National Poetry Month Day 12: “My First Male-to-Male Kiss” by Rigoberto González


My First Male-to-Male Kiss

______was on Mexican TV. In the 80s. Believe me.
Like my cousin Mari, I too wished I could be
Érika Buenfil, her blonde locks so close to
René of the dark pompadour that looked like a cliff
where so many broken hearts took their final leap.
Equis-eh-tú he always yelled at the start of his show
and when he pointed at the camera his finger
perforated the screen because he was choosing me
me + René Casados–such last name foreshadowing–
me + René = Married, holding hands down the street
where my cousin Mari could see us and for once,
dear God, let it be her envious of me and not me
watching her stroll with the baker’s son, who
fed her sugary morsels under doorways at dusk
and left me wondering what such nibbling tasted like
and could I find the crumbs collecting at their feet.
How I slipped into the black dress of her shadow,
how I mouthed my cousin’s mouth and swallowed
the ghost of her sweetheart’s hand whole.

______I knew about pretend. I could lip-synch
to Rocío Dúrcal, Dulce and Ana Martín–Yo te quiero,
Yo te quiero, por un beso tuyo puedo enloquecer.
I had been crooning along every week that summer
when René Casados emceed that competition
in which a voice and a memory for lyrics was all
any Mexican kid needed to compete. How else that girl
with her little arms, how else that chubby boy, face
indigenous as mine, how else that tall girl whose left
eye was fixed to the mic, right eye to the grand prize–
a bike that could launch its rider into neighborhoods
more manifold than the ones we lived in. I became
each contestant. Including that dainty boy with a
nightingale throat, his pixie cut exotic, his androgyny
hypnotic. It seduced the jury, audience, the bodies
in our living rooms, and even René, who rewarded
the winner with a kiss. How shocked was Mexico
as the TV stud pressed his lips to the pretty cheek.
What a relief that such affection wasn’t make-believe.

Rigoberto González

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →