They are like those crazy women who tore Orpheus when he refused to sing, these men grinding in the strobe & black lights of Pegasus. All shadow & sound. "I'm just here for the music," I tell the man who asks me to the floor. But I have held a boy on my back before. Curtis & I used to leap barefoot into the creek; dance among maggots & piss, beer bottles & tadpoles slippery as sperm; we used to pull off our shirts, & slap music into our skin. He wouldn't know me now at the edge of these lovers' gyre, glitter & steam, fire, bodies blurred sexless by the music's spinning light. A young man slips his thumb into the mouth of an old one, & I am not that far away. The whole scene raw & delicate as Curtis's foot gashed on a sunken bottle shard. They press hip to hip, each breathless as a boy carrying a friend on his back. The foot swelling green as the sewage in that creek. We never went back. But I remember his weight better than I remember my first kiss. These men know something I used to know. How could I not find them beautiful, the way they dive & spill into each other, the way the dance floor takes them, wet & holy in its mouth.
The Blue Terrance
If you subtract the minor losses,
you can return to your childhood too:
the blackboard chalked with crosses,
the math teacher's toe ring. You
can be the black boy not even the buck-
toothed girls took a liking to:
the match box, these bones in their funk
machine, this thumb worn smooth
as the belly of a shovel. Thump. Thump.
Thump. Everything I hold takes root.
I remember what the world was like before
I heard the tide humping the shore smooth,
and the lyrics asking: How long has your door
been closed? I remember a garter belt wrung
like a snake around a thigh in the shadows
of a wedding gown before it was flung
out into the bluest part of the night.
Suppose you were nothing but a song
in a busted speaker? Suppose you had to wipe
sweat from the brow of a righteous woman,
but all you owned was a dirty rag? That's why
the blues will never go out of fashion:
their half rotten aroma, their bloodshot octaves of
consequence; that's why when they call, Boy, you're in
trouble. Especially if you love as I love
falling to the earth. Especially if you're a little bit
high strung and a little bit gutted balloon. I love
watching the sky regret nothing but its
self, though only my lover knows it to be so,
and only after watching me sit
and stare off past Heaven. I love the word No
for its prudence, but I love the romantic
who submits finally to sex in a burning row-
house more. That's why nothing's more romantic
than working your teeth through
the muscle. Nothing's more romantic
than the way good love can take leave of you.
That's why I'm so doggone lonesome, Baby,
yes, I'm lonesome and I'm blue.