Pride Diary

By Jenny Factor Jenny Factor
1

Who knew it’s quite all right that I downed three
gin-and-tonics (can’t fit male inside
female part on fanny pack) at four
o’clock the Dyke March day of NY Pride?
Who knew Manhattan streets would liquefy
and lurch with dames sans bras, sans hair, sans shirt
in step with beer-can band led by a skirt-
ed trans in green brassiere, led by the cops
whose sentries are staid as posts with glasses on,
lined up beside the march like S/M tops?
(They seem to think Gay Pride’s this weekend’s yawn.)
(Pit stop at McD’s, can’t clip pack back on.)
Who knew she’d march beside me hand-in-hand
and who’d expect me to remember names
when Liz’s girlfriend saw us and waved “Hi.
It’s . . . Anna”? (CNN shot feed, then frames.)
Booze-stymied by the glare of girls and sky,
how could I choose? Should I grip hand, or pray
wondering: Is today today the day
she’ll let me turn the key, lead her inside?

 
     2

Okay, I’m sober now. Today is just
the kind of day she talks but feels no lust.

 
     3

Beside her isn’t bad. Fan-stirred, the air
is humid and the theater is packed.
An ear-cuffed thespian tries to fix the cold,
our leading ladies sweat it out in back.
A prim man to my right begins to sneeze.
My nose is in agreement. The perfume
from Queen Mother there could clear the room.
This shadow play across her face is fine.
Her arm’s near mine, which means exactly nothing.
Hope’s hope hums on through separate listening.
That skull, opaque to me as Midland’s vault,
her silky crop, its pepper dabbed with salt —
I chuckle at an apt sardonic line.
Her suede complexion, lifts up, checks the time.

 
     4. Les Nouvceaux from La Nouvelle Justine

I don’t love her. She doesn’t love me. Neither
does this waiter who may think it strange
when young girls dine with staid dames twice their age
on salade de Bastille and pain de Sade.
I don’t like sitting by her like wet cloth.
I don’t like restaurants whose queers pawn sex
to the bachelor bunch who want a thrill.
I don’t like dining with my, well, not-ex,
both measuring the humid air for signs
of sparks I see by parts will not ignite.
I’d rather have a knock-down, drag-out fight
that cleared the joint than watch another guy
get spanked by Corset Kris, who’d like to grab
a tit, not spend hip humping hairy thighs.
I’d rather I were twice her age and wise.
I’d spin cruel stories of past day of bliss
then give my own hands covert exercise
and send her home to bed without a kiss.
 

     5. L’Addition
 
30 for the play and 10 for gins,
10 for two cabs and 40 for the eats,
at least the metro home was freezer-cold,
at least the Broadway Local still had seats
at 96th, the local went express.
I blistered home ten sockless humid blocks
back to my solo digs for solo sex.
I got this poem for my 90 bucks.

Jenny Factor, “Pride Diary” from Unraveling at the Name. Copyright © 2002 by Jenny Factor. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Unraveling the Name (Copper Canyon Press, 2002)

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Poet Jenny Factor

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Love, Desire, Realistic & Complicated, Activities, Eating & Drinking, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life, Gender & Sexuality

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Biography

Jenny Factor began writing poems as a child, mentored by the poet Myra Cohn Livingston. She earned a BA in anthropology at Harvard University, where she studied with Seamus Heaney, and an MFA in literature and poetry at Bennington College. Factor writes formal yet subversive poems that explore motherhood, marriage, sexuality, and transformation. Poet Christina Pugh praised the poems in Factor’s debut collection, the Hayden . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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