Message Received

A poem by David Ly

Photo by Bhavina Patel


You’re cute but I’m not into Asians. Sorry just a preference.
—Grindr, summer 2016

Change your photo. Let the fish
on your arm play peek-a-boo
because a bit of colour entices. Congratulations:
twenty torsos unlock in your area. Five no azns
plz. Four variations on I’m not racist, I just have
preferences. Six suspected bots, which prove
to be human on your friend’s phone. Your total
number of failed conversations through apps reveals
how quiet the world can be to you

or to that closeted Asian boy
daydreaming into the night for rooftop parties
with endless daiquiris when he finally has enough courage
to come out. He sits on the bus on his phone
typing his fourth hey, what’s up? after deleting eight
other messages that received no responses. How does he
voice himself in this sea of gay men where so many of us
drown under our skin, the ink that covers it.


“Message Received” is excerpted from David Ly’s chapbook Stubble Burn published by Anstruther Press. Other poems from Stubble Burn include the title poem and “Post.”

Ly is launching his chapbook Stubble Burn in Toronto (March 9, 2018) and Vancouver (March 20, 2018).

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