Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ode to All Gay Poets

Whitman’s shopping lists, Lorca’s night blossoms,
Dennis Cooper’s tender wolves, Thom Gunn’s night sweats,
long lines of calico princes in neon clubs dancing to diva songs,
Ginsberg’s personal ads for sex, Paul Goodman’s daily orgasms,
O’Hara’s interrupted lunches, Hemphill’s dead brothers—
the apple carts of San Francisco, relics of old Boston, freed slaves’
children blaring blues and disco in Chicago and Detroit—
somewhere there’s a gay poet who has just begun to be gay, and a poet.
Lightning presentiments from his elder, someday mentors encountered as
runes carved on black glass cliffs in Yellowstone and Blue Ridge,
shaping lust, memory, love, fear, passion, and promise
into tangoing fires of poems hung pulsing in air. Scanning every line:

roadtrips across the desert at 109 F driving naked sweating;
taking years to write his longest epic erotic poem,
because every several lines of stanzas he must break off writing
to jerk off, but that’s what happens when you write naked;
a thousand lovers queued into rhymes by city poets,
all dead, one way or another, all gone, emptied by time;
memories from boyhood summers of fumbling experiments
with neighbor boys, now consecrated and divinely glowing
because time can’t change them in memory anymore;
Black poets from Brooklyn and Jamaica whose
tropical mango and dirt fragrances died with AIDS;
Latino poets who only come out officially after mama dies;
Filipino man you sucked off in the truck’s front seat
one rainy California night in the supermarket parking lot
who wanted to come in your mouth—
some reverse-colonial psychological dominance maneuver
you kept encountering with Filipino men—
only you wouldn’t let him, a stranger after all, who
walked away in the rain, never seen again, then
you went in and bought your week’s groceries;
and all the litany of the dead, Assotto Saint,
sainted Hart Crane, sanctified Derek Jarman, and those still
living with their slow dying, fragmentary selves bound together
by meds, duct tape, and love; poems that come to you suddenly
an hour before sundown, never tame or avoidable;
poems coming suddenly over you like the bisexual nudist
you spent a day with, who when you were leaving told you
he liked to be tied up, maybe next time, who told you about
his first sexual night with a man in a car as you stood together
in the backyard pool, only half swimming,
then you went inside, he introduced his pet boa constrictor,
pulled you by hand to the living room couch for sweaty love,
him covering you with copious semen like poems, you cumming
on your own belly, him braced above you as you lay sweat-soaked,
covered in cum, you mixed fluids, rubbed them into your skin,
sacrament, lotion, cream of life, emollient;
young photography student who tried to flirt with the admired poet,
yet too shy to ask to photograph him nude, with books, with pen;
this same poet once had a lover who liked to stand naked and read
by the bookcase, loudly declaiming love poetry to each other
till both got hard and fucked, turned on by sensual language;

and poetry anthologies full of eros of all types, sensual gods,
Dionysus, Pythagoras, Hermes, restrained comments of Cavafy,
passions of Sappho and the anonymous ancient Greek Anthology,
humorous metaphors of Tokugawa samurai comrade lovers,
the Gulistan, Rumi and Shams, Wilde, Antler,
another endless list read and re-read till the clothes
come off, one hand propping the book open
while the other roams flesh, skin, nipple, thigh, heat of groin, cock,
suggestions and encomiums of poets, a thousand names known
and unknown, a thousand years, word-hoards only bards embrace,
orgasms of light inscribed as dark ink on yellow silk paper skin.

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