HE SAID, I LOVE YOU.
i heard: i want to peel you inside out,
burn the good stuff, stroke the bad.
touch you real deep, one to three fingers
then fist. wear you until it hurts.
cast away the parts of you that glitter.
re-seam what binds and call your body
my home. make you my new ho[p]e.
a [w]hole shivering, inviting destruction.
i said, fuck you.
he heard: if you touch me, i’ll sing
wet in your ears, tongue dancing to kingdom
come. you be king, i be dumb before coming.
i be the sweetest thing you’ve ever tasted,
hottest thing you’ve ever touched, but only
for one night, two max. but only if you invite
a third and fourth to play rough. when midnight
black turns blue, i’ll love you like your mother
never could and your daddy never wanted to.
he said, i love you.
i heard: you will die tonight in my open arms.
i said, it hurts.
he heard: i will live tonight begging you to kill me.
he asked, how much?
i said, too little.
my reflection: in the window, i stand shimmering:
my big lips, swollen pride,
and hips too thick for a boy, wondering,
shall i begin again, dear never-ending?
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.