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Larry Levan (snake)

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Larry Levan (snake), 2006, by Elia Alba




Hip hip hip hip hip makes the man
as the conga, serpentine,
slides across the frame


and the disco dub — tilt and sway — 
sewing pelves in the room,
as if  Larry, still,


were levitating streetwise
Blacks, Drags, Latinos, Punks:
Saturday Mass, 1985,


in the Paradise Garage — Evelyn
“Champagne” King, Kraftwerk,
Ashra.


No. He’s black-and-white, a head shot,
one two three
four five,


on this S curve of 21st-century revelers,
mask on the one body
down,


shimmer slant of a hoop earring
under the ten-leg-
hop-and-pulsate — 


glide on through. And Larry, Dour Father,
bubble pop-popped,
afloat,


asking repeatedly: Who, My Friends,
is fronting? Who is not? 
You,


Velvet Valance, over the sequined
drag of curtain.
Black is Black,


Brown is Brown, Gay is Gay disco
pulsing up and through
seventeen years


of not-forbidding bodies. Introibo
ad altare Dei. Ad Deum
qui lætificat


juventutem meam. Gather you
to me and to one another.
Grind.

You can read the rest of the PINTURA : PALABRA portfolio in the March 2016 issue of Poetry. All images in this portfolio are courtesy of and with permission from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Larry Levan (snake) by Elia Alba, museum purchase made possible by William W.W. Parker © 2006, Elia Alba.
Source: Poetry (March 2016)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

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Larry Levan (snake)

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