summer turned me into a glutton.

making almond cake with peach caramel and blueberry lavender scones. peach caramel congeals in my pocket. baking chocolate cake in a muscle shirt, trying not to stain it. slow, luxurious little bits of bliss, melting on my tongue.

home is not a physical location. it is a random assortment of things that you spend the rest of your life trying to find. it’s the sound of my mother’s voice, because my own accent changed. has changed irrevocably, i think, every time, until i call her and it comes back again for a while. changed so much i don’t hear myself when i speak anymore. i hear someone else.

someone different. 

different enough that i called my tax office and broke out in a sweat when they asked for my “unique voice print” as a security measure.

home is not a physical location but a song you can’t quite remember the words to, though you hum the melody just fine. little moments in your memory. 

the way you say ‘basil’ and i respond ‘basil’. pikelets, a huge tower piled so high, eaten fresh, without butter or jam. pikelets auto-corrected to pickles, by the way. even my word processor doesn’t know what they are. 

what else? god there’s so many things. 

so many things i feel like i’ve forgotten. maybe when i come home for christmas i’ll remember them. 

it’s mostly that you can make me smile so easily. 

i cleaned the kitchen, top to bottom the other day. did the dishes. wiped down the counters. swept the floor. mopped it clean. took out the trash. then i realised, you weren’t here to help me with chores and hadn’t been for a year. 

a year. 

the scary part is feeling like i’m forgetting all of my favourite things about you all the time. 

when i lived with you, i used to learn a new thing about you every day. 

at least i have christmas, though. christmas — hot and sticky. backwards, because we still use the same decorations everywhere. snow, ice, fir trees. while i’m wearing a maxi dress that reaches the floor and letting mango run down my chin. 

i’m learning fermentation. kimchi. sriracha. garlic honey. 

it really is an art. and a science too. the first time i made kimchi, it was my best batch. i had no idea what i was doing. 

but it turned out great anyway. 

the second time, the house was too hot. or i added too much sugar. or not enough sugar. or too much salt. or not enough salt. 

the sriracha turned out wonderfully, though. 

i don’t want to say that fermentation feels like memory, but there’s something a little magic in suddenly remembering something i thought i’d forgotten all those years ago. 

often, i’ll stand in the kitchen and think of you, and wish i could offer you food. count up all the things i didn’t get time to make you while you were here. 

creaming butter, eggs, and sugar together becomes a quiet act of worship. 

i remember when i was 14 and you showed me how to make spaghetti bolognese. cutting the onion was the worst part. 

i can make it with my eyes closed now. by taste. by feel. more balsamic. more fresh herbs. 

my love for cooking isn’t necessarily something i got from you, but it’s something that i had that came through you. 

home is not a physical location. it’s the taste of the chocolate you sent me in the post for my birthday. it’s the tea you sent me that i have every day, with honey. 

it’s making something and knowing one day i’ll make it for you and you’ll love it too. 

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badly photoshopped banners

of bible verses

john 11:25-26

 

tweets about hypocrisy

and tweets about anal sex

bared flesh on beaches

“want casual sex near u?”

 

 

demanding respect

demeaning female forms

demanding validation

providing humiliation

 

only humans

are capable of creating

such contradictions as these

 

 

i wanted to be one of the boys

 

when i was 17

 

and so they would test me

and ask me

if i was a tits man

or an ass man

 

never mind the fact

that i was not a man at all

 

my response did not matter much

as long as it was one of the two

 

thus began the gentle mockery

of all things feminine

while they waited for me to engage too

 

as if

degrading my sex

would deepen the bond between us

 

you’re not really gay

one said one day

and, in a moment of defiance

where there had previously only been agreements

of nods, and yeahs, and fuck yeahs,

 

i said no

 

you cannot bend my queerness

to your will

for it will not break

 

you cannot shape it with your hands

because you cannot touch it

 

you cannot hunt it down

because it is not prey

 

my queerness was here long before you were here

and it will be here long after you are gone

 

it is a fire inside me

burning

 

 

i walked past her

at first

 

she held a sign that said

please help

i have 4 kids

and no job

and need diapers

and food

 

and i walked past her

and wondered what size of diapers

she needed

 

i put peaches

and strawberries

and lychees

in my cart

 

and then said to my wife

“i need to buy her diapers”

and she said

“okay, i’ll be right here”

 

and when i went to find her again

she was already gone

 

she’d been asked to leave

by the staff

and she’d left

because she’s a good person

 

but i’d wanted to be too