An Excerpt From Whiting Award Winner Brontez Purnell's Next Book


In anticipation of his upcoming Fire Island Artist ResidencyWhiting Award winner Brontez Purnell shares an excerpt from his next book, 100 Boyfriends. Purnell's most recent work, Since I Laid My Burden Down, is available now. This piece was originally published in Cakeboy 06: Finish Him, currently on newsstands.

Purnell photographed by Beowulf Sheehan.

Purnell photographed by Beowulf Sheehan.

Me and all the rest of the boys on the block had learned a very trash and burn style with sex: no guilt, no morals, no new boyfriends. It was the rule.

Every once in a while two of us would pair up and monogamy about it while the rest of us talked shit: "Not cool, not anarchist—hoarding all that dick like that—sexual capitalist!" (We said shit like this.)

Sometimes the need for normality would pinch me in the ass. Some new young thing I was dating would seem like a good idea and I would go wander off in bliss with him for awhile, but under no circumstances could he meet my slutty best friends. They would all fuck his brains out, for sure. I would look at the little chicken and think, "The second I wife him he's gonna fuck all my friends," or "Actually, he's probably already fucked all my friends," or, the even more precise realization, "Wait—I’VE FUCKED ALL MY FRIENDS."

(I wanted to go bathe in penicillin.)

It was a peculiar coven and we kept the circle open. I had many "brothers." I often called on Nathan on nights when I couldn't scratch my own itch. Nathan lived next door. I had fucked him for five years. His name was Nathan Alexander Carmichael. He was a white boy. (Hence the name Nathan Alexander.)

We had fucked each other so much that sex at times felt like scraping the last bit of toothpaste out of a tube that had shot its last load two paychecks ago. We had to re-invent our fuck buddyhood. The world moved so goddamn fast—it was all bills heartache and defeat—those moments of tenderness sometimes had to be engineered.

We did terrible things to each other. It was exciting.

It was his turn to top. He made all the rules; for this session we sat on a clean white bed sheet naked in his room, across from one another. We were only allowed to talk through text messages. He texted, "Let's pretend we're Boyfriends and make love." 

"Ok," I texted back. He moved to my side of the bed. "Only I can speak now—lay on the floor." He bound my hands and feet together with suspension ropes and blindfolded me. He left the room and I heard him set something down on the floor, heard him rubbing his hands together. He put something under my nose. "Smell," he said. It was basil. He had to have seen me smile. He put another object to my nose—it was a cloth of some sort with Terre d'Hermes on it, his favorite cologne. I couldn't feel my body anymore.

"Open your mouth," he said, and I did. He put a piece of cake in it. He rolled me on my back and undid the cuffs on my ankles. He pulled my legs up and wrapped them around his hips and entered me. "I own you," he whispered. He forced a pillow on my face and began to fuck me, hatefully. Within a minute he was done. He put a blanket over me and laid on top of me. He rubbed my lips with his fingers and kissed me gently. He lifted up the side of my blindfold and exposed my left eye. I saw him wink at me. I was freed.

I put my clothes on and walked out the door. I turned to see him standing in the doorway, waving at me. I looked at him and saw the same thing I saw when I looked at my right hand: a life line, running strong and clear through the center.—