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Ptown July 25, 2018

By Tyler French

I was gelling my hair the morning before mounting the Pilgrim’s Memorial Monument
and I found a strand of yours in the blue goop, I wasn’t able to pluck it out so I slicked

the gel through my hair, forward from the back then up in the front and up again
and your black clipping was stuck in my cowlick for the day, I know it fell out

from a spot on your head I can see from behind, I’ve never told you that, and when I am behind
and inside, I try not to pull too hard on your hair, even when you ask me to pull

harder, when you give fully, I read the monument was erected in 1907, to give
remembrance to the first landing of the Pilgrims, an ancestor of mine was there,

and I climb to the top with you pasted to my head and I imagine you laughing
when I joke I’m going to jump, I’m sooo over this phallic nostalgia, these ghost boners, bloody

and bloodless staircases to what, God? The Heavens? Closer to the Clouds? You
told me you lost your body once, after we came, poppers on the sheets, and as you towel off

in the hallway I clean your hair out of the drain, tuck it into the silver trashcan and we check
Scruff to confirm we both still enjoy and have had enough of it too, 8.5”, rok solid, vers

tops, anyways you weren’t here to put sunscreen on my back at the Tea Dance
so I asked big gay Duke to do it for me and I giggled like the fern we bought from the

Home Depot does when the AC kicks on when he squirted on my back, and if I don’t die
from jumping (joking) I might from melanoma or the flight home or Lyme disease, the ticks

at the beach were vicious, honey, because I know my body will give first, ultimately
and when you read this poem, you will say, Fuck you, Tyler! My hair isn’t falling out!

and then we will have sex, because we haven’t seen each other for a while, and that
is what we do and you will remind me how I don’t know anything about the body and

because I am marrying (ha!) a dancer I should grasp how little poets know about the body,
the actual body, and its limits, how I have to tender your torn abductor over your head years

after it giving, how the arch of the tongue remembers that of the foot and how the pelvic floor
mirrors the ceiling of the throat and how your body continues to give to me,

how easy you make it look, this giving, a dam to a flood or a stone wall tumbling or the dunes
out here, how you willfully unwill the walls of yourself, how your body gives makes me want

a different kind of memorial, for us, for our kind, not a tower or a place to jump from,
but a hole, an opening, a way through.





Listen as Tyler French reads "Ptown July 25, 2018."

Added: Tuesday, September 3, 2019  /  From "He Told Me," (Capturing Fire Press, 2019). Used with permission.
Tyler French
Photo by Ben Carver.

Tyler French (he/him/his) is a writer, organizer, and public humanist living in Washington, D.C. He works in the arts and cultural non-profit world and writes about the arts and equitable community development. He is a co-creator and baker for Queer Cookies, a poetry series and bake sale supporting queer-identified poets. He has poems in Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, Beech Street Review, Bending Genres Journal, and Stoked Words: An Anthology of Queer Poetry. His first full-length book of poetry, He Told Me was published by Capturing Fire Press May 2019. When not writing, he’s dancing with his partner, Matthew Cumbie, and cohabitating with a 13-year old shih tzu named Lucas.

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