sweltering hour beads of sweat lick my sunburnt nape paddle and soap dish in hand off some nameless bank I slip into the Colorado the Grand the Rio del Tizon the Maricopa the cool lifeforce of this southwest desert as easily as I do into freshly washed sheets naked embraced sweet surrender (I’m still working on surrender) the Colorado, he/they and I have rinsed ourselves our bedrocks of many a lover many a male admirer like John Wesley Powell like the first time I skinny-dipped kissed the first boy I thought I loved I don’t find it outlandish to suggest the Rio del Tizon branded flaming by colonizers is a he/they gay reject the stubborn American West its invasive cis-het white male explorers naming monoliths [ego] bodies of water [conquests] assaulting the feminine [recreation] if the Maricopa is to be called she let it be by reflection by her own accord as he/they is with me on this board cutting through this spectrum an exercise and practice of self-love at once we try and keep things caszh this river and I too thin to plow too thick to drink * if you know what I mean we both know this flight of fancy is seasonal an afternoon delight a summer fling sure to wash out around this bend I look for coupling trout whose rippled darts fleeing my invasion of their coitus promise the end of my own courtship I have always struggled with commitment even when I cannot tell us apart submerged in him/them completely there is peace I won’t grant myself as surely as my head will break the surface I will eddy out return home to routine to khakis and button-ups to commutes and spreadsheets and plastic promotions he/they/I/we will be just another commodity to bottle given back empty at a cost as potential for tourist development as a force that’s agreeable when diverted and funneled, reshaped into productive efficient pools of labor into anything that’s not wild and free and roaring to California to an ocean of love that doesn’t know the meaning of binaries and borders the nature of our familiarity our temporal sojourn privy only to that voyeuristic heron our downy stilt- legged fortune is not about the permanence of our gender but the uncertainty of our futures * commonly attributed to Mark Twain (to “the Mormons” by Edward Abbey) but unconfirmed by this author
Caleb Ferganchick is a rural queer, slam poet activist, and author of Poetry Heels (2018). His work has been featured and published by the South Broadway Ghost Society (2020), Slam Ur Ex ((the podcast)) (2020), and the Colorado Mesa University Literary Review. He organizes the annual Slamming Bricks poetry slam competition in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and coaches high school speech and debate. An aspiring professional SUP surfer, he also dreams of establishing a queer commune with a river otter rescue and falconry. He lives in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Website | Instagram | Twitter