1. Don’t talk about it. Even if people were to listen, if they were really listening, they would ask why? Why would you want this? Why would you want to be anything other than normal? Why would you want to anger God this way? You know he smites those who waste their own seed? You know he smites those who do such an evil thing (as be anything other than normal, male, or darker than pale)? You will likely hear these things anyway. But, the reply will be instant. In the space between your syllables, they won’t hear or feel the static, the charge, of need. Not to belong. But, to be representative. To be recognizable. To be individual. They will lump you with others, those they deem sycophants, those they deem liberal, those they deem unsuitable for the use of God’s first breath. They will tie you down with your argument. They’ll spark the flames with the friction of your own words.

2. Don’t be obvious about what you are. A confederate flag vipers itself from the back of a raised pickup truck. People joke about the Klan in public, as though they are not aware they still meet, as though they are not aware that they don’t just kill darker angels. They kill a broad spectrum of love’s messengers, toss their haloes in dumpsters and keep feathers for dusting the loose flesh from their knuckles. Don’t wear any pride badges, flags, or the color purple. Definitely not the color purple. It is too regal and royal for you to wear in front of them. Why spoil the crown? Life is worth more than to be killed over a color, or a skin tone, or a preference, or a noncommittal relationship with either/or/all genders. They will only see your kindness, the diamond in your laughter, the giggle of guitar strings harmonically focused in your throat, the love-centered aura in your irises. Don’t be obvious. Don’t walk, talk, wag, eye-roll, lip-smack, chew, spit, smoke, whisper queer. They will know you aren’t one of them. They’ll honk at you from their truck. Yell for you to burn.

3. If you must hide it, camouflage yourself. Wear brands that ooze trucker. Wear khaki jackets in the winter. Wear blue jeans year-round. Don’t wear jorts (jeans clipped at the thigh). Wear boots (but not designer, cowboy or shit-kickers will do just fine). Wear the spice of cheap cologne or perfume (not the kind you wear on a date with the boy who sports the finest scent of freedom/not the kind you could kiss your girl all night just behind the ear because she smells like liberty). Learn to shovel. Learn to pump diesel. Learn everything you’re not. This way you can see how dull and deprived they truly are by not relishing in the options you have. You can wear glitter and still be saw-sharp jawline. You can wear Polo Black and be curvier than a 70s coke bottle. Learn to use a table saw or ax. Don’t wear Axe: nobody wears Axe. Learn to make the movement of raw, country swing. Learn to take a punch. This will come in handy. You can be handsome with a black eye or a scraped cheek. You can’t be handsome, fabulous, or beautiful if you’re bloody, black and dead.

4. Take up a Southern vice. This will also make it harder to discern if you’re queer. Queer folk don’t spit. Queer folk don’t brute. Queer folk spritely. Queer folk fairy. Queer folk smart mouth better with more words. Learn how to cuss an insult so sharp it only takes a split second of time to scythe a mouth to hang open. Beat them with a rhythm that only they know. Mow their bluegrass down to dirt. Then, smoke a cigarette. Marlboro Reds are the local favorite. Cowboy killers. They will kill you too, but will keep you under the radar. Spit after you exhale for those who see the shy eye you keep to the floor. Take up whiskey. So much depends upon the two ice cubes in the double well, ambered by the house whiskey.

5. If it does come out that you are queer, if it does come up that you kiss men or women and are a man or a woman, if it does come up that you love, even if it is different, remember your own name. To name something, is to give it power. To have a name, is to be controlled. Don’t tell them your name. Keep it like a coal on your tongue. They can only take what you have in the flesh. They cannot take what God has etched into this world.

Samuel J Fox

Samuel J Fox

Samuel J Fox writes poetry and personal/lyric essays. He queers the lines often and refuses to concede with social norms. He has been published most recently in Luna Luna Magazine and A Quiet Courage; he is forthcoming in Muse/A Journal and Glassworks Magazine.
Samuel J Fox

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