by Nathan Maradei
They scream along to songs they don’t know, couples
grinding and broomsticks shoved in the air to celebrate – we’re here
because we can be––nightmares in lipstick drowned in artificial fog
and eyeliner cobwebs misshapen by sweat –
Our voices sound loud tonight
after our decades of silence,
of lips sewn shut by the phantom hands of well-meaning villains.
She wasn’t wearing face-paint before I kissed her;
swaying to a beat not meant to be swayed to – her hands on my waist, mine tangled in her top-hat
brown eyes melting into forgotten names and black smudges on her collar
horse-shoe piercings trailing on my neck
and I whisper or shout in her ear before I have to leave.
Our voices sound loud tonight,
because we have them outnumbered.
And the days we thought ourselves straight are ridiculous history,
traded anecdotes to a six-foot-two Cruella DeVille
who rips off her wig to laugh at the cold.
As we dodge the loudest club yet to haunt the unfamiliar streets
anxieties shushed by company and Hamilton references
greasy pizza with cheese stuck on cardboard
We sit on a wineglass with an eye on the clock and trade sighs
over pointless romance and malfunctioning brains,
secret hospital trips and failed disaster attempts.
For all that we’re sober in drunk tilting streets,
pensive on stone benches littered with crushed cigarettes,
right now we’re powerful –
our footsteps still swaying as we grip each other’s hands through streetlights.
My voice sounded loud tonight,
when I came up with the courage to flirt with a Maths student in a top-hat
and tangle my hands in platitudes
I’m so fucking gay