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"Casting Handsome": A Poem by Royce Hall

"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

Has found

A place

While creating it's own

That looking like me

Like this

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

Whose masculinity

Was naturally evident

Despite the ribbons

and pastels

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

I was




and disregarded



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


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