“Land of a Thousand Boys” by Brenda Holloway
1. The adjective “makeshift” suggests the improvised, the inventive, the making out of what’s available in the present something perhaps workable for the time being but oriented toward the potential of, or providing a blueprint for, a better, future version.
2. When you are young and queer or in the midst of some makeshift process you or others for you will later recognize as the ongoing practice of becoming queer and you see the song’s title before you have ever even heard the song you misrecognize yourself in the song and you yourself invent it and when you finally do hear it there it is, waiting for you: “Land of a Thousand Boys.”
3. Queer praxis: “a mode of being in the world,” as José Esteban Muñoz writes, “that is also inventing the world.”
4. Brenda Holloway’s 1964 song “Land of a Thousand Boys” performs a makeshift solution for the “lonely,” the “hurt, misused, and abused,” for anyone, you want to believe, longing for those beautiful boys who both are and are not the beautiful boys who violently limn the spaces outside the song and which the song represents, contest, inverts.
5. What land is this, emphatic, exuberant, makeshift, blue?
Chad Bennett’s poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Jubilat, The Offing, The Volta, and elsewhere. He is currently an assistant professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is at work on a study of American poetry and the queer art of gossip.
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Contact Jackie Clark: jackie [at] coldfrontmag [dot] com.
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