From now on

Last week I had the chance to attend Greetings, from Queer Mountain NYC Episode 1 - a group of queer writers, poets, and comics meditating on the theme of “From now on” - after the fuckery that was 2017, how would you finish the thought of “From now on…”. This struck as being particularly queer - as Munoz proclaims,  “The future is queerness’s domain.” I was inspired to do my own take on the prompt, to push past the here and now into a then there...

From now on I’ll take down my laundry before it’s more than 40 pounds, a lumpy bloated corpse strewn across my shoulders. My strained back and the attendants who faithfully wash dry and fold the contents into a pristine, fresh package will thank me. The nylon will cease stretching open a sawtooth smile of black thread down the side, wider and wider each time as if a craw, unhinging to eat.

From now on I’ll look in the mirror every day and say “I am enough.” Some days just saying “I am” will be enough. Some days the mirror will be too fogged from scalding steam and instead I’ll write the phrase in squeaky letters, a silhouette of my features carved into an assurance of self worth.

From now on I’ll sanitize my water bottles to avoid getting MRSA or black mold or just the common cold.  

From now on I’ll cut back on sugar. Just a little, and never on Fridays.

From now on I’ll write. And write. And write and write and write and write until the fullness inhabiting the hollows of my body are appropriately leeched and drained. When the crevices are dry I’ll flood them once more of my own volition - with sex, with history, with marrow, with emojis - anything but silence will do.

I won’t douche for any boy who don’t eat ass. It’s 2018. It’s called reciprocity bro. From now on my pleasure is important too.

From now on I won’t forget birthdays. I’ll give thoughtful gifts. Maybe something just a little subversive, just queer enough to make even the straight people wonder if this birthday might be the one to make them say “I’ve never done this before”.  

I’ll brush my teeth for a full two minutes from now on. I’ll look into Invisalign to unscrunch my teeth so that maybe I’ll finally be the kind of person who flosses more regularly than twice a year before each check-up. (It will be too expensive and so you learn to make friends with your gingivitis. Your dentist eventually stops tsking you for the decay, realizing they can charge you later to fix the damage laziness has wrought).

I’ll occasionally let the wick burn down to a stub, from now on, without an ounce of regret. The memories of scents will keep me warm.

From now on I’ll pick plants that I can’t kill. Hearty, like the pansy you were called for not knowing how to catch a ball. (They’ll die anyways - the plants and your adolescent tormentors).

I won’t lie in therapy more than once a week from now on.

From now I won’t miss a PreP dose even if I know I’m not getting any dick. (There is always the potential for dick.) From now on I’ll bless myself with a triangle instead of a cross before I swallow, a small blue pill somehow representing the bodies of a generation I didn’t know but mourn as though they were my first and only child.

From now on I won’t run from the anger. There is no running from anger. (But you can also chose not to wield it.)

Now, from now, I’ll let the weight and history and grief and joy of faggotry wash over me with pleasure. I’ll fashion crutches and canes out of bones and safety pin buttons and outdated policy.

From now my pain will be bedazzled for consumption, shiny and with a shift - it never appears the same way, but catches your eye at any angle. From now on my joy will be buried, not so that it is hidden but so that it may be fertilized for a spectacular bloom.

Matthew Kastellec