To answer your question, Backstreet Boys: yes, you are sexual
I watched it again and again on my sister’s VHS —
abandoned in haunted mansion, bus broke down, the boys
sleep and wake as monsters: werewolf, Dracula,
Phantom, Mr. Hyde, and of course Nick as a mummy
asking, Am I original? Am I the only one? Am I
sexual? — and all his boys a chorus of yes. I watched you
and I too wanted to call myself back, to have my body
rocked. Just as we all knew what would be revealed
when Kevin’s Jekyll profile turned the other way, we
knew the tropes and I knew already what it felt to wake
into something monstrous, knew just one context
for the word abomination: the monster I was, am.
Nick asks not Am I sexy? but Am I sexual?
in this house they find and upon their entering
it becomes theirs. No one questions Nick’s
questions but we know boys need to prove.
We should know to ask in response: if the yes
or no was from a woman, would he wait to hear it?
What might he later take, despite the case
dismissed? As could be expected, turns out the being
a monster wasn’t real: a bad dream. Or was it?
They all scream. “Backstreet’s Back” implies
a return, a pattern. I know I’m not the only one
to see five boys banded and want from them
answers. These boys, this haunting, a question
about the self I waited for other boys to answer.
I too wake and scream and in my dreams I dance.
Usually the boys danced together but this time they spend
as much time apart: there are different kinds
of monsters, each with a desire to take, be it blood,
an angel of music, another version of self. When girls
screamed at these boys I wished to scream too but
the trapped voice called me back to my own body.
Who’s really the monster here? I keep asking questions
even when I already know the answer.
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