Boy Girl Attraction

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I am not old enough to cross the street by myself yet. My brother walks me to the community center along with three other boys. We carry bags of candy on this holiday when anyone can dress up like a girl and no one will think twice about the decision. No one will wonder if that person prefers girls or boys. Instead, everyone will just take a good look and laugh at the drag queen. Except me.

The boy in front of me looks like a real girl. Long greasy black locks of hair sweep past my face as he turns his head around. He talks to another boy. My brother arrives at a gate and opens it up for the rest of us. A crowd of teenagers surround the pool deck but I keep my eyes on the greasy black mop in front of me. I like the way they look. I like the way they seem so different from everyone else in their halloween costumes. I, myself, am dressed in nothing more than a black t-shirt and jeans.

Perhaps, we have something in common. I think as the other boys lay across an empty pair of lounge chairs. I take a seat next to the boy-that-looks-like-a-girl. His face glows white from all the makeup. Except, their lips that look as dark as the night air that surrounds us. My heart beats heavily against my chest.

I never knew what the word “attraction” meant up until this moment. Whenever my parents tease me about a “girlfriend” they entertain the idea of a girl falling in love with me. Or at least liking me. Whenever anyone else teases me about this they entertain the idea that girls like me at all. However, the girls in my class treat me like another girlfriend. During recess they permit me to talk about the boys on the playground. They allow me to give them advice about which boy would best suit them for a elementary school relationship; a kind of romance that two members of the opposite sex engage themselves in during  class projects, lunch table seating arrangements, and games at recess.

For example, when Travis and Samantha got together they chose each other for everything. During gym class he picked her first for his volleyball team before choosing me, his best friend. I wanted to hit him with a ball but he chose me next.

For example, Andres and Jennifer preferred to sit together at lunch. But the rules of the school were that only an even number of boys and girls could sit at the table. So if one of them came in late then another boy or girl would trade seats so that the two could sit together. I wanted to remain in my seat sometimes but removed myself out of civil manners.

For example, boys chased girls on the playground but I never wanted to chase girls so I found a hole to dig. I kept digging until the bell rang. I would much rather involve myself with dirt than hormones. Except for this Halloween, when I found myself asking this strange boy-that-looked-like-a-girl questions.

“Do you like to read?” I say to him. He turns his beautiful white face in my direction. He answers. I ask another question. He answers again. This exchange of words goes on and on until they leave. I cannot believe how lucky I am to feel normal for once. That I finally entered the game of sexuality.

“You know that’s a boy, right?” my brother asks. He is sitting with the other boys, laughing. I bite my lip. My hope is lost. My revelation is snuffed out with these words. I am still just alone.

“Yeah,” I say but my voice feels deflated. I no longer feel the longing to talk to the boy/girl or anyone else. I would much rather go dig a hole somewhere. I would much rather burry my loneliness than to sit around here looking foolish. Because everyone else saw it except for me.

Happy Halloween.

 

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Safe Spaces and Dangerous Places

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At sixteen, I coward into over-sized sweatshirts during class so that no one could bother me. The soft cotton felt like a womb that isolated me from the rest of the world. A world in which two high schools took my attendance because one of them already knew my secret. In one of them I came out to a group of boys.

“Hey, kid. Are you gay?” one of them asked from the back of the room. Him and his friends all sat on the edge of their seats, waiting for my answer.

“Yes.” I said. The one kid laughed and turned around. My lips felt numb. I just told a total stranger my sexual preference and now that whole class knew. My stomach rumbled with nervous energy. A kind of energy that vibrated throughout my body for the next couple of months, as I skipped school and stayed in bed, shivering.

I needed to get away from everyone. My parents considered sending me to Harvey Milk High, a school in New York meant for LGBTQ teens. They considered this because back then any other institution seemed a threat to my mental health.

Day and night I imagined kids beating me up in the corner of a classroom. Any classroom that provided a safe space for their hatred. The locker room where no adult ever checked on students. The side of a trailer that the school never used after Hurricane Katrina blasted through the campus. The tennis court, band room,  or even the courtyard where one student got beaten up during lunch period. No on interfered until the hitter got in enough punches to give the victim several bruises to heal over the course of a few months.

I feared this even though I laid in bed a couple of miles away. So I never went back. Another school opened its doors to me. One with a whole body of students that never asked about my sexuality. A place where no one could suspect anything other because of my “shy” personality. I would just sit quietly until the last bell rang.

At sixteen this option might feel the most logical as fear installs itself into every body movement. It plans out everything from getting to school to eating lunch to someday starting a Gay Straight Alliance Club. A club where straight people could hug a gay person without any reprimanded by their friends. Friends that write “lesbian” on a teachers walls because she hosted the first club meeting. Friends that start rumors about two guys initiating intercourse on the stairwell between classes because they became the first gay couple at school.

I ran the club until my senior year and by then I made enough friends to no longer need a place to feel safe with people. I could wear a rainbow belt on campus without thinking about the violent repercussions it could potentially stir. Boys no longer seemed like a threat because a ton of them talked to me in class. We talked about poetry, guitars, and television shows. I made friends.

 

 

Take A Pike

In the early 2000’s a yellow-paged book came into my possession. “The Last Vampire” by Christopher Pike slipped itself over the backseat of a traveling bus. I retrieved the soft cover novel and started reading about a five-thousand year old vampire, called Sita. In a matter of days the story came to an end. I passed the book back over the seat and waited for the next one to come through. 51WS2P2XR2L

Jackie, my dealer, supplied the novels to several people in class. A small group that used the books as inspiration for their own novels. We traded composition books full of vampires that lived in Egypt during a time before pharaohs, similar to Sita’s background. She lived in India where an evil spirit inhabited her dead friend and started the vampire lineage.

My version mirrored this heritage as the protagonist summons a spirit to revive her dead friend. This started the lineage of vampires to encroach the human world but without the promise of eternal life. A vampire would live the expected lifespan of a human but with superhuman powers, like telekinesis. I gave these stories to friends that gave them back with confused looks.

“If they don’t live forever then how are they still alive?” they asked, flipping to the front page of  my story. I saw that it began in modern day times with the same character that lived a thousand years ago. Somehow this plot-hole never occurred to me. I needed to revise the story.

I changed my vampires to infinite creatures of the night in exchange for their telekinesis. This allowed my protagonist to flourish with also a goal in mind. She needed to keep her life eternal while recovering her superpowers. I found something new and interesting about the story that kept me writing and reading stories.

Christopher Pike continued to inspire me as his characters often dealt with deadly matters. In the “Chain Letter” series, a group of friends submitted themselves to a mysterious contract that forced them to commit embarrassing acts in exchange for the send’s silence. This deal stretched over the length of three novels. I finished the last one in my dad’s car while on the way to high school.51YXS2N1PSL

At this point all my friends found different clicks of people to engage with. I ventured into the art department where I found the terror of commitment. Turning in a disfigured still-life embarrassed me more than an incomplete one. I turned in sketches of men with only half a face or two-legged elephants. Although earning a passing-grade they left me feeling ashamed of my inability to complete things, similar to Pike’s characters.

The unknown meant the unwillingness to find out the mysteries ahead. I needed to charge ahead through the gray between contoured lines and blank paper. I needed to stop fear with perseverance. This allotted my imagination to find a balance between the real and the unreal as projects completed themselves. Because the thing about art is that it only exists as it is made.

I still struggle with the ability to sometimes follow a professor’s instructions to finish a story. Sometimes my projects amount to nothing except fine detail and little character growth. These things matter little and a lot. Art needs time to grow , and I’m willing to make more deals with myself and others, in order to see that happen. After all, writers need readers as much as I want the next vampire installment from Christopher Pike.

 

Orlando Strong

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Dear Readers,

Something terrible happened in my town. 49 people died while 50 others were injured. I found this out one morning when my friend called. She wanted to know that I was safe. I was safe but not from the effect of the tragedy.

If you’ve read my blog then you know that some of the posts were about Pulse. Holiday happened around this time of the year. It’s hard to imagine that my story took place in the same place that this one did.

I think that’s how a lot of people in this community are affected by this event. We all went to Pulse at some time or another. We all danced there. We all made friends there. We know the layout of the club and that’s what haunts us at night. We imagine the sounds and things that happened that night and wonder if that could have been us. For some of us it might have been, if our mother’s hadn’t asked us to babysit or if we felt too tired to go out after working a twenty-hour shift.

Thinking about this affects us each day. And each day it’s hard to believe that Orlando now has this strange history behind it. I came to Orlando to go to college. My friend came to Orlando because he fell in love. Someone else came to Orlando because they wanted to escape the boredom of living in a small town. We all found ourselves here and now we are finding ourselves again.

Grief is something that happens differently to everyone. Some people are attending the vigils. My friend is handing out food to people at the hospital. I am trying to do everything but there’s only so much you can do in a day. I want to feel this pain so that I can grieve with my community. The hurt must be felt so that we can move on eventually. But right now is not the time to move on. We must remember, cry, and live with each other. Here is Orlando and this is what Orlando Strong means to me.

Grapefruits 

 

The boy that sits in the back of the class never says anything. I note his attendance by the flexing arms muscles. He came but never left the space within my head. I think about him sixteen hours later when I’m feeling lonely.

Would he climb into bed with me? No, probably not. Not even if he was single. His body and mine might inhabit the same room but not the same bed. Play dough can mold itself into a rock but it can never become an actual rock.3008888f770977e9ba0efe4bd7a4d634.jpg

I try to tell myself that this thought is unfair to my self-esteem. But the feeling of insecurity guides me to the bathroom mirror. I look in it and notice all the lumpy shadows. They gather beneath my chest and around my belly like an impenetrable ozone layer.

I sigh. They’ll never go away. Three months ago I began a new workout plan. Six days a week I’d push and pull weights in hope of transforming my body. The boulder-thick men at gay clubs garnered all the attention, and for once maybe that could be me.

Small grapefruits rolled down my arms whenever they bent down to pick up a pencil. I began to see changes but my dating life stayed the same. No one seemed to notice the grapefruit man.

This leads me to believe that no one cares about body image. The couple next door seems happy with one another. They hold hands despite his pregnant belly and her bloated hips. Love exists between humans and not within words.

I get up to look in the mirror. A different kind of man looks back. His gray skin glows beneath the bright lights. He wraps himself in a half-hearted smile. Tonight will be the best night ever.

I take myself out dancing. Twinkling lights spin around me like fairy dust. Hands pump up and down. A guy named Carlos dances two feet away. We close in the gap and feel happy.

My Voice

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Essay and Photo by BoyKitsch

I’m trying to find my voice in the bright green trees of Florida. It loves to swing off  one branch and onto another during the day. The woods sigh with delight because no one ever pays attention to them. At least not the neighborhood people.

They sit beside television sets inside of their apartments. I look up into open windows and find blue faces. A cold sensation spirals up my spine. The image reminds me of the curly-haired-boy who once watched Netflix for four hours in my apartment. He felt happy.

A blue light disappears from one of the windows, so I turn back to the trees. My voice rustles the leaves as it climbs higher. The ascension seems easy but that’s because I’m standing outside of the action. I know that when my voice returns it will tell me all about the trouble it got into.

It will tell me about the thug squirrels that hid inside a tree hole. They threatened to kill it if my voice wouldn’t give them a song. My voice shivered beneath sharp claws before  spitting out a rhyme that lifted up greedy paws and escaping to the branches below.

“Sometimes danger happens but that’s how we learn about the world around us,” I will tell it. It’ll stomp and pout around the trees because I never taught my voice patience. When it stops I’ll say, “But most people would rather live through the danger than watch someone else live through it.” It won’t understand and go back into the trees while I listen to the distant laugh of an informercial somewhere above.

 

 

Logging Off

When I first started blogging my attention was immediately drawn to gay blogs. I wanted advice on finding romance because I reasoned that gay romance is different than heterosexual. Experiences can be similar but the pieces belongs to a different cultural-puzzle.

A piece of it is the Grindr App, one that has helps spark conversations between non-heterosexual (I say this in light of transexuals, bisexuals, etc.)  men since 2009. It has personally helped me gain the attention of men that were perhaps too shy to meet in person. Not to say all pursuits were welcomed.

Recently, I had an encounter with someone whose profile expressed honesty. He wanted a person to be direct with their wants. I thought to myself, a reasonable request. Not all men can be straightforwards and thus has been a problem in previous relationships. I’d rather someone tell me they are “looking” rather than have me type twenty texts thinking we are “connecting.”

Me:Looking? 

Him: No.

Me: Cool. Neither am I. 

We continued small talk. It was all me telling corny jokes. I wasn’t trying to impress him but ya never know when a corny joke might hit a sweet spot.

Him: Let me be rudely honest I don’t care. I am looking but not for you. You are too short for me.

I logged out leaving a few bitter words which I now regret. The conversation hadn’t been my first turn-down but it left me wondering why I logged on day in and day out. Entirely, the app is a community of  men that choose to log on. They are NOT the only men. I think this is a good phrase worthy of being slabbed on some LGBT pamphlet.

Coming out of the closet wasn’t easy so I turned to Internet Cafes instead. There I promptly made as many fake names as someone named Madonna wishes she could. In the end though there was nothing to gain except fake boyfriends that didn’t make me feel any more loved or accepted. So I deleted them all and found a GLBT center called Compass with the fortunate help of my parents.

It’s been eight years later and I’m sure boys soon to be men are turning online to come out. As I’m sure men are turning on to “get off”. They both are looking for something that probably lies within the same arena. Quite frankly though I am not concerned about either at this point. Somebody different is who I am becoming with online anonymity. I don’t like that person.

I’ve logged off.

Ready, Set, Done

Today’s Daily Prompt was about anything I wanted to discuss. I chose a short-story by the looks of it. Please read, comment, and most of all enjoy. Oh, also subscribe!


She found me when no one else was looking. In the paper, three weeks back, the headline read DEATH BY POPULAR DEMAND. There were quizzical looks everywhere from the grocery store to the inside of college libraries. Neither man nor scholar could figure out what the title meant by first glance. So on they read.

The story told of a dead twenty-four year old boy and his ultimate demise. He wasn’t special by the looks of the newspaper photograph but the words on the outside spelled A-r-t-i-s-t. Five years of art school had instilled in him a kind of confidence not found in books. “He loved the world and so himself.” became a popular quote from the printed piece. The boy had said this to practically all the university professors.

It was a tragic story of how he was found on the fifteenth floor of the Heart Studio Apartments. Paint mixed with blood on a canvas that framed suicide. I think that’s when people decided to stop looking for me. Another artist gone too soon by his own doing.

“But I knew that you wouldn’t leave.” she said upon finding me. My consciousness was barely stable and so I thought her an angel. A real angel with fluffy wings when later I’d discover it was hair.

“They took you away because what you had to offer was something much bigger than a mural or scholarship. On your canvas was a theory of worlds. Universes hidden in bristles, disguised as brushes. I think you broke the laws of time. My dear sweet Amin.”

The Next Academy Award

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I can tell the day is still fresh even though I woke up late. The man in front of me, ordering a triple shot late, is without any wrinkles in his business suit. There’s something about him that’s different from the ones back home. The stripes on his back are bold thick black lines that glow with a grey outline. When he puts a hand in his pocket the pants hug a hard body.

He pays for the coffee. I pay and sit down to start my homework. Only two minutes later my eyes end up studying a couple in the corner of the cafe. I figure this is as good a time as any to daydream about my future.

I decided to enroll myself back into college but still am without a goal in mind. Like a trophy or Academy Award, maybe it’s easier to go through the motions of labor when there’s the possibility of a reward. Except, I’ve been in that frame of mind before and it got me nowhere. If anything I feel that this blog has reaped more possibilities out of my future than school ever has. I discovered newspapers that are looking for my point of view. I’ve opened up about myself for the good and bad, and I’ve learned more about myself.

So what do I want next? I want to finish school just to finish it. A bad grade can be a bad grade but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned anything. Don’t get me wrong I still care but it’s different than before. I don’t think school has all to offer. I have all to offer if I just keep trying. Maybe some people envision romance or a fancy suit for their futures but I want my writing.

Closet Case Part 2- Lover’s Wall

Welcome back reader! This is the second installment of my Closet Case series. I meant for this to be a posted a day earlier. After this there will be one more installment to the Closet Case series. Enjoy!

I lifted my leg as far up on the ledge as I could without losing balance. The trashcans beside me smelled dangerously like cat pee. One slip of my foot and I’d be the new kitty litter. This was the first time I ever snuck into someone else’s house, not to mention a boyfriend’s! However, it was kind of “romantic” that two lovers had to meet in secret by a window. I just hoped I didn’t ruin the experience by falling.

“Sit on the ledge. I’ll help you down.” He said. So I sat down with both legs dangling on opposite sides of the wall. He came to the window and held me by the waist. I chucked my other leg over but  with too much force. The two of us stumbled into the bedroom, over dirty laundry, beer cans, and books before tumbling onto the mattress. It smelled just like the trash outside. I shot up and brushed my body off as if a thousand ants were crawling over it.

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“Settle down dude! My parents will hear you.” He said quietly. I looked up to see him closing the door and locking it with a bolt. The bolt was there because the knob was missing! After stuffing it with a sock my boyfriend came over to give me a kiss. One peck on the lips before I put up my hands in protest. There was underwear piled around the room like maybe he organized them according to their cartoon character, but after collecting them he decided to do something else. Like drinking. Bottles and cans were the common knick-knack on bookshelves, nightstands, and windowsills.

“What’s the matter?” He said. A goofy smile was spread across his lips. It was the normal expression he had but now I wondered if maybe it was because of the alcohol.

“Oh. Umm….nothing.” I said. I clenched my gut and sat down on the bed. He came down with me. I wanted to kiss him but there my thoughts were stopping me. Was he drunk every time we met? Could he not express affection without being intoxicated? He touched the inside of my leg with his fingers. I watched them try to nuzzle their way in like a bee crawling into a flower. If he was tipsy then I didn’t know what this meant.

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“There’s this movie I want you to watch.” He said. “It’s an old Sci-Fi set in the dystopian future where the robots rule over the humans.” He got up and walked over to an old VCR. Inside there was a tape all ready to play. I looked around the room a second time. Underneath the dust in a corner of the room was an entire layer of cassette tapes. Some of them I recognized from copies in my living room while others I had never heard of. I suddenly remembered why I liked this guy so much. While the rest of the world had moved onto using downloads and DVDS this guy was vintage.

He came and sat down next to me but this time I had no apprehension about opening myself up to him. I snug my head under his arm and watched the movie, at least for the next five minutes. I needed him to be closer. I tired pulling him on top of me but before I could he shut off all the lights. Afterwards he mounted me, slid his legs back so that we were chest against chest, mouth against mouth. There was indeed alcohol on his breath. I still let him kiss me though. I didn’t care what it took for him to get past some of his fears because somehow he took me away from mine. I was the boy that snuck out of his parents house at night, to an abandoned pool, to a lover’s window.