World Poetry Day: Spelunking with Aladdin

Spelunking with Aladdin

By: Daniel Goodwin

I discovered I was gay like everyone else. Stealing my mother’s high heels in the 90s and

watching Brendan Fraser in the Mummy and George of the Jungle and reruns of Aladdin

and Hercules on Disney Channel. I mean

how could you not fall in love with these oily lost boys, trying so desperately hard not to show off

their nipples?


I really wanted a magic carpet for my 10th birthday and that’s when I knew

I had an eye for high end upholstery.                  


Other notable figures included Chandler Bing from Friends

Gordo from Lizzie McGuire and Hugh Laurie just in general.


In drama school I was told not to write about ‘Gay stuff’ all the time.    

Because I ran the risk of being known as ‘that Gay guy’ who only made ‘Gay Theatre’

for all of the ‘Gay People’ running around town.


Doing gay things like sodomy and asking ‘What is... “Bas-ket-ball”??


And wouldn’t that just be awful.                                                  Don’t want to box yourself in.


The concept of ‘Pride’ is interesting. ‘Pride’ seems a lot like ‘Brave’

in the way it implies a choice to be or do or face      something others can not.

Will not, no don’t want to, no can’t make me, nah nah na naah nah *raspberry noises*................



I’m sorry I can’t tongue pop.   It’s my greatest shame.


But I can douche like a French canal spilling into the ocean. I mean


they’ve cleaned sidewalks with my ass after a feast of soap

and high fiber cereal. Because why use milk when black coffee is so perfectly



No one taught me how to deep clean my anus.                       And I’m so proud of the fact

I got there in the end.     After many  failed  attempts.     And as much as I long for the day

when an animated douche teaches teens how to put a hose up correctly

into their assholes  


I’m proud I discovered it on my own.


Sometimes I’ll ask a straight person   (as if I’m on my own little version of 8 Out of 10 Cats

     but gay                                                   like 8 Out of 10 Cats gets an STI test for the 1st time

   and secretly loves the swab

       and Jon Richardson is still everyone’s favourite team captain / sex God in a turtleneck sweater)   I’ll ask them:


What exactly makes ‘gay’ things so ‘gay’?  So overtly homosexual?  Or rather

    Why do you feel the need to call ‘Love, Simon’ a ‘too much for Disney channel’?

As if Simon sings a pop song on the Bas-ket-ball court and then deep throats his crush

   on the bleachers      in Full HD.


“Troy Bolton Baby, Bone me Slowly


And then you get an answer like

                                                                         it’s just so...  … . ...           aware of itself


Like it’s SO damn conscious has to be has to make a thing
of itself like it has to be unshapely has to be unwilling to fit in like it
won’t play nice and it doesn’t even want to play nice like everyone
else and I mean like why won’t you just fit in?

Sex is only art if it’s tasteful.


Sex is only art if it’s tasteful.


Because your taste sucks straight boy


Sex is only art if it’s tasteful.


I.e    Queers only deserve to be proud if they can figure out how to survive first.


I.e    Your affection should look like ours does. Embarrassed and unspoken.


My God. Caged until the point it feels the need to break violently free. To control

all these children. Desperately wanting to touch each other and not knowing how to do it safely.

Complaining about what whores the gays are while you masturbate alone. How sad.


Sometimes sex isn’t about pride.          Sometimes it’s just a discovery.

A prayer we’ll get there in the end and finally be proud that we made it.


I.e    There are nutritional benefits to eating my asshole.                 Namely

vitamin pleasure.


A consensual expedition    starring late 90s heartthrob Brendan Fraser

and Aladdin and Hercules and Chandler Bing from Friends and Jon Richardson

in a turtleneck.


Into a tomb or a thicket or another boy’s bedroom carrying only a machete

and a big fuck off bucket of body image issues and low self-confidence.


I stumbled into sex haphazard at 18 and I will never forget how embarrassed I was.


I will never forget that I got there alone. I will never not feel so goddamn proud of myself.

For getting there. For stumbling in the darkness. Creating entire languages

to find out how I would like to be touched. How others would like me    to touch them.

I am so damn proud.


To all the people who were unwilling to talk to me about gay sex...


I wish you were proud enough to teach me.


Dan Goodwin (they/them) is a Scottish-Pākeha performance poet, actor and writer. In 2016, they completed their Masters of Text and Performance at RADA in the UK before returning to Aotearoa. Their solo show Breathe toured the UK after winning the Harold and Jean Brooks award, and their performance poetry has been published by RE:, Attitude, RNZ and TVNZ. They have performed nationally and internationally across various spaces, including Auckland Pride, Bloomsbury festival, and 2021’s ‘Welcome to Nowhere’.

Photo | Peter Jennings for

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