I Want To Be a Drag Queen Diva by Steven A. Gillis

after Terrance Hayes “I Want To Be Fat”

I want a closet big enough to hold
an entire chorus of personas on tour,
big enough to hide in when stray family visit,
big enough to cry in when they’ve gone.

I want to be reconstructed like Monroe,
only the finest pink parts emplaced,
seamless fleshy curves in train
with the last tie to who I was
tucked in shadow, well hidden, safe.

When I’m the diva
women will watch, wonder, whisper
“is (s)he cut? Is (s)he still a man?”
The thoughts they won’t admit will lurk
“I wonder what the sex would be like?”
“Why can’t I look like that in a dress?”

Love me skinny boys
as you love the internet and lube.
Love me fat boys
as you love the thought of being filled.
I’ll let you caress my chest.
I’ll let you smell the perfume of my thighs.

When I’m the diva
I’ll do six sets of flashing sin each night
I’ll make them ache for flesh like mine.
-This of course, before I retire,
before the maquillage sits fondant
on a particularly artificial cake.
Before I marry my producer
and lay all night beneath
the glare from his bald spot.

I’ll shed a mascara’d tear
for RuPaul when he dies.
I’ll curse waitress-sopranos.
And I’ll never forget you, Divine,
your gorgeous mounds of trash,
your face like a riot
at a run-down cosmetics counter.

“Jimmy Choo will have to fucking design
me my damn size-14s!”

I want to be the patron of queens,
the corseted white narwhale who’s horn they chase,
I want shy teens to send me letters
filled with poor poetry and damp with tears,
I want to be swarmed with a hive of buzzing fans.

I want to be preserved for all to see,
die just young enough for science to seal this body
in a state still enticing to the thronging streams,
like a hard iced bottle of champagne,
waiting until wanted;
This body. This body. This body.

Winner of the David Kato Prize from the Alabama State Poetry Society

Steven A. Gillis is a native of Alabama where he serves as 1st vice president of the Alabama State Poetry Society and president of the State chapter of the national library honor society, Beta Phi Mu. He has dedicated his life to public service in libraries, pioneering fine-free public library service for Alabama that has been emulated across multiple states. Currently, he is director of the Orange Beach Public Library along the Gulf Coast. He possesses a degree in English/Creative Writing and a Masters in Library and Information Studies, both from the University of Alabama.

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