When I read Jorie Graham I feel like I feel when I’m with someone
who has better teeth than me. When I read Louise Glück I know I talk
too much. I’m the person friends invite to parties and then warn everyone
before I get there. Anderson Cooper has good teeth. I wish he’d 360
in my mouth. I’m not afraid to go to the dentist because you’re only naked
from the neck up. I need to work on that in therapy. Sharon Olds makes me
want to be a better bottom: My own tongue is your cock. Her poem “It.” When I
read Creeley I think how we met at a writers’ colony in Vermont. We read
Ginsberg’s last manuscript because he was writing the foreword. I ordered
a second copy of Cosmopolitan Greetings. I had extra money and wanted poetry
I’d love. Creeley signed his emails: Onward! or Best as Ever, Bob! In the last one
he sent, he was mad at me. Are there any sexy celebrities named Bob? I just
thought “Hope” and laughed. I misread a David Trinidad line as “Queers from
Outer Space.” Homos who blow up churches with glitter bombs. Drag names
aren’t interesting anymore. It’s all about roller derby: Missile Etheridge, Carnage
Wilson, Feral Fawcett and Gory Graham. When Miguel got his flu shot, I called
him Vaccine Waters. The gays in New York say Anderson’s kinky in bed. I’m re-
claiming my time. I don’t want him to sue me, but he’ll never read my poetry. Allegedly.
I Need My O’Hara Frank
Clifton not Ball.
And my Audre,
always, to be Lorde.
I need Sharons:
Tate and Olds,
but mostly Olds,
and never, ever
the Rose of.
Harry or William.
in my twenties
in my always.
Does anyone have
a poem to Cher?
My Brad should
be Pitt. My Daniel
Craig. My Hardy
Thomas and Tom.
for David Trinidad
The Pulitzer Prize
He won the Pulitzer Prize
and died. She won the Pulitzer
and also died. He died,
but before he died, he won,
too. He won a prize
that wasn’t important
and died. He won the Pulitzer,
the National Book and died
eventually. He won more prizes
than she did, then he died
and she died. He won the Pulitzer
young, but nobody read him
after he died. Someone told her
she’d grow into her Pulitzer,
and die. He said he nearly died
when he found out he won:
he hasn’t died but will
and soon. Everyone says
he deserved the prize after
he died, but they gave it to her
who was alive, and she finally
died. He won the prize in two
genres and died. They split
the prize and will die.
The runners-up the year
they gave no prize died.
This year’s winner will die.
Last year’s and next year’s, too.
Shia LaBeouf Enters
Tommy tells me his students still love the musical Rent.
I tell him it’s the musical equivalent of a pre-condom classic in porn.
In the 90s, my friends and I passed around sex on VHS.
My favorite was Dean Spencer in Code of Conduct:
leather men collar his neck, shave his asshole and punish him
when he comes without permission.
It’s based on a book too expensive on Amazon.
Shia LeBeouf is on the cover of Esquire:
angry, furry-faced, confronting himself and his demons
in a very raw—and real—interview.
Miguel says you can see him with a hard-on in Nymphomaniac,
but the internet says it’s his face CGI’d on a body double.
I get erections in locker rooms under my towel.
Scent of jockstraps, ball stink, snippets of armpits
when guys pull bags from lockers.
Only old men walk around naked at the gym now,
their giant-sized balls sad-sagging.
Young guys pull their underwear up
under towels, rarely take showers.
Three things you can always count on according to Esquire:
1) Death 2) Taxes 3) Clichés about death and taxes.
After my mom got sick I wasn’t afraid to fly anymore.
It’s like I knew I wouldn’t die before she did.
The highest compliment Brandon gives a man:
He is so hot he could do porn.
Shia LaBeouf looks like my father when he was angry,
taking off his belt to whip me.
Esquire says audiences liked Shia early in his career
because he was funny, quick-witted, not distractingly handsome.
I hate my neck in photographs and consulted a plastic surgeon.
I don’t care if you think I’m shallow as long as you think I’m thin—
I either made that up or heard it in a movie.
Porn saved my life would make a great bumper sticker.
Now Dean Spencer lives in London with his lover.
Shia’s afraid people will think
he is not trying to own his shit but to put it on his father.
My father became a nicer person when my mother got sick.
I hate my nose, too, and all the songs in Rent.
The Dancing Lesbian
on television is trying to get men to take their shirts off. I appreciate
her determination but not her motivation—pandering to housewives
and skin-hungry fags. Buck Rogers made me gay when he was stripped
to the waist and forced to walk a runway. I thought I wanted to be him.
Really what I wanted I was too young to understand. In a novel I read
three women kidnap a man and nail his foreskin to the floor. I stopped
reading the book when they released him. I didn’t stop Lars von Trier’s
Antichrist. I keep a naked man in the basement in my fantasy. I lick
his cheeks if he cries. In the 80s I was afraid of AIDS. Dad called gay men
AIDS fags. I drew naked men with colored pencils—my little-boy hand
scribbling armpits. I drew bullet holes in their bodies and mom caught me.
Mom cried when she found out I was gay. Mom told me to get AIDS and die.
Get Thee to a Nunnery.
When the woman asks the woman behind the counter
if they have the current issue of People,
she says, “I think all we have is the ‘beautiful’ issue,”
and the woman says, “I want ‘regular’ People.”
And before I can help myself, I’m blurting: “the ‘beautiful’ People
is the ‘regular’ People. It still has articles; I saw it on Wendy Williams.”
I hate how helpful I am even when not asked,
how I need flight attendants to like me,
so I watch their safety presentations
though I know about oxygen masks and how to float after a crash,
or I’m extra nice to the waiter, assuring him everything’s fine
when everyone’s talking, so I’ll be his favorite.
The woman looks at me with a face that says “weirdo” or “faggot”
and in either case, she’s right. Her husband is waiting outside,
looking at his watch, not watching his wife
interact with the weirdo faggot in the magazine store at the airport.
His muscle-gut and ball-bat forearms make me swell in my belly
the way I swell when I listen to Fischerspooner’s Sir.
I wish her husband was a faggot
and we could have weirdo-faggot sex
in the Terminal F bathroom where men aren’t washing their hands.
I have a friend who won’t leave the house for a hand job:
it’s oral or anal or he stays home.
Okay, all of my friends stay home unless it’s oral or anal:
If I’m giving up my parking space, I’m at least getting fingered.
My therapist says I have agoraphobic tendencies.
I ask him if it’s strange that I’m a man who dates men and am afraid of men.
He says it’s only strange if I think it’s strange, and I say:
“Wow,” in my best fuck-you voice, “that’s a thinker.”
Then somehow we’re talking about Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies
and the line between abuse and lust.
I say something like: “Is all lust abuse, and is sex by its very nature violent?”
He says the scenes where Nicole stands up, sits down
are the best he’s seen depicting therapy.
My shrink’s my longest intimate relationship.
I just nod when he compares my life to a line in Hamlet
because I haven’t read it in years:
he’s smarter than me, and I don’t want to remind him.
But I have seen Girls, so I know what he means about the guy and girl
who masturbate together on the couch without touching,
proving sex doesn’t have to mean fucking and can be what I need it to be
and pleasurable, making my previous statements wrong.
Fischerspooner’s limited-edition vinyl has a big, thick cock—
we’d all leave the house for—on the cover.
P!nk is on the cover of People—beautiful and happy.
I love how Casey Spooner wears women’s clothes.
I should mind my own business when I fly.
When the Towers Came Down
Everyone knows the dead prefer to top.
Frank O’Hara, his gallery
eyes, him shooting a Jackson Pollock
on my thigh. The gayest thing
I’ve ever done? Rinsed cum
from my eye during Pride, or dished Sex
and the City with chained-up men
behind a leather bar, 4:00 a.m. My T-
shirt splashed, obvious
on the humid walk home. Last call,
they said. I should’ve listened.
“Midnight, look at the things
I’ve done in your name.”
When the towers came down, they nailed up
curtains, blocked off
stockrooms, man-made sex
caves in every bar. Someone joked
it was literally raining men. Month
after sticky month we tangled in the debris
of tragedy, a collapsed
cabaret law nobody cared about.
To comfort ourselves? To feel
alive? Fuck that—
we were horny, and we got away with it
until someone told someone
to make us stop.
for Diane Seuss