Sunday, October 31, 2010

Animal Sanctuary

For Gavin

I’m sure your rabbits will be happy there.
Yours sounds much friendlier than mine—
That asylum I was once placed in—
Church: a clean, cadaverous Baptist
Interior, supported by dark ribs,
A space capable of accommodating
A thousand souls according to the fire
Code restrictions. It was Hell. Our
Choir sang hymns in satin pajamas, blue,
Piano on the left, organ on the right,
A madman in the middle. I would poke
Holes in his upholstery with a pencil
I kept sharp for that specific purpose.
I longed for an Apocalypse—a really
Loud fart—a nuclear catastrophe—
A final trumpet—to put an end to the
Announcements—meetings, births, deaths—
Epistles to the Galatians, Colossians,
Galoshes, Dalmatians, and the wrinkly
Sound of hands, in unison, just
Flipping pages. It went on forever.
The Lord’s Supper proved such a meager
Meal, hardly even a snack, really—
Matzo fragments and a thimble of Welch’s
Grape juice—which I was forbidden. (I
Was not baptized.) I wanted to get
Out, go to McDonald’s, anywhere,
For lunch. I poked the pew impatiently,
I drew a zillion pairs of Golden Arches—
MMMMMM—in the back of my Bible—
Filling up the white end pages—those
God left blank after Revelations. I
Loved the hymns. I loathed the sermons. They
Ended with Amens at one, with my
Stomach angrily growling. That’s why
I am so glad you’re adding your own
Ecclesiastical flair to that Maui
Sanctuary. I bet communion in
Any safe haven you would devise
Would keep demented parsons out, but still
Admit a few strange boys in bunny suits—
Those looking to gnaw on a raw carrot,
Or thirsty for some unusual tipple,
You would smile and generously provide.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Camel

For Gavin

The love is in the writing, yes. It is
This pencil—architect of all my hopes.
I suck on my eraser, like a nipple.
The friction of the lead provides some heat.
The little squiggles which adorn my man-
Uscript, swim wonderfully between the
Lines, like freshly ejected sperm,
Seeking, out of instinct, a nice, warm
Place they can kick off their flippers,
Crack a Michelob, exhausted, and unwind.
A mouth, a hand, some other place. Who knows?

Your last poem mentioned your career,
Retiring from porn, continuing to appear
Naked, reading poetry in California.
I was in college then, learning from my dad
Sucking cock was probably something
A boy in Buffalo ought not to do.
Soon after he discovered my diary,
I found myself searching for a butt one
Night along the shoulder of a road
So dark it seemed to lead into a future
Paved entirely in blackness, coal.

A scattering of stars, a slice of Moon,
The prick of a pink planet, Mars, I think,
Took pity on me, like the passing cars.
Those headlights allowed me to pick out
A discarded pack of Camels which
Concealed one cigarette and puff of air.
How incredible that find: how Moon
And Mars, Camel and cars, kept
Me company that night. But the sparks
Of a tossed Marlboro let me smoke
Where I was going—a dim, orange glow.

I thanked the driver as he sped away,
Truck dwindling to a pair of rubies. I
Had no matches in my pocket—no-
Thing useful, no money, no house keys:
A Latin book in my backpack, Ovid’s
Metamorphoses, toothbrush, clothes,
Socks and soiled underwear. And still
How lucky I felt—and not too cold—
Now that I could smoke. The poetry
We’d write together was so far away—
Farther than Mars, that truck driver, you

Standing naked in L.A. And love,
While that Camel lasted, didn’t seem
A possibility all that remote.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How To Write A Romance: Backwards

For Gavin

Time is non-linear. Cause and effect
Reflect a thoughtless habit. There’s no law
Which says when you or I begin a book
We can’t start writing it from the rear-end.

True, there are Physicists who may object;
They might suggest that we have stacked the deck
In favor of a certain outcome. Well,
Perhaps we have. But what is wrong with that?

We’re poets, not professors, you and me,
A pair of horny homosexuals, crazed
With lust. We were not born to gather dust
Or chew up books in basements, like a rat.

I’m glad you started munching on my butt—
By butt, I mean those photographs I sent—
Instead of slowly plodding through my whole
Biography to understand me. Now,

The poetry awaits discovery:
The scent of citrus soap combined with sweat,
The tangy taste of something on your tongue
Implicit in those naked pictures. No,

Nothing is pre-ordained. You take that chance.
You asked me to remove my underpants.
I did. Then we continued writing, knowing
Exactly how the story would turn out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


For Gavin

Your absences are fangs.
They plunge in, then withdraw
My soul. I feel your mouth
Fixed below my jaw:

The space where you should be
Nestled in, my neck,
Is empty as my bed.
I do not expect

To wake and find a pair
Of punctures in my throat,
My curtains flapping, or
A gothic-scripted note.

Everything will be
Normal: window cracked,
A pillow on the floor,
Door locked. You’ll be back

Tonight. You’re always there,
Behind me, like the Past,
A shadow I can’t shake.
How can the Future cast

A shadow back in time—
Seize me by the wrist,
Twist me around to face
Days which don’t exist

Yet? Is that power yours?
I half believe it’s so,
Since you are reading this.
I need you now. Although

I am not certain why
I ought to feel that way.
I know that you’ll be back
To torture me tonight.

Not stay.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Shropshire Lad

For Gavin

Wherever you are, there I am.
I’ve really been there all along.
In all your songs, the quiet parts,
The place where you can hear your heart

Beating. I am there. Inside:
I stir the fires in your hearth,
Coals blanketed by ashes, softly
Smoldering, orange as dawn.

Woken by a cock, or clock,
Think of me as the lad who comes
With crumpled news, kindling, and lungs,
To poke the ashes, toast the bread.

He spoons the jelly in a dish,
Pours milk into a pewter pot,
He listens to the kettle sing.
He remembers everything,

How hot, how sweet, et cetera.
It’s all upstairs, inside my head:
All the things which I might bring,
Which you sometimes forget.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

At The Window

For Gavin

Vision is an act of will.
The blind may feel more features on
on a face than you or I
can see. Astronomers have
mapped a hundred billion stars
invisible to human eyes
in different kinds of light.

This morning, guided by a dull
and distant glow, I raised my
window blinds for the millionth time
thinking the logistics through
from the perspective of John Donne:
he’s half a planet away and no
closer. What is my dick to do?

The local universe hadn’t changed
much overnight: the oak leaves
outside seemed a little crispier,
the children’s coats a little puffier,
the people walking quicker—where-
ever they were going—work,
school, some appointment, home.

Still, the position of that bright
gray glob—the sun—reminded me
that—although geographically
Maui and New York might lay
exactly the same distance
apart on maps—your ass also

was twenty-four hours closer.
Even more, perhaps.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Collaborators

For Gavin

Chimeras, slaves, or funny faces,
What we are, we must become
Together. Kissing cousins, friends,
Lovers, bitter disappointments, they
Color all our sunsets. And yet

The more I talk to you, the more
I walk around my neighborhood
Until my poor iPhone drops dead—
Its batteries exhausted—the more
Each sunset seems irrelevant.

Some days ago, I can’t think when,
Or what I must have said, you placed
Your finger on a key, pressed send,
Applied some gentle pressure. We
Ceased to write separate poems

Then. I responded to your words.
My heart, stupid musclehead he is,
Continued pumping iron. I didn’t skip
A single meal. Nor did my bowels
Stop moving out of reverence for you.

The only thing I noticed was
The way I viewed blank paper had
Changed. Everything was different.
Then, each sheet became a bed
Where you and I could fuck forever.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Edna St. Vincent Millay Sends a Letter to Emily Dickinson from Kyoto

For Gavin

I must apologize for the delay
in writing this. The flight from
New York was Hell—
cramped, full of crying, food
inedible. Still, you get hungry and
you eat, and you receive
constipation for
your pains. I’m never flying
coach again. But here

I am, Emily—Japan!
My hotel, the Garden Palace, has
put me in a cherry blossom
room—all pink—synthetic
silk bedspread, rice paper sheets.
The usual Hokusai reprint
leans from the wall above my bed
ready to drown my dreams:
‘The Great Wave
Off Kanagawa.’ You’ve seen it.
Mount Fuji, little boat,
dark tsunami looming
over it with foamy fingers.
You might think the people of
Japan only produced
one great picture.

You asked about the temples.
Well, they’re gigantic,
old and everywhere.
They all sell amulets and prayers—
long life, fertility, good fortune—
the standard wishes.
I bought all three for you,
dear, and one more
which shall, for now,
remain a mystery.

I rang their bells, smelled
their smells, found too many
monks attractive. Their grounds
overwhelm the senses
with such tightly controlled
forms of beauty: thick bamboo
groves, curious flowers,
a million varieties of moss.
They are about as close
to Heaven you can get
without jumping off
a cliff, I think. If only
the water in the ponds didn’t
seem so still, in certain places,
so serene, so stagnant,
such big brown eyes of
unfulfilled desires.
I would only consider
living here in a
missionary capacity.

You asked about the Ryoan-ji
temple specifically,
that famous rock garden.
This puzzled me
at first—the whole idea of
planting rocks outside
cemeteries. I had a look
for you today.
This is what I saw:
14 boulders, older
than anything built by
man. They sit on grass
medallions, surrounded by
combed white gravel. The brochure
says there are 15 boulders, but
from any seated angle just
14 are visible. Enlightenment
occurs when you can see
15, rise above
terrestrial concerns—
position, time and place—
I sat there for two hours
seeing 14 and I left
mildly frustrated.

Frustrated, that is, until
I wrote the word
‘frustrated,’ for you,
Emily, up there. Then I saw
my 15th boulder, yes, just then.
The word ‘frustrated’ put
the whole thing in
a Zen perspective: it is love.
Love is the one concern
I do find difficult
to rise above…

Friday, October 15, 2010

Invisible Ink

For Gavin

According to The Telegraph
September 21st, 2010—
in World War I, a lad
at London University learned
semen makes excellent ink for
secret messages: seminal
fluids don’t react to iodine
vapor, the standard chemical
tests, and gentlemen—spies,
prisoners, lovers—always
have access to fresh supplies—
fresh being the operative
word. Spunk can’t be stored
in the field very conveniently:
it quickly starts to stink,
giving the army away. If this
emboldened our boy to jack-
off in his lab and start
scribbling, the article didn’t say.
Nor did it reveal his name.
I suspect this fellow wrote
poetry in his spare time.

I remembered all this
this morning, reading about
your new tattoos. I pictured you—
beautifully bareback—
just yesterday, facedown,
under a hot, bright lamp,
a needle buzzing, you wincing a
bit, maybe, sipping a warm
bottle of disgusting beer—
as Circle, the artist,
inscribed a pachyderm
prancing proudly on your arm.
I also pictured myself
next month—biting
a pillow—my mouth full of
goose down. I wonder
what kind of marks your
teeth will leave on my
pale shoulders? What secret
messages—what poetry—
will you pick up your
pen to write? And how
will I feel afterwards,

when I can read your thoughts?
Will I regret that night?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Difference

For Gavin

Our spasms of orgasm past,
Your cock slips slowly from my ass,
Dribbling a little lube and cum,
Laying its head on my scrotum—
To catch his breath, evaluate
What happens next: fuck or mate?

Nude, or naked, in a bed
I have messed up inside my head,
The question now occurs to me—
Fuck or mate? It’s actually
A silly question, is it not?
Love or sex, our wads are shot.

Resting on me like a kiss,
I wonder what the difference is.
The tablespoon of sperm beneath
My belly says, so I believe,
It’s biological between us—
Animal. That’s all. My penis

Nods—he agrees. My dick agrees
With everyone. Each passing breeze
Excites him. But I can’t ignore
Love’s vast complexity—how warm
I feel inside. There I get stuck:
Animals mate. I want to fuck.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Red Eye

For Gavin

Your e-mail says the alcohol
Left you tipsier than usual:
It’s made me kind of sad. Beer
Can have that odd effect. It’s weird.

We’re both a bit hammered, unfit
To operate a car, forklift,
Or hearse. Whatever. So we drink
More as we attempt to shrink

Great distances to cans and glasses.
Later, as the Pacific passes,
We yawn, we burp, get up to pee,
Look down. Back to square one. Why me?

I hear a plane descend the sky
Above La Guardia. I try
To sleep. I can’t. I masturbate—
Shoot twice. No help. It’s four. Too late

To call. I drift off to a dream,
A flight domestic in its theme.
I see a man stand at a door,
Searching for keys. On the floor

Luggage: one heavy bag, one light.
He finds his keys. (Pants pocket, right.)
I hear a massive deadbolt click.
Me, I am lying on my stomach,

Naked, warm, my legs a “V,”
And hard again—evidently
Quite delighted he is here.
I pull the covers from my rear,

Eyes closed. I feel him slip a hand,
Between my cheeks. You understand,
It’s really you. That’s why I groan,
“Better late than never, prick.”

Friday, October 1, 2010

How to Live Long and Prosper

For Gavin

Around the time that you were leaving school
For porn, I was starting to teach myself
How to suppress my emotions—not
My love of boys—just fooling with a few

Survival techniques picked up on TV
From Mr. Spock. He taught me how to live—
Half-human, pointy-eared—with aliens
I could never hope to understand.

The blue veins in my arms let me pretend
My blood was copper-based—bright green—until
I tripped down the back stairs, shattered a
Window, nearly slit my carotid artery.

I bled red all over mom. I received
Six horrible sutures beneath a sheet
Of light, scared that the lidocaine would turn
My rubbery face into a permanent mask.

My face recovered. That scar has faded.
But you can see it if you stand close
And raise my chin. You might also notice

My eyes are green. Locked inside is Spock.