I Was Never Anything/Self Love

Image of young man on a yellow patterned linoleum tile floor with a prism of light on his face.

by Matthew Pacuruco

I was never influenced into anything I like such as today.
Except my imagination of the someone I wanted to be.
The reflection gave a better view on how I see myself in the mirror.
I pointed out and said
You are going to be loved
you are going to find that somebody
that understands you.

The little me understood where I belonged.
My parents had no sense of what I liked.
As long as I gave that I was a male.
The cologne
hat wearing
but playing soccer
raised that man ambience
and it convinced them.
But the little me convinced how much they like it
how much the things I prefer are meant to be hidden.
Things they didn’t quite understand but didn’t harm me
because I was little.

When I entered a zone where being gay is a sin
when I held back my tears I felt
all because I had an ounce of life when I am myself.

   (I enter that zone everyday.)

Where masculinity is only one option.
Every walk and every expression
is an element of their critique to judge.
I became self-conscious
since I was little
because I knew they couldn’t handle my bad-ass energy
whenever I shake those imprisoned hips
to be alive
in a sudden enclosed gap between
father and son’s
perspective of man.
Since I got through all of that.
All of that
since the teenager in me
to feel the so-called depression

(My mother recalls it.) 

the denial
of my censorship to be myself…

…where my born existence is the
that truths within my latin


The skin of
rooted trace marks
of their native beauty
their built body for
farm labor
the silks and wool
they carry
the food they gather
the mass corruption
upon corporate greed
the rocky dirt paths
they walk to school
the tongue they once saw
as validation for their heritage
their culture
their only progression para un familia
to be a family.
And when my parents
came to a land
copy and pasted by the red white and blues
slogans that said freedom
inheritance of their identity that meant goodbye
they weren’t influenced into anything they liked as today
because of the grief of becoming somebody one day.

Owning a house.
Owning land.
Owning freedom.
Owning their family.
Owning themselves.

That’s where the streets call their names.
Slangs and phrases that meant they were home.
The dirt rocky paths
became construction sites
they walked to work
the backpacks filled with documents
they carry
their built body
for middle class labor
the rooted trace marks
over american brands
the tongue they use
to pass the test.

Misguidance and dominance
from the people that came before me.
With no records that didn’t see who we are but how we looked.
How education became a pathway for success.

Always working for something
for someone
by someone.
What’s the difference anyway
when we all come from a place of adjustment.
Nobody told them what they liked
neither did they.
Letting the wives cook
while their husbands kick off a modelo
to really shape up life.

Because being in a life
where you aren’t yourself
will shred your heart.
It’s nobody’s fault
in why you feel like this.
It’s okay to just cry
of the rapid changes.
Just breathe in and-

Out goes the trigger of somebody’s life.
Never exploiting anything they like about today.


It’s best to be myself then.
Whenever I don’t feel cold anymore
underneath the bright sun.
When I don’t need a sunset
to revive my happiness.
I can just be with my partner
throughout all that.
Through all of that
I am myself.

The stars I’ve seen

the scars I inherited

the places I walked through

the rain against my hair

the emergency room

the pills

the meditations

the dances

the sex

the love

the grief

the freedom

the headaches

the reassurances

the universe I saw.

And all of that
lead it all

out. Because
You are worthy.
You are beautiful.
You are strong.
You are needed.
You are enough.

I have liked boys since I could remember.
I liked the thought of kissing a boy
if that’s your concern why
I swipe a girl left?

to love a boy
as it’s right to love anyone else.

Love equals love.
And labels are labels.
Love anyone
just don’t cry
someone calls you gay
cause they just
might be jealous
they couldn’t
you first.
All of this hunny
just because
you are

Matthew Pacuruco is a sophomore pursuing a degree in Creative Writing and will soon be transferring to Queens College (to get that expensive Bachelor Degree!). He has recently embraced his sexual identity as a sad gay latino. He hopes to connect with the LGBTQIA community and others with his poetry and stories. Follow @__matty__ for more content!