On Unraveling Again Inside Gay Bars in San Francisco

In the months (that have now evolved into years) since SF’s bars reopened after pandemic-spun closures, the familiar novelty of dancing in a sea of warm bodies washes over me again.

I’ve been drinking more
sugar-free Red Bull, that is
inside the city’s gay bars.

I forgot what it felt like to be thrown into throngs
of warm bodies, dense and nimble
reminiscing on never looking back
when I danced, smiled;
became expansive
chose to begin again.

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

Back patios now teem with twinks
new to San Francisco, coming out
of their pandemic-spun pupae
wide-eyed with vanilla tastes
that will sweeten, deepen after
each untried kink is tried
rings of pecan trees to
cock rings set on bedside tables.

People are again pressed into that purgatory
between the bar and a dancefloor
they’ll eventually pour into 18th Street
squeezed out like the last bit of tri-colored toothpaste
2:17 a.m. remains a precarious time for
Passion and Infatuation,
Lust and Love.

Eager tongues tie in oral reunions
beneath the breath of familiar dancers and DJs
some of who I’ve made climax before
atop Corona Heights Park
or inside apartments off Clement Street.

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

Stage lights oscillate, making cheeks glow
in Pantone colors;
excited chameleon skin on complexions flush with alcohol
how happy it is to beam underneath strung Christmas lights
in the middle of March.

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

I like how I smile when I notice you from across a crowded room
how your entire body creases into a quagmire of canyons when you cackle;
I see myself falling into them,
I would like to fall into them,

(I still carry bandages from when I slipped
falling too fast
the last time
the actual last time
that September night
for him.

I’m learning and unlearning,
outside of expectations
that have always made things
feel too hard,
in 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 of my face hurt behind runways and stages
by quiet corners of nightclubs,
moments before you slide into a Lyft.

You’re benevolent —
a kindness
wrapped in cellophane
that laughs at my imperfect jokes
— and strange,
idiosyncratic in its most blissful definition.

This has no name,
it feels so easy,
so nice;
it’s been so long.

Dressings around wounds are loosening
at 2:14 a.m. on walks back home, six blocks from my apartment
untangling a smile from familiar nights out.

A sensation of joy that
leaves me happy and worried, simultaneously,
as I finish another sugar-free Red Bull
I snuck out of a gay bar in San Francisco.

Feature Image: Courtesy of Juanita MORE!/Fred Rowe

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