For Sam Sax
The new generation of penis loving poets
whose tongues do push-ups on the floor of my mind,
say welcome to the gym of love as linguistics
where bad boys with brains pump iron into Twinkies.
This locker room is for florists who bleed,
for married men crippled on the treadmill to nowhere:
Olympian fathers whose athletic obsessions
for fiction and fallout and failures forgiveness,
turn today’s man into yesterday’s boy.
They understand why Daddy’s not home.
He’s tied to the page with leather and verbs.
He’s breaking like wheat in their heart’s
parched field, begging the ground to not silence
the grain, to not take for granted love’s interruptions,
come as they do between breath’s little blackouts,
memories lost in the steam room.
(First published in Lullater Review)
The Fire Island Boys
Warhol wasn’t the only one
who loved those Fire Island boys;
marble statues cloaked in sand,
whipped by pleasure’s summers storms.
Caution fainted on a thousand zippers,
a thousand eyes and tongues. There
was no such thing as a stranger’s bed.
Every mattress played the same song;
Love as if loving makes you immortal,
carving a valley of light through the shame;
the crippling years of closet-shaped posture,
breaking the spirit’s spine.
Those were the days of aquatic ecstasy:
steam baths swirling with deep sea divers
trading their handfuls of pearls, risking
their lives in the dangerous caves of
some other man who had to be entered
to prove how good, how beautiful he was,
even if only for an hour. If I could weep
as loud as they laughed and rage as hard
as they loved, maybe the young wouldn’t die
so fast; alone, on the edge of a viral abyss
wailing at the red autumn moon; God waking up
to the sound of his sons, washing the sand from their eyes.
(First published in Rattle)
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is here,
except of course when it isn’t, like when the Old & New Testaments scream
no to the body’s hunger for yes & its fundamentalist tongue twisting threesome
badly recorded by cheap cell phones that by midnight are holding their numbers hostage
which stop them from dialing Christianmingle.com, stop them from finding
more troubled saints awake in their hour of biblical need looking for a light to shine down
from above on the garden with a snake in the crotch of a tree, willing to bite what god
cannot kiss, at least not until a carpenters tomb is opened by the sound of hammers & nails
pounding the bodies together.
(Author photo by John Pendleton)