Cento Between the Ending and the End

Cameron Awkward-Rich

Sometimes you don’t die

when you’re supposed to

& now I have a choice

repair a world or build

a new one inside my body

a white door opens

into a place queerly brimming

gold light so velvet-gold

it is like the world

hasn’t happened

when I call out

all my friends are there

everyone we love

is still alive gathered

at the lakeside

like constellations

my honeyed kin

honeyed light

beneath the sky

a garden blue stalks

white buds the moon’s

marble glow the fire

distant & flickering

the body whole bright-

winged brimming

with the hours

of the day beautiful

nameless planet. Oh

friends, my friends—

bloom how you must, wild

until we are free.

More by Cameron Awkward-Rich

Faggot Poetics

Yet I was, in peculiar truth, a very lucky boy.
—James Baldwin

 

In any case, the story begins
with darkness. A classroom. 

A broom closet. A bowl of bruised 
light held over a city. Or, the story 

begins with a child playing
the role of an ashy plum—

how it rises to meet the man's teeth
or doesn't. How the skin is broken 

or breaks because the body just wants
what it wants: to be a hallway 

where men hang their photos
on the wall. Does that make sense?

To want to own the image of the man
but not the man? To bask in that memory

of what first nailed you to the dark? 

Related Poems

Heavy

The narrow clearing down to the river
I walk alone, out of breath

my body catching on each branch.
Small children maneuver around me.

Often, I want to return to my old body
a body I also hated, but hate less

given knowledge.
Sometimes my friends—my friends

who are always beautiful & heartbroken
look at me like they know

I will die before them.
I think the life I want

is the life I have, but how can I be sure?
There are days when I give up on my body

but not the world. I am alive.
I know this. Alive now

to see the world, to see the river
rupture everything with its light.