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.
From Muscular Music by Terrance Hayes, published by Tia Chucha Press. Copyright © 1999 by Terrance Hayes. Reprinted by permission of Terrance Hayes. All rights reserved.
The 2010 winner of the National Book Award in poetry, Terrance Hayes is the author of seven poetry collections. He currently serves on the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.
Date Published: 1999-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/pegasus