Womanscrew–A Poem

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

In order to support Coming Out Week, the Gazette hopes to publish the coming out stories of queer students and their allies all week. Please send yours in–we’re happy to publish anonymously if you so desire.

daniel and i are playing egyptian ratscrew
i am winning and daniel is bitter
Why is it called Ratscrew? Why couldn’t they call it something more normal like Womanscrew?
this is a joke and i take it as such
I know I’d rather screw a woman than a rat.
I bet you’d rather screw a woman than a lot of things.
i don’t know what this is and i don’t know how to take it
i look down and i focus and i slap and i slap
i win ratscrew and manscrew and womanscrew too

i am sitting outside the keyhole of my room
i hear my roommate talking to her friends
Gosh, she’s a nice girl, and she’s a good roommate, and I love her to pieces but
But she’s a lesbian

should i take it as a compliment that i can be a nice girl in spite of being a lesbian
should i be furious that “in spite of being a lesbian” is part of anyone’s vocabulary
should i sink down and cry because my roommate has no idea who i am and neither do i

seth and i are playing risk and seth only has two soldiers left on sweden
he is rolling the dice and i am cheering him on
Go down flaming, Seth!
he is angry
I’m willing to go down a lot of ways but flaming is not one of them.
i don’t get it
C’mon Seth, flame, baby, flame!
Look, you can go down flaming if you want, but I’m not going to.
and then i get it and i feel stupid
i busy myself with rearranging my soldiers
i go on to take over the world

forrest and i are talking about the gay pride parade in new york city
Goddamn those gay people. I mean I don’t have any problem with them having Gay Pride parades but if I had a Straight Pride parade all hell would break loose.
But everyday is Straight Pride Day and it’s not fair that they’ve been kept down for so long and why can’t you see that we’re not trying to threaten you at all?
he looks at me and he is frightened and he gulps
forrest looks down and says
I’m sorry I didn’t mean to be insensitive.
but i want to ask him to forgive me instead

i am playing monopoly with chris and rolin
chris is joking about sending in depressed pictures of himself to the college admissions people and we laugh together
i am comfortable so i make a joke
Well, you know, I can’t send pictures in because I have short hair and so everybody always thinks I’m a lesbian.
but chris and rolin don’t laugh
i close my eyes and i open them and i see chris staring at me

Well, are you?

and i think that if i say yes he will hate me forever and i think that if i say no i will hate myself forever and so before i even really think about it i say


and of course this is the worst answer of them all
i see chris and rolin wince as my head crashes down between baltic and oriental
i feel my cannon and chris’s top hat making dents on my forehead
i hear my hotels being knocked over every which way
i sob into my money

i am ruining the game

i don’t care

i am going down flaming

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