Gender & Sexuality

Millions of Us

Purportedly a chain of civilians, soldiers, voices
lice they were called. It is sometimes sufficient to beg
Lice creeping over one, kill them with a chemical;
then there are lice-ghosts everywhere. Glints of pearly
nails. The light of my beloved will keep me from noticing.
Trailer to keep her in; he asked me if I knew her ‘auction name.’
Walked over the scorch; what are values when there’ s nothing here?
The wing of a dead soul grows into all the lace you see through,
foreigner, lice-ridden article of divestment. Splendid vices


If there is a word in the lexicon of love,
it will not declare itself.
The nature of words is to fail
men who fall in love with men.

It will not declare itself,
the perfect word. Boyfriend seems ridiculous:
men who fall in love with men
deserve something a bit more formal.

The perfect word? Boyfriend? Ridiculous.
But partner is... businesslike —
we deserve something a bit less formal,
much more in love with love.

The Mortician in San Francisco

This may sound queer,
but in 1985 I held the delicate hands
of Dan White:
I prepared him for burial; by then, Harvey Milk
was made monument — no, myth — by the years
since he was shot.

I remember when Harvey was shot:
twenty, and I knew I was queer.
Those were the years,
Levi’ s and leather jackets holding hands
on Castro Street, cheering for Harvey Milk —
elected on the same day as Dan White.

[The wild and wavy event]

The wild and wavy event
now chintz at the window

was revolution...

to Miss Abigail Smith:
You have faults

You hang your head down
like a bulrush

you read, you write, you think
but I drink Madeira

to you
and you cross your Leggs

while sitting.

How are the children?
If in danger run to the woods.

Evergreen o evergreen
how faithful are your branches.

War Voyeurs

I do not understand why men make war.

Is it because artillery is the most stoic example
of what flesh can become?
Is it because the military plan is the final map
drawn by the wisest hunter?
Is it because the neutron ray is the invincible finger
no one will disobey?


Is it because the flood of blood is the proper penance
workers must pay for failing tribute at the prescribed

I do not understand why men make war.



Given to sweet motion
the wilderness believes
one fair one of flowers
to be a moral blossom.
We go so far. Walks now,
only legend remaining.

"I came afterwards to the window when you was writing."

But in their documents
her judges had written

In its branches
spirit shelters
air with wailing.
The air thunders
unavailingly there.

"Fear is a snare. Why should I be afraid."

Nameless Pain

I should be happy with my lot:
A wife and mother – is it not
Enough for me to be content?
What other blessing could be sent?

A quiet house, and homely ways,
That make each day like other days;
I only see Time’ s shadow now
Darken the hair on baby’ s brow!

No world’ s work ever comes to me,
No beggar brings his misery;
I have no power, no healing art
With bruised soul or broken heart.

Violent Rooms


The contours of the girl blur. She is both becoming and fact.
A rancor defines the split. Rip into. Flatten the depth of voice. That

urgent flex peels off the steady layers. A girl, I say.
Girl. Gu-erl. Quell. He. He — unbuttons before emergence.

As in yard rake pressed to roof of mouth. A fragrant rod.
Suh — sssuh — ssuck. Insistence. Lips go lisp. Our brutish boy.

Having not ever been whole. Or simple. Or young. Just split and open.
Not of it. For it. Born a cog of hard wheel at five, six, seven...

[Dear one, the sea... ]

Dear one, the sea smells of nostalgia. We’ re beached and bloated, lie
on shell sand, oil rigs nowhere seen. It’ s Long Island, and the weather
is fine. What to disturb in the heart of a man?

A boy is not a body. A boy is a walk.

Shed the machine.
Must be entirely flesh to fight.
Must be strategy instead of filling.