poetry by Kieran Adamson


I fell in love with the sting of it, like pouring

hot wax over my hand & watching it cool

then crack. I was always an addict, needing

more & more, insatiable amounts:

more food, more drink, more love,

wanting the consumption to consume me,

wanting to be consummated into nothingness.

I lay him out in front of me, neat & pressed,

ironed out like fresh laundry, ready for me

to step into, to fill, to feel the stale crunch

of him against my skin. he could be anyone

but he is always exactly him & his absence

is always exactly everything, & that liminal space

between my lungs laments the same song,

the most ancient song. I think, does my pain 

have to be poetic for it to be noticed? the body 

knows what it wants. kleptomaniac, magpie; 

I collect our shards. I try to piece together 

fragments like a revisionist jigsaw puzzle, 

even in this poem. I search for something 

which may not exist, unknown to me 

like the palms of his hands.

Defining Queer

poetry by Kieran Adamson


suicide as a result of homophobia and a homophobic slur. Please read at your own risk.

Defining Queer

August 2018. A nine-year-old boy has killed himself after enduring four days of homophobic bullying at school in Denver, Colorado, his mother says.


May 2019. The MP for a primary school facing demonstrations over LGBT equality teaching has said such lessons were not always age appropriate.

BBC News






       1.    Strange, odd. 

Etymology: my father’s mouth / A second naming I did not ask for / the synonyms in school-yard whispers / Not gay as in happy but queer as in Other. To exist like this is to tread water & to sink each step regardless / To see yourself / a deer in the headlights / skin stretched over a bag of bones / all gangly limbs / limp wristed & waiting / to be mincemeat. / Garnish for pedestrian soles / your fate laid out for you in offal / on the tarmac / alphabet soup / spelling faggot.


       2.    Slightly ill. 

I am sick despite my health / My blood / circulating far before I was conceived / Spilled / deemed diseased / no aid from authority / Something to be spread out / analysed / pinned to the wall & splayed like a Vitruvian man / What to do? / Act up / Or be calm & collected only to be named a disorder / How we nursed each other / Sappho & Sebastian / How we nursed ourselves / tear water in our wounds salty & sterile / Conversion: the process of changing / Or: a building that has been adapted for a new use / My body / not a temple / shuddering at the foundation / empty & frequently occupied / I am sick with what should not be mine / the weight of it / your shame / snapping straight the curve of my spine.


       3.    (Of a person) homosexual.

When he kisses me at the bus stop / I stop / look around / my vision rose tinted through bloodshot eyes / kids on the school run / I am weary of the parents / Sodom & Gomorrah watching down on us / This love has always meant a pain / a reckoning / Father forgive me for I have sinned / have grinned too deeply into another man’s mouth / moaned & called it hymn / drank communion from unholy places / In the shower I am scrubbing my body like someone guilty / wanting to strip my skin like a cocoon / to unfurl kaleidoscope wings which lift me up / up / up.




       4.    Spoil or ruin (an agreement, event, or situation).

Of course, it is all our fault / For setting the route off-piste / destabilising the nucleus / basking in the perversion of living / We are not what happens to us until we are / How to find pride in the pain / How to kiss through the slurred words & still be coherent / How it took a village to kill a child.


Kieran Adamson

Kieran Adamson is a student from Northamptonshire, UK. He is currently working towards a BA in English Literature with Creative Writing at the University of Surrey. He can be found on Twitter and Instagram, @kieran_ad