Three poems from Adam Falkner’s “The Willies”

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JOEY FROM DAWSON’S CREEK WAS MY BEARD which if you don’t know means she was my prom date / my monster truck / my main squeeze rumor swatter. All I had to do was leave my locker ajar for her scotch-taped image to yell to all of B-Hall that there was nothing to see here after all just Joey at the end of a dock / Joey in a field of daisies / Joey in Bobbi makeup ads and stepping onto a red carpet / Obviously the gayest thing ever but let me get to the point: Joey wasn’t real except that she taught me how simple it was to hide in a look / and a laugh / or to hold hands at the back of the bus / kiss in the smoky basements of parties / on the hoods of cars in stadium parking lots or for how to say faggot and how to avoid the boys whose air I could feel come off them / and toward me / when they walked. Another way of saying this is god I’m just so sorry. There were just so many. And I didn’t even watch the show.


NO ONE SAYS BE CAREFUL HOW YOU SURVIVE because that’s not how survival works. Be careful what you wish for maybe or be careful how you treat people but never watch out for what you do to keep breathing because that just sort of happens. Another way of putting this: we get good at the things we get good at because they help us to not destroy ourselves and I suppose / if we’re lucky / someday someone pays us for those traits but once that happens / boy forget it. Once someone reaches out and says hey that thing you’ve been doing your whole life that’s made you hidden exhausted alone afraid we love it / here is your own theater courtroom classroom practice and whew / what a rush. Why wouldn’t I drink this in / stay right here on this carpet square / forever and ever / amen.


THE BEST QUEERS NEVER GOT TOUCHED: All you needed was a ball and group of boys who weren’t afraid / of violence. And it didn’t need to be a ball sometimes we used an empty two-liter or a shoe and the boys didn’t even need to be violent you could have just gotten a thrill / out of fearing it / but the idea was pretty basic: swarm and tackle the kid with the “ball” / who was the queer / and if they threw it before they got smeared then we scrambled to grab it and sprint away from the group in other words the point was to be the queer / and kill the queer. To crash your skin into a heap / of sweaty and grass-stained boys while avoiding being touched and I’d like to say I loved / escaping or running after and tackling but that would be a bit on-the-nose because duh / we get it / I mostly just wanted to belong in the hunt without hunting / or hurting / or knowing.

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