Three Poems-Justin Holliday

Knives Buried in Law Books

To Every Legislator Who’s Ever Wanted to See Every Queer Dead

I want to break off a pen in your cheek
and watch blood vessels burst and trace
a cobalt ink spider web radiating
toward your mouth. I will hold back
no spit, no insult as this scene unfolds:
you can’t believe it, this penetration
sweeter for me than any French kiss.
Your shock won’t allow you to feel
my irrevocable touch except in slow motion.
You can’t taste my saliva mixing
with ink and blood, an ichor
vital for the reforming of your face.

The spider web folds in on itself,
a refraction of the pen sliding inside you.
When you feel with your tongue
the hole slashed through to the teeth
exposed like barnacles or back room deals
with the 700 Club or Jesse Helms,
time rights itself, and you can finally
open wide and scream, tearing the web
further, inviting insects to feast on gums
and decay. To feel your tongue poke through
is to feel the pain of every queer
the first time he’s called a faggot and beaten,
the first time she’s called a dyke and beaten
while you denounced all of us
from a politician’s pulpit.

Every line this pen has written on your face
is a toxic grocery list, an itinerary
of every law that said I could not live
without being arrested. I could not love
without being arrested until 2003
when blowjobs and anal sex became safe for all
but not for the men and women incarcerated
because you mangled them with law, slicing
them away from themselves. So I’ve torn you
a new asshole for you to spew shit out of.
Become the god of the smegma holocaust,
and I will be here to stab you again,
a matching wound on the other cheek; a match
to erase this stink doesn’t exist because
you might have used knives to open up
my brothers and sisters so that you could peer
inside so-called illegal, perverted bodies,
but I’m the motherfucker who’ll cut you up
and leave nothing but the ghosts of every queer
man, woman, and child to watch your carcass,
a sticky reminder of flies’ attraction to traps,
slump to the filthy carpet.


A Sacred Affair

Let’s be honest: when I wanted you to fuck me
I wanted it to be beyond adultery,
something holy like candles slowly melting
on your altar. I wanted to be the perfect
phantasm, not just a man but a man
you have dreamt of for years: hard
stomach, tight thighs, hairless chest.
All you wish for wish a lie
like the absent creator you stopped believing in
when you almost drowned in a swimming pool
not long after I was born. There is nothing propitious
in this though I can’t swim. By the time
I was reborn, my body a vessel for a god to fill,
you agreed with your husband:
both of you could see other men.
Five years later you meet me, show me
the signatures, and I believe
in your vow, a heat that knows no age.

But if you remove my clothes, you will not see
the body you seek, stained with pimples
red and sensitive, my torso missing
the six pack abs you assume I have. The patience
of imagining your mouth opening into an O
upon removing my shirt kills me.
Will it be lust or disdain? The first time
I let a man touch me, I kept my shirt on,
my pale legs swathed in candlelight. I wish
to believe that you could find something romantic
beneath this skin. I wish to believe
I am more than some god’s abscessed creation,
pimples ready to burst and coat you
with indelible stains. I wish for you
to break off all of the buttons
and throw my clothes, throw me down.
Let me enunciate the sacrament:
I am no more a sacrifice than I am
a saint. If you fear what I am, pretend
this is a museum where all bodies are
sterilized, hidden behind the histories of
suicide attempts, locusts, and broken pyramids.
I will spare you the horror show, leaving you
with only the fantasy. I will cut a hole
in my pants, hold still once I turn away,
and become my own creation, a cloaked statue,
unblemished and sanctified by your hands.
Let me believe this is love, not just sperm
finding their way to freedom. In the soft light
you will then zip yourself up
and leave me dumb as wax.


70 Confessions

The top of the manuscript was rendered illegible after it slipped into a bubble bath.

  1. I always let the water run when I check my Facebook account.
  2. I changed my Facebook profile picture to Charles Baudelaire after I read The Flowers of Evil.
  3. I thought it was Baudelaire until a friend IM’d me while I was bathing: That’s Lord Byron.
  4. My status was splenetic for two weeks.
  5. I don’t have a Facebook account.
  6. If I had a Facebook account, I’d quote Aleister Crowley’s White Stains.
  7. I should have been his beloved, not his wife.
  8. I would have let him whisper his fantasies, his white-coated tongue scraping my ear.
  9. I would have gladly let him bottom for me.
  10. I have not fucked a corpse.
  11. I do not want you to think I am scared of getting my clothes dirty.
  12. I spend five minutes and thirty seconds brushing my teeth every day.
  13. I want to have fresh breath because I think someone will finally kiss me.
  14. I would have kissed Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed.
  15. I would have shaken up high school with my 25 year old girlfriend.
  16. I would have gone to prom with Aleister Crowley.
  17. I would have let him kiss me although his lips rotted off decades ago.
  18. I am not a necrophiliac, nor do I display necrophilic tendencies.
  19. I do not hold candlelit vigils at tombs.
  20. I do not like scented candles.
  21. I let the wax melt onto my hands when I hold candles.
  22. I tell people wax torture is not one of my fetishes.
  23. I have considered pouring paraffin on your naked chest while you are sleeping.
  24. I would pour it in the shape of a snowflake.
  25. I would lend you my toothbrush to scrape it off after it hardened.
  26. I have to brush my teeth after every time I drink red wine.
  27. I would need a couple of glasses of wine before I poured hot wax on you.
  28. I need to take a bath whenever I think of hurting others.
  29. The skin on my knees is chapped.
  30. I don’t listen when you tell me that’s normal.
  31. I secretly rub Chap Stick on my knees.
  32. I don’t listen when you catch me and tell me that’s not normal.
  33. I like to think I’m protecting my knees from melanoma.
  34. I don’t wear shorts.
  35. I don’t go to the beach.
  36. I think that any band from Florida plays beach music.
  37. I hear the sound of the ocean in my earbud when I play Decide because they’re from Florida.
  38. I am aware that vocalist Glenn Benton is an animal vivisectionist.
  39. I feel safer with Morbid Angel whose music washes over me like abandoned starfish.
  40. I am scared of animal sacrifice.
  41. I have not joined PETA.
  42. I am scared of scare tactics.
  43. I am scared of what Aleister Crowley would ask me to do on a date.
  44. I refuse to believe that if Drew Barrymore caught me with him, she would burn me alive.
  45. I have watched Firestarter 38 times.
  46. I do not know if she would throw punch in my face or just punch my face.
  47. I know that Aleister Crowley can’t die because he is already dead.

 My spirit guide Kathy Griffin has advised me not to list confessions #51-#66. These will premiere in her upcoming special Bitch, Please.

  1. I still can’t stop thinking of all the dates I never went on.
  2. I want go to a protest that promotes abstinence and have sex in front of the protestors.
  3. I lose faith when Christians protest mutual masturbation and knee pads.
  4. I only had 69 confessions but didn’t want you to think I was a pervert.
Justin Holliday is a teacher and poet. His work has appeared in Lunch, Sanitarium, Glitterwolf,Phantom Kangaroo, and elsewhere.

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