Once in a while, a man turns to find he had a tramp stamp all along. Or recalls a devastating lyric while alone in the corner of a party, discovering, for once, more sensitivity than taste. The desirability races dart around him in light streaks, and all of a sudden he becomes a conscientious objector - he wants to listen for the unexpected. Miraculously, no muse emerges to snuff this out, not even when someone in a cheap wine dress says to him, “In the most paranoid of realities, I learn to love rain puddles for containing me and not being me.” The man hears the sentence; that is, he hears within it more than wine. The person in the dress is a leaf on the man’s spindly pinkie, folding up and escaping its stem. The naturalist metaphor always seems apt for moments like this. Namely surprise touch. Not a dream of a man redeeming himself, nor even a dream of a man as someone who has never been a woman too, or an animal, or a chair, but a dream of him and others settling into a mutual body that does not equate a challenge with a threat.
WE WENT TO THE PARK AND
Pools in the crepuscular skyline
Drowned the police department helicopters,
As if beauty itself knew the right side of history
And the thought did not hail a religious childhood
Sewn with ‘god rays.’
Dissent rears its glittering unholy mound.
The flowers merely wanted
To be achieved upon any form.
We underline, struggle,
Our stony faces humiliated
IT WAS ROMANTIC
To walk, to stay up late, to risk an unsophisticated idea: That beauty does the blissful work of making the brain work blissfully. A young queer reading alone in the emerald shade makes the passersby want to massage their words until they’ve pulled new limbs out of them. Then their monster words perform inhuman gymnastics that make them so dizzy they forget to keep score.
Okay, not everyone notices the queer reading in the park. Those who do find both the power and powerlessness in them erotic. Not like the crucifix, no, though any repeated tableau could too quickly resemble the martyr. Let me be clear: I saw you, reader, with tenderness, as a learned score tending toward improvisation, and then I no longer resented repetition. I wanted to learn from you, to sit in the emerald shade of your apt phrases, to thank you for containing me and not being me.
IT WAS SEXY
When you noted
My flesh is not the sole
Machine that mediates me.
Your verses, the hum
Of transportation, of chorale music.
Of light in peopled spaces -
On the subway careening, in the grass
Whose books spread themselves like lizards.
Things you don’t owe
To your mother.
Wouldn’t you like to know
Debtless pleasure before you die?
Maria BC writes poetry and music. They grew up in the Midwest and recently received their B.A. in Gender, Sexuality, & Feminist Studies. Now you can encounter them in various corners of the Internet.