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. 


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