It’s Not Despair by Daniel Brennan

It’s Not Despair
A house sale on Fire Island uncovered approximately 200 ‘lost’ tapes of music mixes, dated from 1983-1999. The music, which was made during the height of the AIDS crisis, lives as a history for a lost generation of gay men.

It’s not despair or loss yet it’s
the creak of the spiral staircase
under pool-slicked feet
it’s the wisping kimono catching an
August breeze through the cracked
door it’s his & his & his
heart thundering onto the tape’s
B side it’s Donna and she has
spread her arms wide for them
she has cast her spell and sent
them swirling in a dervish of
sweat of lips of vodka in cheap
plastic cups it’s two men keeping
their embrace despite the summer
heat infiltrating their bedroom it’s
the boulevard clapping with
sun it’s deer wandering onto
the path despite the buzzing throngs
of boys with eyes cut into jewels
mid-high it’s the way the ocean
laps at their exposed thighs bronzed
and taught as a piano wire
it’s them howling at the moon
as they climax well into the dark
with a house party growling
below them it’s knowing they
are not alone here it’s not
despair it’s not
loss it’s not
the end
yet it’s this moment where they are still
the lost boys, singing deep into
the night.


Daniel Brennan (he/him) is a resident of New York City, but grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Pennsylvania (ultimately serving as a focused source of ecology-based inspiration). As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Brennan’s work aims to capture both the vastness we feel in the face of our ever-changing planet, while confronting our own bodies and the daunting elements of intimacy we feel every day. His work has appeared in CP Quarterly, Grand Little Things, Feral Poetry, with forthcoming work in the Garfield Lake Review and New Verse News. He currently lives in Manhattan, and works full-time in advertising.

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