Woe Unto You, SonsL. Lamar Wilson
I. You can’t cry blood, Daddy says on the ride home from school. I sulk, face in hand, & recall the locker room circle. Yes, I love hopscotch. No, I don’t want to, you know, her. His laughter slaps my cheek like an open hand as he pats my shoulder. Learn to lie, son. I lick the salty stream as it drips from nose to philtrum to lip. II. Send out your sons, the men of Sodom insisted. Inhospitality? Or the sin of knowing please will never do? What is the sin in wanting – not the pulse of a man – but the satisfaction of making disciple of his nameless back or mouth? Take & eat, they said then in that alley, they say in locker rooms & warehouses & dance halls now, darkened to shroud shame. Marvel at what is left when flesh becomes adornment. Generations of men focused not on the firmness of their feet but the assurance in the grip of I got you, baby from the latest cynosure who’s taken Daddy’s place, the ones who can’t forget the legacy of flesh burning flesh: a pat of a shoulder in the bathroom, a belt cracking, cracking. What’s my name, boy? What’s your name, boy, what’s your name? what’s ... III. Stop! Drop! Shut ’em down, open up shop! Cloaked in pitch, mid-stairway, I watch the maddened writhing in the Palace basement. DMX grunts over my head. My niggaz is wit. You want it? Come get it. Took it, then we split it! You fuckin' right, we did it! Hips & biceps wend & flail, shake the faggot out on the dance floor above, grind him to bits on knees & backs on the filthy cement floor. I want one back, one mouth, to melt into an O & call my name, to claim mine as his. I am not welcome there or here. I leave with one whose real name I do not know. I kneel before him, lick the salt from every inch of his flesh. Then, open as he comes again & again. The scars, leaching afresh, burst as I fall, face first, into the pillow, each memory, not feeling the scrim of safety tear, the skin against skin. Never soon enough, time topples onto itself, the sun exposes us, entwined, behind his bedroom’s shades, & the wounds crust over, steeling me into what feels like a kind of safety. * The title “Woe Unto You, Sons” is a remix of a refrain in Matthew 23. The lyrics in the club scene are from DMX’s “Ruff Ryders Anthem,” his hit from his 1998 major-label debut, It’s Dark, & Hell Is Hot.
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