Tagged: the Body


the dog with large, obvious
balls is out again. his balls
don’t drag on the ground or
anything, but he supports them
gingerly, bow-legged, as if
he were smuggling a bell
i watch him move between
want and want – other dogs, the
roasted corn smell of houses
being built, exercisers –
he is in my neighbor’s yard
when a Code Compliance truck
comes rolling by
someone has called in outrage
about the dog
his balls are so obvious.
they fear he will rape their animals
attack their children
i turn to my own dog
he is no longer sleeping
something like a distant bell
has woken him
he stands in the hallway
quietly, staring at the door


If you were like this all the time
I could stay,
she said. I had just thrown
her body across the kitchen island
proceeded to kiss her everywhere
through her clothes
through her self

There is a thin layer of self
over everything. Plastic sheeting
covers whole neighborhoods. Hordes
of caution-taped men, marauding
Our skin the banks of a river

I remember going days
without drinking. I crawled out
to the river’s island, where the water
was clear and fast-moving, and I
let the water pour into my open mouth
My partner, who had gone

the same number of days
took out his knife and cut a stalk
of bamboo from the bank
He filled it up and stabbed
a hole in the bottom, to drink
from the steady drip

He did not trust what his body
wanted, which is everything,
which is to already have done
what is needed to do

Rubbing Two Sticks Together

I see those kids again
Her pink hair. His hands
attached to her
butt pockets. Walking down

Walking down the trail
overlooking the Fire Academy’s
training center. It is more
of a wading

than a walking, the way
they synchronize
their leg movements. They
move as if through

cool ooze, the morass
of skipping classes,
the way a day passes
when you are young

I lose them behind
the Fire Academy stairwell
A fire truck ladder
lands on an open window
Recruits scramble up

And the sun sits. It seems
to think the same long thought
it’s been thinking
since we were born

The Race

A pickup truck, its doors open
The arms open
of a full-breasted man singing
Box-spring octaves
and accordion squeezing
Tejano music easing
around houses
like juice swirled in a cup
I am not inside my head
At all?
A boy with long red shorts comes running past
His shorts are like the summers here
His ankles are like the winter
in that they turn back over
when they are rolled
The boy trips, is ran past by others
They are running to the truck
where girls have started dancing in the bed
The truck is heaving
One of the racers is not leaving
He turns his head to look
at the fallen boy. But his body hasn’t stopped
He keeps running, looking back
He sees me. I see him. In a way
we see everyone, sometimes, for
a second. The way our heads
are placed askew
onto already moving bodies
The look of surprise
genuine surprise
at not being able to stop

This Whole Port City is a Boat…

… and the moon is looking
for stowaways. I hear
the white noise of water
the roaring of men’s stomachs
and blood that are lost to our ears
until found again, somewhere new
a captain listens to land
after months on the sea
the taverns creak on top
the gulls divide up
merchant ships and a careful
propeller of lighthouse light
swings, gaining speed. If light
were to leave our Earth somehow
it would do so like this; in a
slingshot before separating
at the sharp edge of space
my fingers have also separated
in the hair of pretty girls
at the edge they dissipate
it is all I can do to remember
their faces – two eyes, a nose
a mouth. I have forgotten
their sounds. I have nearly forgotten
the wine I stole and slipped
into my jacket sleeve. I walk
along the vessels, gargling
unable to christen them all
I find it familiar that boats
are made for water, but
built on top of the land

How They Eventually Met

a wind on my face
like fish changing direction

a shimmer of light
when one of them moves,
all of them follow

when I was young,
the young mothers
would take me and my friends
toilet-papering houses

they said we would do it anyway
some of my friends
were tall as men, even then

those nights in the yards of girls
for someone else – I would focus
on throwing the roll
I would grab its tail in the air
so gently, let it spin, as if I were Matt
or Philip jockeying girls
over the ledge of our swimming pool
before pulling them back,
keeping them dry

I was small. I could only ever hope
to look a girl in the eye
before falling in the water also

Looking for Snakes on the Beach at Night

How can anyone take the purple smell
of cigarillos seriously, throwing up
off boardwalk piers into sand dunes
boasting signs about snakes, beware
the rattlesnake, this is its home we
have dropped our folding chairs onto
our trashcan goal posts, our interior
truck music and lives together with
just one other. I have never seen a
rattlesnake. I have however sat in an
empty tent that no one seemed to come
home to. I used the walls to better hit
my pipe. I sniffed the stolen air for sex
but it was already covered. I have
never seen a rattlesnake. I have however
seen teenagers crying in the ocean with
their Bibles, looking like tired surfers
letting several gods wash over them in
waiting for a larger god. A more swollen
feeling. I have never seen a rattlesnake
I have disposed of truth, as it is without
coil, without the spring to life that
fills me. I know the moon will pull the
water in, and push it out. But how much
closer is a moon that leads us out there
with its light as a bridge, onto the oil?
To see the people going on there. I have
never seen a rattlesnake. I have pretended
to see one, even pointed at the holes they
may have made with their heads. I lamented
their absence of hands, as I do
my own absence of people touched

Gas Station Rose

walking out of a Shell station, a man
pulls a rose so fast from behind his back

that it startles the woman he’s with
causing her to jump back

the rose is skinny, erect, the way
it’s wrapped in tight plastic

i guess it’s the type of rose you get
at a convenience store gas station

the type a man does not intend
on buying, but does do anyway, to go

with his liter coke and bag of chips
maybe the rose is for his feelings

a small gesture for showing up. none
of us intend on feeling the way we do

do we? one moment so beautiful and
hot-blooded among fuel-pumps

we could explode and keep exploding
if only she’d flick her cigarette

the next so certain that there isn’t
a moon. there’s a hole in the ice

i could swim through