Toxic Masculinity Blues

Ben Fisher (Greensboro, NC)


No fats

No femmes

Masculinity above all else

I remember him saying,

“I want to date a man.

I have no respect for drag queens.”

Let’s be clear

The sissies and the fairies

Are the ones being beaten down

Down in the streets

These are the brave ones

Your toned Planet Fitness body

Might be delectable

You might not sashay

Like the queer coquettes

But this won’t save you

It won’t endear you

To the folks who believe

That your identity is a fad, a trend, a lifestyle

Passing for straight is a farce

Invisibility is not liberating

We the queers

We believe we are more highly evolved

But we absorb and inculcate

Norms, binaries, conventions

As readily as any other

Heed Jimmy Baldwin’s warning:

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth

I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed,

before I was able to walk

on the Earth as though

I had the right to be here.”

Will we vomit or will we simply regurgitate…

All of the filth

That causes us shame

That tells us to hate “fat” bodies

To hate femininity

Don’t all of us have a right to be here?