~This poem was previously published Cargo (1988).
~Selected by Clara Jane Hallar, assistant editor, poetry
"No thanks, I'm just looking"
I stand and peer in through the window.
I want him.
Everyone else thinks I'm admiring the clothes
placed so strategically casual in the display
but it's him that I want wrapped up to take with me.
Every night, on my walk home from work, I stop
and fuck him through the cold glass.
Does he think I only like the clothes, too, or
is he aware of me outside his shop,
the red neon light illuminating the lust in my stare?
I don't think I want to speak to him.
He's simply another item in the shop,
to be admired, perused, pinched, considered, bought and used.
And so I watch him -
he woos customers, wrestles coat-hangers,
stands strangely on one foot 'cos those new shoes are hurting again,
placates complainers, runs long sensual fingers through jet black hair,
and looks relieved to see the last of them go at half-five.
He glances at the window and my eyes dart back to the display,
that cream jumper is cheaper than last week... how interesting...
Then I walk away towards the train station,
leaving a foggy patch on his window to remind him I was there,
and I go home empty handed.
THE STORY BEHIND THE POEM
1988 was a pretty good year. I was a brand new adult, out and at large in the world. My first job. My first relationship. My first second relationship. Money of my own. And a commute – a long commute. This poem was written in the winter of that year, when evening fell quite soon after getting out of work for the day. The walk from my job to the train station took me along Melbourne's central shopping strip and there was a menswear store on one of the corners on the edge of Chinatown. It's still there, I think. The lovely creature I write about here is long gone though, there were maybe only two or three weeks I spotted him as I walked by. I barely even recall what he looked like now (it is 29 years later, after all!), but I can still put myself in that moment, standing at the window, as though it was yesterday. At the end of the year – another first. This poem and another of mine appeared in Cargo, a gay lit mag out of Sydney; my first "proper" publication credits.
ABOUT WELTON B. MARSLAND
From Melbourne, Australia, Welton B. Marsland is a queer-punk writer whose stories, poetry and more have appeared in many local and international markets. Some of these include Journeys to the Point: Poetry by Young Australians, Concrete Queers, Zetetic, Scenes of Erotica, Australian Women's Forum, rocknerd.org and A Literation. Forthcoming releases include "Carrying On", a poetry anthology inspired by the TV show Supernatural (Editor), and a short story in the erotic anthology "Like A Spell" for Circlet Press(USA). Welton's debut novel "By the Currawong's Call", a queer love story set in 1890s Australia, will be released later this year by Escape Publishing. You can find WBM on Twitter @wbmarsland or at the website weltonbmarsland.com