THE BOOK OF DAVID
from My Life as Adam
by Bryan Borland
He’s divorced and remarried now,
blue collared factory slave
in Mississippi somewhere, shackled
to the second shift, daily
repetitive movements undoing history,
heat and grease replacing the smell
of freedom at sixteen,
of my bedroom in November, my parents off
chasing Rolling Stones.
He corrected me when I sang “bright red” instead
of “flat bed” Ford in “Take It Easy,”
said to treat it like a popsicle then
let me lay my head on his stomach
(most straight boys don’t).
So many men but he was the only one who
took the time to teach me.
I’d watch him communicate patiently with
his deaf younger brother, his rough hands
transformed through sign language,
a gentle education
on the complexities of the world.
These are my last memories of him.
I picture him now guiding the new guys on
how to operate the machines.
I picture them listening.
About the Author
Bryan Borland is a multi-time Pushcart-nominated poet from Little Rock, Arkansas, and the owner of Sibling Rivalry Press, LLC, a young publishing house whose goal is to develop, promote, and market underground artistic talent – those who don’t quite fit into the mainstream. As a poet, Bryan writes primarily narrative poems that create portraits of moments through words. Whether chronicling old friends and lovers in his “Book of” series (“The Book of David,” The Book of Cody,” “The Book of Dmitri,” etc.) or inviting us into his family through poems like “Sons of Abraham” and “Supper,” Bryan seeks to poetically etch tally marks into the walls of life; to, in essence, prove he’s been here.
His first collection of poetry, My Life as Adam, is a potent cocktail of family life, religion, and sexuality, the three pillars of Southern life. It was one of only five books of poetry selected by the American Library Association for their first annual “Over the Rainbow” list of noteworthy LGBT-themed publications.
Through Sibling Rivalry Press, Borland has also worn the editor’s hat, putting together Ganymede Unfinished, a tribute to the late John Stahle and his beautiful journalGanymede that features the work of poets Jee Leong Koh, Jeff Mann, Matthew Hittinger, writers Charlie Vázquez, Perry Brass, and Scott Hess, artist Seth Ruggles Hiler, and photographer Eric Davis, among others. The success of Ganymede Unfinished led Bryan to create Assaracus, the world’s only quarterly print journal dedicated exclusively to gay male poets. Assaracus has exploded onto the poetry scene and has featured the work of Antler, Gavin Dillard, Raymond Luczak, and Emanuel Xavier.
Bryan is a staple at the Arkansas Literary Festival’s Pub or Perish reading series, and in 2011, he gave the keynote address of the Atlanta Queer Literary Festival. He was also named as one of the Arkansas Times‘ “Eight for the Future” in a cover story focusing on young Arkansans making an impact.
Bryan doesn’t mind, and, in fact, embraces being labeled a gay poet. As Philip F. Clark wrote to Borland while editing My Life as Adam, “Someone out there is waiting to read you. Write for yourself, but write for him, too.”
I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's.
My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces.
View all posts by Joe
November 15th, 2011 at 5:47 pm
Interesting tranformation in the imagery…from teenage encounter between two men, to the workplace of today.. Had to read it more than once to get (what I think is) the full import…..good!!
November 15th, 2011 at 6:32 pm
Wonderful piece, excellent write-up on the author. It's nice to see contemporary writers showcased.Peace <3Jay
November 15th, 2011 at 11:13 pm
November 16th, 2011 at 6:01 am
Geez, a smart hot writer talking about a hot smart writer. Damn this erection feels good.
November 20th, 2011 at 8:52 pm
Well, damn! I'm blushing!Thanks for the shout out. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. I certainly enjoyed the accompanying image!