A kiss. Train ride home from a late dinner,
City Hall and document signing. Wasn’t cold
but we cuddled in an empty car, legal.
Last month a couple of guys left a gay bar
and were beaten with poles on the way
to their car. No one called them faggot
so no hate crime’s documented. A beat down
is what some pray for, a pulse left to count.
We knew we weren’t protected. We knew
our rings were party favors, gold to steal
the shine from. We couldn’t protect us,
knew the law wouldn’t know how. Still, his
beard across my brow, the burn of his cologne.
When the train stopped, the people came on.
Read “Aboutness: a conversation with Phillip B. Williams” here.
Phillip B. Williams is a Chicago, Illinois native. He is the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc. 2011) and Burn (YesYes Books, 2013). He is a Cave Canem graduate and received scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers Conference and a 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Anti-, Callaloo, Kenyon Review Online, Poetry, The Southern Review, West Branch and others. Phillip is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow at the Washington University in St. Louis and is working on his MFA in Creative Writing. He is the poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry.