an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

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merlin x arthur

merlin and arthur from the 2008 tv show merlin are so in love
but it’s not gay.

they’re just two bros who keep trying to die for each other;
arthur throwing his nimble body onto swords,
merlin trailing him into danger’s mouth, being almost swallowed
by battle and spell and creature.

it’s only longing glances and hot tears
while the other lies pallid and poisoned
until he comes round again (inevitably) by magic and hugs are had
but not gay hugs
just manly-male-friendly-friendship-platonic-pal hugs
and most of the time, it’s just a clap on the back anyway.

ignore the moony gazes and horseplay and how
they love / hate each other’s foolishness
like a young couple in love—no! sorry,
in friendship.
but not even that, they’re just master / servant after all.

see? it can’t be gay the way
arthur, lost puppy, seems unable to go anywhere
without his merlin to ear-whisper,
leading him to the right / wrong decision
with unwavering faith in camelot’s golden future.

it’s not gay—they have women, after all!
arthur is married to the serving girl he loved in secret,
and merlin had that one romance in a tunnel
with a winged cat / girl / lady of the lake (now dead).

so, no, it can’t be gay
it happened way before that was even a concept!
no one had ever heard of gay all the way back
in 2008.