This Gay Club is My Church and other poems 

by James McDermott

[cw: light sexual imagery]


He made me queer   this gay club is my church

I come religiously

I come for confession   I come for confirmation

I come for love   I come for communion

I come to praise Him   Him   Her   Them   Me   Us

I come to worship our Lady Gaga

I come to sing hymns to The Madonna

I come to dance   I come to bask in light

I come to cast away the devil shame

I come to kneel   I come to kiss his ring

I come to take his flesh inside my mouth

I come to feel him   enter me   I come

to feel him   inside   me   I come

to feel him   move in   mysterious ways

He made me queer   this gay club is my church


sat with my boyfriend in the bar   I watch

the man with his girlfriend   naturally

I think   are you both cis   what are your names

he looks like a Dan   she looks like a Kate

where did you meet   on Tinder   at uni 

in reception over PVA glue

you’ve stuck together since   at a works drinks

in Spoons   you were put next to each other

you’ve stayed next to each other since   have you

got a cottage   mortgage   Corsa   two kids

are you in love   are you in debt  are you

cheating   and then   I see you   look at us

me   my boyfriend   then say to each other

I wonder who’s the top and who’s the bottom




by the strip club on the club strip

after playing in a gay bar

I play straight and play small

as I hurry home alone through club land

lower my gaze

lower my head

to raise my life expectancy

then I feel him

his eyes like sniper dots

walk my queer body like a prison guard

and then he’s here

in front of me

like a landmine

our eyes lock like

boxers before a fight

lovers before a fuck

I try to see myself in his

eyes but

I do not fit in them

and yet he fills my eyes

armani uniform

sandbag belly

barbed wire hair

eyes like shouts

teeth like bullets

his beer breath invades my nostrils

he’s drunk

on masculinity

and then he roars

in a voice louder than a football chant


and he draws his arm back

all the way to the nineteen seventies

then releases his caged dog fist


do you like me

kissing you?

do you love me

doing that?

do you want me

to bottom or top?

do you want to move in

to the bedroom?

do you feel

ready to come?

are you close?

are you there?

please don’t go

and slam the door on your way out.

James McDermott is a 26 year old queer poet based in Norfolk. His debut collection ‘Manatomy’ is published by Burning Eye Books. James was shortlisted for Outspoken’s Poetry Prize 2020 in the Performance Category and long-listed for The Winchester Poetry Prize 2020 judged by Andrew McMillan. Twitter: @jamesliammcd Instagram: jamesmcdermott1993