LOUDSPEAKER:: F*ggot Out of Carolina by Judas

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WUSSY is proud to present a poem by ATL queer, Judas. 
If you would like to send in a writing submission, please contact Nicholas Goodly

 

“Faggot Out of Carolina”
 

What hope is there for the small town queer?

Backwoods and backwards
Carolina born, yet to be bred
My developing soul could not yet
Be at peace with the tug-of-war within me.

Which was home - Southern or Queer?
Because surely it could not be both.

Who would tell a boy with a drawl thick as
Paper mill smoke that it’s okay to like Hunter instead of Hannah?
Who would tell him that not everything
The preacher said on Sunday morning

Was meant to be taken literally?
Who would tell him that it’s okay to cry sometimes?

Y’see I was Southern and Queer
Like
Ole and Wudder.

Southern like
Tea brewed with a pound of sugar
And biscuits made from scratch.

Southern like
“Bless your heart” was understood to be an insult
And barbecue was understood to be a noun --
A vinegar soaked noun, no mustard needed.

But I was also Queer.

Queer like

Afternoons spent skinny dipping with the
Boys up the road
And nights spent camping naked in their
Backyards.


Queer like
Sneakin’ away bits of your mother’s
Eyeshadow palette
While pretending a girl on the cheerleading squad
Had your heart.

Queer like
Eternally single 40 year old men
Committing themselves to celibacy
And 50 year old women sharing homes
Because they were just that good of “friends.”

Queer like
The closet.

Y’see
When I grew up,
Queer wasn’t power.
It was the kid “smeared” on the playground at recess.
Gay meant stupid.
And faggots were destined to burn in hell like
The bundle of sticks they were.

Sex ed
Took place in the silence of Bible classrooms,
The foottaps of truck stops along I-95
And repeated glances on the trails of Jordan Lake.

My small town wasn’t prepared to raise
Someone like me.
There was no box for me to check even if I wanted to.

Not seeing Queer Love
Meant I had to figure it out for myself
And unfortunately first loves aren’t always the best.

My first facade of a heart made whole
Warped it when he said

I wasn’t worthy of the words I speak.



They held too much meaning
For someone who was barely held together -
Bursting at my self-sewn seams.

So  I stuffed that inside me.

Bulked up around it.

Sewed my seams even tighter.

So no one could ever say my words belied the truth.
That lofty ideas were out of reach for me.
That there were two too many syllables for a
Faggot out of Carolina.

But still with every word I speak,
I hold back three more.
Fearing what the inside looks like.
That you too will find my words too near a mask for your liking.

My throat, my mouth, my teeth, my gums,
My lips
Are all covered in chewed letters,
Emulsified thoughts and
Swallowed syllables

So, sometimes they spit out like bullets, and
Sometimes people get caught in the crossfire, and
Sometimes they ricochet back into me

Sinking deeper into my body, and
Sometimes I just stay quiet.

And in my quiet, I realize
I wasted my youth
Scouring the cosmos for a God
That would not answer,
So eventually I stopped asking.

Asking why I was so very small and the
Stars I danced beneath so very far away.



With my question left unanswered,
I turned my focus to society’s familiars:
-- The sex workers,
The ephemeral lovers,
The midnight answers,
The street waifs --
All those that society forgets until

Their most dire urgings.

I found sparks of what I once called God
In my chosen family
And in brief, fleeting moments,
I began to find it in myself.

At that point, my question changed from
“Why were we so very small?”
To
“How could we grow to be ever expanding
Like the cosmos that bore us?”

And in dancing our bodies electric
Under the fluorescent neon skies,
I found my answer.

It took me driving deep into the woods
Of Tennesse to finally learn how
To appreciate all of me.
To make something new out of that Old Time Religion.
To find home in both Southern and Queer.

Y’see
I’m Southern and Queer
Like houses packed full of half-naked bodies
Cuddled on couches
Clothes strewn about and
Casserole dishes nearly licked clean.

Southern and Queer
Like a transman growing root vegetables
And milking cows with a bit of
Honeysuckle hangin’ out his mouth.



Southern and Queer
Like former rave scene queens
Growing old together in the open fields of
Stokes County with their 7 rescues
Smoking equal parts tobacco and marijuana

Southern and Queer
Like the pastor’s daughter
Sipping kava and listening to nu-folk
In her girlfriend’s bed.

Southern and Queer
Like drinking half and half tea at
R. Thomas Grill
Turning pain to art
Just to return to my lover’s outstretched arms.

So to that boy with a drawl thick as
Paper mill smoke hiding his heart from everyone,
Yourself included -
You’re gonna pull through.

Believe me when I say
We can look back now
Our soul better for the wear
And say without a doubt
“There is hope for the small town queer.”


---
Judas is a professional muse, amateur word-worker, and casual kink connoisseur - born in North Carolina, bred in Atlanta, based in the freedom of a fagabond's wanderlust.