I used to dig my fingers into the grooves of my belly and feel skin stretch inward, belly button sinking gut-deep, a few vertebrae in my spine beginning to dissolve like cereal in milk. By third grade, I could stick three fingers in deep enough to cave candy or cookies or crackers, stash answers to a test. My spoils of jolly ranchers and long division would stick to the walls, and I’d have to claw blood, sugar, and soap from myself, hair and skin tough and wet between my nails. By the end of that year, I could stick my whole fist clean through. Nobody could see the pocket-sized hole in my body, the missing mass between sternum and waist. I didn’t mind. Never longed for the pudge or the hunger harbored in flesh. I thought it normal until one day an almond-eyed boy begged me to let him explore the recesses of my body. He stripped off his clothes and asked if I wanted to make myself a mirror for his longing. My dry mouth gulped and I felt my thirsty head nod. As he stripped off my clothes, he asked me how did you get this hole? His fingers traced the circular crawl of my skin. He dove his hand into me, through me, as I watched his abdomen flex white with laughter. He kept reaching and reaching until he was shoulder-deep, the side of his white face pressed in the dark center of my bosom, reaching wildly, wildly and grasping nothing.
Get me a mic
A thick mic.
A thick slick mic.
A thick slick mic that makes me scream.
A thick slick mic that makes me scream and the walls seize
and break inside my throat. Break inside
my throat and plug it grave-deep
into my vocal cords. Wrap my thick slick
vocal cords around my fingers and gut
the grave of my throat. Make my body
a tombstone with a missing face,
a stereo with the bass
For those who love like a stereo, a tombstone,
every breath begins to feel like a performance.
Get me a thick slick mic, tense as body
thirsty for cigarettes. Tense your body
over my thirsty cigarette and let my smoke
fill you like a grave. I want to hold
a mic that close, swallow every thick
breath whispered over its steely head.
Get me a thick slick mic I need
to whisper into, need to bite for it to echo me.
For those who love like a cigarette, a whisper,
every word begins to break like a poem.
We are forced to ask ourselves, am I loud
enough? Am I being too loud?
Can you tell I’m queer by the way
I grip the mic? Do I hold it
man enough? Do I purse
my lips the way you like it?
I can’t say anything without hearing it
seize the walls, seethe my throat
with anxiety. Vocal cords wrap
into a noose. Lungs a stereo
with the bass knocked out.
If my haughtiness offends you,
get me a mic.
If my sexiness upsets you,
get me a mic.
A thick mic.
A thick slick mic. A thick slick mic to make you scream.
A mic thick and slick enough to stretch any asshole who talks shit.
A mic thick and slick enough to choke whoever can’t swallow my truth.
A mic thick and slick enough to fuck this whole shit up.
Willy Palomo is a McNair Scholar at Westminster College, studying English and creative writing. His side projects include translating forthcoming novel by Alfonso Kijadurias' Sivela and working as a research assistant for the editors at Kalina Press. Currently, Willy is applying for PhD programs in Literature and MFA programs with a focus in poetry. Willy hopes to eventually become a professor of Central American literature. His work has been published by Button Poetry, Scribendi, The 27th mile and ellipsis ... literature and art.