Brian Czyzyk


after Stevie Edwards’ poem “Sadness Workshop”

Your queerness needs to be more visible. Right now,
men like you are nowhere on TV, so we need you
to throw a shoe at Eminem or Howard Stern or any
politician. And then make out with a man. And
a woman. Or anybody, really. We need you to stop
writing about lakes. Take your hands out of the dirt.
People will believe you garden, but no one will believe
you like getting dirty. At least not in the literal sense.

To most, your sexuality is a Magic Eye picture.
They squint at your flannel shirt, at your mud-cuffed
jeans thinking they’re supposed to see fish
with mouths stretched open toward a lake they can’t reach.
I see dancing bears! A man says, pointing at your blue slicker.
You need to tell him he’s wrong every time
he’s wrong. Not just when you feel like it. Don’t you
hate being mistaken for something you’re not?

Here’s an easy fix: a taped threeway, followed
by headlines. Next, a record deal or reality show.
Apologies on late night TV. Don’t worry,
we won’t book you a spot with Larry King.
We can autotune your voice an octave higher,
give it more lisp and more lilt. It’s what people expect.
We can fix the bend of your nose in post-production,
make you The Face of Bisexuality. Enter

every room with a boombox blasting David Bowie.
Take selfies in gay bars and wear only purple
or t-shirts printed with unicorns. Show straight
people you are not deviant, show queers you can
get down. Download Grindr. Then delete it.
Reminder: this isn’t about you. This is for the people
who say queerness needs a shape, who want to hammer
your life like the playset it isn’t, who say you’re too

round to slip through the square hole, but too boxy
to squeeze in the circle. This is for the mothers
and gay men who want to call you a moon
spinning from bloated brightness to shadow,
who name your confession a stepping stone,
a layover, as if you’ve got half your cash
in two accounts and should just transfer
it all to the Fifth-Third in Boystown already.

This isn’t for the boys who lean over bridges
to calculate the height, the river’s cold. If only
they had as much faith in love as in gravity.
Show them. Give them two hands to grasp and tell
them any forked road is built from solid ground.
They need to see you can fall any way you please.

Brian Czyzyk is an MFA candidate at Purdue University, originally from Northern Michigan. An AWP Intro Journals Project winner, his work has appeared in Nimrod, Split Rock Review, and Colorado Review, among others.