Sideways Glance – #poetscorner

In #poetscorner, Features, HOME, LITERATURE by Toby Sharpe

#poetscorner is a feature in which poets share a poem of theirs and discuss the inspiration behind it.

12278277_10153818646709903_650476640_nModes of masculinity, and their peculiar fragility, have been on my mind a lot over the past year. I feel increasingly isolated from depictions of a mainstream gay culture, though not nearly so distanced as I am from normative depictions of maleness. Manliness seems to be entirely predicated on men being unlike women, or how women are thought to be. It is hard to cling to a concept which seems centred around a void. I watch other men, carefully, and try to understand how this hollowness becomes so pervasive as to be a presence all of its own.

Sideways Glance

there’s a boy in one of my classes

who plays bravado lit student –

not a byronic hero,

but the kind of person who would have been a Texan jock

if he’d had a slackjaw and muscles,

and not a fondness for Hemingway –

regardless, he’s still pugilistic in his prose,

and earnest –

he says words like ‘shitty’ and ‘blowhard’.

but his foot taps in panic when he speaks

under the framework

of his cheaply-constructed chair.

is this the me I would’ve been?

Toby Sharpe

Toby is an aspiring writer from London. He was once told at a party not to say that he was an aspiring writer because ‘who the hell isn’t?’

This piece is a part of Season V of PTL which is run in association with: All About Trans.

We encourage all of our readers to donate to this season’s organisation: Gendered Intelligence.

If you want to stay posted with PTL content and musings, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you’re interested in getting involved with PTL – drop us an email on