Desire means and Of importance
Two poems on the complexities of gender, marriage, sexuality, and desire.
By Daphne Rhea
Sunday, September 3, 2006
It’s easier to hide straight in a binary
system of man over, on top of, woman.
When you try otherwise, homophobes
predictably stop emailing, while others
think it’s adorable — a phase — and are thus
entertained by a skirt-watching little pet.
You’ve been lessoned in the temporary
status where you reside, even as some
try leading you in coat tails and a lace
brassiere as if you should finally arrive
anywhere, when it’s the outsider/within
status — the only truth you could embody
despite the colonization of desire urging
you to choose forever one longing.
So you drag king here in bowler caps
and suspenders, and over there it’s heels
and his hand on your thigh. You are an
I strategically and then move on again
speaking a language unrecognizable.
I am this space / the body believes in
“Unnatural State of the Unicorn,”
— Yusef Komunyaka
Before wedding vows and consummation,
hyphens, my erasure on family envelopes,
I’m a queer. Before the double mortgage,
the tearing down of paneling, the adopting
of three cats, four fish, a mutt, I’m a queer.
Before the wedding party, the honeymoon,
the move to another city, I’m still a queer
because there’s this safe consumption of
l-word, les. pulp, stone butch blues miles
from imagined community. Did I mention
his parents read straight into everything?
And thus read nothing but vanilla. Before
him there was her. There always is a her.
That for a moment of cold feet. Blah, blah …
I considered never touching women again
and never another man and thought, “Fuck it.”
Marriage is for losers, conservatives, freaks
who’d like insurance, the power of attorney,
the right to ease someone into death by love.
Before all that, I’m a queer marching today
a slogan on me, him, the mutt and I don’t
have to tell you what it says because despite
what you’re thinking, you already know.
Daphne Rhea is a pseudonym.