by Leslie Anne Mcilroy


Prejudice soapboxes keep shrinking.
The you’re-less-than-us stampede
can’t feel their toes. Some of the
smear, fear, and cheer campaigns
have cut some of the chains from some
of the doors while many fringe-wing
platforms are being disassembled
and reassembled for tonight’s equal
rights rally. The bolted chairs of the
in-betweener’s and the I-don’t-like-to-
get-involved’s have unmoored and are
mingling outdoors with the glitter posters
in the red light district still seeking a seat
at humanities table to share their wears.
AIDS is the new (hom-a-nid) hominid elevation.
In-service is the new breaking bad.
Love is scripture fulfilling its purpose.
One wins. All win. Like GLAAD. Like rad.



Thirteen years ago, I fell for a two-tone house, an acclivitous back yard, an older man, and myself. Neither in this particular order nor with any ease of acquisition. But they did happen. The front yard needed refurbishment. The landscape beds craved river rock. The six trees with overhanging branches required pruning. And two, naughty arborvitae blocked the living room window from viewing the street. So I paid a tree service three-hundred dollars to come dig, carry, and haul them away. The age of wanting to stare out the window at the street is coming, and I can’t have two naughty arborvitae blocking my view.

First, I met the neighbors Benny and Donna and their chirpy little dog, Socrates. Benny asked if I had a wife. His name is Glenn, I said. Benny frowned and Donna offered a right hand.

Second, I met the neighbors Scott and Katherine but not their kids, a pair of twins named Paul and Saul or Chip and Kip or some rhyme-scheme derivative. Katherine asked if I had a wife. His name is Glenn, I said. Scott cleared his throat and Katherine giggled.

Third, I didn’t meet the lawyer-saint neighbors — Mr. and Mrs. Homophobe — who lurk across the street in a white salt box with black shutters and a peeling-oak front door. No welcome to the neighborhood. No apple pie. No equally-cut brownies. No invitation to the annual summer block party which The City Journal calls a community unification project designed to empower citizens to become watchmen, partners, and friends. The lawyer-saints did not agree, looking away whenever I tossed a wave from the same mailbox attached to the same red, white, and blue pole I painted every July: a proud American, like them, I hope. Maybe they’ll move. Maybe they’ll change.



What is the poison of me
that is no poison at all?

What is my unlawfulness
sequestering my kind
again and again (and again)?

What is the hell of me that could
be heaven if I just wasn’t so me?



“Homosexuals miss heaven.”

Oh, how my parents beat & bruised.
“Christian, Normal, Christian.

And if you are not,
then you’re no son of ours.

No faggot for us will do.

Is that how you want to live?
Is that how you want to die?”


But wait, there’s a ringtone,
a text, a knock at the door.

“And if you are, then
you’re still our son.

No faggot for us will do.

That’s no way to live.
That’s no way to die.”

5.    HALLOWEEN 2010

Two fog machines puffed scary smoke into the concrete porch. Add spooky music, strobe lights, and a healthy dose of yarn-knit webbing, our house was an eerie place to trick or treat. My makeup and cape sequins had congealed. Damn it, if I wasn’t the best looking groovy-afro-devil ever. Inside the door, I held an orange bowl brimming with mini-snickers, lollipops, and multi-colored gummy bears. A batch of pirates and fairies ran by, but not one plastic sword or glitter-wing-ballerina rang the doorbell. I turned off the lights. I turned them back on. Be patient. They’ll come. A bunch of Superman’s, one springy-faced Clinton, and two matching bees flew down the street. I grabbed the bowl and pressed an ear against the door. No chime. No knock. No smell my feet. No I want something good to eat. I opened the door—all appeared well as hell. I restarted the music, which blared a little loud, but so what, so did the lights and so did I. A pack of teens in jeans burst down the street. “They’re way too old,” I whispered. I’m right here, I thought. No jean came to the door: not a small one, not a tall one, nor one as big as a ball, rejecting the fog machine and the crinkly-wrapped candy I’d bought for them, not for me. An hour raced by. Nothing. No one. Nil. I brought in the speakers, turned off the smoke machine, and slammed the door. But I left the lights on. Just in case.



Celebrate the gay in the gayness.
It’s okay. A lot of people are doing it.



Don’t say faggot, unless you’re smoking a cigarette or buying meatballs in London—queer,
say remarkable instead — flamer,
unless you’re confronting a hot mass of burning gas—butt pirate,
unless you’re friends with a Pirate whose name is Butt Pirate—pedophile,
healthy gay people, like healthy straight people, do not molest children—unnatural,
we’re some of the most eco-friendly people in the world—immorality,
unless you’re name-bombing Al Qaeda — degenerate,
unless you’re going blind — bull-dyke,
that’s just awful — cock jockey,
nobody under the age of 96 says that anymore—butt buddies,
if you have a need to quote South Park — light in the loafers,
talk about cliché — sodomite,
okay, yes, some LGBTQI people have anal sex, call it that if you must—homo,
unless you add sexual and say it with respect — fairy,
unless you’re Tinker Bell or some other Disney character with wings—fruit,
seriously, grow up — queen,
unless you’re addressing her royal highness, Elizabeth — Mary/Nancy,
unless those are their God given names—pansy,
really? — back door bandit,
unless someone breaks into your home via the back door and then by all means yell, scream, do whatever it takes to get the back door bandit out of your house. Duh.

Actually, don’t say these words at all.
Say hi. LGBTQI people respond well to hi.



From Main Street to Duck Dynasty,
the Earth belongs to Venus, too,
every ring, gold circle to blue air,
serves as a symbol and not as a
simulation of a marriage commitment
that isn’t based on sex or those who
choose to have it with men or with women
or with less than two or with more than
five, but with love, life’s longest migration
pointing us to be kind, I beg you, for in the
end we are all the same vernacular,
hair, water, pestilence, tissue, tears,
bone, and synapse: a click and a flick:
a mug and a slug: a storehouse of
dreamers dreaming dreams of acceptance:
dais to apex cheering for everyone:
the bi-tri-curious
the transfigured
the scissor sisters
the cut it straights
the reds to the violets
the grahams to the sims
the closeted marrieds
the openly hags
and the wonderful gay
is the wonderful me.
let me say it again —
the wonderful gay
is the wonderful me.

Photo of Samuel Cole

Photo of Samuel Cole

Samuel Cole lives in Woodbury, MN, where he finds work in special event management. He is a poet, flash fiction geek, and essayist enthusiast. His work has appeared in many literary journals. He is also a prize-winning card maker and scrapbooker.