"Can David come out to play?"


Kirby’s chapbooks include Cock & Soul, Bob’s boy, The World is Fucked and Sometimes Beautiful, She’s Having A Doris Day (KFB, 2017), and the upcoming What Do You Want To Be Called? (Anstruther, 2020). Their full-length debut, This Is Where I Get Off (Permanent Sleep, 2019) is now in its second printing and currently being adapted for the stage. Kirby is the owner and publisher of knife | fork | book.

“Few have impacted me more than American artist / writer / AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz, this written after seeing his retrospective, HISTORY KEEPS ME AWAKE AT NIGHT, at the Whitney, NYC.”

     Stand behind the Rimbaud mask
     He once saw the world through
     Who doesn’t want to be any body
     Even a dead boy when you’re dying?

     Then I see it, a piece I’ve only Xeroxed
     ‘Til now so much bigger than I imagined
     boy big as me (“one day this kid will
     Get larger”) David, I came all this way

     to see you sweet looking youth
     With a museum badge in smart frames
     ask if he’ll take my picture, “We’re
     Both boys,” me in my 8 Man

     Baby blue tee. He smiles, I smile,
     so my type. “Of course” and
     it hits me full on. David. I came
     to see David. Knees buckle

     Tears flood walls drop to the floor
     attendant rushes kneels beside me
     Strokes my back “What do you need?,”
     “some water” takes my arm

     Leads me to another room, a bench
     a window, shaded leaves I sit
     Hear David’s voiceover through
     Sobs speakers this empty room

     “here,” he holds the glass sits with me
     “Thanks” “Can I get you anything else?”
     such kindness this boy feeling like an
     Old fool, “It’s okay.” “You sure? Is there

     Someone here with you? Can I call you
     A cab?” “No really, I’ll just sit here a
     Moment, I’ll be fine” knowing nothing is
     “I’m still on the floor if you need anything.”

     My feet return, ass meets bench
     In the next room an elder male couple
     Also survivors sit beside one another
     Hold hands watch footage unreels protests

     Queers fighting for our lives dykes, trans
     Gays always fucking fighting for another
     Square fucking inch to remain here in
     Fucking MAGAland I ghostwalk through

     remains large canvases signs paper
     Mache globes black & white nudes
     David’s not here. His voice    neck    face
     Eyes keep me awake at night

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