After Ted Casablanca
“Like two white people kissing in the rain & it is always / white people kissing in the rain on television & it is a question / of hair, I imagine”—Hanif Abdurraqib
“With cotton candy armpits and sugary / crevices, sweat glazing your donut skin / have you ever been fat, Brad?”—Aaron Smith, Brad Pitt
Hey Upper East Siders,
Once there was an up-&-coming star (“Toothy Tile”) whose princess birthday cake was made famous by Amy Schumer; many years after the fact, he praised his dearly departed co-star for refusing to tell a homophobic joke at the Oscars.
Once there was a young actor who came to fame in a highly-regarded film about queer love; he “dated” the celebrity offspring of an American A-lister (once a darling, now a trainwreck) & a foreign singer.
Once there was an actor who came up through the Disney ranks & later dramatically transformed his body for a role in which he wore red shorts; his address was 5601 Briarcliff Road.
Once there was an actress famous for yo-yo dieting & being linked to at least two queer celebrities; she came back from a long hiatus to win a major acting accolade.
Once there was a celebrity couple (with showbiz offspring) in a prominent lavender marriage; the man used to be A-list but has had several recent flops, the woman is B-list & mostly TV.
Once there was a tween heartthrob in a family enterprise who married a foreign, B-list mostly movie actress who saw moderate success with a patriotic TV series.
Once there was a Disney alumnus who married a foreign actress known mostly for a bit role on pay TV & modelling for Louis Vuitton; he was linked to an Asian-American fashion designer.
Once there was an all-American model-turned-actor (think Abercrombie) who married then split with a celebrity florist after many years in the glass closet.
Once there was a foreign dual-threat actor all of you know from a longstanding comic book franchise who married an actress friend in a lavender marriage; he has a great singing voice.
Once there was a foreign actor who played an icon in a biopic & also saw success in a role adjacent to a world-famous (also foreign) children’s book franchise; he is in a lavender marriage that will end soon.
Once there was a sports star A-list in every country except the United States who has “dated” a long string of supermodel beards & has a fondness for yachts.
Once there was a B-list sports star who prominently cheated on his foreign singer beard & last saw action in the Rocky Mountains; he cut his own hair on Instagram Live.
Once there was an A-list bona fide movie star who came to fame in a film about a ship; he recently appeared in a throwback flick directed by the misogynistic A-list director.
Once there was a permanent A-list movie star who played an iconic character named after a body of water; he married a foreign professional & maimed an underaged love interest in a foreign country.
Once there was an A-list host whose career was launched by a long-running show that all of you know; he is now known mostly for his work on radio.
Once there was a B (maybe C) list mostly TV actor who was noticeably passed over for a big-screen role; his career has seen a resurgence since his replacement was filmed choking a fan in a Nordic country.
Once there was a foreign actor known for his twinkishness & crying when his role in a lucrative franchise was threatened by external events; he is Toothy Tile’s latest flame.
Once there was an A-list movie star who came to prominence in a frat-favorite film set in Vegas; he “dated” & later had a child with a known foreign beard.
Once there was a straw-haired, budding foreign actor who “dated” an A-list American singer known for her Girl Next Door image & stable of closeted “boyfriends.”
Once there was a foreign singer who was perhaps the first or second most popular in his group; his recent solo outing (haha) was praised by an A-list singer who once sang about white-winged doves.
Once there was a boybander-turned-solo-act who was perhaps the third or fourth most popular in his group; he shares a name with a famous river.
Once there was a buff heartthrob who came to fame in a tween franchise but has since only appeared in box-office bombs; he once dated the closeted offspring of a permanent A-list action-hero-turned-politician.
Once there was a tween idol who is not the most famous member of his family & later came out as bisexual; he is on serious drugs & has resorted to sleeping with older men for money.
Once there was a boy, a boy with perfect imperfections, a boy who knew all the words,
& he loved them all.
A Lambda Literary fellow, MICHAEL CHANG (they/them) was awarded the Kundiman Scholarship at the Miami Writers Institute in addition to fellowships from Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Brooklyn Poets, & the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Their writing has been published or is forthcoming in the Cincinnati Review, Summerset Review, Vassar Review, Minnesota Review, Santa Clara Review, Ninth Letter, Hobart, Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, The Nervous Breakdown, & many others. Their collection <golden fleece> was a finalist for the Iowa Review Award in Poetry.