Christopher Stephen Soden: Permission

for our national poetry month celebration, today we are sharing the work of a new contributor, but a man who is no stranger to the greater Dallas poetry scene. read Christopher Stephen Soden's poem Permission here and catch him reading live in Denton at the Poetry Party this saturday (4/22)! Christopher is a poet and playwright, and the author of CLOSER, published by QueerMojo in 2011. he also has a prompt to share with us to boost your mid-week creative slump: Take the title of a film. Any film. It could be GIANT or PINK FLAMINGOS or ALMOST FAMOUS. Make that the title of your poem. The poem itself could, but need not be about the film itself. Merely a springboard.


It is easy to imagine the unspoken
terror that simmers and rises
from your gut like magma
turning and churning the endless
questions. The tingles you must
conceal. We all laugh at the boner
in the communal shower. The lingering
look that might trigger purple rage
or a black eye. Love isn’t love
when we share the realm
of boyplay. The insistent pulse,
the rush of blood, like dizzy
urgent fever. The first time
another guy returns your intense
gaze, you are giddy and panicked,
the shadow that ached to touch
another peter suddenly behind
the wheel, perhaps you follow
him home (parents still at work)
where you grab and toss and maybe
risk a tongue. Perhaps you just
look the other way. Whether or not
you continue the wordless, growling
consummations, the public beatings,
the loud ferocious ritual of defending
you maleness with the blood
of other men, goes on and on. Tango
of adrenaline, spit and soaking,
torn clothes. You join the marines,
still an undeniable badge, still a place
where so much salty, raw, swinging
cock makes it possible to confide
You know buddy, if I were gay,
I’d be totally into you, without raising
a flag. When you return to Orlando,
you begin to scope out queer nightclubs.
Behavior of unashamed faggots. Dykes.
Watching them kiss and caress. Then
one night you decide you must bear
witness. You must save yourself.
You must block the exits.


Christopher Stephen Soden writes poetry to reconcile himself to a world of chaos and despair and explore his queer maleness in a culture obsessed with binary gender assignation and contempt for warmth. His poetry collection, CLOSER, was published by QueerMojo in 2011. He teaches, performs, lectures and reviews theatre. Some of his short plays have been staged at Bishop Arts and Nouveau 47. His publishing credits include: The Gay & Lesbian Review, Sentence, The Texas Observer, Borderlands, The James White Review, Best Texas Writing, Between, A Face to Meet the Faces, Ganymede Poets and Off the Rocks. He loves to make curry and borscht, read, do crossword puzzles and sleeeeeeep.

Christopher Stephen Soden

Christopher Stephen Soden