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From “Beautiful Boyfriend”

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For Don (1958–2011)

My skiff is made of spicewood       my oars are Cassia bract
Music flows      from bow to starboard
Early Mozart     cool side of  Coltrane   and miles and miles     of   Miles
Cheap Californian Merlot       and my young boyfriend




If   I could master      the nine doors of my body
And close my heart       to the cries of   suffering
Perhaps     I could love you like no other
Float my mind      toward the other side of   hate



The shanty towns of   Tijuana       sing for you
The slums of   Little Sudan       hold evening prayer
One dead brown boy is a tragedy
     Ten thousand is a statistic
So let’s fuck    my love       until the dogs pass



All beautiful boyfriends are transitory
They have no souls     they’re shiny brown flesh
Tomorrow they’ll turn into      purple festering corpses
Fissured     gored    by a myriad flies



Down the Irrawaddy River       you lay yourself   to sleep
No sun no moon          no coming no going
No causality   no personality
No hunger     no thirst



Malarial deltas      typhoidal cays
Tsunamis don’t judge     Calamity grieves no one
The poor will be submerged     the rich won’t be saved
Purge the innocent     sink the depraved



What do I smell        but the perfume of   transience
Crushed calyxes         rotting phloems
Let’s write     pretty poems        pretty poems      pretty poems
Masque stale pogroms    with a sweet whiff of oblivion
Source: Poetry (December 2012)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

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From “Beautiful Boyfriend”

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