Listen to a bit of last night’s reading

A couple poems, one by Bob and one by me, from last night’s Fixed & Free Poetry Reading. I’ll add a few more another day.


The women next door are fighting.
Will there be makeup sex I can also hear thru the wall?
I doubt it. They’re usually quiet,
the one like a frazzled athlete, the other
a frazzled academic, and usually
light enough to be friendly.
They even slam doors reticently, politely.

You and your dad ran off to the North,
like the Blade Runner, to photograph the balloons.
I found out after eleven years you don’t like Donovan.
I would’ve played him just as much,
just felt more apologetic about it.
I’m trying to stay on the strong and fertile side of things
and not dissolve into hardness of heart.

For the party this afternoon,
I’m cooking another thing
it took you forever to tell me you didn’t like.
Every year you’d identify a new ingredient as the problem
till it added up to all of them.
Today I’ll be among more breathing people
than in a long time, it seems.

even the kind that never comes about,
keeps me freely happy—and one actuality,
the feel of you under your skin.
For once, I didn’t get here by ignoring the terrible world.
I feed it to myself and it mixes with me.
I turn it into our body.


The fairies circled my living room
in the house where the door was never locked.
I don’t remember where the women were—
Annie, who shared my yearning
for platanos and dulce de leche,
whose dad owned the house, and
Dorothy, who hoarded toilet paper
to clean up her boyfriend’s wayward cum.
Aidan was the only real boy, but this time,
I was disqualified for lack of wood.

I’d flattened my breasts as far as I could,
to a single bulging hump. My voice
had deepened, period stopped. It wasn’t enough.
Still, the guests talked around me
like I was one of the boys, some spreading their legs
and airing out their disgust
at the bits between female thighs.

Aidan and one or two others didn’t join
the hackneyed abuse, didn’t intervene.
Neither did I. We rationed our beers
round the carpet, silent or changing
the subject. It veered again to the villainous
blacks spreading AIDS. They couldn’t
see the irony. Was that the night I knew
I didn’t want to be a real boy?