By Christopher Crawford
How gay is it
for two men
the same dog
at the same time.
What if they’re both
sitting on a sofa watching
When Harry Met Sally.
How about two men watching
the same gorgeous sunset
from the same high ridge.
And if a man daydreaming
on a bus ride finds his eyes when focus returns,
quite accidently, on the crotch
of the man seated opposite.
How about two men riding
a bus into a gorgeous sunset
or two gorgeous men watching
a sunset in silence. How about
two men daydreaming and stroking
a gorgeous dog and the dog makes
a strange deep sound of pleasure.
What if the men are old friends.
What if they’re brothers.
What if there’s music playing.
(Today’s poem originally appeared in Rattle, was a Pushcart Prize Nominee, and appears here today with permission from the poet.)
Christopher Crawford was born in Glasgow, Scotland. His poetry, essays and translations have appeared in magazines like The Cortland Review, Rattle, The Collagist, Agenda and elsewhere. His poems have been nominated for a couple of Pushcart prizes and he is a founding editor at B O D Y (bodyliterature.com).
Editor’s Note: We live in a day and age of extreme and imperative progress in the gay rights movement. Day by day, state by state, country by country, same-sex marriage is becoming legal and same-sex couples are fighting for—and winning—the rights they should have had all along. But the bigotry remains; the bullying, the violence. And this hatred is inextricably linked with language, with the politics inherent in language. When someone says “that’s so gay,” their intent may not be homophobic, but they are perpetuating discrimination none the less.
Today’s poem makes us consider the words we use—in our society, in our culture, in our day. What does it mean to be “so gay”? If you meditate upon the meaning of that phrase, Crawford shows us, you may discover the simple beauty of humanity.