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Dale Booton



the poet

Dale Booton (he/him) is a queer poet from Birmingham whose poetry has been published variously by Verve Poetry Press, Young Poets Network, Queerlings, The North and Muswell Press. He has work forthcoming with Magma, and recently hosted the Young Poets Takeover at Verve Poetry Festival. Dale's debut poetry pamphlet, Walking Contagions, is available to pre-order from Polari Press.

the poems


00:00 / 01:05

            when told that God is not meant to be

            understood I crumbled     felt the weight of expectation

            as it dragged my body below the floor and held it there

            if knowledge is power then why can I not know

            why I am so powerful     is it that my voice

            can be used as a weapon     that my thoughts

            can soar beyond these four walls     I’ve heard it said

            captivity is a state of mind     I’ve been told

            theologists are the wisest of all     well I beat Pastor

            at chess     at pool     broke out of the cage he put me in

            little child     the Lord moves in mysterious ways

            but is never wrong     so you tell me why you tried

            to darken my heart     denied my being     why

            the spirit of someone can only be what you say it is


00:00 / 00:54

            how strange that want to preserve what is

            so obvious     I have heard parents speak

            how they don’t want their children to know

            of people like me     just like I don’t want

            my classes and colleagues to know how alone I feel

            we erase what we fear     what we cannot

            understand     drive it into the shadows in the hope

            it will never make it to light again

            here my voice is foreign     this place

            where sexuality is a question-and-answer session

            each one a stone’s throw further from purpose

            no room for growth

            no stature that can define a willingness

            to teach those whose kin would want you dead


00:00 / 00:52

            I have heard the music speak to me

            it was the bodies of friends and strangers

            that introduced us     kindred arms wrapped

            around the uncomfortable     relax

            we move as one

            there is strength in physicality

            there is softness in letting go

            that not-so-sober shove onto the dancefloor

            that not-so-innocent rush to be close to some other

            proximity is breath

            a closely guarded secret

            here my breath is not foreign     this place

            where love and lust are two words

            that begin with l     like living

Publishing credits

All poems: exclusive first publication by iamb


S h a r e

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