Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.
The Need for Repetition
by Jim Whiteside
How have I made it this long without smoking?
I duck in to a corner store, brief refuge from the cold,
emerge with a pack of Newports in my coat pocket.
At home, I watch two straight men on the screen
having sex for money. The director’s notes say
Josh is learning to like it. I stop the film, study the arch
in his back, the look on his face containing
both pleasure and pain. I understand, Josh. How often
every one of us returns to that which hurts us and feeds us
all at once. How could we fight that desire, or even want to?
When Alec left me, I played recordings of his orchestras
in my living room, listening for the little parts where the oboe
mimics birdsong. And when he called to apologize,
I found his bed was just as warm, knowing it would all
happen again. I cum and clean up. Slip on some pants
with an elastic waist. On the fire escape, I take
one from the pack and smoke it down to the filter,
cough out the char. Oh Josh, all those years
I was a man before I would allow myself to seek out
that little faggot who lived inside of me. And to love him.
Copyright © Jim Whiteside 2021. Originally published in Black Warrior Review, Fall/Winter 2021, No. 48.1
About the Author
Jim Whiteside is the author of a chapbook, Writing Your Name on the Glass (Bull City Press, 2019) and is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. His poems have appeared in The New York Times, POETRY, Ploughshares, Boston Review, and Best New Poets 2020. The recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Sewanee Writers’ Conference, he earned his MFA from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He works as a copywriter and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Queer Poem a Day
- Day 1: Self Portrait as a Body, a Sea by Donika Kelly
- Day 2: Birthday Suits by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza
- Day 3: Obsessions by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué
- Day 4: The Baby Inside My Baby by Nomi Stone
- Day 5: To Be Saved by CM Burroughs
- Day 6: At the New York City AIDS Memorial by Stefania Gomez
- Day 7: Love in the Time of PrEP by Jaques Rancourt
- Day 8: The Morning After by Ellen Bass
- Day 9: Argument of Situations by Shangyang Fang
- Day 10: Ode to Sneakers by Tory Adkisson
- Day 11: Boombox Ode: Enjoy the Silence
- Day 12: Soon by Makshya Tolbert
- Day 13: Photograph by Jenny George
- Day 14: Salt Lake City by Christian Gullette
- Day 15: Humpty Dumpty by Spencer Reece
- Day 16: The Antihero by Megan Fernandes
- Day 17: On Growing Bored with Synonyms for the Apocalypse, I Rename It Carl… by C. Russell Price
- Day 18: All My Friends are Sad & Bright by Cameron Awkward-Rich
- Day 19: 2000 miles and this is the love letter I send you over text by Noa/h Fields
- Day 20: Book VI from The Queerness of Eve by Emilia Phillips
- Day 21: Oracle by Ari Banias
- Day 22: gxrl gospel iv: beast of a southern wild by Aurielle Marie
- Day 23: Let There Be Pride by Richard Blanco
- Day 24: Jacob Riis Memorial Beach by Stephen Ira
- Day 25: from Dependence, the Joistrix / How you are made by Emily Martin
- Day 26: The Need for Repitition by Jim Whiteside
- Day 27: Arm’d and Fearless by Julian Gewirtz
- Day 28: Polyamory by Madeleine Cravens
- Day 29: GPOY as Rainbowfrog.gif by Aerik Francis
- Day 30: Gay Epithalamium by Benjamin Garcia
Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.