“Pardon my heart if it ruins your party”—Marcus Jackson
“if i were young / i wd stretch you / with my wild words”—Sonia Sanchez
Decades ago, then-Director of Central Intelligence Roscoe Hillenkoetter testified before Congress on why “homosexuals or other moral perverts” should not serve in positions of public trust.
This bigotry quickly spread to the entirety of the federal government & became official United States policy.
Heterosexuality is so brazen.
I. Homosexuals experience emotions “as strong and in fact actually stronger” than heterosexual emotions.
2006 & you’re still skinny. You don’t show up at camp. We go to Dairy Queen for vanilla soft serve
II. Homosexuals are susceptible “to domination by aggressive personalities.”
You say take risks with your writing but write abt Sunday roasts & farmers markets. I steal your vodka
III. Homosexuals have “psychopathic tendencies which affect the soundness of their judgment, physical cowardice, susceptibility to pressure, and general instability, thus making a pervert vulnerable in many ways.”
Blowhard boasts abt being recruited by the CIA right out of college. “Aren’t you a fag?” someone says. Blowhard stops in his tracks, considers his gay partner, his gay chickens, his gay life. He sheds a tear
IV. Homosexuals “invariably express considerable concern” about concealing their condition.
You like Snoopy & I don’t know why. We’ve had a good run, 10 years. We hope for better things
V. Homosexuals are “promiscuous” and often visit “various hangouts of his brethren,” marking “a definite similarity to other illegal groups such as criminals, smugglers, black-marketeers, dope addicts, and so forth.”
I will CREATE a POEM so CHINESE oh you’re off to see your sleeve of wizard
VI. Homosexuals with “outward characteristics of feminity—or lesbians with male characteristics—are often difficult to employ because of their effect on their co-workers, officials of other agencies, and the public in general.”
Penetrate your layers lick those pores clean I am befuddled get on the tables the floor is lava
VII. Homosexuals who think they are discreet are, in reality, “actually quite indiscrete [sic]. They are too stupid to realize it, or else due to inflation of their ego or through not letting themselves realize the truth, they are usually the center of gossip, rumor, derision, and so forth.”
Show me your seat of majesty your theory of beauty hell for you go to hell
VIII. Homosexuals who try “to drop the ‘gay’ life and go ‘straight’ . . . eventually revert to type.”
Chanson de geste I creep on your friends’ IGs to catch glimpses of you come on I’ll fatten you up Hansel & Gretel
IX. Homosexuals are “extremely vulnerable to seduction by another pervert employed for that purpose by a foreign power.”
Like a champion greyhound I’ll run till my lungs collapse
X. Homosexuals are “extremely defiant in their attitude toward society,” which could lead to disloyalty.
He is slow as molasses but burns bright as a hot plate thru oven mitts
XI. “Homosexuals usually seem to be extremely gullible.”
Thinking abt David Beckham & his Minnie Mouse voice shush baby let me in
XII. Homosexuals, including “even the most brazen perverts,” are constantly suppressing their instincts, which causes “considerable tension.”
I am not perfect for example I sometimes have ingrown nails & eat so much lasagna my eyes seal shut
XIII. Homosexuals employed by the government “lead to the concept of a ‘government within a government.’ One pervert brings other perverts. They belong to the lodge, the fraternity. One pervert brings other perverts into an agency . . . and advance them usually in the interest of furthering the romance of the moment.”
Children are taught how to ostracize they learn how to hate for example I know nothing abt sports but I hate Cleveland sports
We need a government where we don’t have to depend on the mercy of bureaucrats or the kindness of strangers
Christen me with your loins as I salute death
A Lambda Literary fellow, MICHAEL CHANG (they/them) is the author of two previous collections of poetry. Their poems have been nominated for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, & the Pushcart Prize. Their collection CHINATOWN ROMEO is forthcoming from Ursus Americanus Press.
Photography by: Scott Rodgerson