TYLER GILLESPIE

Disciple (a self-portrait)

from "Disciple"
 
You have
AIDS,
 
the man
screams
at me
 
as he walks
across
the down
town street. 
 
I’m
at a friend’s
pride
party.
 
The day is
beautiful.
 
Light cuts through
buildings:
 
celestial
geometry 
 
makes me
want
 
to stay –
 
to never
be any
where
else
but
 
here.
 
I know
the man
would like
me
to lose
my
 
cool. Make
me
less than
 
& put
me
back
in my
place.
 
He’s followed
by abt ten
 
other men,
only men.
 
These guys
show up
at LGBT
 
events
 –
parades,
bars,
rallies,
& funerals
 –
any
where they might
be heard.
They’re annoying
 
& most ppl
don’t take them seriously.
 
You deserved AIDS,
the man yells at me.
 
& right
now
somewhere
 
a boy
is beaten
 
for his lisp,
& some
where
 
a boy
is beaten
for his hips,
 
beaten b/c
he didn’t
keep
 
a straight
back.
 
You nasty
homo,
the same
 
man screams.
 
Another disciple
holds
a sign,
it says:
 
No Homo SEX
 
in yellow block
letters
on a black
background.
 
He
that is
w/out
sin,
 
it says
in John,
 
let him
cast
the first
stone.
 
Don’t give
 
them
any energy,
says the cute boy
 
my friend
wanted me
to meet. They
feed –
 
he’s cut off by:
faggot,
 
you deserve
it. The boy
is right,
 
I know,
 
but
for a moment
I think
this disciple is, too.
 
So many
years ago
my Southern Baptist
 
high school
made me
 
sign
a
morality
contract –
made me
 
consider
my body evil:
 
They called it
sin.
 
I have since
painted
crosses
 
on my
forehead
 
written
Bible
verses down
my arms
 
& made
peace
w/ my God.
 
But I’m shaken
for a
moment
 
when this silly
little man
w/ a sign
 
turns me back
into the boy

 
who dodged
stones
w/out ever


once
thinking

 
he didn’t
deserve
to get hit.