I’m on a “date.”
I bring his can
of beer:  “I can

I reassure
my ancient trick,
then grab my dick,
making sure

I seem obscene
enough.  (I’m foul
but beautiful.)
Such is the scene:

beneath the god,
the polished leather
of his tether,
I whisper, “God”;
he tries to spit
into my hair.
A boy for hire
must take this shit.





In this café, my boy, there’s an art to not looking
as if you are looking

for a man.  First off, you’re wrong
to avert your eyes:  avoid the furtive:  long

slowly, your book a smart prop, your mug again
filled with warm milk.  The night comes; it gets cold.

In the corner?  Yes, here I am, an old,
flawlessly dressed god—my flesh grown thin—

taking my little pills, drinking
Earl Grey and thinking

of someone just like you, to fuck.
(And you of me, in turn?  With luck.)





Hard maples, then.
A murder of crows.
This is the Missouri of my life—

almost.  Everything’s almost:
sky, fountain, parkway.
I am a literal _______.

Imagine this:  late solipsism,
the positive blood test, the end

of words.  The end.






So Kansas City tucked its cock, spritzed its wig,
drove to the drag show at Missie B’s.


Night.  A heater groused, a fan belted out.  Oh—
and there was fever and there was rash.


In the john, I focused heroically on the urinal cake; I tried
to flush without flourish.  But my gestures betrayed me.


I fell for the Seville-style tile of the Plaza, the oldest
strip-mall on the continent.  Commerce was history.


Fuck it.  Let’s smoke a pack of cloves and play
the Decemberists—Picaresque, perhaps—one last time.





How nice:  your guinea pig left you
three warm pellets; your pretty niece
sliced an earthworm into thirds.

Someone broke the abacus; someone lost
his marbles.  Now three dark drops
have fallen onto a white dress . . .

Meanwhile, in the back of your mind’s
hometown, back in the fluorescent rot
of that bowling-alley men’s room,

you’re seventeen, examining three black-
heads on your right cheek before you wait,

in the last stall, for a man to drop his beads . . .




Hart Crane, January 1928                



The purling fountains, drawling mockingbirds.
The midnight shaking of geraniums.

Schoolmarms retired from Iowa along
with hobbling Methuselahs, alfalfa-fringed

and querulous, side by side with crowds
of unsuccessful strumpets of moviedom,

gorgeous to look at, and hordes of nondescripts

seemingly bound from nowhere into nothing.