Searching for Myself in the Open

by Darren C. Goins

Looking for a big gay city in
a big Southern city leads a
boy from the biggest suburban town
to a collection of neighborhoods

From the sky above, Atlanta
is an oasis of cosmopolitan riches
isolated from the deep South by
a rollercoaster of Interstates and
small streets

In the heart of the city is an end up
neighborhood where all of the other
gay boys and butch girls can feel at
Home in a state where there are too many
homeless

I discovered the landmarks
the way most people discover
things worth seeing in a city
by getting lost and finding
people
who speak my language,
who walk my walk,
who hear the slow drip molasses sound
of where they are from and know that itís not
a heartbeat, but a symptom of whatís wrong
in most of this country

slow thinking

slow movement

slow biorhythms that threaten to come to

a screeching halt

My journey to self
began in a gayborhood that felt
promising in my twenties and late teens

Midtown folded me in when I would let it

Mainly on Friday and Saturday nights
in smoky bars, strip joints, and dark discos
with endless corners and icy shadows
where I could disappear like a phantom
and reappear like one of the many
unicorns in a field of stallions

When I was young and twenty
I tried to hide my horn under sacky clothes
a dowdy jacket
baggy jeans
totally unaware
That by the way I spoke
The way I walked
And the way I heard
made the horn gleam in the night

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