top of page

POETRY FOR MY BOYS

A SMALL POETRY COLLECTION

BY KEELEY YOUNG

 

        table of contents

  • dress up

  • interlude: Rapunzel

  • my depression 

  • all I do is think about the inevitable 

  • LOVE LETTERS

 

  ...

 

dress up

I’ve started to see myself in a costume shop, trying on all the disguises.

imagined myself happy with the silence.

or happy and fearless of forgetting what it was like to be loved and acknowledged.

I found a crumpled hat in the bottom of a wooden chest

and it reminded me of a fairy tale.

a storybook promise to never be lonely,

never be depressed,
never think I was wasting my time trying to think positive.

I fitted the hat on my head.

I thought maybe it could be like the girl who travelled the globe

with a pair of slippers upon her feet. She had whimsy.

I didn’t feel any different.

 

costume stores should make me feel different.

should make me think different.

when I was a little boy, dancing around with a lilac sheet wrapped around my body,

I didn’t need the costumes.

I had the imagination.

I imagine if I had hundreds of identities at my disposal, would I choose something different?

Don the hat that makes me embrace the witch.

I can cackle, you see. I can boil, you see.

My disguise could just be the expected.

pretty, maybe beautiful, but troubled.

I want to ball my troubled and stuff it down somewhere private, forbidden, buried.

there’s none of that luxury, there’s no actual costume chest, I’m left with the burden of my thoughts, the pangs of wanting to be with you but also wanting to hate you for showing me you can exist in your life without putting much effort into loving me.

 

I once heard about this eclectic hoarder who was struck with a choice:

be with the woman you love, or keep your cheap, plastic, costume jewellery.

His clammy palms snatched at the air for the necklaces, the rings, the tiaras.

did he want something that could never leave him?

until the links snapped.

whenever I want attention, do I just want delivery expedited?

I spent the evening with people younger than I am.

Friends, strangers, boys with glasses and regrettable singing voices.

I think about kissing someone else because I hate myself.

I think about kissing someone else because I start to think I was wasting my life when I was the same age as these twenty-year-olds performing musical theatre ballads.

He’s watching me, but barely.

how long would it take him to realise…

if I put on the disguise, slipped down the hall, house keys in my pocket,

heavy, heavy stone tied to my ankle.

wearing the hat.

 

 

      ----

interlude: Rapunzel

it worries me to think I will always find a reason to try to escape.

like I treat relationships as if I am a Stockholm-syndromed Rapunzel in a tower,

as if I am helpless because I like to pretend I am.

I like to be anxious, nervous, frivolous with fear and loathing and asexual-lust.

 

 

the truth is none of my relationships have lasted because I don’t want to spend any amount of time being unhappy with someone. on the occasion, sure, I get broken up with, typically because they don’t want to spend any amount of time being unhappy with me. sometimes we just need to make sure we’re not destroying one another. you know how unhealthy it can be to keep someone locked inside a tower and shelter them away from the world, from what they could be experiencing without you tying them down. I guess I panic and start to think I’m the Mother Gothel of it all. all the boys in the world deserve to be running in the woods and all that shit, and I deserve to die.

 

nope, that’s too dark.

 

              ----

 

my depression

my depression is ugly but it can paint pretty pictures.

I see myself, albeit somewhat different,

somehow changed, in tasteful nude artwork with someone who won’t criticise me.

not for my unwillingness to sleep with him,

not for my unwillingness to stay with him.

maybe I would say, hang this in a private art museum.

maybe I would say, forget this memory. 

maybe I don’t speak, and I do so comfortably.

this pretty picture is a mere distraction.

I’m not in agony, I’m not being painful.

I don’t work a job. I’m not shaming my mother.

this pretty picture is a tincture.

patchwork, a bandage, a moment I could never live in forever.

when would I write…

when would I do anything.

 

my depression is ugly…how ugly is he!

narcissistic, bitter, regretful, poetic.

a daydream calling for its tab, some unpaid misery.

I’d like to paint in the trees. colour the leaves.

build a room out of maroons and sit down to read, to write.

I am a creative, I can figure my story, write myself out of the holes, fix my anxiety, create an alternate personality (just to be happy)

I thought I learned to stop calling myself ugly. I thought we rewired my head with all that electroshock therapy.

 

I repeat like a mantra,

I am not my depression.

it isn’t all that convincing.

 

    ...

 

all I do is think about the inevitable

the basic conundrum is that I want attention, connection,

like it is a core element of how I exist with my limited time on this earth

yet I have enough of an understanding of my psychology, messy mentality,

to think the eventual truth is I’m only chaotic energy.

this tug, mud smearing the body, always gives me a mutated pause.

I have this sick image in my head of myself bare-assed in a hotel room bed, squashing my junk on the mattress, loosely wrapped in a sheet.

I’m with a man.

fuck he is beautiful

and fuck there is someone else inhabiting my body because the me is sounding so different?

he doesn’t have the mannerisms I realise seconds later are like brash bird warning calls.

oh how he looks like me, in bed with whoever I have some unattainable lust for in the moment.

lust in translation = I want to want to inhabit my body for everything.

or nothing.

 

without giving it much nutrients at all, I am waiting at a train station looking hopeless.

end of the movie, end of Before Sunrise,

they don’t reunite the six or so months later because I have all of my fucking insecurities.

    1. no one will hold me, because mixed signals are confusing.

we get it. I can’t control the boner in my pants when all I want to express is how comforted you make me feel. I’m just a scared twenty-three-year-old boy who, you’re right, went through puberty in high school.

    2. no one will hold me, because they will want to suck my cock/eat me out/rearrange my bowels

I try to reposition myself. Flirt to a degree, master the art of being a mysterious little cretin. DON’T make promises you don’t want to keep, because gay men are only forgiving until they’re not. Or that’s just people. I’m terrified of people.

    3. no one will hold me, because realistically I can’t have six boyfriends that have to go looking elsewhere for sex.

I dwell in the friendship circle, bearing my chest, glancing away from commitment. Aren’t I trying to avoid an MRI registering a tumour?

 

I want to tell you a story, because I got a degree in creative writing and I love to brag about that. Sometimes I think I’ve been allocated one truly exciting milestone in my life, and it took me six years to accomplish and it doesn’t necessarily indicate I’m a fantastic writer, just that I’m educated enough.

I want to tell you a story, I’ll keep it from being too superfluous.

say I commit to dating, again, a cracked, broken record of deciding now is the right time entirely on a whim!

I go on a first date. I get tricked into having serious, genuine feelings again.

although I notice enough how willing my heart is to become attached to people.

I tell him, again, about the complications: can’t promise sex, can’t drive, have daily headaches, frequent stomach pain, a beetroot-red throat that will hurt the whole time, anxiety, depression, self-inflicted solitary confinement (sometimes). did I tell you I don’t know what to do about my future? I think about suicide more than I do about having a pension.

or even a full-time job.

the tired grow wearier.

me & my lover boy reconceptualise ourselves…

if I’m not the problem, you’re the problem, a healthy relationship cannot be built on casting blame and dwelling in shadows,

but I’ve never seen a healthy relationship not fall apart.

I’m single again and I continuously tell myself it is not devastating because there are new men in my life now.

men that are anxiously awaiting the rocking disappointment that is being near me, they just do not know it yet.

they want to be wooed first.

they don’t know I can’t just be a normal fucking person.

someone who avoids being a bother.

 

I know self-deprecation is disheartening,

believe me I want to bear happiness.

there are these presences in my mind that shape how I see this single existence,

this being without a partner.

I could’ve maybe been content rarely seeing him (with concessions, like popcorn).

freedom is in honesty is in the feeling of someone becoming an ally, a loyal friend, a genuine comfort.

but when they’re oh so inside of my tiny little chaotic unhinged head,

I am terrified of them ever being in my bed.

knowing the clockwork of my brain while they hold me.

it’s meandering through a minefield trying to find the sweet spot of a person knowing me enough, so I don’t want to shun the embrace, but keeping pirate’s chests of mystery. Allure.

Exclusivity, just for me.

else you’re running your fingers through the hair on my chest and you let slip a question about the deepest recesses of my mind and I start to think you are here only to prove something to me. that I’m loveable.

worthy.

not so psychotic.

okay to touch, to embrace.

a sea cucumber.

I see the innuendo.

I’m so scared of thinking scary.

hold me?

 

 

 

 

 __________________________________________________

 

LOVE LETTERS

[all names have been changed in case you’re embarrassed to know I care about you]

 

 

To John,

thank you for making me want to love again.

I think about you when I hear a lion roar,

and I know where we are now is enough for me.

 

To Steve,

sometimes it’s like talking to a brick wall

still care for ya though.

 

To Francis,

you make it certain to me I have homes in other places,

you make me feel respected, cherished,

thank you for your protection.

 

To Billy,

maybe I do have eyes like plastic,

and maybe I was scared to meet you in person because I figured

you would hate me like that.

thank you for only hating me jokingly.

 

 

To Drew,

I don’t really know if you see me as a good enough friend,

or an annoying brother,

but talking to you makes me feel normal.

and sometimes very stupid.

To Heath,

you are virtually impossible to see nowadays,

but that’s okay. we still talk.

okay fine I could probably get a plane ticket.

 

To Damian,

somehow you put up with my strange antics when they come.

somehow you're so supportive of my writing (!)

time means we no longer see each other on the weekly, 

but maybe I'll see you on the streets (by streets I mean as industry peers)

 

To River,

when I look at your face I just see reassurance

not that you’ve been in my life for long.

I guess you’re calming.

like a stream.

 

To Finch,

I probably seem like an adorable gremlin to you sometimes,

thank you for putting up with that.

thank you for understanding my oddities.

 

To Edgar,

when I whisper to the walls, I don’t always expect them to talk back.

the people who know how to reverberate my energy are important to me.

also fuck you’re hot.

 

To Leon,

my beautiful Evan Hansen,

thank you for all of the chaos, the cat content,

and your willingness to let me ramble.

I genuinely do feel like an old man around you,

but that just makes me daddy.

 

To Patrick,

sorry I got exhausted telling you what was exciting about my day,

it was an incredibly noble thing for you to listen.

you have my back. I know I have yours.

I’m not giving it back either. I have back problems.

 

To Jared,

I know my career has not gone anywhere,

but you support my growth in it.

thank you for all the compliments.

 

To Frankie,

sometimes all I need is one of your unhinged reels,

a video of huskies jumping on a trampoline,

and the knowledge that you once let me win.

 

To Bernard,

I could ramble forever,

so Bernard is actually every other man in my life,

yes, even you.

bottom of page