Sean H. Doyle: I Was Raised by a Man Who Called Me Faggot Every Day
The desert is where I dream
that heat rising from the dirt and the rocks
and the wind tickling my face with
hot tendrils and the sweet smell of sickness.
I don’t want to waste your time
So I’ll get right to it:
My father was a snake and a coward
and my mother was destroyed
before I was even born.
If you get close enough to this body
You can smell this in my sweat
And see it in my teeth [the good ones].
My mother was a Gemini
and my father was a twin.
Every time I cough a little of them
breaks loose and leaves this body.
Again before it gets too close
let me remind you I was raised by a man
who called me faggot every day
and never taught me how to change the oil
and a woman who stood silently
and ignored my bruising and self-harm.
Once during hypnosis I saw the littlest me
and the most hormonal me
take pitchforks to my father’s body
to reclaim their space
to banish his presence
and move forward, to light.
The fact of the matter is that I am still
here and everyone else is ash
and I will someday be ash
and being free from shame
is a thing we all deserve.
Living in the place where I was born
can sometimes be a little much—
most of my life I wanted to come home
to be with family
to learn what was missing.
Everyone I thought was my blood
is gone. Only a sister remains, on the other
coast. I'm alone here among the millions
floating around in memories
and waiting for the streets to open up
and swallow me.
Most of what I remember is out of focus
slurred and incomplete, like I used to be.
[ alcohol ]
and drugs and women and shame and blood
and pressure to make a life
to make diamonds out of eyes.
My neighborhood is frothing at the mouth,
so many goddamn nannies
raising pretty white babies
and strolling through debris fields
of progress and rising condo towers.
Meanwhile the Poles are passed out
[ drunk ]
in the parks and on the sidewalks
an optical obstacle course for the
ladder-climbing young moneyed.
I could always go back
[ alcohol ]
back to waking up on the wrong train
in Rockaway or Park Chester
back to asking someone their name
while I try to slither out the door at sunrise
back to making my living breaking my body,
gnoring my heart.
Sean H. Doyle lives in Brooklyn, NY. He works hard every day to be a better person and is learning how to love himself more. His book, This Must Be The Place, came out from CCM in 2015. For more information on Sean and his work visit his website at www.seanhdoyle.com or follow him on Twitter @seanhdoyle