Seven Poems

by B. M.

Phoenix Bar on Friday Night

Big cheap rings, rhinestone encrusted,
She proudly said they were imported
“If I came in here dressed as a man,
You wouldn't recognize me, honey.”

She let her hands play with the hair
On my chest as she talked. “I like
This,” she said. “I don't like any
Hair on my body at all, but yours is fine.

“In high school they made fun of me.
I told them: I'm not a girl (stomping out the words).
Now when someone calls me ma'am
I say, ‘Oh, thank you.’”

Mike from Minneapolis

His hand extends as I slide by
And brushes the front of my shorts
So I slow to a stop on the opposite side
And say B and he says Mike
Mike from Minneapolis

What do you like?
I say what
Not fucking what about you
Choking on a big cock like this

He takes me downstairs where there is more room
As I am opening his shirt comes a guy
Into the back room. Do you like this
I say being welcoming and polite
He is looking at Mike not at me
Then and then and then
Mike breaks off sucking my cock
And says do you fuck
Which we already covered upstairs
But I just say no

So now the new guy is fucking Mike
While I'm sucking his and trying
To do the right thing to make a contribution
While he tells the new guy that he is rocking
His (Mike’s) world

So it all finishes with him telling the new guy that
His name is Trent and I say you told me
It was Mike. And he just said yeah but
It was so good.

Quanah Parker and Running Deer

Not being given to rage
I find it hard to imagine what
it felt like to throw the cup of
Coke and ice at a boyfriend in the car
or to take a belt after your wife
I can't even imagine really beating
a dog. Yet this morning as we
rounded Quanah Parker onto
Running Deer that black dog
from across the street got in
my way and for a half of a second
not more but that was enough
I felt like hammering the dog
to death. I have stuff on my mind.

In the Bastrop Pines

You don't even remember
when you brought back to this
house the cranium shaped rock.
We caught it in the Bastrop pines
now devastated by the fire a few
years back and you I remember or
imagine hoisted it on your shoulder
although it weighs no more than two
pounds or three to walk back with it
to the car and now it sits there on the
railing of the deck a copper colored
recollection of the firstlings of our
what I was going to call our love but
I stepped back from that thinking
it would put you off and yet I have
this rock this solid reminiscence
of a time back then when I expected and
imagined something memorable and solid.

Right on the Coffee Table

She was in Wisconsin and I was in
the apartment alone for once. What
did I do? I got a gay magazine Mandate
or Torso or In Touch with on the cover
(because in this story the cover is the
crucial item) on the cover a picture
of a dark haired light skinned man just
his body from the stomach up and
his lovely Greek-looking face and
I put that magazine (so obviously
gay) right on the coffee table like it
was Life or Architectural Digest
or National Geographic and I
stepped back and looked at it
and felt wonderful for a moment
then I went over and pulled closed
all the curtains even though the
apartment was on the second floor.

Fucking Fool

Last night at the intersection of Quanah Parker
and Running Deer I saw a man a guy standing
by the fence leaning against the fence and as
I passed with the dog I said Hey how's it goin'
and he said back Good and you? but that's not
The poem the poem is that as I went down the hill
I thought about him (he had his shirt off)
and when I looked back he was standing
by the road looking down the road
toward me. That's the poem. The thing is
that the poem has no footnotes saying "and
it was true, my fantasy" the poem has only
final stanzas with such themes as "never
saw him again" or "not what I thought"
or even "why am I such a fucking fool?"

Hard Labor

The exquisite rejection almost delicious
To remember the head turned away the
Devastating crossing of paths in the hall
With no acknowledgement not one glance
Of recognition almost too hard not to treasure
Like our secret sacred cache of incomprehensibly
Instinctual cruelties. A second or third or fourth
Birth trauma which we endure to be able to breathe
Independently and to realize after the blood
Is washed away that we are inescapably joined.

B. M. is an American educator.

Artwork: "Baigneurs" by Cézanne