"Casting Handsome": A Poem by Royce Hall
Casting Handsome by Royce Hall (Chinyelu Alimayu)
When casting directors say, "I love your look!"
I calm my confusion
Douse the fire of befuddledness
Correct my questioning
And reaffirm with myself
That they are in fact complimenting me
That they are in fact...
In awe of me
That looking like me
While creating it's own
That looking like me
Has afforded me many smiles
However for the strange young boy
Who squeezed uncomfortably into dresses
Whose angular mandible
Drew squares of invisible boundaries on his confidence
Was naturally evident
Despite the ribbons
He preferred jeans and sneakers
Taunted for his mix matched
Body and features
The hands of a seasoned man
With the softness of flower petals
Who preferred sandboxes and dirt bikes over Barbie dolls and makeup
His make up
Made up of sharp
Teased for looking like a "him"
But forced to use the restroom as a "her"
Overhearing comments from teachers
Referencing "him" as a rambunctious, male appearing "she"
While tucked hair
Gave him a flare he longed for
Wanting the same haircuts and clothing as his cousins
Box fades, sporting waves and a few pairs of Jordans
Having the freshest kicks
Was probably the closest he came
Always questioned as to why he looked that way
Why do you sound that way
Yet have "that" name
"You look like a..."
The laughs and giggles
The jokes and defending of self
Yet knowing all the while that intrinsically a boy is who he is
Chastised for admiring passing girls
The sneak disses that accompany existing incorrectly in such a world
Mirrors reflecting his chiseled treasures
Deep down, he thought he was so cute
But made to feel bad by those of his youth
Follicles pulled back only to be mis-gendered yet properly addressed all in one sentence
Then loudly apologized to
And receiving unwanted attention
All because of his look
"Honey I didn't mean to...you just...caught me off-guard."
Mother Nature did the same to me
When she provided me with this "look" that didn't necessarily
Abide by the scope of the way in which many people think
Shame never discussed
hurt never explained
words that never came to mind
and no one to blame
As to why he looked this way
And when he was Miss Junior
he remembers the whispers
and words they'd say
"Looking like a boy in dress..."
Well he was
a punching bag
Targeted and discarded
so casting directors
please excuse my internal struggle
When you say you, "Love my look..."
It took me sometime to appreciate it
And ultimately, finally love it the way you do.
For the awkward, little boy-girl who grew to become a handsome man.
You can follow Royce on Instagram @iamroycehall