Sunday, July 17, 2011

Three Homoerotic Poems

Here are three homoerotic poems, including two haibun, all originally written in 2006. (One or two have been published elsewhere.) I still like these poems, rereading them some years later, and am contemplating working this vein more intensively again.

I've been writing haibun and prose-poems for a long time, and occasionally playing with ghazal. Haibun, haiku, and their related forms, originating in classical Japanese poetry, are a few of the only forms I regularly work in. I don't write a lot of poems in fixed forms, usually preferring to allow the poem to evolve its own form organically. When I do write in an existing form, I tend to be drawn to forms from non-Western cultures; I also tend to modify the form as needed, rather than strictly observing the traditional expectations.

Haibun is one of my favorite poetic forms: essentially it's dense poetic prose, like a prose-poem, interspersed with haiku. The haiku are parallel but not repetitious takes on the same moment or theme, from a different angle; the haiku should not simply repeat the contents of the prose section, but deepen it, add resonance to it.

I've written two large collections of homoerotic haiku, tanka, and renga, publishing a chapbook of selected poems in the mid-1990s. I regularly return to homoerotic poetry, many of which begin life in my journals. This writing goes in and out of my central focus.

At this moment, having recently been through major surgery, I find myself experiencing renewed interest in writing homoerotic poems and essays, in part as a way of restoring and affirming eros as pure sustaining life-force in my flesh and spirit. I have another major surgery to get through, sometime in the next year, when I'm ready for it, and in many ways my erotic feelings at this time are a pure affirmation of life, of survival: I'm still here. I'm not done yet. I will survive. And I genuinely hope to come through the end of this medical process with a restored life-force, vitality, and sex life.

his parchment skin, his voice

Dawn sun bronzes his flanks, moves across the bed in slow waves. He's breathing deep and quiet, lying on his side, long black hair tangled in pillows, blankets shoved below his thighs by restless dreams. I found him in the bookstore last night and brought him home. He chattered about literature as he disrobed. His arched back as he bent to remove his boots. Eros of flesh and mind: dropping his pants, grinning, he quoted Whitman and Foucault. He made animal sounds in his throat while we made love in the bath, till we were pruned and sweaty. Ribs, arms, nipples rubbed together, the kiss of bodies merging. My hands cupping his buttocks as I kissed his navel. He sighed, and asked me if I loved to read, too.

his silent breathing,
after long nights of poetry:
moon-craters rise and fall


Heady fragrance of citrus, grape, and blood
fills our nostrils as we sup this passionate wine.

That night, cool and wet, when you arrived at my door
disheveled, your passionate kisses tasted of new wine.

Olives touched by sun, a lemon sliced and warming,
fresh garlic, your fingers on my neck an impassioned wine.

He made breakfast in the morning, passionate with a knife
and carving block, an omelette, an orange, a drop of wine.

It's night: somewhere, you're sitting awake, as I am here,
your passion making you restless, calmed by this light wine.

Red with secret passions, our fingers covered with spent seeds
and the blood of stamped grapes, pants rolled up, we dance in this year's wine.

ancient eyes

His eyes black with shadows in the late afternoon amber light. His arms rounded and firm, perfect collarbones. His breath the scent of loam just after a summer rain shower. Musk of his sweat as he strips off his shirt and wipes his chest with it. He never looks at you till it's too late, and, then his gaze locks on yours with an audible click. Caught, an insect in hardening resin, your heart skips a beat, thuds, kicks in your breast. Just the hint of a smile breaks through his angelic indifference. Caravaggio knew this curly-haired, dark angel. He's even in the paintings no one has seen.

sultry look, a kiss,
move together skin to skin—
water through a reed

You knew, the first time he came up the stairs to your narrow, sun-warmed flat, that you would one day love him. The perfect curves of his thighs, the translucent shirt he wore, the web of muscle across his back and hips. His lips barely parted, as he silently panted from the heat and the climb. He stayed to listen to records on the scratchy phonograph, smiling without speaking, then grinned for the first time as he left. You knew he would be back. He'd find some excuse to visit, some reason to knock. His ancient eyes, as he looks at you from under his brow, calmly waiting.

fading autumn sun
casts shadows on your body—
how soon we grow old

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