Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The End of Rhyme

For Gavin

I do not have cold feet. I am afraid,
When this is finished, I will have to find
Something else to do besides write
Chatty letters and love poetry.

As much as coffee, your e-mails have
Become a part of my morning routine.
How should I wake up to a blank screen—
Nothing from Gavin Dillard? I mean,

We close this book, one chapter of our lives,
Begin another one tonight, in flesh,
Fresh ink, fresh paper, new possibilities.
The words we’ve written will remain. But

What will we make of all that we have done
When we wake in San Francisco? Will
We leave behind those separate lives
We lived before? How will we appear

To one another in the morning? How
Much older, fatter, or more frail,
A thousand years from now? I hope we’ll be
Associated then, at least on paper,

Less with art, than a belief in love.
Though Maui and New York, 6,000 miles,
Age, HIV, experience, different
Styles of writing and sleep schedules

Might have concluded things another way,
Before we found a publisher, you
And I found Bryan. Here we go then. Down.
I must put my laptop away. It seems

We’ve started our descent for Oakland.
I will be holding you in a few hours.
Meanwhile, I plan to close my eyes and pray
We both land safely. What else can I say?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cashew Nuts

For Gavin

Cold feet? Not on this flight.
Just small horns and cloven hooves,
as behooves a ghoul like me:
poet, runner, Nabokov lover,
Olympic class badminton champion
according the tale I told Wendi—
a fan—a Facebook buddy—who
told me you were digging up
dirt on Eric Thomas Norris. I
fed her the false badmintion story.
You believed it. Hah! Now,
hold on to your testicles while I
bat them. Badminton. Honestly.
You’re still a little brother, eyes
gigantic, blossoming with wonder.
What will I do with you? Before
you answer that poetically,
curse me out for impudence, please
remember that I am at JFK
about to catch a plane. I’m starving,
surrounded by stale sandwiches,
globs of gray humus, sun-flower
seeds and other tasteless treats.
You probably had a nice breakfast:
SPAM and eggs, toasted pineapple,
washed down with some exotic tea
which only grows in Borneo.
I see you there, in Paradise,
purple dressing gown, buttering
a spelt muffin with a machete—
A touch of Noel Coward’s ennui.
See how Heaven favors you?
The Gods have punished me. I
accidentally bit into a cashew
concealed inside a packet of
mixed nuts. I am in trouble now,
practically erupting into hives.
The last time I ate cashews, I went
into anaphylactic shock, nearly
died, when my blood pressure
Collapsed. Calm down. Relax.
I took one bite this time. Enough
to almost kill me, just enough
to tighten up my throat—to give
my voice the necessary texture—
depth of tone—so you receive
a spectacular blow-job later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


For Gavin

I am learning how to bleed
Without clotting. To be myself,
In other words, submit to what
My heart is telling me. You are
The most irritating prick I’ve
Never met. You won’t stop poking
Your nose in my most private parts.
You should be crucified. You

Ask for blood. Well, here it is.
Just leave my veins running in-
Definitely. I won’t run out.
I know I love you, since you bring
No peace of mind, no solace, no-
Thing, but insomnia and
Strange fevers at odd hours. God
Damn your appetite. Your mouth.

This is what I look forward to.
Torment. Waking up at 4:00
AM, checking my e-mail
To see if you have written. No.
You shit and trample on my dreams
Even when you say nice things.
Absurd. You—you sleep peacefully
A million miles away. That is

Not fair. That is not fair at all.
So I am sending a cloud of
Mosquitoes to drive you mad.
A few may have malaria,
So you had better smack the right ones.
They will be there, biting you,
Buzzing in your ears tonight,
So you can feel what I feel. Now.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


For Gavin

You burned all your wood last night, you say.
Let’s see if I have anything you can
Haul back to Maui for those wretched nights—
When you’re hemmed in by darkness, pouring rain,
Trapped in the tropics, slapping phantoms, those
Mosquitoes sucking all your blood away.

I’ll look around New York, see what I have:
A coffee table, couch, bed, some books—
Mostly memorized. My life is yours,
If you can carry it. Chop it up. Stick
It in your hearth, or build a fire out back—
Invite the insects to enjoy the blaze.

None of my possessions make sense anymore
Except as kindling. What good are books
In bed—even yours? All I want is you.
Poems might as well be mosquitoes for all
The joy they give. Burn them. Burn everything.
Fuck everything. Let’s go somewhere else and live.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Lay Of The Land

For Gavin

However the topography turns out—
How green the grass, how succulent the clover,
How many trees, the quantity of shade,
How the branches vary through the seasons,

Through all weathers, fair or foul, if clouds
Define the upper boundaries of the place,
If a sprinkling of thistles, stars, should form
The borders I bump up against—I know

These features, fences, all of these limits
Amount to nothing—one of those old jokes
Time and space will make at our expense.
I feel your arms enfolding me, like Freddy,

That bright black billy in your photograph.
The area inside your heart is vast
According to our numbers. See, we are

No ordinary goats. We’ve done the math.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mundus Cuniculi

For Gavin

Of all your incarnations—
from growling Siva to
pipe blowing Pan,
to Miss Emily Dick-
inson, who borrows your
mouth, occasionally,
whispering suggestions
into my pink, erect
blushingly sensitive
rabbit ears—this curious
blend of personnae—
Adam and Hadrian—
animal man and Roman
your affections best.

No fig leaves for you,
no Eden either, now
painfully aware how
booby-trapped apples
tend to explode.
You mind your mattock,
count your chickens,
look after your goats,
having learned the hard
way about gardens:
you acknowledge your
past, then bathe
your ass. Paradise—
you have other things—
other concerns. Like Eve,

you are a busy man.
you have concrete
to pour—a Mundus
—a Bunny
World to build—
a legacy to leave
behind for all
the furry creatures
who have been nursed
in your lap, called
your pubic bone
a home. I think
when you depart this
volcanic island
sanctuary, Maui, for

the life hereafter, Black
Mountain, North
Carolina, no one
will feel abandoned by
an absconded God
goofing off in Asheville.
Bunny World will
remain: evidence a
few emperors exist
besides Caligula.
I bet, in the future,
small mammals will regard
your works with wonder, like
lost hikers do the wall
of Hadrian. (Who,
you know, was gay.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Commuter Blues

For Gavin

Leaning against a leaky lav-
This morning on the 8:04
Express, hurtling toward another
Day in New York, I read the piece

You sent last night. I felt so sad.
The sun seemed bright and pointless—
A single knitting needle stuck

Through a big ball of orange yarn.

I’ve nothing to look forward to—
There’s nothing on my schedule—
Except the poem I will write
For you. I’m always happy to

Write poems. But I’m afraid
Art is not enough. No
Matter what I say, or do,
That happy feeling never lasts.