Lavender Menace

I remember catching glimpses of it growing up,
brazenly displayed on the shelves of little indie book shops –
Butt Magazine,
a title so queer and unapologetic my pulse raced.

the covers graced by models captured raw/hairy/nude and always smiling unabashed.
long before I knew I was their brethren,
they called out to me,
artists, poets, musicians, all queer men.

and now that I have grown
the time has arrived like a rite of passage,
a collection of their greatest hits living on the coffee table,
all my very own.

Almost 30

Let your mind roam

to all the places you were never meant to go

all the rules you’ve broken

Non, je ne regrette rien

not a single lover or friendship laid to rest –

not a breathless night lost in karaoke

cursing, crying, drowning pain in whiskey

dancing in the wilderness

wild child running through the city

For that’s the charm of growing up

there are no real mistakes

just research

as we descend (into madness)

read me, scrawled out like half-finished poetry living in the margins of your favorite book

leave me – tea stained, dog earred, worn and re-examined like its pages

take me, as once I was, am now, and will be
there is no in between, no settling
(recite it like an oath)

poison dripping from their tongues as they kiss our feet yet inside they’re all just dying to feel some semblance of complete

rapt from the moment you walked in
fear no man and no opinion

letting your love abound instead of waiting for the world to love you

tenderness

soft slow kisses
our hands interwined, holding onto the moment our cells meet
skin caressing skin

when those compassionate eyes lock in with mine the tides rise, the sun sets, the city stands still

adventure with you takes form in multitudes
a trek through the wilderness, a trip across the country, an afternoon letting honest lips betray secrets

no mystery in our love, it overflows like the big brass horns on an Ella Fitzgerald tune

arrives warm and sweet like bubble baths and dinner paired with merlot over candlelight at home

in the end it all comes down to this, you’ve enraptured me in with your boundless tenderness

reset

scraped knuckles, teeth clenched,
notes crinkled, piled up in the waste bin.
half-finished thoughts and ill-conceived poetry
lines circled then crossed out in runny ink,
a once gifted orator with mouth now devoid of the right words.
so easy to emanate kindness, yet so hard to reserve a little for yourself.
every day a battle, finding healthy outlets for anger and pain, healthy ways to feel good,
even if it’s only fleeting.
After all, if there’s one thing you’ll learn (again and again), it’s that nothing is permanent
except chasing light through the endless darkness,
shouting out after love and happiness.

Biden, Buttigieg and the Death of Identity Politics

Before we begin and for the sake of transparency on my biases, allow me to provide you a brief review of my background: I have studied political science and am currently wrapping up an undergrad degree in criminal justice. I am a black, bisexual, cisgender male who has been happily married to my white, cis male partner of six years since 2017. My partner and I are both liberal millennials (in case that wasn’t already obvious); however, I would like to make it clear that I do not personally identify as a democrat. Being a liberal though, I do plan to vote for a democrat in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. I’ve chosen to do so as I feel the policies set forth by the Dems have been slightly less disenfranchising than that of the GOP (and let’s face it, we all know that U.S. elections are a two-party system).

Now that my background has been established, let’s dive into the grit of this opinion piece. – Billionaires like Bloomberg will not be getting my vote. I’ve also already ruled out casting my ballot for Senators Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders in the primaries. In terms of Harris and Booker, while I would love to see another black candidate for president during my lifetime, I firmly believe that the era of identity politics is dead and find myself unmoved by either of their platforms.

Concerning Sanders, unfortunately his recent heart attack has eliminated him as a serious contender. Frankly, myself and many others in the young voting public want to feel confident that our next President can endure the astronomical levels of stress and demand that is sure to accompany the highest office in the land. Regarding Amy Klobuchar, Julian Castro, Marianne Williamson and the eleven others currently running, it is ever-so apparent that they simply do not have the funds nor the name recognition to actually win the democratic nomination. That just leaves Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and Pete Buttigieg as the only viable democratic candidates.

On paper, Biden seems like the clear and obvious choice. He has been the front-runner for the Dems pretty much since the day he announced his candidacy (with the exception of slight leads by Buttigieg and Warren), and not without good reason. Biden is tenured, charming, and personable with the added bonus of having a very famous black friend in former President Obama (lest we forget). In short, he is everything white baby boomers have been dreaming of. Unfortunately, through numerous gaffes, Biden has also revealed himself to be slightly offensive and painfully out of touch with party progressives.

Buttigieg possesses the polish Biden lacks, but none of the charisma. Further still, I can find no compelling reason to back Buttigieg other than the fact that he’s a veteran and a fellow member of the LGBT+ community, and as I stated before the era of identity politics is dead. When comparing Buttigieg and Warren’s platforms, it is evident that Warren has a more robust plan to address healthcare, immigration, unequal taxation, and LGBTQ issues (including the public manufacture of PreP). For me the choice is simple. In my opinion it would behoove either Sanders or Buttegieg to consider joining Warren’s ticket rather than moving forward as her adversary, but time will tell.

Regardless of whom the democratic nominee winds up being, it is my estimation that the impeachment inquiry and ensuing trial (if there is one) will only bolster Trump’s popularity and secure him another term. That’s not to say that the inquiry was unnecessary, it is just evident that the media spectacle surrounding the President (from the hot mic ET moment to the affair with Stormy Daniels) has merely galvanized his base.