Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ice Wine

As the light withdraws, I concentrate
On summer, other days, warm memories.
I see the ice congealing on those grapes
Missed during the September harvest, left
Clinging to the vines. Perhaps it’s time

To close my eyes, to let the cold be cold
And not complain about stiff fingers. I’m
Sure I’ll find the strength inside to let
The winter work its magic on me, too.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Stick of Incense

For Gavin

The litter other lovers
Leave always appears
So poignant in the dark:
Kleenex, condoms, sad
Old ghosts exchanging
Ectoplasmic spasms.

Let us leave nothing
Sad as this behind—
Not even our footprints—
Just our scent, the smell of
Something burning
Sweetly. Let us leave

A stick of incense.
Wherever we wind up,
We go together, hand
In hand—aware
That, fuck or suck, we
Knelt on holy ground.

Reading the Auspices

For Gavin

Yes, I am going to the priest.
There’s no point in concealing it.
I’ve lost two pounds. Nothing
Feels at home inside my mouth.
I cannot eat. Strange prodigies
Surround me. Look, just yesterday,

The clerical collar of a cock—
A very snug white foreskin
Belonging to a beautiful Pole—
Evaporated before my eyes—
In a puff of satanic smoke—
When I opened the steamroom door.

If this were not bad enough—
I suffered an erection when
I was assaulted in Grand Central
By cinnamon and baked apples—
So strong a scent the station
Took on Edenic overtones.

Tonight, I donned a sweaty black
Pair of running shorts and ran
To my bodega for beer—into
A pair of trannies. They squeezed
My testicles so hard with their eyes
My balls began to bleed like stones.

Are these good signs or bad? Each day
I get a billet doux—a poem.
I am in love, I think. But will
The poems cease if my guts
Run out of fresh entrails for you
To read, review, and analyze?

Four Koans

For Gavin

The sound of a pen
moving does not
a poem make, although
that pen may still contain
a multitude.

Your soul remains
more ink to me
than man: something
fluid I try
to grasp, like hope.

When I am tired,
my language sharp,
the mantra which
my heart repeats
is very soft—

so listen close.
Put your ear
against the phone
and close your eyes:
the sounds of home.

Strange Lights

For Gavin

Don’t think me cynical
if I find love incredible—
miraculous as that
distant day I first
heard it described in
the salty language sailors use
by a man I met inside
a misty waterfront tavern.
I stood a round of drinks to
hear his spectacular stories—
reports of fire dancing—
mastheads at midnight—
the South China Sea—
the center of violent typhoons.

I’ve read of love in shady
journals: strange reports—
couples coupling in cars
parked in desolate areas
seeing inexplicable lights
emanating from above.
Some say they were kidnapped
by cold-fingered aliens,
intimately probed,
then quietly returned to earth,
anesthetized. Still,
I have yet to see one
souvenir pillow
embroidered “Andromeda.”

The most credible account
I’ve found occurs inside
the Chronicles of Canterbury.
There, before the Feast
of St. John the Baptist,
in the year 1178,
five monks witnessed a
large meteor strike the moon:
its horns split in two—
spewing molten rock into
outerspace. This is
recorded by Gervase,
a reliable historian.
A man of God.

I think of myself when
I think of Gervase;
I think of strange lights when
I think of you. Clearly,
love is a celestial
event. You even
lead me to believe
all these stories are true.

A Prayer to Shiva

For Gavin

Thunder, thunder, thunder.
Bitch, bitch, bitch.
What kind of performance is this?
Here I am prostrate before you—
All humility—on
All fours, ass in the air,
A perfectly submissive creature.
What do you do? You bitch.
You topple empires, skip galaxies
Across the emptiness
Like rocks across a pond.
Lord, it must be boring
Out there in the universe.
Next thing you know you’ll start
Pulling wings off flies. What

A strange god you are.
Look, Shiva, before
You draw a black line through
Creation, or, on second thought,
Crumple the whole thing
Up, toss it over your
Great shoulders, like so
Much waste paper, why don’t
You take a lesson from
Zeus? Just drop by in a shower
Of gold—for a good time?
Just you and me. Why not
Make it tonight? The stars do not
Need you as much I do.
Loved or unloved, up there,
They will continue to shine.