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Juliano Zaffino - The Author Is Dead - Blog

Heteroland Assortment

Juliano Zaffino

 'Like the steady hum of the engine / Hurtling on through Heteroland country'

'Like the steady hum of the engine / Hurtling on through Heteroland country'

What follows is an assortment of six disparate poems from an in-progress series of poems titled 'Adventures In Heteroland'

1. Bloodline
2. Profile
3. Trainride Through Heteroland
4. Proud
5. All My Burdens
6. Life Story

*

Bloodline

The poems have died in my veins,
Sure – but there was a time
They were alive and kicking –
Breathing mostly in my mind
And gasping up on the page –

But the passage is stopped up –
All words meaningless,
My first language atomised,
A cold and nothing wasteland,
The blood turning solid inside me –

I’m obsessed with qualitative difference
In the sickly bloodstream,
The poison blindly inflicted
By water and air in Heteroland –
It replaces every drop of blood –

I want to write love songs
I want to write protest signs
I want to write myself happy,
Writing into oblivion and further.
But all that comes out is this:

Oh, this plaintive wailing;
A quagmire of irresolution;
And one contrived ending
Full of insincere optimism,
The blood will flood again!

*

Profile

“I’m not into faceless beings”, he says,
His face a generic blend of average twinkness,
Denoting nothing of any significance
Except for my own unattractive worthlessness.

This is a vapid place where vapid people go
To do vapid people things, burning up oxygen
With nothing but the slack-jawed drawing of breath.
I want to be vapid too. I want to be vapid like you.

We have learned from the emperors of Heteroland
To value faces and straightness and coded self-hatred
And fetishize all the unqueer nothings that bore us,
The orange wasteland a Guess Who? of our worst images.

*

Trainride Through Heteroland

He is sitting alone in front of you
Minding His business with a book
And the train stops at Wembley
Filling with dead-drunk men
When a particularly large and rude one
Shambling zombie-like
Takes the empty seat beside Him
Suffocating His comfort.

Now with contemptuous glances
Sizing Him up, the pink jumper,
The man mutters something –
Pretending not to hear
He puts His book down absently
Hiding His phone screen,
The desolate wasteland of Grindr,
Cutting His own hands off,
Shoulders bunched together ever closer
Growing ever smaller,
And the goodness of His Saturday
Dwindling now to rage
Like the steady hum of the engine
Hurtling on through Heteroland country –

You are there and you do nothing
Waiting for your stop to come.

*

Proud

You look so good in latex honey
I bet you’re sweaty
I bet it’s kind of freeing
To show off every part of you
Admired by your girlfriend
And her girlfriends
And all the men around you
Who want that tightness
They have no idea they can’t have
You’re the native son of Heteroland
But you look amazing
It’s any excuse to get drunk
You won’t get hate-crimed later
You’re a fucking lad

*

 All My Burdens

I carry a thousand infants
Weights around my neck
They humiliate
And coldly isolate me

There are toddlers
In my nightmares
Wailing their need
I can do nothing, dying

And children wake me
Hands like hooks
Snagging on my heart
They drag me into land

Even today alone
I have carried a pushchair
Up a flight of stairs
Underground, ashamed

I should have no babies
In Heteroland’s rule
All depravity and unlove
This lawless family

Will I ever be free
Escape from under
Burdensome children
How they hate me

*

Life Story

It’s not as interesting as you think
Your life story
It’s been lived before
A hundred times
Every damaged gay inhabitant of Heteroland
It was the premise of five screenplays
Last year alone
Your anguish is a trope
The joke they tell themselves
After fucking

Why would that stop you
The truth is irrelevant
When you are gloriously fucked up
An authentic artifice
Smithed in the fires of rage and abuse
Your sadness is orgasmic
The depths
Accessorising trauma
At parties in small circles online in prayer
It makes you so fucking cool
They all wish they were you