Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language. 

On Growing Bored with Synonyms for the Apocalypse, I Rename It Carl (a Man with Intricate Tattoos, a Large Penis, and a Coup de Ville)

by C. Russell Price

Carl misses the interruption of commercials.

Carl didn’t know about the cover, forgot cash, but swears he’ll get you next time.

Carl uses the words “kitch” and “quirky” too often and incorrectly.

Carl kisses with his eyes open and his hands begging for something he feels entitled to.

Carl’s a shitty tipper and a reckless driver; he prescribes positive self-talk.

Carl deadnames without hesitation or worry of recourse.

Carl, lately, has a lot of thoughts on abortion.

Carl is a troubled man who doesn’t do therapy because he doesn’t believe in it.

Carl likes chairs backless and gender binary.

Carl awaits a tropical storm named just after him.

Carl says there’s a racist in his family, but doesn’t tell you that it’s him.

Carl is NO fats and NO femmes.

2022 Carl still calls things “so gay.”

After gay sex, Carl says, “did you hear that?” Even though you both know there wasn’t a sound. He
just likes to look at you all up in a panic at the unknown.

Carl mumbles so you have to say,” what?” so he can hear himself twice.

Carl is definitely married and works in visual merchandising, but doesn’t say where exactly because he
isn’t out and you have the reputation for just showing the fuck up.

Carl wants us to give veganism a “go” and uses the word “team” too much.

Carl says, “it has recently come to my attention” as if a fact did not exist due to his unknowing of it.

Carl is above all else a troubled man undeserving of my attention, but the sex is good even tho he wears
hoodies in the middle of August.

Carl never reciprocates oral sex and admits he might have some issues and looks to you for
confirmation. Oh, Carl.

Carl says he is superstitious of black cats,but really it’s because he’s racist and still uses the word
“urban.”

Carl loves licorice.

Carl believes in trans rights, but has a genital preference.

Carl sings along real loud to the hard-R parts.

Carl loves sleet.

Carl and cancel culture are in heat.

Carl hands you a dirty washcloth from under the bed.

Carl is always almost there or on his way in perpetuity.

Carl is man over party except in the voting booth.

Carl has infringed rights and a repulsion towards collective accountability.

Carl loves a hem undoing itself.

Carl breaks things in his garage with the door open.

Carl doesn’t do social media, but has accounts to keep tabs.

Carl, at his absolute best, is 2PM on a Tuesday in February.

Carl can and will get a gun.

Carl is body positive except for scarred fat bodies.

Carl says “secret” too easily like he has a lot of them.

Carl said “I’m sorry” once and once only and it was on a bleak winter day when he was eleven and said
he’d never say it again because a woman made him.

Carl is one bad day away from becoming the harbinger of breaking news.

Carl goes on long drives.

Carl goes on long drives at night behind a bug graveyard windshield and sunglasses, Hall and Oates, a
few cracked beers, windows down.

Carl drives slower the shorter the skirt.

Carl just needs a minute of your time, sweetie.

Carl’s a gentleman afterall; he opens the child-safe door for you.

Carl gets too close–then closer–his beardwax glimmering–you know not to.

Carl licks his stache roof.

Carl looks at you looking at him as he locks the doors.

Copyright © 2022 by C. Russell Price. This poem is published in oh, you thought this was a date?!: Apocalypse Poems (2022, Northwestern University Press).

C. Russell Price is originally from Glade Spring, Virginia, but now lives in Chicago. They are a Lambda Fellow in Poetry, a Ragdale Fellow, a Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree, an essayist, and a poet. They are the author of a chapbook, Tonight, We Fuck the Trailer Park Out of Each Other. Their work has appeared in the Boston Review, Court Green, DIAGRAM, Iron Horse Literary Review, Lambda Literary, Nimrod International, PANK, and elsewhere. Their full length collection oh, you thought this was a date?!: Apocalypse Poems will be published by Northwestern University this month.

Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission