Creative Nonfiction by Queer Writers
Edited by Jim Tushinski and Jim Van Buskirk
Now available from Harrington Park Press



by Darin Beasley

They were boys of a middle-class South that prized its values in history, tradition, and gracious living, and so it was natural their separate bloodlines were steeped in socially acceptable behavior. They were two in number. By the time they met, some of their behavior wasn't suited for refined tastes anymore-but that wasn't a burden; they'd learned to fake their way through almost anything.
Manners, another adult tooth to grow, came easy, as easy as telling tales and living them at the same time. These were the rules of their birthplace and from there they grew.

Darin and Keith

They outgrew the South. They were its unmentionables, its long johns on a cold night, hitched up to a baying harvest moon. They called all the horses (see dreams) home.

They were cornstalks and Levi's who became city boys easily and remorselessly. Their former small-world skies sent rain to the suburbs and farms.
They weren't coming back. Hell's bells set off ringing. The magnolia trees, without the two boys to whistle at their beauty, were helpless.
The two boys. You would've recognized them anywhere.

Often, they were mistaken as brothers and more than once new strangers asked if they were intimate.

Theirs was a tale of intimacy.

As in any tale of intimacy, it was one of high adventure.
One boy was given the birth name Keith and the other was christened Darin.

When they came to know one another, it was impossible to separate them. Both were skinny, smoked too many cigarettes, and broke other boys' hearts.
They were unable to say why they were meant to be together and they were never boyfriends.

Darin and Keith

They were boys with proper manners, fond of one another's good graces and perverse highs (the art of sharing, the talents for attraction and appreciation, rides of whorish nights, mouthfuls of tall-tale gossip, and jaunts through naked lust). They were ridiculous and sublime.
They liked to lie down next to one another, on beds during all kinds of weather.

They didn't like to part.
They relied on one another.
They were imperfect. Their personalities were confident and strong but each boy was stubborn as a mule.
Mules that led all the other mules onto roads of freedom. They inspired admiration. We miss those mules.