Metro Weekly

OutWrite 2018: Four Poems by Regie Cabico

—for Creativity and Crisis at the National Mall

queer me
shift me
transgress me
tell my students i’m gay
tell chick fil a i’m queer
tell the new york times i’m straight
tell the mailman i’m a lesbian
tell american airlines
i don’t know what my gender is
like me
liking you
like summer blockbuster armrest dates
armrest cinematic love
elbow to forearm in the dark
humor me queerly
fill me with laughter
make me high with queer gas
decompress me from centuries of spanish inquisition
& self-righteous judgment
like the blood my blood
that has mixed w/ the colonizer
& the colonized
in the extinct & instinct to love
bust memories of water & heat
& hot & breath
beating skin on skin fluttering
bruise me into vapors
bleed me into air
fly me over sub-saharan africa & asia & antarctica
explode me from the closet of my fears
graffiti me out of doubt
bend me like bamboo
propose to me
divorce me
divide me into your spirit 2 spirit half spirit
& shadow me w/ fluttering tongues
& caresses beyond head
heart chakras
fist smashing djembes
between my hesitations

haiku me into 17 bursts of blossoms & cold saki
de-ethnicize me
de-clothe me
de-gender me in brassieres
& prosthetic genitalias
burn me on a brazier
wearing a brassiere
in bitch braggadocio soprano bass
magnificat me in vespers
of hallelujah & amen
libate me in halos
heal me in halls of femmy troubadors
announcing my hiv status
or your status
i am not afraid to love you
implant dialects as if they were lilacs
in my ear
medicate me with a lick & a like
i am not afraid to love you
so demand me
reclaim me
queerify me

First published in The Quarry by Split This Rock, July 2014.


From the W hotel bar,
we drink pale ale and stare

at the tiny watchmen
standing on the White House roof.

With your cell phone,
I photograph the monument
so it comes out of your ear.


We stroll Chinatown’s fake brick
& plastic letterings.

Romance does not need a gentrified
mall but a man who makes him laugh

by rubbing his nose up the Gallery Place
escalator, amidst the homophobic

preachers dressed like Ninja Turtles.


On the Foggy Bottom shuttle,
We exchange our greatest sex stories.

You, a three way in Spain.
Me, outside a bodega.

You ask what my most loving
intimate sexual moment was,

I can’t remember a whole-hearted
loving moment. When we step

onto the Kennedy Center
Roof Terrace, we step into

a mirage, our balls sweating
up a storm.


I read your poems at Halo bar.
Its lit like the inside of a Xerox machine.

You dislike your poems and
have the urge to visit the gay sauna.

Its fancy, you say, and too bright!
I sit wrapped in a towel watching 70s porn.

Ay papi, papi! from the closets
and I wonder if you had anything
to do with making those cries.

I feel like a bipolar mermaid.
You tell me you see a magical Puck


Why did you cry when you took me to the airport?
I felt too small for your words.

I fucked a comedian in San Francisco.
Was his timing good?

My therapist told me not to break your heart.
What if you did?

I miss my younger self.

The monuments can’t be romantic
when there are mosquitoes

I would’ve cuddled if it wasn’t so hot.


He leaves behind
a swig of Southern Comfort
& a half-eaten apple.

A swinging door attached to my
bedroom opens into a smaller bedroom.

The pillow cases we slept on
become tiny flags, waved by the window,
the approaching September
breeze in the merciless swamp heat.

Flags of surrender or celebration.
Our heads side by side.

The dozen roses I bundled in a tiny pitcher.

First published in Full Moon On K Street: Poems About Washington, DC in 2009.


I can taste it. Why did we meet
at a bar? What did I expect to find
Why am I one of two brown men
in competition for a White guy
Oh yeah, they fucked
a year ago. My fingers
unfurl to Wolverine claws.
Another Oriental diva
stabs herself in the breast.
I’m a brown fucking swan
& my understudy
is another colonized
US territory. May there be
fireworks & fury to be
celebrated in their
tongues. An atomic beehive
fills my head. If I grabbed
his crotch this would be
over. Puerto Rican guy
did Not. Just. Grab. His.
Crotch. My body eats
the audacity. I reach for
my Captain Morgan
& Orange Juice & slam it
down on the bar like a shard
of sunrise. Maybe he’s
in love with him. Maybe
he’s not. And when he’s
done studying for his law
exam he will flash
his gumbo smile. He’ll bury
his Cajun eyes in my skin.
All his tricks drift
down a bayou. Orpheus rises
& can’t believe this shit.
He plays Send In The Clowns
on his lyre. He really is gonna
fuck him. Puerto Rican
lives in Logan Circle. I hope
his air conditioning breaks
in the storm. May
the electricity be damned
in Logan Circle. Everybody’s
lived through what I’m going
through. I’m not afraid
of comparisons. I know
who I am. I’m kind,
I’m smart & I’m important.
I did not just quote
Viola Davis from The Help.
Oh that I may be as fierce!
Nina Simone,
belt me a new dawn,
Tina Turner give me the legs
to strut Proud Mary
on the cruisey asphalt,
& this is for asian guyz
who have considered suicide
when the guy you thought
would be your summer
romance leaves you
for another brown guy
like a bag of hot skittles
on the dance floor. We were
gonna have jumbalaya
& chicken adobo, bring back
Little Manila from
the wreckage. This love affair
was gonna be a miraculous
loving that would hold the levees
& take back the oil spills. But no,
he picked the crotch grabbing
slut he fucked last year. Mermaids
sing Hans Christian
Andersen sea chantys
in my tears. & day is rising
like a shroud around
a death-stricken heart.

First published in Monologues For Actors of Color in 2016.


The giant Slinky
of  Spring approaches
& I have nothing
to sport after spending
a fortune on hooded
sweaters that make
me look like I’m searching
for the Holy Grail.

Struggling with
granola & soy milk,
dental bills accumulate
like snow & the potatoes
I forgot have rotted.
I’m broke & broke
& broke & broke
& broke, a bowling
ball spiraling down
a middle-aged
staircase of doubt.

The night I crazily
fled for the gentrified
grids of  14th Street.
A pinball, I landed
in Playbill. I left
Brooklyn tossing
televisions & futons
like bombs
in the bowels
of  hipster bohemia.
In the piano karaoke
bar, I met Kevin,
a Peter Pan
Tennessee man
who spun quips & wit
like pixie dust about me.
A puckish chariot
fueled by moxie,
this lean tambourine
of charms leaned
over me, a hot flamingo
in the midnight light
& admitted his
fetish for Laotian
men in his youth.
I wanted him to fall
for me as if  he stumbled
into the inside
of an Oriental
mansion shaking
the tchotchkes
in my heart, steeping my
crush into sweet green tea.
Kevin would be my model
of elegance, unabashed
confidence, a dragon
fierceness. He said,
There’s more to Rainbow
Pride than RuPaul
& Stonewall kickball
& I finally felt
I belonged in DC.

November, Kevin’s
jaw ached. He showed
up at The Black Fox
mumbling  jumble
garble through tears.
His feature canceled.
After the first break
from winter gray to blue,
Facebook alerts Kevin’s
wheeled to hospice,
liver cancer.

I teach DonMike
how to make pancit
noodles. We become
the curse of gossiping
Filipina spinster aunts.
How have we become
giggling little lily pad
princesses behind
invisible hand
fans, waiting for
our potential
suitors to make
the first move?

I wonder whether
you’re afraid my hug
lingers a little too long
after I rub your feet
or maybe you’re just
a Scorpio expressing
affection & I know
I have 3rd world Daddy
issues but I don’t want
to bring up hopes
& fuck ups.

Maybe I’m in love
with you like that
baby weasel riding
the flying woodpecker’s
back. It’s an Avatar
magical, sci-fi,
unexpected flash
of  bliss when really,
the woodpecker is
fighting for his life.
The weasel doesn’t
know what it’s gotten
itself into but a thrill
that will never
come again,
something better
than a feathered
Baby Jane din-din.

Tomorrow, you’ll
want to go to Rehoboth
& kite surf at the beach
house of the guy who
lusts after you. The priest’s
sermon makes no sense:
Forest Fires in the Bay,
Water Well Maidens
& “Let It Go” from Frozen.
It’s not that I hate white
people or that we’re soul mates.
It’s that you’re beginning
to wash off me like ashes
in holy water.

First Published in Poetry Magazine, April 2016.

For more information on Regie Cabico, visit

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