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Black Denim by Joe Nasta

Black Denim was a multimedia experiment I created in conjunction with lust fragments from my first book I WANT YOU TOO FEEL UGLY, TOO in June 2021. 

detail of Real Love (2021) multimedia scultpture by artist Joe Nasta
lust fragment 16

Darling, Darling, Darling
I hadn’t realized I was a person

yet. You said
you are, you are

                                      cos boy we’re gold,
                                      that golden morning.

With you, I fall                       to pieces.
All alone, I fall                       like cherries in wine.

Oh, is it real? Is this real love?
I am asking as someone you have never known

& you just stay lined up letting it burn
& all yr black beaches, my rose garden dreams—

I just wanted too much:
A touch, darling.

I was obsessed. I always will be
but I’ve run out of time. 

detail of Real Love (2021) multimedia sculpture by artist Joe Nasta
detail of Real Love (2021) multimedia sculpture by artist Joe Nasta

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lust fragment 20
Real Love (2021) multimedia sculpture by artist Joe Nasta

I was awake when the music stopped.
but my body kept dancing: it whispered.

This poem was never about you.
This poem was never about Arthur Rimbaud.

             America is about finding a poet to worship.
This poem is about you as me and me

as him. This poem is about us all finally listening
             A poet always gets what he wants.

to ourselves.

Something personal buried itself inside this ode,
inside our lives as recurring dream.

When a poet has power, a reader has power.
When a body has power, a mind does.

                 When a poet tells you

                 to take off your shirt, you do it

                 and you kiss him.
When a man texts you, he tells you

                  you’ll have to be shirtless

and my arms lift above my head, sing

                  maybe pantsless too

and my fingers untangle my belt, scream

                   because a poet always gets

                   what he wants.

In this way of being that has become so familiar
I can pretend that it’s what I really want.

                    can you do that for me?

The music stopped.
I knelt in the sand at his black denim


stuck inside this body, begging
                     give me what I want.

Somewhere in my love I did steal your humanity.
We do have power in these bodies.

When the music stopped, I kept dancing.
Know now I am awake and I will not beg.

I will keep it. I will keep it.
I’m not asking for permission.

Joe (ze/zir) is a queer multimodal artist and writer who works in Seattle and writes love poems. Ze is one half of the art and poetry collective Eat Yr Manhood and head curator of Stone Pacific Zine. Zir work has been published in The Rumpus, OcculumPeach Mag, Yes Poetry, and others.


Find zir online at on Instagram, @joenasta on TikTok, and @tulip_icognito on Twitter.

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