Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch Literature Poetry

yt people think i’m yt like

Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch


yt ppl think i’m yt like it’s a compliment
brown ppl think i’m yt as though it’s a shame
i didn’t turn out less gay

tackled on both ends when the yt woman on the metro
stares at me with plz die eyes before she gets off at laurier

while brown ppl in the middle east stare as openly: who let u
cut yr hair like that, asks a young arab girl,
they will ask how did yr mom let u,

& i ask her who are they, they they she says,
but what she doesn’t say is: (if i cut mine)
they will think i’m a weird gay (like u)
no, don’t say it out loud,

arabs aren’t
gay, no no no

yt people think i’m yt like it’s a compliment until i’m trans
brown ppl think i’m yt as though it’s a shame


we go around the table being half yt
together, my yt dad, my yt mom, my yt
family says shitty things, my fuck ytness
in me, my fuck dan savage’s it gets better crap
or the yt man whose name i forget, the “face of lgbtq,”
says love is all u need, bet he doesn’t even know
what half the acronym means

i’m here being mixed
in my mixed friend C’s tiny apartment
as we eat samosas & i drop crumbs
onto his used couch, the room orange lit,
pink & green lamp shades scattered around,
the ceiling dark without overhead lights

we try to talk about writing
but end up talking about ytness over & over
like give me tools to overcome it
or here’s all the shit it has done
but we don’t use academic words
we say fuck the unbearable ytness of academia
& everyone at my job is rich & yt
& doesn’t understand my poor brown body
selling this expensive crap
& wonder if i can steal some or
my boss says it’s sooooo cool that yr Arab,
do u speak it?
can u say something?
can u show me?
can u prove it?
prove it, prove it, prove it

or why they pronouns
i don’t
get it

ok i’ll try
i guess
(she she she)

or the harder parts like mayb
that character is a racist stereotype
& these tensions
between racialized ppl exist here
or why am i the spokesperson
& i’m happy we’re asking these questions
& we’re all friends here


it’s soooo boring to fuck in a poem but fuck
my body that is both trans & arab &
fat & yt passing & strange & hateable
& luvable & no & i mean it, fuck it
with care & gentleness, fuck it
hard & angry, no, fuck it
until i’m making small noises
i’ve hidden for years
or cumming obviously in yr hand
tightening, fuck & no
i’m lost & mayb not me


Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch is a queer Arab poet living in Tio’tia:ke, unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory (Montreal). Their work has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry 2018, GUTS, carte blanche, the Shade Journal, The New Quarterly, Arc Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere. They participated in the Banff Centre’s Centering Ourselves BIPOC residency, and currently work as the publicist at carte blanche.