after Dalton Day

[The stage is a stage at the center of a tent that is also a stage in an academic building that is also a stage within an office in a skyscraper that is also a stage underwater that is also just a normal stage in a concert hall or a theater or something like that. The stage is all of these places at once and both YOU and ME are on the stage.

YOU is in all of the places that the stage is, but only thinks he is in one of those places, as if there are five separate versions of YOU that cannot communicate with each other. Each version of YOU recognizes the place he is in but has no concept of the other four places.

ME is on stage with YOU, but is in none of the places that the stage is. ME recognizes all of the places despite not being there or having ever gone to any of these places himself.

More importantly,
ME is aware of all five versions of YOU with their different places and inability to communicate. ME does not tell YOU or YOU or YOU or YOU or YOU about YOU or YOU or YOU or YOU or YOU or any of the places where the stage is.]

YOU: Can I ask you what I am like?

ME: Right now? Or just in general?

YOU: What do I hold close?

ME: [understanding what YOU is saying] I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.

YOU: If I were to talk about something, what would it be?


ME: I can’t answer you without lying or revealing a concerning truth about how I make sense of the world.

YOU: Oh wow.

ME: Yes.

YOU: Well. Ok. I want to think of myself as a body on a stage instead of something like a body on a stage. I want to be a body that knows where it is and what it is doing, a body that acts as a home but also as a vehicle, a body that –

[YOU continues to list aspects of his desired body.]

ME: So many bodies.

YOU: What?

ME: Nothing. Forget it.

ME: Something about you is that you like to be alone, but only the type of alone when someone is coming, or the type of alone when someone is leaving.

YOU: Oh wow.

ME: Yes.

[YOU understands this as a light in the self. YOU and YOU and YOU and YOU cannot understand this, yet do not cease to exist as one might expect.]


Rob Colgate is a poet from Evanston, Illinois. His writing focuses on examining his position as a gay brown schizoaffective boy in the contemporary emotional landscape. His work appears in Duende, Bomb Cyclone, and Stonewall’s Legacy, among others; he is the author of the chapbook So Dark the Gap (forthcoming from Tammy, 2020). He holds a degree in psychology from Yale University and is currently pursuing his MFA in poetry with the New Writers Project at UT Austin.

Image banner: Ed Schipul via Flickr Creative Commons