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The Boy On My Night Out At The Garage by Callum E Lee

*’The Garage’ is a popular nightclub that I frequented in Glasgow.

asks if i am gay / and my fight or flight impulse sizzles like oil / in the pan of my adrenal gland / a vomit of hormones retching and twinkling up the spine / in one frozen flush / and i can only panic to myself / what fate lies on the other side / of this question / my throat empties of breath / fasting for the sharpened swallow of teeth / in this moment / i’ve never felt more like prey / doe-eyed / dew-browed / dead meat / too tendered not to taste / maybe he saw me through the heaving heat / elusive creature in the deep lake / of strobe lights / and clubbers / thrashing like salmon / into his eye-line / limp-wristed / silk-waisted / merman / caught on the hook of his curiosity / open mouth / sickled and i am / a sudden hunger / spat into his open mouth / maybe he’s gay too / am i a soft mirror / against his own strange skin / is he too a man / dismantled / by man / our secret language / our scandaled bloodline / a shared leprosy / shame worn holes upon my face / holes he dreams of / passing through like a broken window / and right now i can do nothing / but be this fragile / shards that scatter / their frantic light around the club for magpies like him / i just want to drink / and shake free from myself / i don’t want to answer this / please / this question that arrests me / on the spot / handcuffed by my own girlish hands / telltale lisp / tripped over a trembling lip / my voice wrapped in a rumour / wrapped in the barrel of a gun / sometimes i’m tired of explaining myself / explaining who my mouth is shaped for / hoping it won’t be damned / or damaged / here i am / in the club / in the dark / with a stranger / once again / tonguing my way / through this night / this slow survival


Callum E Lee, born 1996, is a poet, Sagittarius and die-hard Phoebe Bridgers fan from South Lanarkshire, Scotland with a concentrated interest in the themes of identity, sexuality, mental health and relationships in the age of social media. Instagram: @callum.lee Twitter: @callum25lee

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