8.10 / October 2013 :: Queer 4

Four Poems

Finally, George Michael on the radio.

listen to this poem

We’ve pulled in between a pick-up and a good will box.
I don’t belong to you and you don’t belong to me, freedom:
a quart of mildly crushed strawberries and some biscuits
in a plastic bag.

We’re fucking around in a suburban lot like teenagers.
Your mouth is a field of crushed strawberries and this canker sore
is a game I invented so that we might learn what a kiss is worth.

An Amazon wishes to court an Amazon. She offers her a coconut.
Inside the coconut: fog: a white horse’s heart. Or, some seed worn
around the neck, dead. We don’t get to choose, that’s a delusion.

Now I remember, George Michael’s voice slips out of a supermodel.
She’s lip-synching in a bath tub. You’re popping your head out of the sun
roof and no one’s coming. I don’t belong to you. I’m kidding. Kiss me
again, hard so it hurts.

One of the Lingering Bad Ones

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The woman you love sits on my scarf and pretends she doesn’t notice. The woman you love slaps cake on my breasts and watches you eat it. She is always leaving because she is made of foam and blazers. The woman you love has bad tattoos that show you where to touch her. She quotes Foucault to her johns, has D-rings on her ceiling. She sits with you in a metal bathtub but she keeps her eyes on me. She dares me to get in. The woman you love has the same hair as the woman you fuck. The woman you love makes the perfect fist, knows a good deal. She brings a knife to bed, she waits until you’re ready.

My mother shares her Borsht recipe

I tell her you’re visiting, she asks about the soup. A silence
passed down, a knotted up gold chain.

A secret: the place between my mother’s legs
                              spun my hair as I descended.

Flour creased, child on her hip, she stood before a man she loved
said choose.

Can I show her the meal on my floor where you sit?
Pear juice dripping down your chin and puddling in my own mouth?

Imagine the smell of this kitchen: Beets, bay leaf, coriander,
                                                              broth. Slow cooked.

No mention of the room in me where you live, curled,
hunger like a dog at the door.

We made each other then we began to eat
from separate plates.

On the fridge, her borsht recipe: cut the cabbage beautifully


listen to this poem

Fourteen, marked by sweat and teenage rituals:
a lingering of strange tongues and beer fresh
in my mouth like a punk song that has done its job.

                         A woman weighs down the center of the b36 bus.
Her face, something like a match struck
                         in a thick night hallway, what fear

is made of. My name, a swan slipping
under a bridge and swallowed.


Twenty, sunburnt at Brooklyn Pride.
Park Slope dense with rainbow flags,
a woman’s hand pulls me. In her tent,

                         my palm says it all: Your love line, a curse.
The diagnosis: Black Bile. They’ll all leave you.
                         The cure? $10.99 plus $5 for the reading.


For a long time, I lived at the edge
of rooftops, grew my hair long
and braided the lost ones.

When the boat came,
                                        a lantern, a foghorn.

An ocean, my name in her mouth.
I took the boat. I let the boat take me.

Once, Gala made a smoothie for Anjelica Huston. Once, Gala marshaled the Mermaid Parade. Once, Gala had very public breasts. Once, Gala had a puppet named Melody who taught kids about depression. Now a fellow at the Helen Zell Writers' Program, she spends her time dipping her apples into honey.
8.10 / October 2013 :: Queer 4