On Faggotry and Disaffection
By Jamie Albrecht
Shame attaches itself to the blank page. Even the intimate pages of a notebook, cream colored, cooing, revile you before you begin. They loathe the markings’ coming, anticipating that their presence will overwhelm this tranquil absence. They fear the ink’s drying and call you a monster. A mark ossifies the endless field of possibilities, and you are left with a string of facts. You liquidate the page. You obtain a single value. This fact, the impressed curve of the first letter, haunts you no matter the need or bliss you encounter in this atomized knowledge. The ghost of your own shame will not leave you. The ghost of your own shame will follow the rise and fall and connection of letters; the ghost of your own shame will embitter each word it constitutes; the ghost of your own shame will propel your questioning. Shame has been killed at first inscription but its specter hangs heavy as eyelids. A constant hurtling is required of you dear writer, and you will come not to hate this hurt. Each twinge, each pang, is sung.
I sit close to the floor. 10:56 A.M. midway through March it is almost spring which makes the radiator’s brokenness kind of okay enough to make being cold kind of okay. It is warm 9 months ago. Is it okay to have purpled sheafs of skin flaking onto the purple sheets. It is dry as the gum and tooth loudly smacking over the phone because Emily called me unexpectedly. I roll my stiff shoulder and wipe sleep from my corners of my eyes. We’re both kind of pissed at the new two step verification to get into our emails. Now you’ve got to get into contact with a friend, one who might be drinking coffee and caught unawares with early and private yellow teeth. She has to ask her questions twice and drag my lagging mind along with her. We talk for a few minutes about not much before I hang up and sit back down close to just above the floor. Being able to step outside your body is a particular talent. A particular proclivity for ghostliness, the crick in your neck reminds you of many things. You have slept. You have slept at an angle. You have not been sleeping enough. It is 10:59 you have overslept.
When am I 19 years old in my parents’ house? It is August, 2018. I sprawl on the couch, absentmindedly scratching the top of my dog’s head. Rey’s balding in a little circle, the brittle black hair sheer over his grey skin. His flanks are thin as well. I know that his alopecia leaves him cold and nude and odd, but with his head cupped in my hand how could I not deliver on my part of our ritual. It is, for him, pleasure without shame. I scratch the top his head, and he trusts, purely, that there is nothing to look at. I wonder then if it is a half pleasure, as no current of shame punctuates his contentment. His pleasure being without grammar, he drifts in and out of sleep, in a single hazed state of affection. He keeps his eyes closed.
Yesterday, on the phone with Henry, 5:25 P.M. March 23 2019 he says that it’s always the same conversation on Grindr. It’s been inscribed. It has happened and therefore will happen again, the form barring content. How’s it goin? good wbu. good. into? top. nice bottom. host or travel? travel. i can host. nice. more pics? And then, pictures which dissect your body. A stranger may or may not show you their face. Their torso is more valuable. Their ass. Their cock. Body parts floating against a black screen, severed from any sense of a whole. Henry and I laugh; Manila Luzon’s husband asked him to be in a shady music video as a “representative of the twink tribe.” He didn’t respond. He hasn’t done anything with Grindr for a while, but still keeps it open, still uses its language of action and evacuation.
August again, Rey stretches and grumbles. He needs me to walk him up the stairs, past the puppy, and to the chair where he’ll curl up for the night. I go back to my couch and curl up for a while. I open my phone.