all those years.

I dreamed about you.

Months after months after months without even a little hello, a little acknowledgement of existence, but I know you’re still there, still alive, still surviving.

I don’t blame you. How can I. I was the one who left. I was the villain. The poison. The bitch. I took everything away from you. Everything everything everything.

Delete me. Eliminate me. Annihilate me. I don’t blame you. I won’t blame you.

You’re a better person than I am.

You’ll always be a better person than I will ever be.

The sun kissed my skin when I woke up and for a moment I wondered why I was so happy.

Canggu Beach, Bali

in my hands

We sift through a collection
Of photographs
A lifetime of emotions

I know some of those
In the photos
Different hairs, furs
Different glasses, claws
Smiles, eyes

I can never decipher what they’ve
Journeyed through
Desertion, death, divorce
Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps

Then there’s this one
You as a baby
Lines as eyes
Did the camera flash?
Were you just trying to
Protect yourself?

It’s placed inside a note
Announcing your arrival
Written in decorative
Embossed soft aqua
Hidden inside a yellowed
Bone-dry envelope

“Here,” you give them to me
The envelope
The note
The photo
And I realize

I’m holding a life
A beginning of a life
In my hands
In my hands

I’m holding a person
A beginning of a person
In my hands
In my hands

I’m holding an ocean of tears
But the clouds
Pregnant with fears and possibilities
Are upon me
Upon us

I’m holding a journey
A beginning of a journey
In my hands
In my hands

YLT_5778

another reading

This time of a short story that deals with jealousy, insecurity, and a big, fat, white zit while visiting – what else – West Hollywood. This is a modified version of this post.

Graduate Reading Series at St. Mary’s College of California. Introduction by Michael Caligaris (Creative Nonfiction Writing MFA candidate of 2014).

Ex-bashing included.

the pilot

If I could unburn that bridge. If I could undo it. If I could, I would, but there are forces stronger than both of us.

Or maybe I was just being lazy, maybe I was just being afraid.

Now with all this talk about airplanes, I wish I could reach out to you without worrying that I would hurt you. I wish I could ask you what your thoughts were – you were always so full of opinions, so opinionated, that was what I liked and ultimately hated about you.

I remember the Sunset Steps, the Chinatown, the Indian Restaurant in the Castro, the Castro Fair, the Castro Theater. I don’t think I can ever set foot in the Castro ever again without risking bumping into you, without worrying that I’ll hurt both of us.

I cannot say how sorry I am. All I can do is tell you that I am sorry and repeat those three words, all strung up together. They started from making sense to no longer having meaning.

Every goddamn piece of news. Every goddamn piece of editorial written by pilots. Every flight lingo. ACARS this and Transponders that.

Every time I see the L Line. Every time I pass by Embarcadero. Every time someone mentions The Castro.

I remember your house. Your house. Your house. That bedroom where we made love, that bathroom where I cleaned my face off my makeup, that kitchen where we both cooked for each other, that lonely dining room, those beautiful bird and flower pictures that your mother made.

That sofa where we cuddled and cried as we watched those stupid Thai commercials.

And remember that British sit com of that old gay couple? Remember when you asked me if we would be like that one day? Still bickering but still very much in love with each other? What did I say? What was my reply? Did I give you hope? Did I kiss you?

Do you still keep the peacock figurine that you gave me? You sneaky little sweetheart. You knew I was eyeing that peacock figurine in Chinatown. You sneaky little sweetheart.

I wonder where you are. I wonder if you’ve moved on.

***

Post somewhat inspired by this prompt.