No Homo and Other Poems
by Ollie Charlies
[cw: sexual imagery]
have you ever heard a man say,
i listen to will young,
but i’m not gay,
just because you read men’s health,
doesn’t mean you have a six pack,
in the sweat smeared mirror,
at the local gym,
hearing ay your arms look tight mate,
and you enjoyed being stared at,
or watching angelina jolie,
in a tight tank top, shorts,
doesn’t mean you’re a woman,
or you raid tombs.
there’s no empirical data that correlates,
listening to will young,
or watching say rupert everett,
aren’t we all homo?
homo from the latin,
to mean man,
which in itself is troubling,
because why is the homo sapien,
when we aren’t all wise or man?
don’t get me started,
on the homo erectus,
in my eyes,
you don’t stand upright.
and homo from the greek,
to mean same,
as in homosexual,
as in the same as you.
but why do you get to choose,
which root you can shame me with,
if we all come from the same root,
if you have the science,
to show a correlation between listening to will young,
and being a homo,
please show me.
there you lie
on the cusp of it all
glen, not yet a man
in your number ten
taut skin, flat stomach
the shiver of anticipation
which surges through me even now and
in daydreams, flesh i can touch
and should you wonder where people go when they die
you drink up till morning
lost in the clouds of the dark night sky
lost to the hands of the bogeyman
lost and falling through nightmarish lands
blue tracksuit till my eyes are lost
wondering what lies beneath
the folds of the material
awash with expectation
a small waist to make my hunger grow
call out in the darkness
rubbing through the fabric where i reveal all my secrets
still soaked in the morning dew
with the same leaking
and the same shame
and the contempt of calling out your name and
placing my hand
on your cold, hard flesh
and remembering we are most likely doomed
take off your top, your blue tracksuit
that thin line of hair from belly button down
and still i fall and fold and find myself beneath your layers
lost still to the bogeyman and the nightmare of it all
for glen lantz, the third victim of freddy krueger
i quietly close the door,
it’s open just a creak,
just enough so i can hear anyone outside.
i can turn the monitor off, close the windows quickly.
i’ve memorised the keyboard shortcuts
so i can minimise without even looking at the keys.
i can erase my entire internet history.
i can leave no trace.
with the tap of a key i can log out of msn messenger
and no one would know i was there.
but sometimes i’ll get up the nerve
to type into the search bar:
[name of actor] gay
[name of actor] nude
usually i’ll end up downloading,
a fake picture from a forum,
someone’s used microsoft paint
to cut out gary lucy‘s head
and stick it onto a naked body.
i’ll stare at the picture for a long time,
to try and persuade myself that it’s real.
or they’ve grabbed a lo-res screen shot,
from that adam rickett music video,
where he’s naked in a perspex box,
and if the lighting is just right,
my imagination can run wild.
or elliott tittensor shameless,
running about in his boxers,
his seraphic smile and curtain like fringe.
and if i pause it just quick enough,
robbie williams rock dj music video naked,
his hairy chest and
the tease of his dark pubic hair,
just before he peels all his skin off.
and i examine pictures from films i’ve never seen
that i return to time and again;
linus roache robert carlyle kissing priest 1994
marc warren lee williams no night is too long 2002
luke treadaway paul nicholls clapham junction 2007.
and i try hard not to think about these searches too much,
not that i have anyone to share them with.
it doesn’t seem right,
until the next time i stare at that flickering cursor on screen,
beckoning me to
Ollie Charles (he/him) is a queer writer who explores gender, identity, sexuality, celebrity and pop culture within his work. He is currently working on his first novel, a satire of the fashion industry as well as his first poetry collection. Ollie is a placed writer in the 2020 streetcake experimental writing prize, features in Inkandescent’s upcoming short story collection, MAINSTREAM and was published recently by Lucky Pierre Zine. Ollie is also co-founder of Untitled, a literary salon for underrepresented writers as well as co-editor of Untitled: Voices, a global online journal, launched during 2020’s lockdown.