Gay hiking

About Inside San Francisco’s Gay Bars

“Bandages around wounds loosen at 2:14 a.m. on walks back from crowded club”

Photo: Courtesy of Juanita PLUS!/Fred Rowe

I’I drank more
Red Bull without sugar, that is to say
in the city’s gay bars.

I forgot what it was like to be thrown into the crowd
warm, dense and agile bodies
remembering never to look back
when I danced, smiled;
has become expansive
chose to start over.

At this current stage, mostly sober;
overtly caffeinated, to say the least.

The back patios are now full of twinks
new to San Francisco, outgoing
of their pupae born in a pandemic
googly eyes with vanilla flavor
which will soften, deepen afterwards
every trick not tried is tried
pecan tree rings
penis rings placed on bedside tables.

People are squeezed into this purgatory again
between the bar and a dancefloor
they’ll eventually spill out onto 18th street
squeezed like the last bit of tricolor toothpaste
2h17 remains a precarious hour for
Passion and enthusiasm,
Desire and love.

Greedy tongues bind in oral meetings
under the breath of familiar dancers and DJs
some of the ones i’ve peaked before
at the top of Corona Heights Park
or inside the apartments on rue Clément.

“A gin and soda, just one, please”;
exchange sweat-smoothed $10 bills for
drinks paid for with money from men whose
cum that I tasted on my tongue;
their exposure satisfied my dominance over desire
all around this treacherous hour of the night.

The stage lights flicker, making the cheeks shine
in Pantone colors;
excited chameleon skin on alcohol rinsed complexions
how happy it is to shine under the strung Christmas lights
in mid-March.

A state of grace that lingers as I cross traffic lights
and cityscapes, two miles from my front door;
in peace, at home;
seat in my soul.

I like the way i smile when i notice you across a crowded room
how your whole body bends in a quagmire of canyons when you cackle;
I see myself falling into it,
I would like to fall into it,
ultimately.

(I’m still wearing bandages from when I slipped
fall too fast
the last time
the last time
that september night
for Alexander.

I learn and unlearn,
outside of expectations
who have always done things
feel too hard,
to the bitter end.)

The excuses you find to grab my arm, look at my chest
hug me when I didn’t know I needed to be touched;
the muscles in my face hurt behind the catwalks and the stages
by the quiet corners of the nightclubs,
moments before you slip into a Lyft.

You are benevolent –
a kindness
wrapped in cellophane
who laughs at my imperfect jokes
— and strange,
idiosyncratic in its happiest definition.

It has no name,
it’s so easy,
really nice;
it’s been so long.

Dthe pressures around the sores loosen
at 2:14 a.m. on my way home, six blocks from my apartment
unravel a smile from familiar evenings.

A feeling of joy that
leaves me happy and worried at the same time,
as I finish another sugar free Red Bull
I escaped from a gay bar in San Francisco.