I did once. One of them, in his car. Before I knew better, so before I could write ACAB in snow on the hood of a parked cruiser. OK so we didn’t fuck, not really, but we came. He shot like a water cannon. He looked like a cop: square -jawed, soft -bellied. He was a state trooper, some -body’s husband. OK it was his wife’s car. It was the year before the year of all the shootings, so a year of shootings I just didn’t hear about. OK so I should have known better, he was married, that was the draw, not the cop thing but maybe I’m lying to myself. Every faggot adores a fascist etc. OK so it was Dana who wrote ACAB on the cruiser, in the snow. OK so he still texts me. Once a week, more. Haven’t seen him in four years, still the one-way chain of hey hi hello yo —OK so yes a few times he’s caught me cock-handed and I’ve sent a pic. He wants to know when we can meet again but the answer is never or, after abolition. And even then. I know a woman, a friend of a friend, who dates a cop and she doms him, puts her hand in him and calls it subversion. We judge her for it, for the dating not the fisting but what does he give up, when he lets his hands be the state’s hands. What did I when I let them touch me and got off.
I’ll never be beautiful the way certain men are beautiful: the tall boy at the protest everyone wants a picture of, who is the tall boy in all the pictures later. But I prefer imperfect men: short like me, or big-toothed, with a belly. Having sex with too beautiful a man makes me crazier than I am already when I make myself ugly willing otherwise: nails at my skin till it’s ruined, a field picked of its flowers. Not the least beautiful thing. But to say I’m more beautiful than some would be proving something, which the beautiful people I speak of never do. They are their own evidence. In college, I used to talk about beauty in therapy in terms of Occupy Wall Street, as an inequality: there was the 1 percent and there was the rest of us. Beauty was easy the way money was: not, and somehow all the more difficult for my relative beauty and relative wealth. I was stupid in college. What I saw at Zuccotti were people sure of their own importance, which they were, sure, but—they were important. Now I don’t go to the protest to feel beautiful, I go because putting my body there— even if I suspect my body there is unimportant— feels more correct than the alternative. More right. Not right dancing the other night, with the mustachioed man hard in hand already when he turned me around and I knew he wanted to fuck me, which ruined it, the idea alone. I’ll never be beautiful the way certain women are: my friends, and women I see on the train on their way somewhere, women who might take a man when they want, women who can. I could have been a good woman if I could have been a girl. But then beauty might have been a bigger problem, as men make it for women, unless still I’d have been better at it, performed better under that set of expectations. I’ll never be a good man. I’ll never be as beautiful as the Corpse Flower even, the one in bloom in the Bronx people flock to take pictures of— I’m one of them, though I am not one-half of one of the beautiful straight couples or one of the beautiful age-appropriate gay couples or the beautiful young lesbian couple who are never not holding hands. I’m not there alone, to be fair. I’m with a man who loves me —but not how I want it, not the never-not-holding-hands way— a man whose most beautiful years are behind him. His Most Beautiful was more than mine, which might also be behind me, though what is behind me is of no use to anyone, though men like to touch it and tell me what a shame it is not to be able to get in. If just one thing about me I will not change were different—taller, more man, more woman, a bottom— my body could be beautiful, I think, as a painter stands before their work searching for the source of their dissatisfaction. I know better than to believe fixing my face would fix anything else, but— Let me return to the analogy of money: it never belongs to you, so there’s solace in spending it, as my sadness might be softened looking down at my long, long legs.
and it was political. I made coffee and the coffee was political. I took a shower and the water was. I walked down the street in short shorts and a Bob Mizer tank top and they were political, the walking and the shorts and the beefcake silkscreen of the man posing in a G-string. I forgot my sunglasses and later, on the train, that was political, when I studied every handsome man in the car. Who I thought was handsome was political. I went to work at the university and everything was very obviously political, the department and the institution. All the cigarettes I smoked between classes were political, where I threw them when I was through. I was blond and it was political. So was the difference between “blond” and “blonde.” I had long hair and it was political. I shaved my head and it was. That I didn’t know how to grieve when another person was killed in America was political, and it was political when America killed another person, who they were and what color and gender and who I am in relation. I couldn’t think about it for too long without feeling a helplessness like childhood. I was a child and it was political, being a boy who was bad at it. I couldn’t catch and so the ball became political. My mother read to me almost every night and the conditions that enabled her to do so were political. That my father’s money was new was political, that it was proving something. Someone called me faggot and it was political. I called myself a faggot and it was political. How difficult my life felt relative to how difficult it was was political. I thought I could become a writer and it was political that I could imagine it. I thought I was not a political poet and still my imagination was political. It had been, this whole time I was asleep.