Poet of the Week: Darrel Alejandro Holnes

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I Always Promised I’d Never Do Drag

You liked me as straight as a man
in love with another could ever be,
and I did too. But you also loved
women, how their backs widen
where hips appear, how their necks
swerve like swans swallowing water
when they call your name,
their long hair stroking your face
as they wake from nestling
your chest the morning after.
So here I am wearing the wig I made
in the image of the blondes you preferred
but said you could never love, applying eyeliner
but not for it to run. I will never
love him again, I fearlessly announce to the mirror
as I beat my face with powder base into submission,
as if one could ever fall out of the hero’s arms
and not back into peril. Tonight,
for the first time, I dance to save myself
from distress, becoming the one woman
you’ll never have instead. Tonight, at the Esta Noche bar
in the Mission District, I’m distance. The closest I ever came
to doing drag before was when I was crowned prom king
but chose instead the queen’s tiara;
cubic zirconia somehow closer
to real than the king’s cardboard cut-out crown.
Tonight I’m Diamante, extravaganza eleganza,
a gurl singing shine to the Yoncé record,
declaring myself the Queen B of the Night, singing
take all, of me, I just want to be the girl you like, the kind of girl you like
sashay-shantae-strut-shimmy shining on stage,
dunking it like an Oreo, making the masses
shake they asses at the command
of the scepter firmly in my hand. A king,
I queen so hard my earth-quaking rule
breaks the laws of nature; flesh-colored spanx
and control-top leggings tuck it away
where the sun don’t shine;
a black lace-up corset covers the missing rib
but lets the rest of me hang out enough to werk
and soak up applause from an audience
who loves this boy dressed as girl,
boy dressed as girly man, boy dressed as man
enough to drag, man dragging on,
man moving on, man gone.


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