Marc Ridgell


The Road Less Traveled

those deep, brown stretch marks trek from my ‘round buttocks all the way to my outer hips.

cocoa butter feels so sweet, dabbin’ down and drenchin’ a part

of me, so bittersweet, so hidden.

body hair maps across my obliques, padded and protected by beautiful blubber.

hand palm feels like warmth, effervescently emasculating and effeminating my

individuality, so graceful, so refreshing.

squeezable small breasts circumvent the nipp’d brown nipple.

finger feels somewhat erotic, gasping and heating my

insulated soul, so queer, so loud.


this body, the one that I

exist in, feels so different, so deviant.

sixty pounds lost yet so imperfect. body hair, stretch

marks, Love handles, discoloration, stubbled

thighs--why are they hideous, distasteful, and undesired?

this western ugliness makes me feel like erotica. sexualized,

hyper-sexualized, disrespected, fetishized. despite this, i still

feel sexy. warm breath within me, gasping for air, and moaning

for an unmeasurable climax. the path to Lovin’ that body, that flawed,

undesired, overlooked body is the road--

the long, infinite, road--less



lined with potholes,

declines, accidents, and

harsh, dry asphalt. my road, however--

constantly shows me what’s ahead, what’s next?

what’s changeable, what’s Loveable? that road less traveled--

drives one more explorative. shit, i may just start Lovin’ the fuck out of the joyride.


Suburbia, once upon a time, seemed

like the perfect escape into a life

free of crime. Gay, it was televised and

normalized. I would be normal, feel nor-

mal, act normal. But, since I was eight, my

Blackness and queerness was never cordial.

I miss the Chi with all my heart, ‘cause when

I left, my innocence just fell apart.

My Chi city was neva’ the issue.

Suburbia, normalized, made me fade,

hate, and trade myself, leaving a scarlet

stamp, sending my truth far away, packaged

in a jade box, waitin’ to be opened.

Poet Biography

Marc Ridgell is a new and emerging writer who is also a college student, trying to continuously
explore his intersectional identity experiences and write about them, either artistically or literally.

Specifically, Marc is a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis, majoring in African
and African American Studies and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His past poetic
essays have won departmental awards at Washington University, he frequently writes for Student
Life, Washington University’s largest newspaper, and he is published in Colour Magazine, a
magazine at Washington University highlighting work of students of color.