Patrick Roche – Everything my Brain Knows, It Learned from Drag

Everything my brain knows, it learned from drag One What’s the most acceptable face I can wear tonight? Or…what is the opposite of that Highlight the cheekbone, the bridge of the nose the bright and the beautiful the parts pretty for pictures hide the rest the sharp, the visible flaw Contour and shadow away the sad, the grief the parts of the body unfit for the public eye or maybe the ones you just want to transform Tighten, train the waist, thread the hips through a needle’s eye and sew the self-hatred into sequins Look, I spent an adolescence corseting myself via the bathroom scale No dinner. Run the extra mile. Depression, anorexia, skinny legend Two Look, if nothing else, at least the performance Get the money, snatch the bills How I’ve seen dollars fly out of my own hands for the kind of life that takes investment The pills, the doctors, the appointments, the cost of staying alive with a sick brain Turn the party, girl And trust me, I know the drill. Maybe just lip sync Not everyone came out here to listen to what you have to say And that’s OK They might just be here for a good time Maybe try mouthing along to something that could actually make a room full of strangers feel happy and safe, maybe something they can dance to They might be trying to forget the daylight too, you know Turn the party, girl Dance, twirl, 8-count, vogue, pose, work the stage Bend over backwards just to get through the night, the month, the appointment, the song And memorize the routine: Milligrams, vitamin D, eat, shower, therapy, exercise, pills Spread yourself thin. Feel the brain split and crash to the floor Death drop, dip, trust, fall, unsure where you’ll land but– *cheers, applause* Three Still, even in the darkest, dingiest corners and basements and back rooms of the brain, of the club, of the screaming city Still, this drag, this potential for joy Find the words, sad little queer boy the productive way to laugh at fear and death and yourself This protest. This church. See what small sources of love and dance and community and expression can work to shake you from the sadness finding acceptance as you are or as something else Bless the smoke machine and the smoky eye. Bless the genderless smile Bless the dance in the strobe light, every beat, every move one step closer to morning one step closer to a brain and a body worth of a room, worthy of a cheer, worthy of love *cheers, applause*

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