8.10 / October 2013 :: Queer 4

Five Poems

Elizabeth Taylor, Horse Whisperer

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Husbandry: if you grow it, they live by it.
Wives, beware your husbands.

There’s a ghost in the snow.
There’s a ghost and a hand that fills the hour with greatness.

Soon, all will be revealed:
here is a woman empty of her man.

We’ll have no more of Marion.
Goodbye Winterset, Iowa. Goodbye house.

Horsedreams.
I have cried many nights waiting for my man.

The radiator shakes and steams.
Nights look like dead crows in the dirt without you here.

Leave me this hour to reclaim.
Find me in the wash closet, a mirror between my legs.


John Wayne Builds A Fire

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First, I rub two twigs together.
I smell arrogance.
The sky gets very small.
Smoke lifts from between my palms.

Call me Hightower.
Over open flames
something turns.
In my mouth with you

as with all desire which we will henceforth
describe as hunger, passion her twin.

Obsession,
          the longing for object
in absentia, describes the span of time
between wanting and having,
                    is masculine.

Obtaining is a partial luck. No turning back
     a faith. Keep turning until burning
   becomes intolerable.

I rub my palms together and breathe
  into the small cave my hands make.

Tell me a story
   about the longhaired men
      who come to the lakes to wash their bodies
                    like stone,
            like love letters
      held under water.


Trace Me, Liz Said, So John Did

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Lying down on the ground in the middle of the street,
Liz splayed out awkwardly, her dress rising above her knees.

It was a simple pleasure to offer one’s body for the outline.
Spring and no cars. She could feel John’s hand quiver along

her calf and quake inside her thigh. Don’t be shy, she said,
it’s just my peony, my begonia, leafy greens with a toothy edge.

Liz’s body grew up like a hedge from the mouth of a river.
John traced around her shoulders, feeling the turn in his bones.

I wish I had your choices, John said softly, as he rounded
the crown of her head, astonished by its smallness, its power.


John Wayne In Drag

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Shogun, showman, showmanship.
His gun is sunk
in a sea of sequins and pearls. Now
what he has is a black wig

and a blade strapped to a finely shaved leg.
John Wayne has never felt prettier.
“Just look at my ass,” he says, admiring
the power of the slit and clasp of a red satin dress,

he chose to wear to the Great Depression Dance.
When one gets sad, one must turn the lively music up.  
To the left, a crowd of yellow finches
in the tiniest of leather jackets, to the right,

a curious cabaret of carpet baggers chanting:
We are the Lost Generation.
And John, on stage, of course, hey big spender.
A disco ball delights the eye, where moments

turn a steady hand to shake, to application
of red on lips. “My lips, well, they’re like
two halves of a broken heart,” John says. A please,
a thank you, and don’t start, sing the etiquette finches.

Leather does not preclude manners. To be wild
is to be loved. Tomorrow is a handkerchief
of promise. Today, a hand with a mirror.
And John, you’ve never looked better.


Handsome Buffalo

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He was aware of the way men watched
him as he swung a lone leg over the glimmering body
of his towering horse. He hoped
it looked handsome, bringing the reins
close to his chest, his eyes taking a deep drag
of the desert-set before him. For all around,
the soil was fake, and nothing grew
but hair. And then, would you like a glass of milk? Of course,
the pertinent question. What does a body good? How
does your garden grow? From such a height,
any answer is a temporary suture on the open wound
of love. He straightened up, feeling a stranger to his own voice.
Looking out into the eyes of the extras around him,
their eyes expectant as empty plates,
he cleared his throat and kicked his heels.
Fill me with what you will, John said,
for a horse is a force, and like any angled light
it needs to travel, and therefore I am.
And thus the yes was never so a yes
as when the throat became a lake of white.


Liz Dosta is an artist, poet, performance journalist, and Fact Checker for Traveler. You can find her work here: thefemaleselfie.tumblr.com and here: liz-dosta.squarespace.com
8.10 / October 2013 :: Queer 4

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