“About Work the Dance Floor” by Ben Wenzl

Ben Wenzl


after the song of the same name by Georgia

I am seized by synths. My face is a myth of mist 
and makeup. It’s caked on. Let them eat it.

I’m straight drowning in straight people at the gay club. 

I came out, so they could come see The Attraction
of same sex. Men dance like they’re in straitjackets.

The only thing dancing is their eyes, which feast on 
a sweetness they both fear and marvel at. I hold another
man’s hand, and men’s eyes manhandle me. 

When I was a green queer at the gay club, a cackle 
of bridesmaids asked me to take their group picture.
I still couldn’t marry the man I loved. C’est la vie.

I channel my inner Chanel. Robyn’s “Missing U” 
comes on, and she does her best to exorcise me of my ex. 
I strut so well it’s disgusting. I am both spectacle and speck.

Through my limp, limpid, lisping wrists dances good blood 
that I cannot donate to save another person’s life.
I guess I’ll have to save my own, here, under the lights.

The dancefloor is a mouth and my entire body is one
of many flaming tongues. Only the glistening are listening.

When I leave, the club is burning. In the lot, I don’t look 

I lick my lips and taste the salt.

from Rattle #72, Summer 2021


Ben Wenzl: “Originally, I planned on going to school to major in piano performance. I very quickly realized that I didn’t have the makings of a concert pianist. I turned to writing and found that performing my own writing, my own truth, gave me a bigger rush than any good recital ever did. Music will always be my biggest influence, though. I am a true lover of sounds (both on and off the page), so I always try to infuse some musicality into whatever I’m writing. I don’t want all those years of lessons to be for nothing.” (web)

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