CHURCH SIGN READS

the most powerful position is on your knees. momma says, tell me somethin’ i don't know. my
twelve-year-old self says, huh? her response: back hand raised, a collective moment of silence. hand
on hip, waving the heat she didn't ask for. like all black mommas in the deep south scorned by the
hot sun, she says, didn't I tell yo ass to stop askin’ me so many goddamn questions? gon’
somewhere—get outta of my face. translation: i love you, even when it hurts. even when i don’t know
how to love you. even when your hips sway, flaunting sugar-laden curves that no boy should be
born with. your body: a drum that can be heard for miles. your burden: the moment boys’ heys turn
into harm. your cross: the hands of men, a violent “no" on repeat, like when you really mean it. like
when they don’t care you mean it. like when they don’t care, period. your past: casualty and victor;
your present: perpetrator and victim; your future: a new divine trinity, in the name of the father-less,
forgotten sons, and the hoe-ly spirit; in the name of masc, son, and femme; in the name of all that is
holy with holes, empty while full, and considered far from worthy. a(ll)men.

 

Keith F. Miller Jr.

is an award-winning educator, artist, and researcher (queer)in(g) the Deep South whose work explores masculinity, sexuality, intimacy, and art as a form of resistance, transformation, and healing through trauma. Founder of The Pillow Talk Project, he interviews men around the country—and those who love them—to redefine masculinity and rediscover everyday intimate conversations as activism and healing. Keith has been profiled in Scalawag, Savannah Magazine, and AfroPunk and his creative work is featured/forthcoming in Proem, The English Journal, Strangers in Ink (2016), and /masc: Conversations on Modern Masculinity. Keith has a B.S. in Gender Studies and Dance from Northwestern University; a M.S. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and he’s an M.F.A candidate in Creative Writing at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY.