There’s lots to be said, for friction. A cheek
(Itself, tongue in cheek) abrasively scrubbed
To the kiss, stubble grating; lipstick parting
Uncanny draglines over the kissing-wound.
She brushed on her eyebrows, staring into the
Smoke-stained mirror: a man emulating
Someone else’s Aphrodite. I can’t remember
Her stage name, but Aphrodite was at least
Part of the pun. She turned to me: or rather,
Shot her eye-shadow at me in reflection,
Still applying her makeup: and said,
I’ve had to wade through so much
Human shit, to get to where I am today,
In her makeshift dressing room of the Seven Bells
Where the basement was haunted by beer keg clangs
And an uncertain audience, somewhere by the bar.
Her boxers were scrunched, a bouquet to the self,
On her dresser. I’ve encountered resistance
And pushed, and better still I’ve pulled, my love.
I left her to her mascara: though adoring, unwilling
To intrude on an impersonal secrecy;
The philosophies of drag artists, who
Have made a life of resistance an art in itself
And, before a neon-stained mirror, apply a wad
Of bruise-red lipstick to slanted mouths,
Slurring at me sideways a mother’s wisdom.
Drag artists have always been an inspiration to me. I’ve never done it myself, but I am still left largely in awe. Some of the strongest, bravest, most honest people I have ever known have been drag artists.