…and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love —Plato
1. First Encounter: Bruce
His place sounds exotic to my virgin ears: Chillicothe.
I know nothing of a bleak Ohio landscape or of another man’s.
A mid-1970’s male with long hair, guitar,
the scent of Patchouli, sexual aura.
The time has come.
What I know right away: a kiss is a kiss; skin, skin,
This give and take a matter of instinct—his salty lips, tongue.
How far to go, where?
Built-in reflexes like those of an infant.
What I give, I choose to, arms hold the rest of me.
Day after day I picture him board the train.
What this meant ended but not for me.
I sit in Early American Lit.
Like a teen I trace the letters of his name in block letters,
my notes sporadic—my heart too.
The train arrives with his future while I, vanquished, keep nothing.
2. Second: Name Unknown
The store is warm and dark—a womb of graphic images—
the shadowy pornography of men on men—6 pack abs, ready ass.
Today I am ready for anything (but this?)—a man too long alone—untouched.
I rent a movie with hirsute Bruno and his willing bottom.
Makeshift rooms with curtains drawn line a small hallway.
Once inside, I feel myself—single lover of flesh.
The clerk comes through the curtains, stands beside me,
his left hand touches my knee, traces up my leg.
This then is what the body says in its insistent need:
a hand is a hand; a mouth, mouth.
When he finishes me, I want nothing of any place.
The Weight of Each Word
Memory looks hungry.
Lust plays a single note.
The whole story is not whole:
parts mirror a larger story as veins my heart’s arteries.
What I’ve done is not me.
It is not enough.
A shallow light is cast on the narrow path of person.
I hear the bold claims of America and tropical birds,
synapses fire, coasts wander.
I see the sudden dip of yesterday’s gulls,
creatures caught in the heat of mating,
the Bay of Fundy’s lonely sweep,
flashes of flower, of flood,
the shell’s swirl mimicked in our patterns.
I have known the addict’s next,
the return to wholeness—what passes for it.
How do I say something about now?