After Keith Haring’s Untitled, 1988

If you’re gay,
draw a dick on the toilet stall.
It’s not even about being queer
although that’s part of it.
It’s about standing tall,
sticking it to the man,
and showing everyone
that, yes,
you fuck!
And I don’t even care if you don’t have a dick,
or maybe you draw a pussy,
it’s all the same.
It’s a friendly reminder to every pissing person that
And that’s cool, and normal, and healthy and safe and
I’m kind of bored of queerness being G rated.
Always Radiant Baby,
but never Debbie Dick.
Like the depths of human desire were ever meant for Saturday morning television.
We are phalluses!
Ten feet tall!
You need to remind the world that you fornicate!
And that’s because you are
and alive.
My god! We are alive!
And for so long we thought you might slide through our fingers,
It was easier for them to swallow you sexless
because if you were
they didn’t have to count your death.
The less human you are the less they need to save you.
Draw dicks on the wall to remind them
you’re here
and human.

This piece was inspired by Keith Haring (1958-1990), a queer American artist who believed that art should be for everyone. You have probably seen some of his more sedate work on fast-fashion apparel, but many people forget that his work was fiercely sexual. He fought for gay rights during the HIV/AIDS epidemic — at a time when queer sex spurred visceral and violent fear across the globe. Unfortunately, the effects of the virus took his life at 31 years old. In 2023, because of available treatments, the average life expectancy for an HIV-positive person is the same as the population average.

The artwork that inspired this piece is currently still under copyright, you can view it online here. The featured artwork in its place was commissioned by bad apple from Mickie Loof for the 2023 Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day.


In a dream, you saw a way to survive, and you were filled with joy.


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