Love Me Black

“What’s a good wine?” My brother asked almost immediately after I answered my phone.

No break.
No waiting for me to say, Hey what’s up?

We speak in person on major holidays, we text occasionally to remind each other that we’re proud of each other – corny brother shit – but we talk to each other on the phone never, and I don’t take it personally.

I love him and (not but) our lives are completely different. He’s a personal trainer who has a huge social media following primarily of gay men and overweight women who leave heart eye emojis under his comments for him to not respond to.

I’m a gay writer/artist thing attempting to…well…….I have no fucking idea what I’m doing, and I’m doing it.

He is the first person I’d call in a bar fight, but probably the last person I’d call for anything else, so if he’s calling me the situation has to be dire, my answer is probably contingent on  his way of life and I’m concerned what could be so pressing that he had to call me to tap into my area of expertise? Mind you….wine isn’t my expertise, per se, but I do drink my thoughts a lot.

“Is she Black?” I asked.

Again, no break, we’re in our healthiest years. No sense in wasting time on discussing the minor details when we could be using that same energy to navigate a capitalist structure that has reduced our bodies to quantifiable objects used in facilitating productivity all so we can go make money for the one percent and occasionally find time to buy cheap wine to impress cheap women who can’t love us properly.

…..This is why my family doesn’t call me often. I keeps it real.

But back to the point of Black women, which doesn’t matter to me except it does a little. My younger brother is an okay guy. Once as a child, he carried a dead squirrel in a shoe box home from the bus stop because he couldn’t fathom the idea that it was going to die on the side of the road alone.

Yes, time, energy, and social constructs turned him into everything I think is annoying about social media, but all-in-all, he’s a decent guy. He’s also teachable, and most importantly, he can un-learn, which is more than I can say for a lot of these niggas.

“She’s Asian,” he replied.

Fuck, I said into the receiver, mostly to myself, and for a bunch of reasons. The first being that Asia is huge and in it are plenty of countries and cultures, so she could very well be a Laotion refugee with all the information I currently have, again, not that it would matter except in the normal way race pervades every crevice of everyday life. No big deal.

The real issue is that sometimes I’m scared that he doesn’t like Black women. He’s a few women in at this point. No long-term relationships but short and sexual ones with women whose names I never needed to bother learning; girls with unimaginative waist length hair who wore Adidas tennis shoes. Girls whose interactions with myself or my mother made it quite clear that they never loved a black person before – just black dick.

I don’t feel responsible, but I do feel guilty. Which, on the list of effective emotions, ‘guilt’ falls pretty low. It hangs around ‘tolerant’, another ineffective emotion. Together, guilt and tolerance sit around not doing shit, so if I can feel something else, I try to.

To be fair, I don’t have any history with the Black Panther Organization. I waited until I was in my 20’s to go to a Historically Black college after years of beating off to blonde haired blue eyed ‘hunks’ with generic white first names and zesty last names. Johnny Danger, Chad Vicious – corny shit like that. I ain’t know any better. There wasn’t a lot of gay black shit around. I used what I had until I got what I needed.

Just a week around a campus of brown men who loved brown skin influenced me in a way a decade of pale and plastic porn couldn’t. White stopped being the object you chased after and wanted to be, it became an after thought, the last resort, shit, even the punchline sometimes.

Loving Black was different. You ever fucked someone whose mamma was a pastor and daddy wasn’t ever home? You ever danced on someone whose church ain’t know where he was last night? You ever laid in bed with someone asking ‘who knows you’re out?‘ y’all laugh claiming that nobody back home does and the sound of your shared laughter makes you feel less lonely for a second?

Ain’t nothing wrong with other types of love. I ain’t really nobody no ways. It wasn’t nobody’s business whose legs I got in-between, and so long as it’s consensual and everyone is old enough to sign their own permission slips, it ain’t really my business whose legs he finds himself between.

I will say that loving Black has been one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever been able to do and who the hell knows, I know I might find a wholesome white boy one of these days. I’m not against it. The kind that likes books and has a jazz album collection. The kind that already has a few black friends and knows how to keep his nose outta black folks business. The kind that knows big black dick is more of a legend than it is true, but every legend has a bit of true in it.

“Cabernet sauvignon” I suggest. Maybe reluctantly.

If he don’t love Black women already, he will.
I had too many years of people telling me who to love and how to love them and none of it mattered until I found my own reasons why.

…and perhaps that’s the real challenge.

Train of Thought

“I’m really just looking for someone I can build with.” He said next to me on the train. Half an hour ago, we were complete strangers, and I was hoping maybe an hour from now we can go right back to that.

He boarded the packed train going to the city my parents live. I left my car their for repairs a couple of weeks ago, which isn’t information that ought to interest you. I am highly aware you are not here to listen to my story on car repairs.

“You mind if I sit here?” He asked.

My system for speaking to people on trains is quite simple. I don’t unless you’re an elderly black woman. I always have time to make conversations with elderly black women. Listen to me – they have the answer for everything. It is to your advantage to sit your ass down and snap peas with them while they talk about whatever the hell they want to talk about. It is your universal duty to just listen.

In 2018, I’m open to being entirely wrong, but he appeared to being neither elderly, nor a woman. Something taller than six feet and ashy around the elbows, he took the seat without waiting for me to even ignore him properly, just like ashy people do.

He told me his name was Kris.
I removed my earbud to act like I didn’t hear him talking to me and I needed him to repeat himself.

The gospel truth is that I wasn’t listening to music to begin with. What I did is called a ‘power move’. I let him know without explaining that I am not listening to him, and when that ear bud goes back in, regardless if I’m listening to Tchaikovsky, death metal, or the sounds of my own precious thoughts, I will not be partaking in a conversation with him.

I shared a name with him. Perhaps it was mine, and maybe it wasn’t. Kris will not know.

Before I could place my earbud back in, he apologized for smelling like weed. I did not care that he smelled like weed, which he absolutely did. I did care that he was cornering me into a conversation.

He asked me questions that I usually only have to answer on a FAFSA. If I go to school and where, what I study, how many credit hours am I taking, He asked me about work, what I aspired to do. After long enough, I gave up the idea that I’d just enjoy a quiet ride to my parents home.

That’s when he got me.

“How have the guys been here?” Kris asked.

Gay dudes are slick. Gay nigga’s are twice as slick as the average gay dude. You gotta be careful. One minute you’re having a harmless conversation, the next minute you’re fake adding his number so he can text you ‘wyd’ every half hour for two days straight, and then somehow you find yourself sucking musty dick in an apartment with no furniture.

I inspected him closely. I’m not sure where this conversation is going. I thought I was just sitting in this seat quietly minding my business, I guess I really underestimate how visibly gay I present in everyday life.

“I don’t get involved much.” I said casually laughing off the conversation and suggesting in both tone and delivery that yes, bitch, you clocked me, and we should discuss anything else.

He went on about his type. I didn’t ask. He fucked some guy in some frat. Didn’t ask about that either. He asked me about my type.

“I’m just focused on developing myself.” I said.

Yes, I laughed to myself when I said it. Single bitches love working on their spiritual lives or being on some ‘I’m just focusing on me right now’ bullshit as if I wouldn’t change my entire tone in Alfred Enoch walked on this train and confessed an undeniable attraction and wanted to get to know me better.

But you sir, aren’t Alfred Enoch. You are some invasive train-stranger who has inserted himself into my space and business when I didn’t invite you to either of those things.

Go find someone you can build with, you wanna build so bad. Go bother an engineer or architect, construction worker, or a box of Lego’s – I don’t care.

 

 

 

 

Fine.

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The world is getting less fine, I think. I can’t quite calculate the current amount of fineness and compare it to the amount of fineness of the eras past, but something happened. Men ain’t fine no more. They all look dusty. They don’t even smell good. Back in the day, men would smell like decisions you knew DAMN well you shouldn’t make and you just made em’ anyway. I miss those days. Fine ass boys, fresh ass haircuts, licking their lips between their sentences. Moisturizing the lies they tell.

Boys looked you in your damn eyes. Fine boys KNEW they were fine, and would just be fine in your face just because they could. It’s a rule of being fine. When you’re fine, you can linger around, waste a little bit of my time. I’m all for it. Now boys got social anxiety and shit. They get all shaky instead of just having a straight forward conversation. They want your number so that they can text you all damn day.

they wanna “what chu up to?” you to death.

My favorite part of being young was watching fine men wash their cars on Saturday morning, playing R&B music so loud, you’d think they were trying to turn the whole block into sex. If memory serves me right, they did it all shirtless, wearing only loose basketball shorts, with their tight muscles and tattoos of things god ain’t never said, ever.

It was wonderful.

Imagine my damn disappointment when I got to adulthood only to find out most of those men either died or went to prison, and in their places were corny ass dudes who listen to mumble rap and argue about dumb shit in the comment section of youtube videos.

I miss fine boys. I need fine boys. I didn’t envision I would spend my life with any of these fine boys – that’s not what fine boys are for. The only folks who try to turn a fine boy into a good man were sad women who learned to become close friends with own misery.

Fine boys just made you feel good. With just a linger in their stare they could make you feel alive. A flash of a pearly white smile on deep brown skin could make you think all is right in the wild world.  The flexing of dark chocolate pecs as they soap up the exteriors of their usually Dodge Chargers wasn’t just a weekly routine, but a meditative art.

I am not capable of solving every problem in this world, but I think we would see a few of those problems solve themselves if fine ass men would come back again.

 

 

 

 

 

Spare Me Your Romance

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I know roses are the thing. It’s the gesture. I get it. I don’t, but I do. Roses. Love. Romanticism. Mmmmmhm. Original. Yes. Thank you. Mind you, I have zero vases, but whatever.

It is my major character defect that I am just not particularly romantic. Romance, as we understand it, ain’t for everybody, and it ain’t really for any of the bodies that I’d like to involve myself with.

“But why not?” a friend of asked me months after his partner cheated on him and left him with an incurable disease. No shade. I only say that to say romanticism will have you out here fucked up and being fucked up ain’t really my thing, personally, but don’t listen to me. Live your best life.

I’m practical to a fault, perhaps. So I argue that it isn’t that I’m NOT romantic, but I think I’m differently romantic. I saw an older gay couple at the bookstore I work at. They seemed to be closer to 50. Like if I mentioned Grindr to them, I’m sure they’d probably think it came from Crate and Barrel.

Anyway, one of the men approaches the counter with his book, and I want to say it was  David Sedaris book, but my mind could be making that detail up. Before I could finish ringing it and stating the total, his partner already had his wallet out and credit card ready for me to swipe.

That shit was sexy.

Fuck am I supposed to do with some roses?

Pay for my damn books – let me learn something new with your money. That’s my kinda romance. I’m tired of not having the money to not buy every fucking book I want because I have to be responsible an shit.

Keep all the fancy gestures to yourself. I’m not too worried about that. Save it for someone new to this love thing, someone who comes from a family of folks who didn’t tell ’em they deserved to be loved, and now they start crying anytime someone remembers their birthday or what song was playing that one night.

Please. Save yourself the embarrassment, spare me your romance. It’s just not my thing.

My thing is sneaking wine in water bottles into the movie theater. That’s my thing – it’s not a sexy thing, but it’s my thing.

My thing is Shel Silverstien poems and siting on my momma’s screened in patio ’cause you can hear the frogs clear when the sun sets.
My thing is the punchline of a joke days after you told it. My thing is midnight runs to the grocery stored for something obscure: Lemon squares. Kaiser rolls. Apple gummy rings.
My thing is irreverent Saturday morning cartoons, and then a brilliant documentary right after. My thing is a silent Saturday afternoon off when I’m (…guess what) reading. My thing is organizing a playlist before a long car ride and games of where where you when:

Usher’s Confession album came out
9/11 happened
Obama took Office

My thing is my first cup of coffee in the morning and the sounds of James Brown to start my day. My thing is crying when I remember my old teachers – great teachers – who said good things about me long before I understood them, and recalling folks who loved me long before I even realized it, and left before I had the good sense to say thank you.

The point is there is an infinite amount of romantic moments in my life, most of which might happen on accident.

Please, do not interrupt those moments with your corny ass and unoriginal roses.

Plum Smut; a Rough Concept

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This is JUST a magazine mockup. Look, sometimes I need to see some shit to believe some shit. 

in the most BUCK WILD of my imaginations, I want to create an independent gay erotic magazine. Growing up I was OBSESSED with porn in this weird ass way. I didn’t need to beat off to pages of airbrushed titties, but I liked the idea that a whole world of fantasy was happening in this secretive way that people universally enjoyed and nobody talked about.

The men I knew liked porn. My father collected it despite my evangelical mother, my friends dad “secretly” stashed copies of Playboy in the bathroom behind the toiletries. An older relative, a sort of Casanova, seemed to have a thing for gang bang stuff. It was filthy and fascinating to me. Something about it all gave them relief outside of their own worlds.

When I was perhaps too young, I came across my uncle’s collection of Japanese porn. Hentai. It was amazing. Not just in the sense that cartoony characters were doing dirty shit, but I was trying to wrap my early teenage mind around why THIS specific kind of erotic content helped him feel understood.

Look. I was a complex ass child. I’m a complex ass adult. Even now, ‘sex’ involves me pre-screening and asking my partners a million questions and trying to make the connections about who they are and the erotic shit they keep quiet about, and most importantly, why.

From an early age I had this idea that our ‘fantasies’ and ‘erotic interests’ are cool ass other-worlds of our own making. Our erotic interests can be places where we shake off the dust from our obligations, and duties. We get to leave behind imposed rules of what is ‘appropriate’.

Yes, pornography can be dangerous. Yes, it can fuck up our expectations about sex and connection. Yes, pornography can become addicting and more short-term gratifying than actual sex. Every good thing should happen in moderation and many bad things happen in excess.

But I also think those places of erotic exploration are important. I think people should explore fantasy in a way that empowers them instead of creating weird societal shame. I’d like to use my own variation of creativity to explore that for myself, and also help folks make those erotic connections in themselves.

Shit, maybe it’s my erotic fantasy to get people to understand their own erotic fantasies.

 

 

What Had Happened Was

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While at home and visiting my folks I had the chance to sneak back to a little spot around the warehouses where all them sassy men used to meet.

The whole city’s different now. They have LGBTQ centers and shit, packed with community information. Back in the day you ain’t have no damn community information. You had craigslist. You read the Men For Men section and figured out where men who touched other men hung out.

After reading those posts, I’d put on a trucker hat hiding most of my face, wear something that made me almost unidentifiable, and take a bus just to get there. Sunday’s were the best days. Sassy boys get horny after fake being in church all day.

They hang halfway out the window of their cars, large sunglasses on their face, kids prolly at home, yelling at you, asking you what you plan to do later tonight.

Nothing about me was all the way grown yet. I was scared as hell. I’d look over, smile nice, and keep shuffling along. No plans of stopping any place in particular. No plot to stop for anyone in particular. Just moving through – the young ass, scared ass thing I was.

I watched a lot of the gay movies growing up. The ones where white boys, (usually from England) find each other in places like these, they somehow fall in love, kissing all over each other with their pink, lip-less mouths, and running their hands through each other’s wet stringy hair.

Maybe I thought I’d find that shit around here. When you’re young, you imagine a lot of dumb shit might happen to you. You sometimes forget a city bus is gonna take your broke ass back to your mamma’s house, and don’t none of them frail ass white boys think you’re pretty.

“Bitch Don’t You Hear Me Yelling at You?” a man, maybe three times my age, yelled from a sedan on one muggy Sunday afternoon

I knew I was in over my head, shit, I was asking myself just how gay am I, really? Like maybe I’m just not gay enough for this shit. I kept on shuffling until eventually I caught my city bus and went back home, acting like a whole entire grown man wasn’t tryna welcome me to the strange world of strange men. Sometimes I wonder what could have happened if I stopped and answered him.

Sometimes I even fantasize about outcomes.

I’m grown now. Everything about this place has changed. There’s a juice spot, across from some condo’s that look like an overpriced game of tetris. There’s a yoga and wellness spa. A brown haired white woman who looks like every brown haired white woman smiles and says hello while she passes me.

and I’m standing on the sidewalk wondering what the fuck has happened.

 

 

Everybody Wanna Be A Freak

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I heard from an outside (which is what people say when they’re nosy, but don’t want to appear nosy), but primary source, that a friend of mine prefers a variation of sex that’s “too rough”.

I haven’t brought it up to him, mostly because that wasn’t my business in the first place. Let’s be clear. So long as it is consensual, and everyone is old enough to sign their own permission slips for field trips, I truly and utterly could not give fewer fucks.

My friend is attractive. Perfectly symmetrical face shape, defined jaw, all of those small details science and media favor and convince us are somehow important factors in relationship compatibility. It is also 2018. A year in which everyone is beautiful on the surface but harboring shame that none of us will talk about openly.

Which is to say, I’m sure he’ll be able to find some other 20-something willing to be slapped violently and perhaps pissed on as the two of them come (not finished) closer to uncovering dark parts of themselves they need to heal, or express, or both.

I only know so much about my friends sexual practices from conversations. I know he doesn’t see a reason to put his dildos away when I come (I just love to pause right after typing that) over. He knows that getting caught writing erotica at 13 years old means that I’m wildly secretive about anything sexual I do, and never, ever mention people I’m sexually involved with.

I know he gets bored of men after two solid months, max.
He knows my ideal ‘type’ has consistently been tall even though I claim to only choose ‘based on personality’

which…yeah……is mostly bullshit, but also kinda true….technically I’m paying attention to the personalities of people taller than 6’3.

He knows being anally penetrated is a ministry some are called to, and I know it’s important to walk in my unique calling, which definitely isn’t that.

I say this to say we know quite a bit about one another sexually despite never having been sexually involved before.

What I’ve never expected to happen was to overhear a yelp review from one of his previous sexual partners; a mutual friend. And let’s specify what type of mutuality:

If I saw this person while running errands, I’d smile and wave, but I definitely wouldn’t stop anything I’m doing to make a conversation. I cannot tell you this mutual friend’s last name or backstory. In fact, the ‘friend’ in ‘mutual friend’ is a misnomer. We are mutual. We happen to know a few similar people.

So what is my responsibility here? Perhaps I should go back to my friend and just casually let him know that some boy whose cheeks he’s clapped and name I can’t all the way recall might need a little bit more lube than they’ve been using.

I should do this in the name of friendship. It is my duty, nay, responsibility to the community, to remind him that while he’s pounding these boys down and making them feel all the things they’ve shut down due to probably unresolved childhood trauma, he should, even occasionally, ask his partner if this is working.

I settle on a close option.

I figure everyone’s a damn adult. If you don’t like the way your booty hole feels three days after hitting my friend up on a phone app suggesting you’ll ‘find friends in your area’ but really end up sucking local dick on your block, say something.

Use your people words.

If it hurts, say it hurts, say it right then, and say it to his face.

Everybody wanna be a freak. Everybody wanna be grown. Nobody wanna speak up for themselves.
 

 

Spoiler: There’s No Such Thing As Boy Things Or Girl Things.

As a child, he had learned dolls were for girls.

As a preteen of the earlier part of the new millenium, he had relearned that dolls weren’t for girls. These plastic playthings were packed with harmful messages (both overt and covert) that had the capacity to ruin the divinity of womanhood.

As a functioning adult casually browsing crap television in 2018, he learned that dolls were for both girls and/or boys and/or any of the genders that loosely existed between those binaries – which were in no way static, but fluid, and the pronouns associated with said genders should be asked prior to addressing said person(s) in an effort to not invalidate said people(s).

As a grown person paying rent and minding his own black ass business, he figured the last thing he needed was media explaining who should do what about anything, and maybe we should stop prescribing shit to genders in the first place and chill out with the gender revolutions meant to appear inclusive but really just sell us more shit we barely needed to begin with.

You might be surprised how cognitive people are with very little assistance or interruption and might be capable enough all on their own to decide if shit works for them.

 

 

 

Rough.

48CA3ADC-85DE-4D59-9A25-43BE4EDBD87E.JPGHe was an older queen.

Like maybe he just started exploring this thing. Maybe he waited long enough for his parents to croak and kids to get grown and stop calling. Some people do that, and I don’t judge one way or another. It’s not really much my business.

“You sure got a lot of holes in them jeans..” he groveled. Took me a minute to figure out he was being light-hearted. I just smiled nervously with my face half cringed until I was sure.

I feel well past the age of being openly hit on by men that don’t mean me no good. That would have worked much better on a version of me that wasn’t even twenty yet; Back when I was watery eyed and glad that anyone, anyone at all, stopped to make a conversation with my gangly self, too dark, and too weird to hit on all out in the open.

Damn near thirty, now. You missed your chance. I’m out here liking me and shit. Know damn well that I ain’t got what folks like, but the shit I got is still some good shit. Great shit even. This shit got me through some stuff, and maybe I’m working with a little bias, but I think I’ve got the best damn shit I’ve ever seen.

So there I am rough shaved, in yet another button down, and a pair of jeans I’ve got to answer for anytime I show up in front of anyone’s elders, pair of plaid boxers showing underneath the distress of my denim, also revealing hairy brown legs, I don’t shave, ’cause I don’t care.

I’m still there, half-smiling and reading his intentions forwards, backwards, upside down and inside out. Ain’t nothing wrong with watching if he wanna watch – I’m not gonna lie, I don’t mind the watching  – even feels a little nice.

His eyes scan me over, and over before he asks my name.

and I tell him.

even give him my real name.

He tells me his. I repeat it just so he has the memory of me saying it. He can do what he likes with that however he wants to. I don’t mind it none.

He asks me where I’m from. I tell him where I’m from.

He tells me where he’s from. Small town, somewhere in North Carolina. It’s someplace I ain’t ever been, and someplace I won’t ever go. He tells me about all the boys there, good ole’ southern boys, work hard, play hard too, even though they play a little rough.

He laughs at his own joke. I laugh at him laughing at his own joke. He’s alright.

Glasses sliding down his nose, and khakis a size or so too big. I can’t get a solid read as to what his intentions might be, so I can’t say he’s doing anything wrong. Not like I’d have any idea what I’d do if he did start to do anything wrong. I’m not even sure what actions would qualify as doing something wrong. I just know wrong when I see it.

He asks me for my number. Right there in the fruit aisle of the grocery store. Talks about wanting to talk over dinner. I’m a people person in the most general way, and I don’t have any reason to not give him my number.

and I don’t have any reason to not consider a dinner.
and I don’t have any reason to not consider a conversation.

So I do it.

Even tell him I’ll wear better jeans.
He tells me these are perfectly fine.
 

Some Bodies

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I already know what it is,

and he already knows what we’re doing.

If you wanted this to be something sugary and sweet you could have called a lover, but you didn’t. You called me in the middle of the night knowing that I was going to cancel a whole night’s rest, and fuck up my entire tomorrow in advance.

When I get there, we share a cigarette.
He don’t waste much time stripping down from work clothes. Unlatches his shoes, unzips his trousers. He’s anything but shy and parts of him half-hang out of his underclothes, finally relaxed and free after a long ass day where ain’t nobody said thank you, where ain’t nobody asked our black ass opinions. Folks don’t even look you in the eye.

He says he doesn’t care much. He shows up when he’s supposed to, and clocks out when he’s done. He knows how to get by.

I’m mouthy. I’ve been mouthy and I’ll be mouthy until my time here on this earth is about done and that’ll probably be the reason I leave. Too much mouth for the job,

but just enough for him.

He knows better than to listen too carefully when I fake complain about getting his call after midnight. He smiles while I rant and pulls one more cigarette from the pack and lights it with a loose match he retrieves from his trouser pocket. We share this one too.

He only tells me about his day if I ask specifics, and he only answers in two or three words at a time if he has to.

What he will do is let me talk endlessly about whatever the hell I’d like ’cause I’m the one who left my apartment after midnight. and even if he lays around almost dressed, he never rushes me into anything, even though we both work early tomorrow.

I think he’d be alright if I just came by to smoke all of his cigarettes, so long as I looked him in the eye and made him feel like a person while I did it. Let him know I see him there looking good and smelling like work.

Remind him I know his middle name, and that I know he ain’t really moving back to where he came from.

He ain’t going back to dating yellow girls from good families and smiling pretty when they talk about children’s names.

Ain’t nothing back there.

and shit, not much here either.

But at least here, for just a couple hours after we smoke and do grown things men do, but never with each other, he feels like somebody,

and maybe I feel like somebody too.